HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – A federal jury has convicted a Morgan County man for using internet applications to search images, videos, and livestreams of violent sexual abuse of Filipina children as young as 5 years old.
According to court documents, Benjamin Walter, 41, of Decatur, used two web service provider accounts to get women in the Philippines to sexually abuse their own children and relatives.
Walter’s requests to these women, which happened over the course of about three years, included directions to arrange for the gang rape of young children and to sexually assault several young children in other harmful ways. According to court records, Walter sent money to the Philippines for these videos, images, and live transmissions via MoneyGram, Western Union, and other money transfers in $25 to $50 increments.
In addition to live webcam shows, Walter also sent and received emails where senders would attach images and videos of young children engaging in sex acts with adult men.
This investigation was part of a joint FBI and Homeland Security Investigations operation that targeted the buyers and sellers of these types of webcam shows in the Philippines.
“Today’s conviction sends a clear message that the protection of the most innocent and vulnerable victims, our children, from child exploitation is of the utmost importance,” U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona said in a press release. “The jury’s decision to hold the defendant accountable for his conduct and to reject his defenses demonstrates that those who commit these horrific crimes will be met with swift and certain justice. We are grateful for the work of the FBI Birmingham Division, FBI Huntsville Resident Agency, for their investigation of this case, and for the assistance of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section in prosecuting the case.”
Walter was convicted of four counts of producing and attempting to produce child pornography and one count each of receiving and distributing child pornography.
A sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 5. Walter faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years of imprisonment and a maximum of 160 years of imprisonment.