News

Silver Spring Man Pleads Guilty to Receiving and Possessing Child Pornography


Chatted Daily Online With an 11 Year Old Autistic Girl, Requesting Nude Pictures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 5, 2011

Greenbelt, Maryland - Benjamin Mark Urban, age 28, of Silver Spring, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to possessing and receiving child pornography.

The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

According to the plea agreement, on March 11, 2010, police in Spain provided the FBI with a U.S. internet protocol (IP) address that they were monitoring which was affiliated with at least six child pornography videos from approximately January 1 to March 3, 2010. The investigation showed that the computer identified with the IP address was in possession of files depicting child pornography on several occasions during this time period and was assigned to an account maintained in the name of M. Urban, Silver Spring, Maryland.

On September 21, 2010, FBI agents executed a search warrant at Urban’s residence and seized computers, hard drives, MP3 players, CDs, DVDs and discs used by Urban. One of the computers contained numerous photos and videos depicting child pornography. Urban admitted that he has viewed child pornography since he was 18 years old, that he primarily used a file sharing program to obtain child pornography and left the program running at all times. Urban stated that he possessed at least 275 gigabytes of child pornography.

Urban stated that his “best friend” was an 11-year old girl, whom he speaks to via a web camera and streaming video everyday. The 11 year old girl is autistic. Urban asked her to send him nude pictures of herself, but she refused. Urban has also chatted with other 11 year-old children online.

An analysis of Urban’s computer revealed that he possessed at least 150 video files and 6,000 images of child pornography. The materials included images of prepubescent children, some of which were engaged in sexually explicit conduct with adults.

As part of his plea agreement, Urban must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA).

Urban faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison for receipt of child pornography; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography, each followed by supervised release of at least five years up to life. U.S. District Judge Peter J. Messitte has scheduled sentencing for November 22, 2011 at 9:30 a..m.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States 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. Details about Maryland’s program are available at www.justice.gov/usao/md/Safe-Childhood/index.html.

United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the FBI for its work in the investigation and thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Christen A. Sproule, who prosecuted the case.

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