The Eastern District of Texas sentenced an Allen man to federal prison for federal child exploitation violations.
Clay Melton Denton, 57, was found guilty on Jun. 11, 2021, of distribution, receipt, and possession of child pornography and was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison Wednesday by U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III. The court also ordered Denton to pay an assessment of $10,000 under the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Victim Assistance Act of 2018.
According to the court documents and testimony at trial, in January and March 2018, undercover officers with the Plano Police Department and the Garland Police Department received child pornography via an online platform distributed to them by a computer user. The officers traced the online conduct to the Denton residence in Allen, Texas. Members of the FBI obtained a search warrant for the home, which they served on Apr. 25, 2018. The searching team discovered multiple digital devices in residence, including server racks, network area storage devices, laptops, hard drives, cellular phones, and digital storage media. In addition, agents testified that the entire second story of the house was floor-to-ceiling with bookcases storing digital devices, manuals, and peripherals.
Additional testimony revealed that forensic analysis of the seized devices took almost one year. During this forensic analysis, personnel discovered tens of thousands of images and videos of child pornography. Specifically, the evidence demonstrated that a laptop belonging to Denton and located on one of his desks contained the same software used to distribute child pornography to the undercover officers. He also used the software to obtain child pornography, which he saved on a different portion of Denton’s computer. In addition, evidence revealed that child pornography was on a 60+ terabyte storage device that Denton owned and possessed. A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Denton with federal violations on Sep. 11, 2019.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. It combats the growing child sexual exploitation and abuse epidemic. The U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources lead the project. They locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet and identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
This case was investigated by the Plano Police Department, Garland Police Department, and the FBI Dallas Child Exploitation Task Force and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marisa Miller and Maureen Smith.