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A St. Leonard man who pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing child pornography with the intent to distribute was sentenced in the Calvert County Circuit Court last week.

Benjamin Joseph Tobin, 32, who was initially indicted on 11 counts of child pornography distribution on two separate indictments last November, was sentenced on June 6 to 10 years with all but 144 days suspended. He had credit for time served when he was incarcerated from Oct. 15, 2010, to March 7, 2011, for one count. On the second count he was sentenced to five years with all but 544 days suspended, with the sentence beginning on March 7, court records state. Work release was authorized by circuit sentencing Judge Marjorie Clagett, and he also was ordered five years of supervised probation upon release from jail, and required to register as a sex offender.

Tobin, who had no other criminal record on file, according to online judicial records, pleaded guilty on March 7 to two of the counts for distributing pornographic images and videos through a peer-to-peer networking website, and as a result of the plea the remaining counts were not prosecuted.

Charging documents state that on May 24, 2010, detectives of the Maryland State Police Computer Crimes Unit found an Internet Protocol address sharing more than 700 files, “many of which had naming conventions consistent with child pornography.” When the Calvert Investigative Team took over the investigation, a detective contacted Tobin through a file-sharing website and successfully downloaded several child pornography images and videos, which led to Tobin’s arrest and indictment.

Calvert detectives found nine pornographic files of children available for download from Tobin’s IP address on Sept. 7 and 8, 2010, with children younger than 16 engaged in various sexual acts during the online investigation using the peer-to-peer network Gnutella. Tobin agreed to waive his rights and told detectives that he downloaded child pornography and was aware that he was sharing these images with the public, according to charging documents.

Assistant State’s Attorney Kathryn Marsh prosecuted the case and Public Defender Mary Katherine Fowler represented Tobin.

charvat@somdnews.com