Undercover agent in New Orleans busts child predator from Boise
POSTED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 7:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 7:04am
BOISE, IDAHO (NBC33) — An undercover special agent based in New Orleans is responsible for bringing down an accused child predator.
The multi-state investigation against Michael Brian Clair, 33, began in October 2012. That’s when he allegedly responded to an Internet advertisement that was placed by the undercover U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent in New Orleans.
According to court records, Clair made several statements about having inappropriate sexual contact with a 4-year-old girl and discussed trading sexually explicit images with the undercover special agent. He was arrested in February.
On Monday, July 16, Clair pleaded guilty to producing child pornography between July 2012 and January 2013. He admitted to coercing two prepubescent minors to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purposes of producing visual depictions of that conduct. He then transported those images from Arizona to Idaho in late December. Those images were then distributed via the Internet to a sex offender in Queensland, Australia.
“It wasn’t enough for Clair to abuse two children, he shared his exploitation with predators around the world,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle, who oversees Idaho investigations. “HSI places a high priority on combating this despicable crime, not only to identify and rescue child victims, but to stop their re-victimization by individuals who view and distribute Internet child pornography.”
Clair faces 15 to 30 years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000 and a minimum of 5 years up to lifetime supervised release. Sentencing is set for Oct. 7 before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Boise.
This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.
Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.