FRANKFORT, Ky. – The U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Kentucky is reporting that a Frankfort man, Richard Benson, 49, was sentenced on Tuesday, to 280 months in federal prison, by U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove, following his conviction for receipt of child pornography. Benson faced an enhanced penalty because he was previously convicted of a qualifying sexual offense involving a minor.
According to Benson’s plea agreement, law enforcement received information that Benson was uploading child pornography images utilizing his Google storage account. On April 18, 2022, law enforcement interviewed Benson and he admitted to receiving, accessing, and viewing child pornography. A search warrant revealed Benson’s devices contained at least 17 videos of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Benson further admitted that he was previously convicted in Wisconsin of one count of Sexual Assault 2nd degree and one count of Sexual Assault 3rd degree, in 1995.
Under federal law, Benson must serve 85 percent of his prison sentence. Upon his release from prison, he will be under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office for 25 years. Benson was additionally ordered to pay $17,500 in restitution.
Carlton S. Shier, IV, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky; Rana Saoud, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); and Phillip J. Burnett, Commissioner of the Kentucky State Police (KSP), jointly announced the sentence.
The investigation was conducted by HSI and KSP. Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Roth is prosecuting the case on behalf of the United States.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuted this case as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
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