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Press Release

Recidivist Defendant Sentenced to 10 Years for Possession of Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

A Virginia man was sentenced yesterday to 10 years in prison followed by a lifetime of supervised release for possession of child pornography.

James B. Clawson Sr., 59, of Alexandria, was convicted by a federal jury in the Eastern District of Virginia of possession of child pornography on Aug. 26, 2021. According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, Clawson was previously convicted of distribution of child pornography in the Eastern District of Virginia after law enforcement discovered that he was serving as the administrator of an online forum dedicated to child sexual abuse material and distributing such material to members of his forum.

While on a term of federal supervised release in connection with this conviction, a U.S. probation officer visited Clawson’s home and found a laptop and thumb drives in a hidden compartment in Clawson’s closet. Though Clawson had denied owning a laptop, law enforcement’s investigation established that Clawson had been using the laptop to search for and download images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, which he then stored on one of his thumb drives. Once saved to his thumb drive, Clawson categorized and renamed these files based on the specific sexual conduct they depicted.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia made the announcement.

The FBI Washington Field Office investigated the case, with significant assistance from the High Technology Investigative Unit of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS).

Trial Attorney William G. Clayman of the Criminal Division’s CEOS and Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth M. Schlessinger of the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

Updated February 17, 2022

Project Safe Childhood
Press Release Number: 22-139