Michael Carey Clemans (inset) was sentenced to life in prison for buying Filipino children for sex. Photos: YouTube, Google Maps

An American man was jailed for life in the US city of Sacramento on Tuesday for “buying” children from the Philippines for sex, in crimes that were described by the judge as “unthinkable, inexcusable”.

Michael Carey Clemans, a 57-year-old pilot from California, pleaded guilty in September to buying children, conspiracy and traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, USA Herald reported. He had already pleaded guilty to producing and receiving child pornography.

On Tuesday US District Judge John Mendez rejected appeals by Clemans’ lawyer, Daniel Olmos, for a lighter sentence in recognition of his client’s cooperation with authorities, saying he agreed with prosecutors that the case was “lurid, wilful, and disturbing”.

“He has taken away the childhood of those victims,” Mendez said. “Mr Clemans is a dangerous man. A danger particularly to children.”

The court earlier heard that Clemans, an army veteran with no criminal record, began visiting the Philippines while he worked in Bangkok for two years with an airline. In 2014 he provided a woman, Lyan Tandeg, with equipment to photograph naked children, targeting typhoon victims and some living in orphanages because they were less able to resist his advances.

He intended to sexually assault the young girls photographed, some as young as seven, when he was in the Philippines. Authorities later found more than 27,000 pornographic photos of children in a computer owned by Clemans that was at his parents’ house.

Olmos said on Tuesday Clemans would appeal the sentence.

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