Middleburg Man Sentenced To More Than 20 Years In Federal Prison For Using A Minor To Produce Sexually Explicit Images

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FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the United States Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Jacksonville, Florida – U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard today sentenced Harold Clare Potter III (49, Middleburg) to 20 years and 6 months in federal prison, followed by 15 years of supervised release, for using a minor to produce sexually explicit images. Potter had pleaded guilty on April 25, 2022. Potter was arrested on October 1, 2021, and has been detained throughout the proceedings in this case.

According to court documents, an officer with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) responded to allegations of a minor being videotaped while showering. Minor Victim 1 (MV1) reported that she had stayed at Potter’s residence from June to July 2021, and, while getting out of the shower, she noticed a black cellphone under the door recording her. When she left the bathroom, Potter told her if she told anyone he would make it look like she was lying. MV1 went to her room and did not leave until another adult came home. During the course of her visit, Potter made several remarks to MV1, including “You turn me on. If you knew what you were doing to me you would run away. You turn me on.”

A CCSO officer later responded to Potter’s home in response to a call that he was suicidal. When the officer made contact, Potter admitted to recording MV1 while she was in the bathroom at his home and that “she turns me on.” He admitted to still having the same cellphone, which he had a family member provide to another officer. He also admitted there were child exploitation materials on the phone. 

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Following additional investigation, including reviewing Potter’s cellphone and speaking with him, images of MV1 were located on Potter’s cellphone. Potter also admitted to placing a smoke detector hidden camera in the bedroom that had exclusively been used by MV1 in an attempt to obtain nude photographs of her.

“Grown men who prey on the vulnerability and innocence of children are the worst kind of human being,” said HSI Jacksonville Assistant Special Agent in Charge K. Jim Phillips. “Through our law enforcement partnerships, we will never rest in our efforts to catch these predators and make our communities safer for our children.”

This case was investigated by the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations. It was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ashley Washington.

It is another case brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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