UPDATE: Clark Sentenced Today on 14 Child Exploitation Counts

UPDATE: Clark Sentenced Today on 14 Child Exploitation Counts

David Wayne Clark was sentenced today on 11 counts of child pornography possession and three counts of distribution.

GREEN RIVER — A 27-year-old Rock Springs man found guilty on 14 charges of child exploitation was sentenced to at least eight years in the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Third District Court this morning.

David Wayne Clark pleaded guilty to 11 counts of child pornograpy possession and three counts of distribution back on July 27. He was facing a maximum sentence of 13-18 years in prison on each count.

Today, Judge Suzannah Robinson heard arguments from both parties about Clark’s fate. Sweetwater County Chief Deputy Attorney Teresa Thybo recommended a capped sentence of 13-18 years and said Clark has been cooperative with the state’s investigation. She said he didn’t deserve a life sentence, but that his crimes were serious and they weren’t all a mistake.

Advertisement - Story continues below...

State’s witness Daniel Allison with the Wyoming Department of Criminal Investigation also said Clark offered full cooperation and even provided the agency with additional information into its probe. Allison added that internet activity involving cyber crimes of this type spiked 400% since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Defense attorney Nathan Jeppsen said one of the first things Clark told him when the case began was “I need help.” Jeppsen also told the court that his clients had been sexually abused by his teenage brother when Clark was 6-years-old.

Both of his parents testified that Clark was “a good student” growing up, and that while they understood he needed to be punished for his crimes, they stood behind him in his efforts to rehabilitate.

The Sentence

Clark was handed concurrent 3-6 sentences for 10 of the possession charges, and 5-6 years sentences for the three distribution felonies. The distribution sentences will also run concurrent with each other. However, they will run consecutively with with possession charges. The minimum that Clark could spend in prison is eight years.

A final possession charge was suspended in exchange for three years of supervised probation once Clark is released from prison.

Judge Robinson told Clark that while she commends him for taking responsibility for his actions, she said his crimes are not “victimless” even though he did not personally create any of the content.

“Each person viewing this content creates the market that child pornography is created from, and you further this market by sharing it with others,” Robinson told Clark.

She also said she hopes he seeks any treatment available in prison to address both his addiction and the sexual abuse he suffered as a child.

Clark apologized for the toll his crimes have taken on his family and other people. He said his “horrible problem” began in part because his generation has access to everything on the internet, and he’s ready to address his issues through treatment and rehabilitation.

He also told the court he felt “a sense of relief” when he was eventually caught.

Clark will be given credit for 224 days of time served. He was also ordered to pay $2,375 in court costs.