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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Missouri

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Former Springfield YMCA Employee Sentenced to 10 Years for Child Pornography

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A former Springfield YMCA employee was sentenced in federal court today for receiving and distributing child pornography over the Internet.

Benjamin Goodwin, 28, of Springfield, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Beth Phillips to 10 years and one month in federal prison without parole. The court also sentenced Goodwin to 10 years of supervised release following incarceration.

Goodwin, who was employed as a childcare worker at the Springfield YMCA at the time of the offense, pleaded guilty on Nov. 7, 2017. Goodwin admitted that he received and distributed child pornography over the Internet between June 11, 2016, and Aug. 3, 2017. Goodwin was employed by the YMCA for more than a decade and also served as a special education paraprofessional until shortly before he was arrested.

According to court documents, Goodwin initially came to the attention of law enforcement after the administrators of Chatstep submitted a Cyber Tipline Report regarding his use of its services to post images depicting child pornography. During the course of another investigation, an individual told investigators that he and Goodwin had been trading images depicting child pornography.

On Aug. 3, 2017, investigators contacted Goodwin outside his place of employment, the Springfield YMCA. Goodwin admitted that he had sent approximately 25 images depicting child pornography to the other individual and had received approximately the same number in return. Goodwin was aware, according to court documents, that the images he received depicted a child who was being actively sexually abused.

A forensic examination of Goodwin’s cell phone and iPad yielded the discovery of a number of files containing images of child pornography. Investigators also recovered dozens of photographs of children taken at the YMCA and other venues. The Internet history contained on Goodwin’s iPad indicated that he frequently visited Internet sites known to host child pornography and actively sought out child pornography. More disturbingly, the forensic examiner recovered dozens of message exchanges between Goodwin and other individuals, discussing their sexual interest in children. During one such exchange, Goodwin transmitted a picture of one of the children he supervised at the YMCA.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James J. Kelleher. It was investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Southwest Missouri Cybercrimes Task Force.

Project Safe Childhood
 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 Attorneys' 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.usdoj.gov/psc . For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."

Project Safe Childhood
Updated May 15, 2018