A Florida man was sentenced to spend the rest of his days in federal prison for posing as a teen boy on a dating app to meet young girls he went on to sexually abuse.
Close to being caught with his pants down, 31-year-old Clayton Everett Colborn’s pants were unzipped when he was confronted by local cops in a park and arrested for sexually abusing a child victim in 2020.
U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven, a George W. Bush appointee, handed down the life sentence last Thursday in the Middle District of Florida. Court records show that Colborn’s attorney Mark J. O’Brien on Friday filed a notice of appeal “as to the judgment and conviction and sentence in the above styled case.”
The defense had argued in a memorandum that a “guideline imprisonment sentence” of life behind bars was “unreasonable,” especially when considering that Colborn pleaded guilty in March 2023 to the charged offenses.
The government argued, on the other hand, that Colborn (a.k.a, Jason Rich, Jason, Clay, and Clayay) went to “staggering” lengths to commit sex crimes against young girls. That abuse “demonstrates the necessity for a life sentence” and shows how much of an “extraordinary danger” Colborn is to children, prosecutors said.
“Between 2018 and 2020, Colborn used a social networking application,” namely, Yubo, which has been referred to as Tinder for teens, “to find minors for the purpose of engaging in sex acts.”
“In total,” prosecutors said, “Colborn communicated with or attempted to communicate with 2,418 different usernames” — all while pretending to be a teenage boy.
The defendant admittedly enticed multiple minors to engage in sexual activity, produced child sexual abuse material (i.e., he recorded the sexual abuse), and possessed that material in violation of federal law.
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“The FBI identified eight victims, ranging from 13 to 16 years old,” the government said.
At least one of the victims demanded a life sentence for Colborn in a victim impact letter to the court, prosecutors said:
The emotional and physical toll of that abuse is best described in the victims’ own words, in their victim impact letters to the court. See PSR pgs. 33-46. Each victim describes her experience as traumatic, feeling “disgust,” “embarrassment,” “used,” “gross,” “groomed.” Id. As one victim stated, “he deserves jail for life. He’s affected all of us for life….it never goes away.” Id. A guidelines sentence of life is necessary to recognize the victims harmed by the defendant’s conduct and to restore public confidence in our laws protecting children.
When Colborn was caught in 2020, authorities learned he’d been posing as a 16-year-old boy and using fake names on Yubo to lure victims; he had even driven 90 miles from Tampa to Ocoee to sexually abuse one victim.
“He told the victims he was 16 years old and enticed them into engaging in sexual intercourse with him at various locations throughout the Middle District of Florida, including in his car, his apartment, and victims’ residences,” according to the Department of Justice. “In one instance, the Ocoee Police Department caught Colborn in a public park in the middle of the night with a child victim. Colborn’s pants were unzipped at the time officers chased and apprehended him in the park. Law enforcement officers obtained DNA evidence, which showed that Colborn had engaged in sexual activity with the child victim.”
The feds said that a search warrant turned up iCloud evidence of 30 videos and 81 images of Colborn sexually abusing minors. Prosecutors said that the only “reasonable” punishment for the defendant’s “unconscionable” crimes was life in prison. That is the sentence that Colburn received — plus 20 years, to run concurrently.
In a defense sentencing memo, Colborn’s lawyer said his client “will blame only himself” and is “humiliated and ashamed.”
In an effort to demonstrate mitigating factors, the lawyer said Colborn abused alcohol and marijuana and “fell in with the wrong crowd, struggling to find his place in life.”
The defense also said Colborn, at the age of 17, “attempted suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills.”
“Throughout his life, Clayton has been plagued by thoughts of self-harm, including the period just before he was jailed. Clayton’s sense of purpose remains uncertain, and he experiences feelings of hopelessness, likely exacerbated by the lack of meaningful connections and friendships,” the defense said.