There are few crimes in the United States that manage to produce as disgusted a reaction as pedophilia does, although the sex trafficking of minors may come close. One California man discovered this fact in a federal court recently when he decided to engage in both horrific crimes simultaneously, earning himself a life sentence in federal prison.
Michael Carey Clemans, a 57-year-old California resident who lived in Sacramento, made the inexplicable and horrific decision to purchase young children, children barely old enough for school, in the Philippines. According to U.S. District Judge John Mendez, what Clemans planned to do with these children was one of the most “lurid, willful, and disturbing” things that the judge had ever heard.
Clemans planned to purchase young children in the Philippines and then have them photographed. According to prosecutors, he was very specific about how he wanted the children purchased to be photographed, even taking great pains to tell accomplices in the Philippines specifically how to pose children, how to cut their hair, how to apply makeup to them, and how to pose for his sick and twisted ‘photographs.’
He concocted this awful plan in 2014 when he began conspiring with a woman in the Philippines to carry out his sick desires. That woman, Lyan Tandeg, helped Clemans produce his child pornography and obtain girls to satiate his sickening lust. Along with a third co-conspirator named Shellina Atad, the trio would seek to prey upon young girls.
The horrific scheme they carried out was shocking in its simplicity. Clemans sent Lyan Tandeg over $6,000 worth of camera and photography equipment, with which she photographed various children at Clemans’ prompting. Those children, chosen to fit Clemans’ twisted tastes, would be released into the temporary custody of Shellina Atad until Tandeg finished taking the pictures.
It is believed by prosecutors and investigators that the plan was for Clemans to travel to the Philippines and take advantage of any of the young girls that he desired, though it is unclear if this plan ever came to fruition. However, investigators did find three of the girls who posed for Clemans’ sickening photographs and discovered that at the time when they were photographed, they were 7, 9, and 10 years of age.
The pictures that Clemans and his associates produced were not just for his personal use, however. According to investigators, at one point Clemans had amassed a trove of more than 27,000 ‘child pornography images,’ and was in regular contact with more than 50 people who, like himself, were producing and distributing such images on the internet.
Tandeg and Atad were arrested in the Philippines in 2015 for their part in this disgusting scheme, and they were each sentenced to serve 15 years in prison in the Philippines. That’s right; for essentially buying children for a pedophile in the United States, photographing them naked and in sexually provocative poses, and then dropping them off wherever the children were taken from, the two women got 15 years each.
Clemans and these women preyed on the most at-risk young girls in the Philippines. Clemans himself told the pair that they should try and find his ‘girls’ among victims of typhoons, orphans, and other girls who had little to no family, as they would be easier to manipulate and less likely to be able to turn to a strong family structure for support and/or justice.
The federal government brought the three victims they identified to Sacramento so that they could testify against Clemans, but that will not be enough to undo the damage done by Clemans. Images of those young girls are out on the internet now and could be in the hands of sick adults across the world. As special agent Ryan Spradlin said, “the internet is borderless,” meaning that “an image on the web of a child being sexually abused can be seen by anyone anywhere in the world.:
Clemans received a life sentence from U.S. District Judge John Mendez, although his defense attorney, Daniel Olmos, has signaled that he will repeal the sentence. Olmos said that though the crimes committed by Clemans were “abhorrent,” Clemans should receive consideration because he had a clean criminal record and because he ‘accepted responsibility’ and assisted investigators in using his internet accounts to target those who he had previously worked with for prosecution.
Clemans worked hard to reach new lows in morality in order to earn that life sentence, and it would be a shame if a slick defense attorney managed to prevent him from serving it. Hopefully, Daniel Olmos’ appeal plans will fall on deaf ears, and Clemans will die in a federal prison cell.