SALT LAKE CITY December 15, 2016 – The Utah Attorney General’s Office announces the sentencing of Benjamin Neilson, 40, by Judge Douglas Hogan to 1 to 15 years in the Utah State Prison. Neilson had previously pleaded guilty to two counts of the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor (i.e., possessing/viewing/distributing child pornography).
“When it comes to child pornography, there is no such thing as a victimless crime. My office will remain vigilant in its fight against those who abuse children, the most vulnerable and innocent in our society,” said Attorney General Sean Reyes. “I offer my personal thanks and congratulations to the investigators, paralegals, attorneys, and staff in our office who fight child pornography and other child sex crimes, as well as our many law enforcement partners who work tirelessly in that fight. We enjoy strong collaborative relationships with agencies across the state, allowing us to successfully investigate and prosecute perpetrators statewide.
“Specifically, in this case, I want to acknowledge Special Agent Alan White, Assistant Attorney General Kent A. Burggraaff, Section Director Shelley Coudreaut, and Division Director Greg Ferbrache. These are some of my everyday heroes. Their hard work and dedication make our entire community safer.”
The investigation into the Neilson’s criminal activities began in 2014. Then Special Agent, Alan White, an investigator for the Utah Attorney General’s Officer, Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, began investigating Neilson’s Internet activities, specifically focusing on photos and videos Neilson was suspected of sharing and distributing over the Internet. A search warrant was executed by the ICAC Task Force in April 2014, at which time several of the Neilson’s electronic devices were seized for further forensic examination, upon which several images of child pornography were found. Computer forensic examination found 104 videos and 6,141 photos of suspected child pornography and child erotica. Many of the videos and photos depicted child victims being raped or subjected to other criminal sex acts.
Upon completion of the investigation and computer forensic examination, Assistant Attorney General, Kent A. Burggraaf, filed ten (10) counts of the Sexual Exploitation of a Minor against the Neilson. On June 14, 2016, while this case was still pending, the Neilson was re-arrested in Utah County by ICAC Task Force affiliates for Enticing of a Minor and multiple counts of Dealing in Materials Harmful to a Minor, an individual Neilson believed to be 13-years-old.
# # #