BOISE – U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson announced that Michael Brian Clair, 33, formerly of Hazelton, Idaho, and Parker, Arizona, was sentenced Monday in United States District Court to 30 years in prison and 20 years of supervised release after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation of children by production of sexually explicit images of minors. U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge also ordered Clair to forfeit personal property used in the offense.
According to his plea agreement, Clair came to the attention of law enforcement on October 28, 2012, when he responded to an advertisement posted on Craigslist by an undercover Homeland Security agent in New Orleans, Louisiana. While conversing via email with the undercover agent, Clair made several statements about having inappropriate sexual contact with a four-year-old female and discussed trading sexually explicit images. During the plea hearing on August 13, Clair admitted that between July 2012 and January 2013, he used two prepubescent minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct, for the purpose of producing visual depictions of that conduct, and transported those images from Arizona to Idaho in late December. He also admitted distributing child pornography to others via the internet, including to a sex offender in Queensland, Australia.
Clair was also involved in trafficking sexually explicit images of 45 other children. The child pornography seized from Clair’s computer was identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
“Those who victimize children by producing and distributing images of children being sexually abused will be identified, investigated and prosecuted,” said Olson. “Today’s sentence sends the strong message that local, state and federal agencies will work together in an efficient and coordinated manner to bring these predators to justice.”
"Child pornography producers and consumers destroy innocent lives," said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle, who oversees Idaho investigations. “This case provides yet another cautionary reminder for child predators who mistakenly believe they can preserve their anonymity by sharing child pornography over the Internet. When it comes to protecting children, we can't take chances. We can't ignore the obvious and we will continue to seek out these perpetrators and bring them to justice.”
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) agents from Idaho, Louisiana, Washington, and Arizona investigated the case, with assistance from the Boise Police Department, Idaho State Police, the Jerome County Sheriff’s Office and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.
This case 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, visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab “resources.”