Septuagenarian Heads to Prison for Possessing Over 30K Images of “Morphed” Child Pornography
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 72-year-old resident of Corpus Christi has been ordered to federal prison following his conviction of possessing child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick. Clifford Mecham Jr. was found guilty during a bench trial in in January 2019.
Today, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack, who presided over that trial, sentenced Mecham to 97 months in prison. Additional information was also presented today, including letters from the victims detailing how the offense had impacted them and their families. In handing down the sentence, the court noted she felt the need to protect the community and was especially concerned that Mecham seemed to have no concept of why what he did was wrong. Mecham was further ordered to pay $2966.78 in restitution to the known victims and will serve the rest of his life on supervised release following completion of his prison term, during which time he will have to comply with numerous requirements designed to restrict his access to children and the internet. Mecham will also be ordered to register as a sex offender.
At trial, the court heard that at the time of his arrest, Mecham was in possession of 31,562 images and 1,741 videos containing child pornography which he had created himself. He had morphed images and videos of pornographic actresses and models and replaced their faces with the faces of children. In many images, Mecham altered the images further by morphing the male actors faces with his own to make it appear as though he was engaging in various sexual acts with the children.
When authorities took Mecham into custody he explained that he created the images because he thought they were “cute.”
He has been and will remain in custody pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and Corpus Christi Police Department’s – Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted the investigation with the assistance of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brittany L. Jensen is prosecuting the case, which was 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 individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”