Cyber tip leads to arrest of sex assault suspect

January 23, 2013 6:20:27 PM PST
Police officers in Katy say Tumblr helped them arrest a man accused of being a child predator. It was two tips that cracked the case, and ended the abuse of a little girl.

Crimes on the Internet can be hard to track down. It was two cyber tips, though, that helped bring down a Katy man accused of using the microblogging and social networking website Tumblr to post child porn.

"Who had been uploading images of child porn to his account," Harris County Sheriff's Office Sgt. J. D. Philpot said. "That was associated with an email account, which led us back to the suspect."

The multi-team approach to tracking the down suspect Richard Benjamin was led by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Once they identified Benjamin as the alleged owner of the Tumblr account, investigators also discovered several chats between the suspect and another unidentified male.

"The chats gave very graphic descriptions about a relationship that this suspect, adult suspect, was involved in with an 11-year-old victim," Philpot said.

Officers were able to stop any future abuse of the young victim. A search of Benjamin's homes revealed hundreds of graphic child porn images on a cell phone.

Investigators also commend the website Tumblr for doing what many other social networking sites do not -- keeping track what its users are posting.

"Thank God for the work that they do, actually monitoring their site and some of the post that are made on that site. That's the organization that initially reported the illegal activity," Philpot said.

Benjamin faces three counts of possession of child pornography and two charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child. He is being held at the Harris County Jail.