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Ex-police officer faces 25 child porn charges

His arrest on Feb. 7 was his second in a week. On Feb. 5, he was jailed on drug charges.

By JOSE CARDENAS
Published February 13, 2007


CLEARWATER - A man who years ago was a local police officer and ran the Suncoast Sailing Center was arrested Feb. 7 on charges of possessing child pornography.

Wilbur Raymond Clair, 53, was taken into custody at his home at 1210 Jeffords St. in downtown Clearwater.

He was at the Pinellas County Jail with bail set at $250,000, $10,000 for each of 25 child pornography counts.

Investigators will try to determine whether any of the children depicted in "vulgar acts of violence" on his computer are local, Clearwater police spokesman Wayne Shelor said.

The Clearwater police investigation began several months ago as part of Detective Michael Folk's work with the North Florida Internet Crime Against Children Task Force.

Folk obtained information about a person who had an unusual interest in children, Shelor said. Later, a tip to child pornography investigators from a man in Missouri trickled down to Clearwater police.

The Missouri man had been in a chat room unrelated to pornography and said he was disturbed by the comments about children made by another person.

Folk connected the screen-name of the man who made the comments to Clair, Shelor said.

On Feb. 5, investigators went to Clair's home. Shelor said Clair allowed the officers to come inside. There, they saw marijuana and equipment used to cultivate it.

Clair also admitted to storing child pornography, which officers saw when he allowed them to inspect the computer, according to investigators.

Clair was arrested on drug charges Feb. 5. While he was at the Pinellas County Jail, investigators served a search warrant at his home. Clair was released Feb. 6 the night before being arrested again Feb. 7.

Folk confiscated two computers and dozens of compact discs believed to contain child pornography, Shelor said.

In 1990, Clair was the subject of several Times stories after his 8-year-old son, Keegan, died of leukemia.

He offered to donate his bone marrow to his son, but it was not a match.

He later donated marrow to a cancer patient in Milwaukee and became an outspoken advocate of the National Bone Marrow Registry.

At that time, Clair also ran the Suncoast Sailing Center, a for-profit business, on Clearwater Beach.

Between 1985 and 1988, Clair worked for the Indian Rocks Beach, Belleair, Treasure Island and Clearwater police departments.

His separation from the Clearwater department after three months in 1986 did not involve misconduct, records show.

Shelor said it probably means that Clair did not pass his field training.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.