Home Phoenix Press Releases 2009 Mesa Man Sentenced to Over 17 Years in Prison for Receipt of Child Pornography

Mesa Man Sentenced to Over 17 Years in Prison for Receipt of Child Pornography

U.S. Attorney’s Office February 10, 2009
  • District of Arizona (602) 514-7500

PHOENIX—Donald L. Claus, 57, of Mesa, Ariz., was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Mary M. Murguia to 210 months in prison. Claus pleaded guilty on April 1, 2008, to Receipt of Child Pornography. Upon his release from prison, he will be placed on lifetime supervision and just register as a sex-offender.

An international investigation revealed that Claus downloaded child pornography from an overseas web site. The images depicted young girls engaged in strip tease and other poses designed to elicit a sexual response. Further investigation led the FBI to Claus’ residence. A search revealed a large number of images and videos depicting child pornography.

An FBI analysis of Claus’ computers and computer media revealed approximately 8,000 images of child pornography including several depicting bondage and bestiality. Also discovered were videotapes Claus secretly made of naked children playing in his van and videotapes he recorded from the restroom of a store he once owned which also showed images of children.

During the sentencing, Claus argued that he was not a threat and was “the nicest person the Court would ever know.” However, the Court found him to be a danger to the community and told him that the sordid facts of his case were clearly at odds with his claims.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Dutch National Police. The prosecution was handled by Vincent Q. Kirby, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Phoenix.

CASE NUMBER: CR-07-1321-PHX-MHM

RELEASE NUMBER: 2009-034(Claus)