Police arrest man on 859 child pornography charges

By Sharna Johnson: Freedom Newspapers

A 45-year-old Clovis man was arrested Friday on 859 child pornography charges following an investigation that took more than a year, according to the Curry County Sheriff’s Department.

Elijah McClain of 1300A Arcineiga Drive is being held on a $75,000 bond, according to jail officials.

The local investigation took more than a year because a forensic data analysis company had to process the evidence, Undersheriff Wesley Waller said.

At this point no local children have been identified in conjunction with the images found, but Waller said the sheriff’s department’s and federal investigations are ongoing. More charges against McClain are possible, he said.

McClain’s whereabouts were monitored throughout to ensure he did not flee the area, Waller said.

“To secure an arrest and conviction we have to go that route,” Waller said. “That was the most time-consuming part of this process — waiting on the recovery and analysis of the evidence.”

McClain, a computer programmer, was convicted of criminal sexual contact of a minor in 1985, Waller said.

McClain was charged with 847 counts of sexual exploitation of children by possession of obscene visual medium and 12 counts sexual exploitation of children by manufacture of obscene visual medium, a Curry County Sheriff’s Department release said.

There is an identified victim for each count, according to District Attorney Matt Chandler.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children officials have said the children depicted were located in several countries.

If convicted on all counts, McClain could face a maximum of more than 1,450 years imprisonment.

“I think (Deputy) Sandy Loomis (lead investigator) did a great job. … He removed somebody from the streets that was a detriment to our children,” Waller said.

In March 2006, the FBI contacted the sheriff’s department and said McClain had been identified as one of 22 U.S. citizens who had paid for subscriptions during an investigation in overseas-based child pornography Web sites, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed in the District Court.

Deputies searched McClain’s residence, confiscating four computers and hundreds of data storage items including CDs, DVDs, jump drives, hard drives and credit card bills, a search warrant said.