SHERMAN, Texas — On Friday, an Allen man was found guilty by a jury of federal child exploitation violations, including distribution and possession of tens of thousands of images and videos of child pornography.
Clay Melton Denton, 56, was found guilty of distribution, receipt and possession of child pornography by a jury following a five-day trial before U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III.
“Those that view and trade child pornography perpetuate a cycle of exploitation and abuse by providing a market for producers,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. “The Eastern District of Texas will do whatever it takes to stamp out this terrible industry—and make no mistake, it is indeed an industry—doing so with the help of our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners.”
According to the court documents and testimony at trial, in January and March 2018, undercover officers with the Plano Police Department and the Garland Police Department received child pornography, via an online platform, that had been distributed to them by a computer user. The officers traced the online conduct to the Denton residence in Allen, Texas.
Members of the FBI obtained a search warrant for Denton's residence in April 2018. The team discovered multiple digital devices in the residence, including server racks, network area storage devices, laptops, hard drives, cellular phones, and digital storage media. Agents testified that the entire second story of the house was filled with floor-to-ceiling bookcases storing digital devices, manuals, and peripherals.
After a year-long analysis, more than tens of thousands of images and videos of child pornography were found in Denton's possession. They also found evidence that Denton had distributed child pornography to undercover officers.
“The sheer volume of devices and images recovered by investigators in this case is astounding," said Dallas FBI Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. "With our partners, we are committed to ensuring that distributors of abusive content are held accountable so that we can protect our population’s most vulnerable members.”
Denton has been charged guilty on all counts of the indictment. He now faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
“I am proud of the work that our police department is doing, and cases like these showcase the importance and effectiveness of working together not only locally but federally,” said Garland Police Chief Jeff Bryan. “The safety of our communities is the top priority, and these are the types of folks we need off our streets.”
This case was investigated by the Plano Police Department, Garland Police Department and the FBI Dallas Child Exploitation Task Force and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marisa Miller and Maureen Smith.