CONCORD – Zachary A. C. Benoit, 28, of Canaan, pleaded guilty in federal court to 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 is scheduled to be sentenced on March 6, 2019. He is subject to a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years.
“Among the most important roles of law enforcement is to protect innocent children,” said U.S. Attorney Murray. “We work closely with our colleagues to investigate and prosecute crimes involving child pornography and child exploitation. Those who commit these crimes should understand that they will be prosecuted aggressively.”
“We are very glad to see justice done in this disturbing case,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent In Charge, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Boston. “This case would not have been successful without the critical support from our local and state partners. Considering the repulsive nature of the crimes committed against the most innocent of victims in this case, we look forward to the sentencing phase in this investigation.”
This matter was investigated by the Grafton County Sheriff’s Department, Lebanon Police Department, Nashua Police Department, and members of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Helen W. Fitzgibbon with assistance from the Department of Homeland Security.
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.
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