RENO, Nev. – A Fernley man — who used various encrypted messaging applications and numerous online aliases to conceal his identity and avoid detection by law enforcement — was sentenced today to 15 years in prison for distributing images of young children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
According to court documents, Benjamin D. Morrow, 36, used encrypted messaging applications, numerous online aliases, and various email addresses — including foreign email service providers — to send unsolicited emails to approximately 182 recipients. Those unsolicited emails contained images of the sadistic and masochistic sexual abuse of children under 12 years old. A forensic analysis of seized devices belonging to Morrow revealed 119,371 images and 4,945 videos of child pornography.
Morrow pleaded guilty in April 2021 to two counts of distribution of child pornography. In addition to imprisonment, Chief U.S. District Judge Miranda M. Du sentenced Morrow to a lifetime term of supervised release.
Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse for the FBI made the announcement.
This case was a joint investigation by the FBI, Nevada Attorney General’s Office, Washoe County Sherriff’s Office, Lyon County Sherriff’s Office, Reno Police Department, Carson City Sherriff’s Office, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Andolyn Johnson prosecuted the case.
The 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 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’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 via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood and for information about internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.
If you know of a child who may have been a victim of exploitation, please contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) or visit NCMEC’s web site at https://www.missingkids.org/HOME.
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