|Michael "Keith" Benson (mug shot CCSO)|
A former Nixa firefighter and substitute school bus driver who was facing state and federal charges for crimes against children will spend fifteen years in federal prison after pleading guilty to receiving kiddie porn over the Internet.
Christian County Prosecutor Ron Cleek filed child molestation, statutory sodomy and exploitation of a minor charges against Michael "Keith" Benson, 41, last year after authorities found evidence of child pornography on his computer.
Christian County Prosecutor Ron Cleek
Cops searched Benson’s car and found a camera with 30 images. The mother of another eight-year-old girl identified the girl pictured as her child. Investigators say the photographs were graphic and showed evidence of molestation.
The little girl told her mom that she viewed child porn on Benson's computer. Several other children made similar allegations against Benson. After being told that he was being investigated for child pornography, Benson surrendered his computer to his lawyer, Dee Wampler.
As part of the guilty plea in federal court, Benson also agreed to plead guilty to the charges in Christian County. Cleek says that Benson is scheduled to plead guilty on August 3rd. He will be sentenced to another 15 year sentence in Christian County that will be served concurrent (at the same time) to the federal sentence.
Benson was sentenced to fifteen years in federal prison without the possibility of parole. That sentence will be served concurrently to the state sentence of fifteen years.
The court also ordered Benson to spend the rest of his life on supervised release following his release from prison.