One victim described the owner of a popular North County horse ranch as a monster when she spoke at his sentencing hearing on child pornography charges.
Federal agents found 800 images and 600 videos of children in sexually explicit conduct on a computer owned by Christian Clews.
"I do not find children sexually attractive at all. I did possess. I did distribute, and I regret that,” Clews said at his sentencing hearing Tuesday.
Clews, 52, pleaded guilty in July to one count each of possessing and distributing child pornography.
Prosecutors said the videos included boys and girls and included repeated incidents over two decades.
Two victims addressed the court. One in person and another by written statement.
One victim told the judge she hoped Clews was still in handcuffs during his funeral.
The second victim spoke to the judge and explained that she was taken advantage of because she was at a vulnerable time in her life.
"He will get the justice he deserves because of the monster he is," she said.
An unsealed federal complaint alleges the images showed "sexually explicit conduct" with children under 12 years old, some involving the use of animals.
Judge Dana M. Sabraw said the defendant's appearance in the videos and the pattern of activity makes the case different.
Sabraw sentenced Clews to 210 months on each count to be served concurrently, meaning Clews will be behind bars for more than 17 years. He also ordered Clews to be under supervision for 25 years after his release.
Usually, when there is possession and distribution of child pornography it’s based on online activity.
In this case, the videos were directed by the defendant who can be heard giving direction to the minors in the video.
“It was physical and sexual contact involving minors which were corroborated by the videos,” federal prosecutor Renee Green said.
Green added that the defendant apologized in court to his family and regrets the loss of his reputation.
Clews' arrest followed a two-year-long Homeland Security investigation that began with images investigators say were found on the ranch owner's mobile phone.
According to the complaint, investigators found numerous child pornography images and video files on multiple electronic devices.
Clews Horse Ranch is an established Carmel Valley horse boarding and training facility. By most accounts, the ranch is often swarming with kids.
The complaint did not indicate whether children who visited the ranch could be seen in any of the confiscated images.
Clews was also an investor representative on the Carmel Valley community planning board. According to the website, his term ended in 2016.