Ex-Pine Hills officer sentenced for child porn

By Elaine Forman      

     MILES CITY - A former Pine Hills Youth Correctional Facility officer was sentenced to 60 months in prison, $100 and seven years of supervision for receiving child pornography.

     Clayton Schlepp, 31, was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Billings.
According to the court’s “Offer of Proof” document, Schlepp was working as a restitution officer at Pine Hills in 2007 when the Department of Corrections received information that Schlepp had attempted to access prohibited Internet sites using his DOC computer. Schlepp’s computer was not shared and was maintained in his own office space. 
     DOC examined Schlepp’s computer hard drive and found numerous images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The hard drive was subsequently forensically examined and numerous images of child pornography were found. Schlepp visited sexually oriented web sites, including various groups that catered to those who had an interest in viewing child pornography. 
     The forensic exam found images of children clearly prepubescent and several pictures that involved sadistic or masochistic abuse or other depictions of violence. The images had been accessed during 2005 and 2006 and corresponded to the days that Schlepp was working at Pine Hills. 
     Because there is no parole in the federal system, the “truth in sentencing” guidelines mandate that Schlepp will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, Schlepp does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for “good behavior.” However, this reduction will not exceed 15 percent of the overall sentence. 
     Chief U.S. District Judge Richard F. Cebull presided over the hearing and Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcia K. Hurd prosecuted the case for the United States. 
     The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Helena Police Department, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation. 
     This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In February 2006, the Department of Justice launched Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.

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