Judge Reduces Prison Term for North County Child Porn Defendant - NBC 7 San Diego

Judge Reduces Prison Term for North County Child Porn Defendant

Christian Clews, operator of a Carmel Valley horse ranch, will now spend 14 years in federal jail, a 3 1/2 year reduction from his original 17 1/2 year sentence.

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    Prison Sentence Reduced for Carmel Valley Horse Rancher

    A prison sentence was reduced for Carmel Valley horse rancher convicted of child pornography charges. NBC 7's Mari Payton has more. (Published Thursday, June 6, 2019)

    The owner of a Carmel Valley horse ranch who admitted possessing and distributing thousands of explicit child porn images had his prison sentence reduced by 3 1/2 years.

    U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw on Thursday rejected most of the legal challenges to the 17 1/2 year sentence he imposed on Christian Clews in February, 2018. 

    But Sabraw agreed with Clews' statement that he has new insight into the hurt he caused his victimsat least one just 11 years old. and the remorse he feels for exploiting those girls.

    "I didn't see the victims as real people. Now, I do," said Clews, who read a statement in open court. "I have harmed children. I am ashamed for what I've done."

    Ranch Owner Expresses Remorse for Possessing Child Porn

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    NBC 7's Rory Devine was in court Tuesday where the owner of a popular North County horse ranch pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

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    "I think you are different today than (you were) before you were sentenced," Judge Sabraw said. "But there has to be a consequence for what you did."

    Thursday's resentencing was prompted by new information from prosecutors that one of the victims in Clews' pornographic videos had turned 18 shortly before that video was made.

    Clews' lawyers used the re-sentencing hearing to argue for a much shorter prison sentence of as little as 60 months. But Judge Sabraw rejected that request. He noted that Clews had produced some of those videos himself.

    "There is no question this is much more than just viewing and possession," Sabraw said. "There is production... using children for illicit purposes."

    Sabraw also said Clews had shown an undisputed "fixation and obsession with bestiality and other perversions."

    The prosecutor urged Sabraw not to reduce the original sentence of 210 months he imposed on Clews last year.

    "This was a long standing campaign of predatory conduct," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Renee Green. "These videos are the tip of the iceberg."

    After considering all arguments in the nearly two-hour hearing, Judge Sabraw said the appropriate sentence would be in the range of 151 to 188 months. He said the mid-term of 168 months is the "right, just and fair sentence" for Clews' crimes. Clews will also serve 20 years on supervised probation when released from federal custody.