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Press Release

Jury Convicts Recidivist Defendant of Possessing Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – A federal jury convicted an Alexandria man today on charges of possessing child pornography.

“The evidence at trial demonstrated that the defendant’s prior conviction for distributing child pornography unfortunately did not deter him from continuing to seek out such heartbreaking and illegal images,” said Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Thanks to the diligent efforts of the trial team and our law enforcement partners, the defendant has been held accountable for his recidivist conduct by a jury of his peers.”

According to court records and evidence presented at trial, James B. Clawson, Sr., 58, was previously convicted of distribution of child pornography in 2009 after law enforcement learned that he was serving as an administrator of an online forum dedicated to trafficking child sexual abuse material. In July 2019, while Clawson was completing a term of federal supervised release in connection with his conviction, a U.S. probation officer discovered that Clawson had been hiding a laptop computer and multiple thumb drives in a hidden compartment in a shelving unity in his home.

Evidence presented at trial established that Clawson used the laptop to search for and repeatedly download from the internet images and videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and then stored those images on one of his thumb drives. The evidence further established that Clawson sorted these child sexual abuse images on his thumb drive and assigned them files names based on the specific sexually explicit conduct they depicted. 

Clawson was convicted of possession of child pornography. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison when sentenced on December 1, 2021. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Raj Parekh, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia; Kenneth A. Polite Jr., Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; and Robert E. Bornstein, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Washington Field Office Criminal Division, made the announcement after U.S. District Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr. accepted the verdict.

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

Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Schlessinger and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney William G. Clayman are prosecuting the case.

This case was investigated by the FBI Washington Field Office’s Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force. The task force is composed of FBI agents, along with other federal agents and detectives from northern Virginia and the District of Columbia. The task force is charged with investigating and bringing federal charges against individuals engaged in the exploitation of children and those engaged in human trafficking.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 1:20-cr-119

Updated August 26, 2021

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