UNITED KINGDOM—Ryan Cleary, who at the tender age of 19 was one of the ringleaders of an Anonymous offshoot called LulzSec—which in 2011 targeted databases belonging to Fox.com, PBS.org, SonyPictures Nintendo and others, releasing personal details of hundreds of thousands of people onto the internet before shifting their attention to porn sites and “the user names and passwords belonging to their visitors”—was sentenced today to nearly three years in jail plus community service and oversight for making and producing indecent images of children. The judge ordered him released from jail in July for time served, however.
Cleary was arrested in 2011 during a raid at his mother’s home, where he was living. During the raid, police discovered 172 images of child sexual abuse on two computers owned by Cleary. Fifty of the images, according to the Daily Mail, “were at level four, the second worst kind of depravity, Southwark Crown Court heard.” Despite the severity of the charges, Cleary, who has been either incarcerated or wearing an electronic ankle device since his arrest, was ordered by Judge Deborah Taylor to be released from jail July 7.
In court today, “wearing a white t-shirt with the logo 'Michigan' and tracksuit bottoms” and reportedly gaunt and emotionless “as he was led out the dock,” Cleary was addresed directly by the judge, who told him, “Some of the images show children as young as six months and in circumstances where they were completely vulnerable. The images are such as would cause any right-minded person to be severely concerned about your viewing of such images.
“I have taken into account you have served quite a substantial number of months in relation to this offence,” she added. “It is for that reason, and also in my judgment it is in the public interest to do so in this matter, that there will be a community order. Although the sentencing guidelines show this should be an immediate sentence, time has been served in any event.”
In addition to the time-served jail term of two years and eight months, Judge Taylor sentenced Cleary to three years of community service in addition to years of supervision.
"She... ordered that Cleary complete an integrated sexual offenders' treatment program and ruled that the child porn should be destroyed,” reported the Mail. “Cleary will be added to the Sex Offenders' Register for five years and will also be subject to a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order restricting his internet use and contact with children under 16.”
The child sex abuse charges are in addition to charges faced by Cleary and his LulzSec cohorts for their 2011 hacking spree. According to the Mail, “Asperger's sufferer Cleary - who helped make the software to carry out the attacks - together with Ryan Ackroyd, 26, Mustafa Al-Bassam, 18, and Jake Davis, 20, were jailed for a total of more than seven years in May.”
It appears from the Daily Mail and other media reporting on the case that Cleary will be released from jail next month for time served on both the hacking and child sexual abuse images charges.