Sacramento Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Buying Children and Other Child Exploitation Crimes
U.S. Attorney highlights sustained, collaborative efforts to bring the worst offenders to justice
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Michael Carey Clemans, 57, of Sacramento, was sentenced today to life in prison for buying children, attempted travel and travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, conspiracy to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, conspiracy to produce child pornography, attempted production and production of child pornography, and receipt of child pornography.
This case is the latest in a multi-year trend of child exploitation prosecutions focusing on defendants with prior sex offenses and those who abuse and record the sexual abuse of children. U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Ryan L. Spradlin, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims joined forces today to highlight their sustained and collaborative efforts to identify and vigorously prosecute those who exploit and abuse children and trade in images depicting the sexual abuse of children.
U.S. Attorney Scott stated, “In the last four years, over 40 federal defendants prosecuted by this office have received sentences ranging from 15 years up to life in prison for crimes against children. Many of those defendants were repeat offenders or, like Clemans, were responsible for the recorded sexual abuse of their victims. Advances in technology have escalated both the heinous nature and pervasiveness of these violent crimes that affect the most vulnerable members of our communities. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to continuing its collaboration with our state, local and federal partners to locate these offenders and ensure that they are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Child pornography is the product of horrifically violent acts perpetrated against children who are powerless to escape their attackers. The victims not only bear the physical and emotional scars of the crime throughout their lifetimes; evidence of the criminal acts that harmed them are shared again and again by consumers of illicit content. All children deserve to be safe from harm,” said Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Sacramento field office. “The FBI is committed to working with our local, state, federal, and international partners to identify and investigate those who both produce and consume content that depicts the violent abuse of vulnerable children to ensure they face justice for their crimes.”
U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez sentenced Clemans today after a federal jury found Clemans guilty on September 5, 2017, of buying children, attempted travel and travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and conspiracy to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. On the first day of trial, Clemans pleaded guilty to three additional counts: conspiracy to produce child pornography, attempted production and production of child pornography, and receipt of child pornography.
According to court documents, beginning in June 2014, Clemans conspired with a woman in the Philippines to produce child pornography. During much of the conspiracy, Clemans was temporarily residing in Bangkok, Thailand, where he worked as an airline pilot. In April 2015, Clemans returned to his Sacramento residence and continued his overseas conspiracy using his online account to chat with the Filipino woman. In these chats, Clemans discussed various strategies to obtain minor girls whom he could rape. Clemans instructed the Filipino woman on how to find vulnerable victims, directing her to look for orphans and victims of typhoons. Clemans paid nearly $6,000 to the woman so she could buy photographic equipment and find discreet locations to conduct sexually explicit photo shoots of the victims, who were as young as seven years old. On multiple occasions, Clemans paid a co-conspirator to obtain temporary custody of the children in the Philippines and produce child pornography for him.
According to evidence introduced at trial, Clemans engaged in another scheme with separate individuals in November 2013, in which he traveled from the United States to Manila for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with minors after requesting and receiving pornographic images of minors whom he expected to rape.
This case was the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys André M. Espinosa and Colleen M. Kennedy prosecuted the case.
The following are summaries of Project Safe Childhood cases from January 2014 to present in which sentences of 25 or more years were imposed.
On October 13, 2015, Shawn Joseph McCormack, 34, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping and producing child pornography involving two toddlers. McCormack traveled to a couple’s residence in Bakersfield and stayed as an overnight guest on multiple occasions. During several of the overnight stays, in the middle of the night, McCormack snuck the couple’s toddlers out of the house and recorded his sexual abuse of them. 1:11-cr-324 AWI
On March 23, 2017, Jesse Davenport, 42, of Chico, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for conspiring with a Connecticut woman to produce a video of a child being sexually abused. The woman made a video with a child she was babysitting following Davenport’s instructions and sent it to him two times. Davenport then distributed the video to another person. Davenport had prior convictions for sex offenses against minors. 2:13-cr-399 MCE
On April 30, 2014, Neng Yang, 49, of Clovis, was sentenced to 38 years in prison for producing child pornography. While working as a teacher, Yang used an iPhone and a computer to record and store videos depicting his sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl under his supervisory control.
