Richland Man Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Receipt of Child Pornography
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 13, 2014|
SPOKANE, WA—Michael C. Ormsby, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Sky Steven Bennett, age 34, of Richland, Washington, was sentenced on January 13, 2014, after having previously pleaded guilty on October 22, 2013 to receipt of child pornography. United States District Court Judge Wm. Fremming Nielsen sentenced Bennett to a five-year term of imprisonment, to be followed by a 20-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison. In addition, Bennett was ordered to forfeit to the United States the computer equipment and digital media used to receive and store his child pornography collection.
According to information disclosed during the court proceedings, in August of 2012, the Columbia Energy and Environmental Services (CEES) Human Resource Department conducted an internal investigation of Bennett related to child pornography. The CEES referred their investigation to the Richland Police Department. The Richland Police Department, in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, conducted further investigation of Bennett and, on August 22, 2012, a search warrant was executed at Bennett’s residence. Law enforcement discovered an extensive collection of child pornography at Bennett’s residence. A forensic examiner determined that Bennett began receiving child pornography in 2000 and continued to do so until his residence was searched in August of 2012.
Michael C. Ormsby stated, “I commend the collaborative work of the Richland Police Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation in this case. The United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Washington is, and will continue to be, committed to prosecuting aggressively and seeking appropriate punishment for child pornography crimes. Prosecuting offenders who are collecting child pornography is a priority of the United States Attorney’s Office.”
This case was pursued as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the United States 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. The Project Safe Childhood Initiative (“PSC”) has five major components:
- Integrated federal, state, and local efforts to investigate and prosecute child exploitation cases, and to identify and rescue child victims;
- Participation of PSC partners in coordinated national initiatives;
- Increased federal enforcement in child pornography and enticement cases;
- Training of federal, state, and local law enforcement agents; and
- Community awareness and educational programs.
This investigation was conducted the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Richland Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Stephanie J. Lister, an Assistant United States Attorney and PSC Coordinator for the Eastern District of Washington.