Grand Junction Man Sentenced to Prison for Enticing Children Online
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado
DENVER – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces Benjamin David Harbin, age 33, of Grand Junction, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and a life term of supervised release for enticing minors to engage in the production of child pornography.
According to the plea agreement, the defendant came to law enforcement's attention after he utilized Instagram accounts to communicate with minor females online, several of whom were between seven and nine years of age. During the course of the communications, the defendant persuaded some of these minors to send him sexually explicit images of themselves. The defendant was the subject of law enforcement investigations in the United States, Canada, and England.
Judge Christine M. Arguello sentenced the defendant on March 13, 2023.
"The sexual exploitation of children is a despicable crime that causes immense harm to the victims and their families,” said United States Attorney Cole Finegan. “We will not tolerate the predatory behavior of those who seek to exploit the innocence of our children, and we will work tirelessly to hold them accountable for their heinous actions."
“The defendant in this case underestimated the steadfast dedication of the FBI when it comes to protecting children. He thought that by hiding behind an online profile and targeting children in another state, he could evade law enforcement. He was wrong,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Mark Michalek. “FBI Denver will do what it takes to investigate allegations of child exploitation and hold those accountable who commit such shameful crimes.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Denver Division, Grand Junction Resident Agency. Assistant United States Attorney Alecia L. Riewerts handled the prosecution.
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 Attorney’s 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 individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.
CASE NUMBER: 20-cr-00164
Public Affairs Specialist
Updated March 14, 2023