PENSACOLA, FLORIDA – A federal jury in Pensacola has convicted Clark Downs, 71, of Port Saint Joe, Florida, on one count of producing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. The guilty verdict, reached by the jury on Thursday at the conclusion of a 3-day trial, was announced today by Lawrence Keefe, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
“Child exploitation is horrendous and affects the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Keefe. “We will continue working tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to protect our children from abuse by investigating and prosecuting criminals like Downs.”
In November 2014, Downs intentionally coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography. In April 2018, Downs was found to be in possession of material containing child pornography.
“The teamwork approach from all law enforcement agencies involved led to the successful conclusion of this case,” said Gulf County Sheriff Mike Harrison. “I am proud of their hard work and dedication.”
Downs’ sentencing hearing has been scheduled for January 28, 2021, at the United States Courthouse in Pensacola.
“I commend the fervent efforts of our members and our law enforcement partners in working to protect Floridians, especially the most innocent and vulnerable among us,” said Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Pensacola Regional Operations Center Special Agent in Charge Jack Massey. “Let this serve as a warning to those who would exploit and abuse children in our state: we will be relentless in bringing you to justice.”
The case was investigated by the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michelle Spaven and Aine Ahmed.
“The crimes this child predator has committed cannot be undone,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “We hope this guilty verdict provides another step in recovery for his victim.”
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida is one of 94 offices that serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. To access public court documents online, please visit the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida website. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Florida, visit http://www.justice.gov/usao/fln/index.html.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.