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Alabama man guilty in case of sexually abused children

October 7, 2021 GMT

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (AP) — A federal jury has convicted an Alabama man for using Internet applications to seek images and videos of the sexual abuse of Filipino children as young as five years old.

Evidence presented at trial shows Benjamin Walter, 41, of Decatur, Alabama, used two web service provider accounts to get women in the Philippines to sexually abuse their own children and relatives, federal prosecutors said. Walter’s requests spanned about three years and included directions to arrange for the gang rape of young children and to sexually assault them in other ways, authorities said.

Walter sent money to the Philippines for videos, images and live transmissions via MoneyGram, Western Union and other money remitters in $25 and $50 increments, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama said in a news release.

The investigation leading to Walter’s arrest was part of a joint FBI and Homeland Security Investigations operation that targeted buyers and sellers of such webcam shows in the Philippines, authorities said.

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“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,” said U.S. Attorney Prim Escalona in a news release.

Walter was convicted Tuesday of four counts of producing and attempting to produce child pornography and one count each of receiving and distributing child pornography. Walter faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years in jail but could get up to 160 years behind bars. Sentencing is set for Jan. 5, 2022.