Evansville – United States Attorney Josh J. Minkler announced on Friday that Alan E. Claridge, Jr., 46, of Evansville, Indiana, has been convicted of two counts of possession of sexually explicit material involving minors and three counts of receipt of sexually explicit material involving minors. Claridge was convicted following a two-day jury trial before United States District Court Chief Judge Richard L. Young, in Evansville. The investigation which led to the charges against Claridge was a cooperative effort by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Evansville Police Department.
“Protecting the most vulnerable of our society is a responsibility I take personally and remains a high priority in this office,” said Minkler. “Every time child pornography is viewed on the internet it revictimizes a child.”
Government attorneys presented evidence at trial that on August 10, 2012, an FBI task force officer (“TFO”) conducted an online investigation to identify persons possessing and sharing suspected child pornography using the internet. The TFO connected to a computer which contained child pornography that was made available for downloading by others through a shared folder accessible to the public. Several files from the computer were downloaded from the internet and determined to depict minors engaged in sexual poses and sex acts.
A subpoena was issued to the internet service provider and determined that the IP address was assigned to a customer named Alan E. Claridge, with an address in Evansville, Indiana. On February 19, 2013, the United States District Court issued a search warrant for the Evansville address based on the evidence law enforcement had gathered during their on-line investigation.
On February 19, 2013, the TFO and agents assisting him executed the search warrant at the Evansville address. Claridge was alone in his residence at the time of the search. When law enforcement executed the search, they observed that Claridge had been actively downloading file names indicative of child pornography.
Claridge agreed to make a statement about his computer use after being advised of the nature of the investigation. Claridge verified that he used the internet to search for and download pornography and further told investigators that he used a search term commonly associated with child pornography to search for material on the internet.
After the search was completed, the laptop computer and other storage media devices found during the search were examined and Claridge was arrested. During the forensic examination, numerous videos depicting minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct were discovered on the laptop and storage media devices.
According to Assistant United States Attorneys Todd Shellenbarger and Kyle Sawa who are prosecuting this case for the government, Claridge faces a term of imprisonment up to 20 years. A sentencing hearing has been set for January 17, 2017, before Chief Judge Richard L. Young.