FBI arrests California dog trainer on child sex charges after finding hidden cameras

·6 min read

The FBI has arrested a former high-tech worker and dog agility trainer from Shingle Springs, charging him with the exploitation of children and accusing him of placing hidden cameras in his home’s bathroom to record young boys for a decade.

Terry Francis Le Clair, 64, was arrested by the FBI and booked Thursday into the Sacramento County Main Jail. He is being held without bail and made a brief appearance Friday afternoon before a federal magistrate judge who ordered him to remain in custody pending a hearing on Tuesday.

A 15-page criminal complaint and affidavit filed in Sacramento federal court Friday morning say that, in addition to the covert videos, Le Clair is accused of molesting a 15-year-old boy in 2017 while they were attending a dog agility competition in Luxembourg.

An affidavit by FBI Special Agent Scott Schofield says the investigation began in June when the alleged victim called the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center and reported inappropriate behavior by Le Clair when the boy and his older brother were in Europe for the dog show.

The court filings say the boy met Le Clair when he was 12 and he and his sister wanted to become involved in dog agility training. The children’s mother took them to see Le Clair, who is described in court papers as “a well-known dog agility trainer” who had a course on his property in Shingle Springs.

“When they arrived, Le Clair offered to allow (the boy) to run one of Le Clair’s dogs through the course...” the affidavit says. “(The boy) did so and Le Clair told him he had real talent.

“Le Clair offered to begin to train (him) in dog agility. (The boy) took to it quickly and enjoyed the training. While his sister ceased training with Le Clair in a few months, (the boy) continued training.”

The family was not charged for the lessons, and after about three years Le Clair suggested the boy accompany him to an international dog competition in Luxembourg in July 2017, the affidavit says.

“Le Clair believed (the boy) was skilled enough to compete in this international meet,” the affidavit says, and agreed to pay most of the cost of the two-week trip for the boy and his brother during which they toured Europe.

After the competition the three ended up in Paris and were scheduled to return to the United States on July 21, 2017, the affidavit says.

Two days before departure, the boys “decided they wanted to get drunk,” the affidavit says.

“In Europe, the legal drinking age is younger and they reasoned this may be their only chance before returning to the United States,” the affidavit says. “Le Clair overheard their conversation and told them he would accompany them and pay for the drinks, but remain sober himself and ensure they returned to the hotel safely.”

At the bar, the boy told the FBI, Le Clair bought he and his brother drinks loaded with alcohol.

“He believed his drink contained over 10 shots of alcohol and his recollection is that he finished his own drink, and finished the portion of (his brother’s) that (the brother) could not finish,” the affidavit says.

The boy felt drunk immediately and “did not recall much of the rest of that night clearly,” the affidavit says.

He recalled vomiting on himself at the hotel, then taking off his clothes in the bathroom and lying in the tub with the shower running, the affidavit says.

The boy woke up in bed naked, the affidavit says.

“He did not sleep in the nude, normally, and especially not when he was sharing a hotel room with other people,” the affidavit says. “However, his last recollection from the night before was lying naked in the bathtub, so he was not completely surprised to find he was not wearing clothes.

“He put on his underwear and walked into the bathroom. Le Clair was awake, sitting on his bed with his iPad.”

Later, the three went to breakfast, where Le Clair began talking about masturbation with the boys, which made the 15-year-old “very uncomfortable,” the affidavit says.

After the meal, Le Clair and the brother decided to go sightseeing, while the boy stayed in the hotel to talk to friends back home via Snapchat, the affidavit says. Because the boy had vomited on his cellphone and ruined it, he borrowed Le Clair’s tablet to talk to a friend.

While doing so, he accidentally hit an icon that opened a series of photos showing the boy naked, including close-ups of his genitalia and some showing Le Clair’s hand touching his penis, the affidavit says.

In shock, the boy sent a message to his brother to tell him what he had found, and the two later managed to go downstairs in the hotel and call their father, who told them to act as though nothing had happened until they could get home, the affidavit says.

“(The father) said he would normally get the next flight to Paris to help (his sons), but he likely could not get to Paris before they were scheduled to depart the next morning,” the affidavit says.

A week later, the boy’s mother confronted Le Clair at his home and Le Clair “acknowledged he took the photos and told her he would delete them,” the affidavit says, adding, “He was in tears during a portion of this discussion.”

She left after that and neither she nor her son spoke to Le Clair again, the affidavit says, adding that the 15-year-old began to have trouble in school after the trip and started experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

“He also struggled with self-harm,” the affidavit says.

After the FBI was called in June, agents who investigated found that Le Clair’s home had been used since 2017 for dog agility events that included the presence of minors, the affidavit says.

The FBI searched Le Clair’s home Thursday, where Le Clair admitted taking pictures of the boy naked, the affidavit says.

“Le Clair did not know why he had taken these photos,” the affidavit says. “He said he had suffered a severe concussion prior to the trip, which he claimed caused him to be ‘loopy’ at times and that during these times he had poor judgment.

“He had bumped his head while in Luxembourg which had exacerbated this condition. He advised that bending down and standing back up straight induced these times of ‘loopiness’ and that cleaning up the vomit from the floor of the hotel room caused this reaction that night.”

Le Clair also admitted touching the naked boy’s body, “but claimed it was only to clean vomit from his body,” the affidavit says, adding that Le Clair denied taking photos of himself touching the boy’s penis.

As agents searched Le Clair’s electronic devices, they discovered video files showing young boys in his bathroom, the affidavit says.

“Le Clair admitted to capturing these videos,” the affidavit says. “He advised he had been capturing surreptitious videos of men and boys for over a decade.

“He used two cameras disguised as writing pens, and one disguised as a key fob, for this purpose. Investigators located these devices in Le Clair’s bedroom and in the bathroom where the videos described above were captured. The key fob was found plugged into a charger.”

The criminal complaint says Le Clair could face up to 30 years in prison — with a minimum of 15 years — and a $250,000 fine if convicted of sexual exploitation of a child.