Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/07/2012 01:19:16 PM PST

View: Sheriff’s report

SAN BERNARDINO – A Superior Court judge on Friday ordered the arrest record and criminal case file of a political activist be sealed and then destroyed in three years after finding him innocent of possessing child pornography.

Samuel Clauder, 61, a former Crestline resident who was working as an aide to Rep. Joe Baca, D-San Bernardino, at the time of his 2009 arrest, spent 50 days in jail and has doled out $44,000 in the last three years trying to clear his name.

Vindication came Friday when Judge R. Glenn Yabuno granted a motion by Clauder’s attorney to seal Clauder’s arrest record and case file and destroy them after three years.

“I hope he’ll be able to regain his position in society,” said Clauder’s attorney, Rajan Maline, following Friday’s hearing in San Bernardino Superior Court. “He’s been saying he’s innocent from day one, and nobody believed him.”

San Bernardino County prosecutors requested the case be dismissed in September after Clauder’s son, Trey Stancher, admitted to a sheriff’s sergeant that he framed his father.

Sheryl Katz, a computer forensics expert from the El Segundo-based Elluma Discovery, whom Clauder hired to examine his computer hard drive at a cost of $20,000, concluded that the illegal pornographic images found on Clauder’s computer came from peer-to-peer networking software used on Stancher’s account.

Stancher and Clauder’s wife, Lana Clauder, who now goes by her maiden name of Pittman, told investigators they had no use of Clauder’s computer after he moved out of their house on April 16, 2008.

But Katz found Clauder’s computer had nearly 30,000 system events recorded, with daily use, between May 1 and July 7, 2008, when Clauder had not been residing at the house.

Stancher had told his mother in the spring of 2008 that he had found the illegal images on his father’s computer, and his mother reported it to the Sheriff’s Department, spurring an investigation and the criminal charges.

Crumbling case

Stancher told sheriff’s Sgt. Roberto Lomeli during a Sept. 20 interview at sheriff’s headquarters he did, in fact, save several child pornographic images to his father’s computer, which he said he found through Google searches.

“I just had uncontrollable hate for him,” Stancher is quoted as saying in Lomeli’s report. “I must’ve … not cared … been irresponsible … I wish I could just forget about him.”

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