Manassas man accused of engaging in sexual video chats with 1,000 underaged girls sentenced to prison

A Manassas man accused of taking part in live sexual chats with nearly 1,000 underaged girls has been sentenced to 16 years in prison.

The sentence comes after Anthony Benton, 21, pleaded guilty in May to the production of child pornography and receiving of child pornography.

Benton admitted to engaging in chats with girls between the ages of seven and 17, on the online video chat platform Omegle. Prosecutors said Benton had used screen recording while on the site to produce child pornography, starting in 2020. The victims, according to court documents, did not realize they were being recorded as Benton enticed them to engage in sexually explicit conduct.

Federal prosecutors said law enforcement began looking into Benton when he bought child sexual abuse material online, among them being video showing the sexual abuse of children who may have been as young as five years old. According to prosecutors, he admitted to buying approximately 200 videos of child pornography from a chat application.

Benton also admitted to having sex with a girl who was 14 or 15 in 2020, when he was 19, and then again with the same girl in 2022 when she was 16 or 17. The age of consent is 18 in Virginia, prosecutors noted, but Benton was not charged in connection with that.

In court filings before his sentencing, prosecutors sought a 30-year sentence for Benton. They noted that there was a “need for the sentence imposed to reflect the seriousness of the offense, to promote respect for the law, and to provide just punishment for the offense.”

Benton’s attorney Damon Colbert, in court filings, stated a psychologist found Benton suffered from pedophilic disorder and due to his age and level of maturity, “was not as mature and cognizant of the effects of his actions.”

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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