How Cops Nailed Man Who Molested Girlfriend’s Kid 200 Times

Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty
Mateusz Slodkowski/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty

This story contains details of sexual abuse.

A former State Department employee was sentenced on Wednesday to life in prison for raping and sexually abusing the teenager daughter of his girlfriend up to 200 times over five years.

Charles Clark, of Waldorf, Maryland, pleaded guilty in state and federal court to the crimes after law enforcement officers posed as the victim on her Instagram account to catch him gleefully reminiscing about taking her virginity.

In a pre-sentencing report asking for leniency, Clark’s attorney referred to him as “a 67- year-old man in failing health who began a sexual relationship with a teenage girl.”

“There is no legitimate excuse for his actions, and none will be offered here. While true that Mr. Clark was abusing marijuana and alcohol during the period of his crime—self-medicating his neurological condition—that condition in no way justifies his actions.”

Federal prosecutors, on the other hand, said in court papers that Clark, who lived part-time in his girlfriend’s Washington home, was a “father figure” to the girl and helped raise her from a young age.

He groomed her for abuse, starting with pats on her rear end and progressing to raping her in her own mother’s bedroom. He molested her almost daily at her home and his, gave her gifts and privileges in exchange for her silence, and demanded explicit photos of her.

“For example, after the defendant purchased a cellphone for [the victim], he later refused to pay the bill on the phone because he believed [she] was using the phone to talk to boys her own age,” prosecutors wrote.

“The defendant also purchased lingerie for [her], even photographing her wearing it at his request.”

In 2021, the teen told her mother about the abuse, and she contacted law enforcement, who took over the Instagram account the girl used to communicate with Clark—who once had a top-secret security clearance as a shipping supervisor for the State Department.

Posing as the girl, investigators got Clark to acknowledge sexual contact with the teen when he wrote that she “gave me the most precious thing a woman can give a man.” Asked what that was, he replied “virginity.”

The investigator, still posing as the teen, asked Clark if he was happy he was was her “first” when she was just 13. His answer: “Hell yeah I cherish that shit to my heart.”

In their brief to the court, prosecutors said Clark was guilty of a “profound betrayal of trust.”

“As [the teen’s] mother described in her Victim Impact Statement, ‘Charles was with us when she did not have two front teeth’... As time progressed, I trusted him with my children. I allowed them to go to his house and assist him with chores because he was too weak to do it alone. I trusted him to pick them up from school and watch them overnight when claimed he was sick and could not drive back home.’”

The defense’s brief said that Clark had been born into poverty, that his father was an an abusive alcoholic, and that his own first sexual experience was with a 67-year-old woman when he was a young teen.

“While none of Mr. Clark’s experiences justify his crimes, they perhaps provide some insight into why he has ended up before this Court,” his attorney wrote.

The defense was hoping for a sentence of 10 years to be served concurrently with the 45 years he had already gotten from a state judge—noting that he would most likely die behind bars.

Prosecutors said he deserved at least another 20 years, noting that he tried to blame the victim, telling an evaluator that she “was enticing me, feeding me and coming on to me by walking around the house nearly naked in a bra and underwear and telling me encouraging words when her mother was not.”

“This attempted blame-shifting reflects a profound delusion on the part of the defendant and ignores the reality that a 60-year-old adult man is fully responsible for his own actions, despite what a 13-year-old girl might be wearing,” prosecutors wrote. “The defendant’s sentence should reflect this reality.”

The U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia said in a press release on Wednesday that the judge gave him life.

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