SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A Syracuse man and registered sex offender has pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting an infant and administering social media groups dedicated to trading child pornography.

31-year-old, Benjamin Munson, of Syracuse, pled guilty in United States District Court March 15 to all counts of a thirteen-count Indictment.

United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman, Special Agent in Charge Janeen DiGuiseppi of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and New York State Police Acting Superintendent Steven A. Nigrelli made the announcement. 

Munson was charged with the following:

  • Six counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Child
  • Commission of a Felony Involving a Minor by a Registered Sex Offender
  • Four counts of Distribution of Child Pornography
  • Two counts of Possession of Child Pornography

As a part of his guilty plea, Munson, a registered sex offender, admitted that on at least six separate occasions between 2021 and 2022, while on supervised release for a 2011 federal conviction for distribution and possession of child pornography, he sexually abused an infant for the purpose of producing images and videos of the child.

He also admitted that he administered a network of approximately 20 child pornography trading groups on the internet, some of which were dedicated exclusively to trading in newly produced child pornography. 

Not only did Munson administer the online group but he distributed child pornography to those groups, including images and videos he produced of his abuse of the infant. Munson was arrested in August of 2022 after his online activities were discovered by the FBI, and the infant was located and rescued. 

He also admitted to seven violations of the conditions of his federal supervised release, including for his new criminal conduct, contact with a minor, contact with a known felon, possession of unauthorized electronic devices and possession of child pornography.

Munson is scheduled to be sentenced on July 13, 2023, before Hon. David N. Hurd in Utica, New York. 

For all 13 offenses, Munson faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 35 years, and up to 560 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life. 

He will also continue to be required to register as a sex offender.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Mid-State Child Exploitation Task Force in cooperation with the New York State Police.  It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lisa M. Fletcher, Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for the Northern District of New York. 

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 identify and rescue victims and more information can be found here.