In a disturbing case, a Hawaii man has been indicted for traveling to Oregon to sexually abuse two children and sharing video recordings of the abuse online. Benjamin Victor Houghton, 27, of Captain Cook, Hawaii, has been charged with three counts of using a minor to produce a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct and two counts of aggravated sexual abuse. The indictment alleges that Houghton sexually abused two children under the age of 12 on multiple occasions, recorded the abuse, and distributed the videos online. This heinous crime is being jointly investigated by the FBI and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and Houghton faces severe penalties, including up to life in federal prison.
Hawaii Man Indicted for Traveling to Oregon to Sexually Abuse Two Children, Sharing Video Recordings of the Abuse Online
In a disturbing case of child exploitation, Benjamin Victor Houghton, a 27-year-old man from Captain Cook, Hawaii, has been indicted on charges of sexually abusing two children and sharing video recordings of the abuse online. The indictment, returned by a federal grand jury in Portland, Oregon, alleges that Houghton engaged in this heinous behavior on three separate occasions, recording the abuse and then disseminating the videos online.
Charges against Benjamin Victor Houghton
Houghton faces multiple charges in connection with his alleged crimes. He has been charged with three counts of using a minor to produce a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct, as well as two counts of aggravated sexual abuse. These charges reflect the serious nature of the offenses committed, and if convicted, Houghton could face significant penalties.
Details of the indictment
According to the indictment, Houghton is accused of sexually abusing two children under the age of 12 on three separate occasions. During these instances of abuse, Houghton is alleged to have recorded the acts, creating video recordings that he then shared with others online. These recordings served to perpetuate the abuse, further victimizing the children involved.
Crossing state lines for the purpose of abuse
What makes this case even more alarming is the fact that Houghton is accused of knowingly traversing state lines, from Hawaii to Oregon, with the intent of sexually abusing the children. On two of the occasions detailed in the indictment, Houghton is alleged to have crossed into Oregon specifically for this purpose. This element of the case highlights the extensive planning and premeditation on Houghton’s part and underscores the gravity of his actions.
Arrest and detention
Houghton’s alleged crimes came to light on February 24, 2023, when he was arrested in the District of Hawaii. Following his arrest, Houghton made his first appearance in federal court in Honolulu. He was subsequently ordered to be detained pending his transfer to the District of Oregon, where he will face the charges levied against him.
Federal Penalties for the Crimes
The charges brought against Houghton carry severe penalties under federal law. The first charge, using a minor to produce a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct, is punishable by up to 30 years in federal prison, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years. This reflects the gravity of exploiting children and using them to create materials for the gratification of others.
The second charge, aggravated sexual abuse, carries even more severe consequences. If convicted of this offense, Houghton could face life imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years. The designation of “aggravated” denotes the particularly heinous nature of the sexual abuse, amplifying the seriousness of the crime and the need for appropriate punishment.
These federal penalties reflect the government’s commitment to safeguarding the wellbeing of children and holding individuals accountable for their reprehensible actions.
Using a minor to produce a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct
The charge of using a minor to produce a visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct is a federal offense. This crime involves exploiting a minor for the creation of illicit materials, including photographs, videos, or other forms of media. The severity of this offense is evident in the range of penalties that can be imposed upon conviction, with a maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison and a mandatory minimum of 15 years.
Aggravated sexual abuse
Aggravated sexual abuse refers to particularly severe instances of sexual abuse, often involving acts of violence or causing significant harm to the victim. In Houghton’s case, this charge has been brought due to the nature of the alleged abuse inflicted upon the two children. If convicted of aggravated sexual abuse, Houghton could face life imprisonment, with a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years.
This case was investigated jointly by the FBI Portland and Honolulu Field Offices, as well as Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Portland. The diligent work of these agencies has resulted in the indictment and subsequent arrest of Benjamin Victor Houghton. The case is being prosecuted by William M. McLaren, an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Oregon.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely an accusation of a crime, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The legal process will now proceed, allowing Houghton the opportunity to present his defense against the charges leveled against him.
Anyone with information about the physical or online exploitation of children is strongly encouraged to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit a tip online at tips.fbi.gov. The FBI’s efforts, through its Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Task Force (CETF), are focused on investigating and combatting the exploitation of children, as well as providing assistance to victims.
This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched by the Justice Department in 2006 to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse. Through this initiative, law enforcement agencies work collaboratively to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals who commit these heinous crimes. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.justice.gov/psc.