LOS ANGELES – A former resident of Ventura County pleaded guilty today to federal criminal charges for using Instagram to entice a 10-year-old girl into sending him sexually explicit images of herself.
Barry Bryant Rossman, 62, a.k.a. “Ben,” formerly of Oxnard and who now resides in Santa Rosa, pleaded guilty – on what was supposed to be his first day of trial – to all three charges pending against him: one count of production of child pornography, one count of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity, and one count of receipt of child pornography.
According to court documents, in late December 2019 and early January 2020, Rossman, then 60 years old, posed as “Ben,” purportedly a 21-year-old man, and used the Instagram account “itsben6969” to contact the victim – a 10-year-old girl in Colorado. When Rossman first contacted the victim, he pretended to have a 13-year-old brother who had mischievously taken his phone and reached out to the victim.
Rossman engaged in conversation with the victim, using flattery and discussing topics such as Christmas gifts. Over the following days, Rossman’s conversations with the victim became increasingly sexually explicit, and Rossman convinced the victim to send him sexually exploitative photographs of herself.
After Rossman and the victim exchanged photographs, videos, and messages, Rossman instructed the victim to delete her messages, claiming that his little brother might get into his Instagram account and Rossman did not want his little brother “loving” the photos like he did. Shortly thereafter, the victim’s mother discovered the messages on her daughter’s phone and called the police.
In May 2020, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Rossman’s residence in Oxnard and found evidence linking his iPhone to the Instagram account used to contact the victim.
United States District Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr. scheduled an August 23 sentencing hearing, at which time Rossman will face a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison and a statutory maximum sentence of life imprisonment.
The FBI and the Erie (Colorado) Police Department investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorneys Chelsea Norell and Kathy Yu of the Violent and Organized Crime Section are prosecuting this case.