BALTIMORE, MD—A Nottingham man has pleaded guilty to production of child pornography and to assaulting an underage female patient while she was unconscious.
The plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Acting Special Agent in Charge Selwyn Smith of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Special Agent in Charge Thomas J. Sobocinski of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; and Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department.
On September 18, 2016, while working at a Maryland hospital as a patient sitter, Donald Benson, Jr., 42, sexually assaulted a 15-year-old female while she was unconscious. Additionally, Benson took 13 pictures of the sexual assault on the teen and emailed those pictures to his personal email account. Benson used the girl’s birthdate as the subject of the email which was also visible in the pictures that Benson produced.
As stated in is plea agreement, in December 2019, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a report regarding child pornography activity on Benson’s email account. Between August 2015 to December 2019, Benson uploaded 337 files of possible child pornography.
During the investigation into Benson’s criminal conduct, investigators determined that several of the images Benson had emailed himself depicted images of minors being sexually assaulted including the images that Benson captured of the female victim while she was in an unconscious state.
On February 6, 2020, investigators executed search warrants at Benson’s residence and seized various electronic devices. On Benson’s electronic devices, investigators located several images and files of child pornography and a CD that depicted a naked prepubescent female with her legs spread and genitals exposed. This CD contained images of child pornography from 1999 to 2013.
In an interview with law enforcement, Benson informed investigators that he took pictures of the girl while working in an official capacity and while she was unconscious. He also informed law enforcement that he took the exploitive pictures when the girl’s father stepped out of the room to take a phone call.
Benson faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years in prison followed by up to a lifetime of supervised release for production of child pornography. U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake has scheduled sentencing for August 3, 2022, at 9:15 a.m.