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NYC correction investigator convicted of downloading child porn

Fernando Clarke faces a minimum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

City Department of Correction officer Fernando Clarke leaves

City Department of Correction officer Fernando Clarke leaves federal court in Central Islip on July 29, 2015. Photo Credit: James Carbone

A New York City Department of Correction investigator faces time behind bars after being convicted on child porn charges Monday, according to federal officials.

A federal jury in Central Islip concluded Fernando Clarke, 64, had downloaded child porn onto his home computer and found him guilty on seven counts of transportation, receipt and possession of child pornography, said the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District.

Clarke had initially claimed that the videos showing sexual abuse of preteen children were downloaded in connection with his job as an investigator, officials said.

But during a court-ordered search of his home on July 28, 2015, he admitted that he had not been authorized to access or download child pornography for his employment, prosecutors said.

He was arrested that day and later suspended by his employer.

“As a sworn law enforcement officer, Clarke had a mandatory obligation to report child abuse,” Richard P. Donoghue, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District, said in a news release. “Instead, he downloaded images of the rape and abuse of children for his personal use.”

Clarke’s attorneys, from the Federal Defenders of New York, could not be immediately reached Monday night.

Clarke faces a minimum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced April 13, authorities said.

His arrest was part of a multiagency investigation that included the Justice Department and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“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,” John Cronan, an acting assistant attorney general at Justice, said in the news release.

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