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California firefighter enters plea in child pornography case

California fire captain accused of sending money abroad to 75-year-old man posing as girl for child porn

A commercial fire captain employed by ConocoPhillips in San Pedro pleaded guilty Friday to sending money overseas to someone he believed was a 13-year-old girl for the purpose of producing child pornography.

John McArthur, 57, of Huntington Beach is accused of having online conversations with the young girl in the Philippines in January 2012 and sending her money so she could purchase a camera and take sexually explicit photographs of herself and an 11-year-old friend, according to the U.S. district attorney’s office.

At least, that was what he thought.

Prosecutors said McArthur was actually having conversations with Robert Oliver Clark, a 75-year-old U.S. citizen living in the Philippines.

Clark was posing as the 13-year-old girl named Gloria and talking with McArthur, who went by the name “Joe Schmo,” according to U.S. District Court documents. Clark was not working with law enforcement.

McArthur is a California-licensed firefighter and is currently working at ConocoPhillips, prosecutors said. ConocoPhillips did not return a request for comment.

McArthur received hundreds of images and several videos of child pornography through his emails, according to the U.S. attorney’s office. His sentencing is set for Aug. 21. He faces up to 30 years in federal prison.

Prosecutors said Clark has his own criminal case, also dealing with child pornography. He has agreed to plead guilty to possessing child pornography on May 21 in Los Angeles.

Clark admitted in court documents to possessing 5,443 images and 53 child pornography videos on his computer hard drive and email accounts. Authorities found 43 image and a video “portraying sadistic or masochistic conduct” as well as 16 images portraying toddlers, according to court documents.

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