App for desecration

He wanted to start a My Little Pony party business. The feds busted him for trading child porn through an IM account.

A photo from Daniel Benner’s still-public Facebook account.

A photo from Daniel Benner’s still-public Facebook account.

This story has been expanded from its print edition.

Well, this won’t help the Brony name.

A creep from Orangevale (excuse us, alleged creep) is facing federal child pornography distribution charges after the FBI traced graphic content to his cellphone and learned he was trying to start a My Little Pony-themed birthday business.

The FBI was investigating someone in Arkansas who solicited and received image files portraying adults engaged in sexual activity with children, including a toddler, from a Kik Messenger account with the username “hornylonely2005.” Investigators traced the instant messaging account to an Android smartphone and to the home address of 33-year-old Daniel Wayne Benner, a convicted child sex offender.

On Oct. 18, agents served a search warrant at Benner’s residence, which he shares with other adults. According to an affidavit signed by Special Agent Scott A.H. Schofield, Benner admitted using the phone to trade child pornography through his Kik account, until the Canadian app company shut it down. Benner claimed he received a trove of illicit files from a Kik user he later blocked, and used them to swap images with other users he found by searching for “send-to-receive” and “yng,” the affidavit states.

During the interview, Schofield also asked Benner about a Feb. 28 photo on his Facebook page, showing a plush My Little Pony costume with the caption: “Rainbow dash is looking to come to your birthday party and she brings candy and music and you can feed her contact me for quotes she will travel anywhere in Sacramento county.” Schofield wrote that Benner told him he was trying to start a party-planning business with two friends, but that they never found any customers.

Benner, whom a grand jury indicted on Halloween, is next scheduled to appear in a federal courtroom on Jan. 27. He remains in the Sacramento County jail ineligible for bail.

The same day that Benner was indicted, California parole agents and local law enforcement officers contacted nearly 1,300 paroled sex offenders as part of the 26th annual Operation Boo Child Safety Project. Authorities arrested 82 people, mostly for parole violations, with only seven booked on fresh charges, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation summarized. Pornography was confiscated from 21 parolees, though there was no indication that the material depicted children.

Benner is the second area man to be implicated in a federal child pornography case this fall. On Sept. 23, William Lamar Blessett, 40, of North Highlands, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, nearly a year after a two-day trial showed he possessed more than 2,000 electronic images and videos in a Dropbox cloud storage account and on at least five electronic devices, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a release. Blessett also used Kik to find some of the illicit content.

According to the release, evidence also showed Blessett contacted minors online and tried to get them to send him sexually suggestive messages.

But isn’t just the demand side that high-tech crimes task forces are going after, said Lauren Horwood, a public information officer for the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Eastern District of California. A half-dozen federal prosecutions this year have targeted those who have produce the sadistic content or encouraged crimes against children to be documented and circulated. The list includes Javontae D. Rucker, 27, of Sacramento, who pleaded guilty in July to taking advantage of an infant he was babysitting and using his cellphone to record his crimes.