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Registered sex offender found guilty on child porn charges in Florida | #childpredator | #kidsaftey | #childsaftey


PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A registered sex offender was found guilty by a Pensacola federal jury Wednesday on pornography charges.

Harold Lavern Benedict, 73, of Crestview, was found guilty of receiving and possessing images of child pornography, according to a release from the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida.


Benedict was previously convicted for attempted sexual battery on a child under 12 and a lewd and lascivious act. The child pornography investigation was conducted by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and the United States Department of Homeland Security.

“This recidivist sexual offender fed his perversion through a vast collection of explicit imagery
depicting the sexual abuse of children,” said Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Tallahassee
Assistant Special Agent in Charge Nicholas Ingengo. “This case is yet another example of the
unwavering commitment of HSI, alongside our law enforcement partners in Florida`s Panhandle,
to investigate and vigorously prosecute those who prey upon our children.”

According to the release, the investigation began when a man provided evidence to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

In June 2022, a man at the Yellow River Park in Milligan with his children bought gas for an older man, later identified as Benedict, who was stranded. Benedict asked for the man’s address and phone number to, he said, send the man money for his help. When the man declined, Benedict said he refurbished computers for a living and offered the man a laptop for his children.

Back at home, the man checked the laptop, where he found child pornography. He called OCSO and gave them the laptop. The investigation led to Benedict, a registered sex offender.

Investigators interviewed Benedict in September 2022. Benedict admitted to “using foreign internet web browsers to obtain child pornography at least once per month,” according to the release. A search of Benedict’s electronic devices uncovered more than 700 images of child porn.

“Protecting innocent children from sexual predators remains one of our highest priorities,” said
U.S. Attorney Coody. “I commend our law enforcement partners and prosecutors who work
tirelessly to identify these predators and bring them to justice so that they may never exploit a
child again. Due to their collective efforts, our community is safer, and this repeat offender is
exactly where he belongs back behind bars.”

Benedict is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 15, 2023, at 2 p.m. at the U.S. Courthouse in Pensacola. Because of his prior convictions, Benedict faces a mandatory sentence of at least 15 years and as many as 40 years in federal prison.

“This is an unusual case where all the pieces fell into place to expose the ongoing and disturbing
criminal conduct of this individual,” said Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden. “Once again, due
to the dedication and expertise of our investigators and federal partners with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Attorney`s Office, another child pornography consumer will be taken off our streets.”



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