PENSACOLA, Fla. (WMBB) — A federal grand jury has convicted a Port St. Joe man on one count of producing child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography. 71-year-old Clark Downs received the guilty verdict reached by the jury on Thursday in the conclusion of a 3-day trial and was announced by Lawrence Keefe, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.
“Child exploitation is horrendous and affects the most vulnerable members of our communities,” said U.S. Attorney Keefe. “We will continue working tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to protect our children from abuse by investigating and prosecuting criminals like Downs.”
In November 2014, Downs intentionally coerced a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing child pornography. In April 2018, Downs was found to be in possession of material containing child pornography.
“The teamwork approach from all law enforcement agencies involved led to the successful conclusion of this case,” said Gulf County Sheriff Mike Harrison. “I am proud of their hard work and dedication.”
Downs’ sentencing hearing has been scheduled for January 28, 2021, at the United States Courthouse in Pensacola.
The case was investigated by the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Michelle Spaven and Aine Ahmed.