Redmond police child porn investigation leads to sentencing of Pennsylvania child abuser
By SAMANTHA PAK
Redmond Reporter Reporter
July 17, 2012 · 3:10 PM
A Redmond Police Department (RPD) investigation of a Redmond man charged with possessing child pornography has led to the sentencing of a Pennsylvania man accused of repeatedly drugging and raping three young girls.
It all began in February 2011 when RPD started investigating Benjamin Thompson of Redmond for distributing and possessing child pornography. Thompson was arrested on July 6 and charged with multiple counts of dealing and possessing child pornography, according to charging documents filed in King County Superior Court on July 12.
Redmond police spokesperson Jim Bove said they discovered more than 7,000 photos and videos of child pornography, on a computer and thumb drives belonging to Thompson.
One photo showed a partially nude child sitting in the back seat of a car, said Bove. The photo was captured using a cell phone camera, which was pointed toward a rearview mirror. Bove said an RPD computer forensics investigator noticed a name and number on the back of the phone reflected in the mirror.
After enhancing the photo, police were able to make out the name "B McOwen" and nine digits of a 10-digit phone number. Police linked the information to Barry McOwen, a 67-year-old man from Montgomery County in Pennsylvania. Bove said they also discovered 1,500 pages of online chat logs between Thompson and McOwen. Redmond police alerted authorities in Pennsylvania, who arrested McOwen in June 2011.
Bove said RPD's lead detective and computer forensics investigator on the case traveled to Pennsylvania last week to testify in McOwen's trial. The trial ended last Tuesday — the second day of the trial — when McOwen pleaded guilty to various child sex abuse charges, including "one count of child rape, three counts of indecent assault, four counts of creating child pornography and one count of dissemination of child porn," according to a report by NBC10 in Philadelphia.
McOwen was sentenced to 50-and-a-half to 100 years in prison, the report stated.
"No matter how serious of a sentence they get, it's never enough compared to what the victims go through," Bove said. "(The crime) is just as disgusting as it can get."
Thompson is currently in King County jail with his bail set at $50,000. His arraignment is scheduled for July 25. If he is convicted, Thompson faces 87 to 116 months in prison.
"For us to be able to link (our case) to another person … is very rare," Bove said, adding that advances in technology have definitely helped police in cases such as this.
Bove also said it was technology that "came back to bite" McOwen as the methods he used to commit his crimes were what led to his arrest.Contact Redmond Reporter Reporter Samantha Pak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-867-0353, ext. 5052.