U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida
(904) 301-6300
February 27, 2015

Convicted Child Sex Offender Sentenced to Life in Prison for Producing Child Pornography

JACKSONVILLE, FL—United States District Judge Timothy J. Corrigan today sentenced Christopher Richard Cloonan (45, Jacksonville) to life in federal prison for using a minor child to produce images depicting child pornography. The Court also ordered Cloonan to serve a life term of supervised release and to forfeit his electronic media. Cloonan is a registered child sex offender, having been previously convicted of attempted sexual battery on a six-year old child on November 18, 1991, in Charlotte County, Florida. He was arrested on March 12, 2014, and has remained in custody since that time.

According to court documents, in March 2014, an undercover officer in Washington, D.C. (the “UC”) posted an advertisement on an online website frequented by individuals who have a sexual interest in children. Cloonan responded to the ad and expressed interest and experience in sexual activity with a child. On March 11, 2014, while discussing sexual activity with children, Cloonan sent an e-mail to the UC that read, “Yes…. It would be awesome to share together with like minded man, would be more awesome to see and share in person but there is WAY WAY to much hatred against too risk it. I am legit but cautious….”

On March 11, 2014, at 6:57 p.m., Cloonan sent the UC an e-mail that indicated that he was alone with an infant child. Attached to the e-mail were two images. Both images were produced by Cloonan and depicted an infant engaged in sexually explicit conduct. At 7:07 p.m., Cloonan sent the UC an e-mail containing two additional images that depicted the same infant. Within hours, the FBI was able to identify the Internet protocol (IP) address used to send the images, and traced the Internet account to Cloonan.

On March 12, 2014, Cloonan and the UC continued their online communications. In several different e-mails, Cloonan discussed his fantasies about sex with children. He stated that “Society is coming down so hard on ‘child molesters’ etc now, we are in danger everyday as lovers of children are not seen as different from those who hurt and kill them.”

Later that day, FBI agents and detectives from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office executed a search warrant at Cloonan’s residence. Cloonan exited the residence holding his smart phone, and was placed under arrest.

Subsequent forensic analyses of Cloonan’s phone revealed that it contained at least 85 images of child pornography, most depicting infants and toddlers. Two of the images of the infant that were taken by Cloonan and sent to the UC were also present on the smart phone.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Jacksonville, Washington, D.C., and Quantico, Virginia, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, and the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney D. Rodney Brown.

It is another case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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