In what prosecutors deemed to be one of the most disturbing child exploitation cases in the nation, Michael Carey Clemans, a 57-year-old airline pilot from Sacramento, California, was sentenced to life in federal prison on Tuesday for engaging in illicit sexual conduct and trafficking children from the Philippines. 

While sentencing Clemens, U.S. District Judge John Mendez said he was deeply sickened and disturbed by the depraved crimes committed by the accused, USA Today reported.

China-child-trafficking Wang Bangyin, a local farmer, holds his rescued son after the pair were reunited at Guiyang Welfare Centre for Children in Guiyang, Guizhou province, China, Oct. 29, 2009. Wang's son was among 60 children seeking parents after police freed them from human traffickers. Photo: Reuters/China Daily

The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys André M. Espinosa and Colleen M. Kennedy.

Clemans, an army veteran, was temporarily residing in Bangkok where he worked as a pilot for a small airline in 2014. During this time he conspired with a woman in the Philippines, Lyan Tandeg, to produce child pornography. In 2013, he was also involved in another scheme to engage in unlawful sexual conduct with minors when he travelled from the United States to Manila, Philippines, with an intent to rape minor girls including an 11-year-old girl after requesting and possessing pornographic images of the minors.

After wrapping up his stint as a pilot in Bangkok, he returned to Sacramento where he pursued his overseas illicit activities by using social media to chat with the woman in Philippines. A press release by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) from Sept. 5, 2017, cites court documents that detail the crimes committed in 2014. The documents state that in the chats with the woman, Clemans discussed strategies to look for vulnerable girls preferably orphans. The strategies revolved around obtaining minor girls to rape. The prosecutors said he meticulously planned every detail to avoid incrimination and went to tremendous lengths to conceal his activities for years.

Clemans paid the woman $6000 to purchase equipment and find discreet locations required to conduct sexually explicit photo shoots. He made it clear to the women that he had an affinity towards young virgins and prefered girls as young as the age of seven.

During the trial it was revealed that he worked with more than 20 child pornography providers and obtained more than 2700 child pornography images. He paid his co-conspirator Shellina Atad to obtain temporary custody of Filipino children, ABC news reported.

The sentencing comes four months after a jury found Clemans guilty of "attempted travel and travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, conspiracy to travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, and buying of children," U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced in the press release.

Clemans, who was convicted for having sex with minors, also plead guilty to additional counts of conspiracy to produce child pornography, attempted production and production of child pornography, and receipt of child pornography.

Clemans' case was part of Project Safe Childhood, a national initiate started in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat and persecute suspects involved in a growing number of sexual exploitation crimes against children in the country.