RIVERTON, Utah (ABC4) — A Riverton man who was arrested last year on charges related to drugging and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl, as well as another 17-year-old girl, was sentenced on Monday.
Calan Nelson Clifford, 31, was picked up by Riverton Police in April 2022 when a 14-year-old girl’s mother tracked her using her phone. The girl’s mother found her inside Clifford’s truck and immediately took her to the hospital.
This week, Clifford was sentenced by a Salt Lake County judge to at least six years in prison. However, he could be held for life.
According to court documents, the victim recalled feeling “fuzzy,” nauseous and was going in and out of consciousness for several hours. At one point before her mother found her, she said she woke up and found herself undressed inside the truck.
Clifford and the victim met through Snapchat around December 2021 and January 2022. Clifford introduced himself as a 20-year-old and knew the victim was a 14-year-old, according to court documents. The teenager reported they first met in person near the end of January and the beginning of February 2022. She said their encounters turned sexual, despite her repeated attempts to refuse. Police said Clifford gave the girl nicotine and marijuana after the incident.
During a third meeting and final meeting, Clifford picked up the girl from school and gave her three water bottle caps filled with Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), which is more commonly known as the “date rape drug.“
That’s when her mother found her and rescued her from the situation.
Another underage teen victim reported she had stayed at Clifford’s house for a week. Being 17 years old at the time, she reportedly lied to Clifford, telling him she was 19.
At that time, she said she was doing sexual favors for people in exchange for money. She also told police that she and Clifford would smoke crack and marijuana together and their time together would frequently become sexual. When he found out her real age, court documents say Clifford became angry and hit the girl, leaving a bruise.
Clifford was originally charged with several felony charges related to human trafficking, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, rape and drug possession. He accepted a plea deal on Aug. 28, 2023, amending several of those charges.
In two separate cases, Clifford pleaded guilty to first-degree felony rape, second-degree felony sexual exploitation of a minor, second-degree felony of human trafficking for sexual exploitation, two counts of third-degree felony drug distribution, and third-degree felony of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.
One charge of sexual exploitation of a minor, one charge of rape, one charge of child abuse and five drug-related charges were dismissed with prejudice.
Earlier this week, a Salt Lake County judge sentenced Clifford to at least five years to life for the rape charge, one to 15 years for the sexual exploitation of a minor charge and no more than five years for drug distribution in one charge, all of which will run concurrently together.
In addition, these sentences will run consecutively to the concurrent sentences of one to 15 years for human trafficking, for sexual exploitation, and no more than five years for each count of unlawful sexual activity of a minor and drug distribution.