LAKE CHARLES, La. – A 52-year-old Elizabeth, La., man was sentenced Friday to 30 years in federal prison and a lifetime supervised release for production of child pornography, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office.
Clyde J. Pontefract pleaded guilty in December 2010 to production of child pornography. Documents filed with the court prior to sentencing revealed that Pontefract used his minor daughter to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purposes of producing child pornography. In order to accomplish this objective, the defendant would have his daughter stand completely nude in the woods while he used a Polaroid instant film camera to take photographs. For more than ten years, Pontefract subjected his minor daughter to both physical and sexual abuse, all the while photographing her in various states of undress and posed in sexually explicit positions.
"HSI relentlessly pursues predators who sexually abuse children, whether that abuse is physical in nature or if it is accomplished by exploiting their images. This is a significant sentence, and fitting punishment for this man's actions," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of HSI in New Orleans. "We will continue to aggressively investigate those who victimize children and will work in partnership with the U.S. Attorney's Office to protect our communities from sexual predators." Parmer oversees ICE HSI in Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama.
"This is one of the most disturbing cases that I have ever seen. The defendant exploited his own daughter for his sexual gratification. The U.S. Attorney's Office is committed to protecting the children of this district from predators. We will vigorously prosecute and pursue heavy sentences for individuals who exploit children in our communities," stated U.S. Attorney Stephanie A. Finley.
The charges against Pontefract are the result of the Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood and ICE's Operation Predator, initiatives designed to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation. Project Safe Childhood was launched by the Department of Justice in May 2006 to marshal federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals, who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.
Operation Predator is an ongoing ICE 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. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or 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 and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.