BALTIMORE, MD—A Nottingham man has been sentenced to prison for production of child pornography involving an underage female patient who was unconscious at the time.
U.S. District Judge Catherine C. Blake sentenced Donald Benson, 42, of Nottingham, to 18 years in federal prison, followed by a lifetime of supervised release, for production of child pornography. Judge Blake also ordered that, upon his release from prison, Benson must register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (“SORNA”).
The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Erek L. Barron; Acting Special Agent in Charge Ryeshia Holley of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Special Agent in Charge James C. Harris of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Baltimore; Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger; and Chief Melissa R. Hyatt of the Baltimore County Police Department.
According to his guilty plea, on September 18, 2016, while working at a Maryland hospital as a patient-sitter, Benson sexually assaulted a 15-year-old female while she was unconscious. Additionally, Benson took 13 pictures of the sexual assault and emailed those pictures to his personal email account. Benson used the victim’s birthdate as the subject of the email which was also visible on the victim’s hospital band 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 as in an unconscious state.
On February 6, 2020, investigators executed search warrants at Benson’s residence and on his electronic devices including two cell phones, a CD labeled “Donny An”, and his email accounts. As a result of the executed search warrants, 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 victim while working in an official capacity and while the victim was unconscious. He also informed law enforcement that he took the exploitive pictures of the victim when her father stepped out of the room to take a phone call.