Justice Department Secures Settlement Agreement with State of New York Executive Chamber to Resolve Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Claims Under Title VII
Earlier today, at the federal courthouse in Central Islip, Fernando Clarke, a former investigator with the New York City Department of Correction, was sentenced by United States District Judge Arthur D. Spatt to 10 years’ imprisonment, following his March 2018 jury trial conviction on seven counts of transportation, receipt and possession of child pornography. Clarke was also sentenced to pay a $13,682.43 fine, a special assessment of $5,600 and five years’ supervised release to follow his prison sentence, during which time he must register as a sex offender and will not be allowed unsupervised contact with minors. A restitution request from one of the victims depicted in child pornography images Clarke collected will be determined by the Court on or before June 1, 2018.
Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York, announced the sentence.
“As the trial established, Clarke collected child pornography at his home for years, using a peer-to-peer file sharing system that allowed others to download child pornography from him,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “When his crimes came to light, Clarke lied and attempted to hide behind his badge, claiming that he had accessed child pornography for his job as an investigator for the New York City Department of Correction. This Office is committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting consumers of child pornography.” Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to the New York City Department of Investigation, Inspector General, Board of Correction, and the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and High Technology Investigative Unit for their assistance in this case.
“For years, and while entrusted to serve and protect society, Fernando Clarke compiled and shared thousands of images and videos of children being sexually abused and exploited,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “With every horrific file Clarke downloaded or shared with others, he compounded the unspeakable harm endured by these vulnerable victims. Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our dedicated law enforcement partners and federal prosecutors, Clarke is now being held accountable for his crimes.”
“Individuals who take pleasure in watching videos and photos of children being sexually exploited should learn from the outcome of this case that we will find you and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law, no matter who you are,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez. “The fact that this individual used his law enforcement status to try to shield his crimes is particularly heinous, and a betrayal of all we stand for in protecting the children in our communities. But his knowledge of online sharing systems and assumption he could go undetected was undone by the excellent investigative team in this case.”
According to court filings and evidence introduced at trial, Clarke downloaded thousands of video files of the sexual abuse of pre-teen 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 subsequently admitted during the search that he was not authorized to access or download child pornography for his employment. Clarke was fired from the Department of Correction after his conviction.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Allen L. Bode of the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Lauren Kupersmith.
East Meadow, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 15-CR-426(S-1) (ADS)(AKT)
United States Attorney’s Office