SANTA ANA, California– A commercial firefighter who resides in Huntington Beach has been sentenced to 135 months in federal prison for attempting to produce child pornography by sending money to the Philippines to purchase a camera to take sexually explicit photos of a 13-year-old girl and her friend.
John McArthur, 57, was sentenced Friday afternoon by United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton.
McArthur pleaded guilty in May to one count of attempted production of child pornography.
“This defendant's deviant crime sought to prey on the most vulnerable victims in society – children,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “As demonstrated by the sentence that will send Mr. McArthur to prison for well over a decade, there are lengthy prison sentences associated with child pornography crimes like this defendant's, and these penalties are designed to punish offenders and serve as a warning to others who might consider producing, trafficking or possessing child pornography.”
McArthur had online conversations with a person he believed was a 13-year-old girl in the Philippines in January 2012. During those online conversations, McArthur agreed to send money for the purchase of a camera that would be used to take sexually explicit photographs of the girl and an 11-year-old friend. McArthur later went to a Western Union agent in Wilmington to transfer the money to the 13-year-old girl.
At the time, McArthur was not aware that the person posing as the 13-year-old girl was Robert Oliver Clark, 75, another United States citizen who was residing in the Philippines. Clark was arrested in September 2014 in a related case, and he has been sentenced to 97 months in federal prison for possession of child pornography. In his case, Clark admitted that he “possessed, in his computer hard drive and in his email accounts, 5,443 images and 53 videos of child pornography, including 43 images and 1 video portraying sadistic or masochistic conduct and 16 images portraying toddlers.”
During the investigation, law enforcement authorities discovered that McArthur received hundreds of images and several videos of child pornography through his email accounts.
The investigation into McArthur and Clark was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service, which received substantial assistance from the U.S. Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations; and the Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center.
“Protecting children from crimes of sexual abuse and exploitation is a priority for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service,” stated Robert Wemyss, Inspector in Charge for the Los Angeles Division. “I'm proud of the work of the Postal Inspection Service and our investigative partners to bring child predators to justice. U.S. Postal Inspectors have investigated these crimes for more than a century. While the predators' use of technology has evolved, the core harm has not changed: a child's lost innocence. We will not lose sight of this, and remain steadfast in our efforts to investigate, apprehend, and assist in the prosecution of those who seek to exploit children via the U.S. Mail, wherever in the world they may be.”
USAO – California, Central Updated December 7, 2015
Central District of California DOJ / 15-145 / December 7, 2015