On August 25, 2014, Christopher David Robinette, 48, a U.S. citizen living in the Netherlands, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for traveling to Fresno to sexually exploit a minor. He abused the minor in California, Nevada, Mexico and Costa Rica and produced digital still and video images of the abuse. 1:13-cr-003 AWI
On January 18, 2018, Jeffrey Miles Hayes, 55, of Sacramento, was sentenced to 33 years and four months in prison for receiving over 2,000 images of children engaged in sexually explicit acts, including images showing sadistic abuse and the sexual abuse of an infant. He also possessed links to cloud storage accounts containing child pornography. At the time of the offense, Hayes had a prior conviction related to child pornography and was a registered sex offender. 2:16-cr-190 TLN
On April 12, 2016, Shane Paul Young, 47, of Fresno, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sending and receiving hundreds of videos and images of child pornography with users across Europe and North America. The voluminous amount of child pornography included graphic images of infants and toddlers being sexually abused. Both the nature of Young’s offense and his significant prior criminal history factored into his sentence. 1:13-cr-126 DAD
On July 29, 2016, Jason Wymer, 46, of Citrus Heights, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexual exploitation of children. A parent accidentally sent a picture of her child to a wrong number who turned out to be Wymer. When Wymer responded requesting more pictures, the parent brought the cellphone to the FBI. An undercover employee, pretending to be a child, continued the dialog until they were able to locate and arrest him. Photos of Wymer molesting a three-year-old were found on his phone, and Wymer also admitted to molesting a four-year-old child. 2:13-cr-086 GEB
On January 19, 2017, Bret Allan Nichols, 33, of Paradise, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for paying a Florida couple to produce and record child pornography. A forensic search of Nichols’s computer seized during the subsequent search of his residence found multiple videos that Nichols had recorded of five additional child victims in Colombia and the Philippines.
On December 3, 2014, Jeffrey Randall Metcalfe, 50, of Turlock, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for receiving and distributing child pornography. He created at least 17 accounts on a photo-sharing website, posted numerous images to the site and made comments about his interest in child pornography. Metcalfe possessed thousands of printed and digital images of child pornography. This was his second child pornography conviction in federal court in Fresno.
On August 18, 2014, Allen Kendrick, 51, of Escalon, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for receiving and distributing child pornography. Kendrick was previously convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, and he had a prior 2010 offense for possession of child pornography. 1:14-cr-055 LJO
On September 14, 2017, Raul Gonzalez, 44, of Woodland, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for causing a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct, which he recorded with his cellphone camera. Gonzalez also sexually abused another minor who was less than 14 years old.
On July 10, 2014, Phillip J. Colwell, 58, of Sacramento, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for engaging in a series of cellphone text conversations with a 14-year-old boy and sending him sexually explicit images. Colwell encouraged him to produce sexually explicit images of himself to send to Colwell. Colwell also molested a 16-year-old boy and took explicit photos of him that he then uploaded to a website in order to advertise him for sex trafficking. 2:12-cr-73-GEB
On December 8, 2014, Bradley Allen Vaine, 31, of Fresno, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for receiving and distributing more than 600 images of child pornography, some of which depicted prepubescent minors, and some were of violent or sadistic conduct. 1:12-cr-403 LJO
On March 24, 2014, Frank Charles Reddell, 43, of Madera, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for receiving child pornography. Reddell had a prior conviction for lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor, and he was on parole when an officer found him viewing child pornography in a parking lot. 1:13-cr-090 LJO
On September 9, 2016, Joshua Landon Klipp, 36, of Chico, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for persuading a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct while he recorded and transmitted live visual depictions of it. Klipp received images from the minor, as well as other images through the internet. 2:14-cr-107 GEB
On July 20, 2015, Ricky Davis, 38, of Modesto, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for production of child pornography and attempted sex trafficking of a minor. He took sexually explicit photographs of a 13-year-old girl and posted them online within an advertisement for prostitution. 1:12-cr-056 AWI
These cases were brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet safety education.