PHOENIX (LAWFUEL) – 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 must 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)