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Child Exploitation

Schuylkill county man admits to receiving and distributing child pornography

PHILADELPHIA - A central Pennsylvania man pleaded guilty to receiving and distributing child pornography on August 11 in federal court. Carl Benson, 53, of Auburn, Pa., admitted to downloading and sharing images of child pornography on his computer during 2005 to Nov. 3, 2009. Benson was indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2010, as a result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The terms of the plea agreement state that the government and the defendant have agreed that the sentence imposed in the case should be 15 years in prison, to be followed by a life term of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment. Judge Kosik ordered a pre-sentence investigation to be completed, but did not set a date for sentencing. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Francis P. Sempa.

The investigation that led to this case was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide ICE initiative to identify, investigate and arrest those who prey on children, including human traffickers, international sex tourists, Internet pornographers, and foreign-national predators whose crimes make them deportable.

Launched in July 2003, ICE agents have arrested more than 12,800 individuals through Operation Predator. ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.