New York – A federal jury in Central Islip returned a guilty verdict today against Fernando Clarke, an investigator with the New York City Correction Department, on seven counts of transportation, receipt and possession of child pornography. Clarke faces a minimum penalty of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000, when he is sentenced by United States District Judge Arthur D. Spatt on April 13, 2018. Clarke remains in custody.
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, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York, announced the verdict.
“As a sworn law enforcement officer, Clarke had a mandatory obligation to report child abuse,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue. “Instead, he downloaded images of the rape and abuse of children for his personal use. We will be vigilant in holding accountable law enforcement officers who violate their oaths.” Mr. Donoghue extended his grateful appreciation to HSI; the New York City Department of Investigation, Inspector General, Board of Correction; the Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (“CEOS”) and High Technology Investigative Unit (“HTIU”), for their assistance in this case.
“By trafficking in images depicting the sexual abuse and exploitation of numerous children, Fernando Clarke added to the demand that fuels the creation and dissemination of these horrific images,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “The diligent efforts of our investigative partners helped ensure that this former corrections investigator, who violated the public’s trust in law enforcement, was brought to justice.”
“Clarke downloaded videos of children being sexually abused,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Melendez. “It is unfathomable that anyone, especially someone working in law enforcement, could be capable of such an act. Clarke will face the consequences of his reprehensible actions, and it is because of individuals like him that HSI will continue to work tirelessly, dedicating extensive resources, to investigating child exploitation cases in New York and around the country.”
According to court filings and evidence introduced at trial, Clarke downloaded video files of the sexual abuse of preteen 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 Correction Department investigator. Clarke admitted at the time of the search, however, that he had not been authorized to access or download child pornography for his employment. Clarke was arrested at the time of the search and subsequently suspended from the Corrections Department.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Allen L. Bode of the Long Island Criminal Division and Department of Justice Trial Attorney Lauren Kupersmith.
East Meadow, New York
The press release is available at justice.gov.