GANT: Local Man Faces 40 Felony Counts in Child Pornography Case

DUBOIS, Pa. (GANT) – A DuBois man is facing a total of 40 felony counts of child pornography.

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The Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office filed these charges and one felony count of criminal use of communication facility against Benjamin Vernon Johnson, 48, on April 25.

He is currently incarcerated at the county jail on $50,000 bail.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, photos consisting of nude underage boys were posted online in October and then traced to an e-mail account at 37 Pentz Run Ave., in Sandy Township.

The Internet address from where the photo was uploaded also came to that same address.

On April 25, a search warrant was executed on that residence while Johnson and his mother were in the home.

In an interview with investigators in a laundry room, Johnson said only he and his mother have lived at the home since November of 2018.

He became nervous while the interview was being recorded, even though he had agreed for it to be taped. It was then shut off.

A female agent also noted that Johnson seemed uncomfortable with her in the room, so she left.

Agents located two tablets in Johnson’s room, which were password protected. He was reluctant to provide the passwords and hesitated to confirm his e-mail address, investigators said.

While speaking with a male agent on the back porch, Johnson reportedly stated that he got into things he shouldn’t have and he should have erased it.

Johnson allegedly stated that he views child pornography “because he is trying to get rid of urges of being a hands-on offender of children.”

He told the agent he stored child pornography on CDs/DVDs and gave them the location of those items in his room, according to the report.

Another agent stated that Johnson told him he was attempting to get a password for a protected file on a Web site by sending the child pornography.

In addition, Johnson allegedly used a social media app to chat with other adults to exchange pictures of children engaged in sexual acts and he joined teen chat rooms.

A search of his tablets and CDs uncovered at least 40 images of child porn, according to the complaint.

The devices were seized and sent for further analysis.

While speaking with the agents, Johnson allegedly stated that he knew possessing child pornography was illegal and had been afraid he would be caught with it.

Johnson’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 10.

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