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Press Release

O.C. Firefighter Pleads Guilty To Child Pornography Charges For Sending Money Abroad To Produce Explicit Photos Of Young Girls

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Central District of California

SANTA ANA, California – A commercial firefighter who resides in Huntington Beach pleaded guilty this morning to a federal charge of attempting to produce child pornography after sending money to what he thought was a young girl in the Philippines to purchase a camera to take sexually explicit photos of herself and an 11-year-old friend.

John McArthur, 57, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Josephine Staton.

An investigation revealed that in January 2012 McArthur had online conversations with a person he believed was a 13-year-old girl in the Philippines. During those online conversations, McArthur agreed to send money for the purchase of a camera that would be used to take sexually explicit photographs of the girl and an 11-year-old friend. McArthur later went to a Western Union agent to transfer the money to the 13-year-old minor.

Unbeknownst to McArthur at the time, the person posing as the 13-year-old girl was Robert Oliver Clark, 75, a United States citizen residing in the Philippines. Clark was arrested in September 2014 in a related case, and he has agreed to plead guilty to possession of child pornography. In a plea agreement recently filed in United States District Court, Clark admitted that he “possessed, in his computer hard drive and in his email accounts, 5,443 images and 53 videos of child pornography, including 43 images and 1 video portraying sadistic or masochistic conduct and 16 images portraying toddlers.” Clark, who resided in Texas prior to moving to the Philippines, is scheduled to enter his guilty plea on May 21 in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

During this investigation, law enforcement authorities discovered that McArthur received hundreds of images and several videos of child pornography through his email accounts.

McArthur is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Staton on August 21, at which time he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison.

The investigation into McArthur and Clark was headed by the United States Postal Inspection Service, which received substantial assistance from the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations; and the Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center.

“Protecting children from crimes of sexual abuse and exploitation is a priority for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service,” stated Robert Wemyss, Inspector in Charge for the Los Angeles Division. “I'm proud of the work of the Postal Inspection Service and our investigative partners to bring child predators to justice. U.S. Postal Inspectors have investigated these crimes for more than a century. While the predators’ use of technology has evolved, the core harm has not changed: a child's lost innocence. We will not lose sight of this, and remain steadfast in our efforts to investigate, apprehend, and assist in the prosecution of those who seek to exploit children via the U.S. Mail, wherever in the world they may be.”

Release No. 15-043

Updated June 22, 2015