Man With Over 3,100 Child Sexual Exploitation Images And Videos Avoids Jail

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Survivors of child sexual abuse face the fact that images and videos of them are still being shared online every day.

KATHRYN GEORGE / Stuff

Survivors of child sexual abuse face the fact that images and videos of them are still being shared online every day.

A man who collected, customized and organized a significant amount of child sexual exploitation material for his own enjoyment has escaped from prison.

Michael Anthony Clayton, 49, appeared for sentencing before Judge Mark Callaghan in Christchurch District Court on Wednesday, after pleading guilty to a representative charge of knowingly possessing objectionable material.

More than 3,100 images and videos depicting child sexual exploitation were found on Clayton’s devices when police searched his home on June 8, 2020. Police first found him online.

Images and videos were stored in named folders on Clayton’s hard drives. Examples of these filenames included “Preteens”, “Sundae”, “Sweetie”, “Sweet Doll”, and “Cutie”.

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One device contained a folder structure with over 120 named files depicting child nudity, sexual exploitation or abuse, bestiality, teen modeling, cartoon pornography and other sexuality-related topics , according to the summary of the facts.

Between February 22, 2019 and February 28, 2019, a detective from the online child exploitation team remotely downloaded 26 images and videos from Clayton’s computer.

Police became aware of Clayton after discovering that online child exploitation was being marketed in New Zealand on the internet using peer to peer (P2P) file networks.

Michael Anthony Clayton, 49, was sentenced to 12 months house arrest and was placed on the Christchurch District Court's Child Sex Offender Register on Wednesday.  (File photo).

DAVID WALKER/STUFF/Stuff

Michael Anthony Clayton, 49, was sentenced to 12 months house arrest and was placed on the Christchurch District Court’s Child Sex Offender Register on Wednesday. (File photo).

Each file showed children between the ages of 2 and 15 being raped by men, engaging in sexual acts with each other, or posing in a sexually explicit manner. The files were publicly available.

The same 26 files were found on Clayton’s computer when police searched his home.

Clayton was not charged with distribution due to the statute of limitations, according to the summary.

Although he pleaded guilty in May, Clayton was initially in “complete denial” of the harm caused by his online collection, the court heard.

However, since then he had taken steps to complete his rehabilitation and had a “lightbulb moment” helping to express the remorse, guilt and shame he felt, defense attorney Ethan said. huda.

An updated pre-sentence report confirmed that Clayton had become more aware of the harm he had caused and classified him as being at low risk to reoffend.

Huda asked for house arrest so Clayton could continue with rehab and group therapy.

The police were not opposed to house arrest, but insisted that Clayton be placed on the juvenile sex offender register.

Huda did not object to registration, but suggested that if all relevant rehabilitation programs were completed, then perhaps her client could be deregistered.

Clayton had no children of his own and was not in contact with any, Huda said.

Judge Callaghan said he was pleased with the steps Clayton had taken to rehabilitate and that his ‘lightbulb moment’ on realizing the harm he had caused meant he would not do it again.

The judge granted reductions for an early guilty plea and for Clayton having already attended 13 rehabilitation sessions, and sentenced him to 12 months of house arrest with special conditions, including not to access the Internet without authorization prior or without a supervising adult.

Clayton would be included on the child sex offender registry, but would be deregistered if he completed all of his relevant rehabilitation programs, including the STOP program.

An order for the destruction of all devices confiscated from Clayton has been issued.

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