Retired Air Force Sergeant Sentenced for Child Exploitation
DAYTON—Ronald L. Bennett, 45, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 70 months in prison for engaging in illicit sexual conduct in 2005 and 2006 with at least two boys while he was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force and stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, John A. Barrios, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Cincinnati Field Division, and Lt. Col. Douglas Garavanta, Commander, Air Force Office of Special Investigation (AFOSI) 10th Field Investigations Squadron, announced the sentence imposed today by U.S. District Judge Timothy Black.
Bennett pleaded guilty on July 16, 2013 to one count of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.
According to court documents, while Bennett was on active duty with the U.S. Air Force, he began engaging in sexual activity with two boys who lived in the vicinity of the base. In 2006, Bennett was transferred to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana. He enticed one of the boys to travel with him to Louisiana and the two engaged in illicit sexual conduct. While in the Dayton area to pick up the victim, he engaged in similar illicit sexual conduct with another boy in a hotel room where other boys were also present.
After 22 years in the Air Force, Bennett retired as a Technical Sergeant (TSgt) with an honorable discharge in 2010. AFOSI and the FBI began investigating Bennett in 2012, after one of the victims came forward and revealed the illicit sexual conduct to a family member, who alerted law enforcement. The federal statute of limitations for crimes against children extends for the life of the child, or ten years after the crime, whichever is longer.
Bennett was also order to serve a term of 10 years under supervised release at the conclusion of his prison sentence. He will also be required to register as a sex offender anywhere he lives, works, or goes to school for life after his release from prison.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.
U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the cooperative investigation by the agencies involved, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Vipal Patel and Alex Sistla, who prosecuted the case.
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