New York City Correction Department Investigator Convicted of Transporting, Receiving and Possessing Child Pornography
A federal jury in Central Islip, New York, returned a guilty verdict today against Fernando Clarke, an investigator with the New York City Department of Correction, on child pornography trafficking offenses.
Clarke, 63, of East Meadow, New York, was found guilty of two counts of transportation of child pornography, four counts of receipt of child pornography, and one count of possession of child pornography. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 13, by U.S. District Judge Arthur D. Spatt. Clarke remains in custody following the jury’s verdict.
The verdict was announced by Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue for the Eastern District of New York and Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York.
“By trafficking in images depicting the sexual abuse and exploitation of numerous children, Fernando Clarke added to the demand that fuels the creation and dissemination of these horrific images,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “The diligent efforts of our investigative partners helped ensure that this former corrections investigator, who violated the public’s trust in law enforcement, was brought to justice.”
“As a sworn law enforcement officer, Clarke had a mandatory obligation to report child abuse,” said U.S. Attorney Donoghue. “Instead, he downloaded images of the rape and abuse of children for his personal use. We will be vigilant in holding accountable law enforcement officers who violate their oaths.”
“Clarke downloaded videos of children being sexually abused,” said Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez. “It is unfathomable that anyone, especially someone working in law enforcement, could be capable of such an act. Clarke will face the consequences of his reprehensible actions, and it is because of individuals like him that HSI will continue to work tirelessly, dedicating extensive resources, to investigating child exploitation cases in New York and around the country.”
According to court filings and evidence introduced at trial, Clarke downloaded video files of the sexual abuse of preteen children, which he kept on computer equipment in his home. During a court-ordered search of his home on July 28, 2015, Clarke initially claimed that he was downloading child pornography in connection with his employment as a Department of Correction investigator. Clarke admitted at the time of the search, however, that he had not been authorized to access or download child pornography for his employment. Clarke was arrested at the time of the search and subsequently suspended from the Corrections Department.
The investigation was conducted by HSI; the New York City Department of Investigation, Inspector General, Board of Correction and the High Technology Investigative Unit (HTIU) of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Lauren Kupersmith of the Criminal Division’s CEOS and Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen L. Bode of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Long Island Criminal Division.