Keene Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Sexually Exploiting a Child
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Maine
Portland, Maine: United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced that Benjamin Gagnon, 35, of Keene, New Hampshire, was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Concord, New Hampshire by Judge Joseph A. DiClerico, Jr. to 20 years in prison and eight years of supervised release for sexual exploitation of a minor. Gagnon pleaded guilty to the charge on September 13, 2018.
According to court records, in January 2017, Gagnon, who was in New Hampshire, persuaded and induced a minor female in Texas to create still images and videos depicting the minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The minor then transmitted the images and videos to Gagnon over the internet. Gagnon later uploaded the images to an online account, where they were found by investigators in August 2017.
“The defendant in this case used online messaging applications to target children and sexually exploit vulnerable victims, a dangerous type of criminal threat that all parents should understand and about which they should educate their children,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Boston. “With any Internet connection or a smart phone, even the youngest of children are susceptible to this type of trickery and criminal exploitation. Cases like this are why HSI will continue to join forces with the New Hampshire Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force to combat the sexual exploitation of children.”
The investigation was conducted by HSI; the Keene Police Department; and the ICAC Task Forces located in New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Houston, Texas.
The 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 U.S. 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.
Craig M. Wolff
Craig M. Wolff
Special Attorney to the United States Attorney General
Tel: (207) 780-3257
Updated March 27, 2019
Project Safe Childhood