SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Daniel Wayne Benner, 35, pleaded guilty today to distribution of child pornography, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, between July 3 and 5, 2019, Benner distributed child pornography, using the Kik Messenger app. Benner used a smartphone, the internet, and Kik messenger to distribute to a person located in Arkansas a video and still images depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.. At the time of his arrest, Benner’s publicly accessible Facebook profile included a picture of a “My Little Pony” costume with a caption reading, “Rainbow Dash is looking to come to your birthday party, and she brings candy and music … contact me for quotes / She will travel anywhere in Sacramento County.” Benner stated that he and two friends were going to start a birthday party business but were unable to secure any customers.
This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a federally and state-funded task force managed by the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department with agents from federal, state, and local agencies. The Sacramento ICAC investigates online child exploitation crimes, including child pornography, enticement, and sex trafficking. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina McCall is prosecuting the case.
Benner is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller on Oct. 25, 2021. Benner faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and up to a lifetime of supervised release. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute those who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. Click on the “resources” tab for information about internet safety education.
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