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CONCORD NHZachary A. C. Benoit, 28, of Canaan, was sentenced to 156 months in prison for transportation and possession of child pornography, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray announced today.

             According to court documents and statements made in court, in the summer of 2017, the Grafton County Sheriff’s Department was conducting an online investigation into individuals involved in the trading of illegal images of child pornography.  Benoit was identified after he uploaded numerous images of child sexual abuse, which were intercepted by law enforcement.  Forensic examinations of several of Benoit’s electronic devices revealed thousands of images and videos depicting the sexual assaults of children including babies and toddlers.

Benoit previously pleaded guilty on November 7, 2018.

“It is critical that we safeguard children from being exploited on the internet” said U.S. Attorney Murray.  “To that end, we will continue to allocate substantial resources to stopping the distribution of these terrible images in New Hampshire.  In conjunction with our law enforcement partners, we will prioritize the investigation and prosecution of offenses involving child pornography.”

“This is a very appropriate sentence in light of the truly disturbing facts of this case” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations in Boston. “The successful prosecution of this individual could not have happened without the close coordination that we share with our very dedicated New Hampshire law enforcement partners, and with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, whose work in this case was invaluable.”

 This matter was investigated by the Grafton County Sheriff’s Department, Lebanon Police Department, Nashua Police Department, members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen W. Fitzgibbon.

In February 2006, the Department of Justice introduced Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse.  Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices, 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. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.