SAVANNAH, GA: An Illinois man has been sentenced to nearly a decade in prison after admitting he had sexual contact with a child nearly 15 years ago at Fort Stewart.
Clarence Michael Lynch, 43, of Highland, Ill., was sentenced to 109 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to Abusive Sexual Contact of a Child Under 12, said David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. Already a registered sex offender because of a prior criminal conviction, Lynch also was fined $2,000 and ordered to serve 15 years of supervised release after completion of his prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
“Justice for this victim was long delayed, but ultimately not denied as the predator is now being held accountable for his vile actions,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division did outstanding work in bringing Lynch to justice.”
As described in court documents and testimony, Lynch was convicted in Liberty County in 2007 on state charges of sexual battery and false imprisonment with a 15-year-old victim, and subsequently served 10 years in state prison. As result of the conviction, he received a dishonorable discharge from the Army.
Three years after Lynch was released from state custody, a prior victim contacted the Belleville, Ill., Police Department to report multiple contacts from Lynch – including messages in which he admitted sexually abusing the then-10-year-old victim in 2006 while he was stationed at Fort Stewart.
Investigators from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) subsequently questioned Lynch, taking him into custody in March 2021. He later was returned to the Southern District of Georgia for prosecution, and pled guilty to the charge.
“Seeing this former Soldier held accountable for his actions perpetrated against a child, no matter how long it took to bring the Soldier to justice, is a hallmark of what Army CID stands for,” said Supervisory Special Agent Donald Hayden, Fort Leonard Wood CID Office. “Our agents are professional, tenacious and driven to do what is right at all times.”
The case was investigated by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division, and prosecuted for the United States by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Darron J. Hubbard.
Anyone with information on suspected child sexual exploitation can contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 800-843-5678, or https://report.cybertip.org/