Palmer Man Pleads Guilty to Child Pornography
BOSTON – A Palmer man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Springfield to possessing child pornography.
Charles Benoit, 65, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to possess child pornography before U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni who scheduled sentencing for Feb. 14, 2017.
From 2009 to 2010, Benoit used Limewire, an online peer-to-peer file sharing program, to search for and download child pornography. Benoit used search terms such as “preteen hard core” and “PTHC.”
The charging statute provides a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Alex Grant of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office.
The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.