Manassas man sentenced to 16 years for engaging in sexual video chats with minors, recording more than 70

A Manassas man was sentenced to 16 years in prison Wednesday for the sexual exploitation of children and receipt of child sexual abuse material.

According to court documents, 21-year-old Anthony Benton first came to the attention of law enforcement when he bought child pornography over the messaging app Telegram that depicted abuse of children as young as 5 years old. 

A search warrant was executed at his home and authorities discovered additional child pornography dating back to 2020. Investigators discovered that Benton had been using the live video chat website Omegle to consistently produce child pornography. 

They say Benton engaged in sexual live video calls with approximately 1,000 girls ranging in age from 7 to 17 years old. He then screen-recorded and saved more than 70 of those videos without the victims’ knowledge. 

In some of these videos, Benton can be seen texting a 10-year-old girl. He told her that he was 15 years old and then, when she revealed her age, he promised that their sexual conversation was, "[J]ust between us."

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia prosecuted and District Judge Anthony J. Trenga imposed the sentencing for Benton.

The case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.