Monday cybertip leads to Tuesday arrest for sexual exploitation of children

Hall Co. - PRESS RELEASE - A Hall County Sheriff’s Office investigation into a cybertip resulted in the arrest of a Gainesville man on Tuesday, Feb. 18, for possessing pornographic images of children.

Clayton Henry Hardy, 34, is charged with 11 counts of sexual exploitation of children. The arrest came approximately 24 hours after Investigators received the tip on Monday morning, Feb 17.

Investigators executed a search warrant at Hardy’s home in the 3,000 block of Pinedale Lane off of Harmony Church Road on Tuesday. The warrant originated from information within a cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

According to the initial investigation, Hardy possessed at least 11 images of children between the approximate ages of five and 12 engaged in sex acts and lewd display of their bodies. The images were saved on an electronic device.

In addition to the exploitation counts, Hardy was charged with possession of methamphetamine after Investigators with the MANS Task Force located approximately one-quarter gram of the drug in his possession.

Hardy remained in the Hall County Jail early Wednesday afternoon, Feb 19.

The case remains under investigation by the Hall County Sheriff’s Office and will include processing of electronic devices seized from Hardy’s residence.

“Our Investigators display a great deal of excellence on a daily basis, but the work on this particular case demonstrates the commitment they have to protecting children,” Sheriff Gerald Couch said. “A turnaround time of one day from tip to arrest just affirms the dedication our personnel have to the safety of the community.”