GRAND RAPIDS — A Greenville man was sentenced Monday to five years in prison for distributing child pornography.
Benjamin Small, 24, knowingly distributed child pornography in the form of digital images via the Internet from Montcalm County to an undercover FBI agent in California in 2010. When FBI agents arrived at Small’s home in Greenville to investigate, they learned he had moved to Jackson. They located him and interviewed him.
Small told FBI agents he had a collection of child pornography on his computer. He said his collection mainly included children young enough to wear diapers because he had a diaper fetish. He said he had been collecting child pornography for several years.
Small pleaded guilty June 21 to distributing child pornography. He was sentenced Monday in U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan to a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and five years supervised release.
Small graduated with high honors from Greenville High School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society, and from Central Michigan University in 2010, where he majored in information technology and minored in business administration. He was a longtime member of Boy Scouts and attained the high ranking of Eagle Scout at age 15.
According to court documents, Small began looking at pornography at age 14, at about the same time his parents divorced. Dr. Brent Smith who treated Small at Arbor Hills Psychological Services in Jackson, said a fetish is “a form of sexual fixation and often involves some article of clothing which has a highly symbolic meaning.
“The exact reason for the sexual attachment or association is not clear, but at this age (early adolescence) would most likely be an attempt to cope with a stressful situation in life,” Smith stated. “In Mr. Small’s case, his parents’ divorce was highly stressful and conflicted with Mr. Small often feeling caught in the middle. This hypothesis is also consistent with the regressive nature of the fixation. His arousal associated with diapers could be an attempt to emotionally go back to a time where he was protected from the stress and conflict which was a part of his life at that time.
Small wrote a Sept. 16 letter to Judge Janet T. Neff explaining more about himself and his background. He said he has been in counseling with a psychologist for more than two years and has been “clean” from child pornography since May 26, 2010.
“My past actions that have resulted in this charge is something that I am most regretful for and least proud of in my life,” Small stated. “This is the single biggest mistake that I have made in my life. I am committed to keeping this mistake in my past and to never let it be a part of my life ever again.”
Small said his actions have caused “turmoil and devastation” in his life. He was fired from his job in April as an information technology auditor at Consumers Energy and his wife filed for divorce from him in June.
“The most devastating thing to me was the loss of respect, trust and confidence in me from my family and friends,” Small stated. “My family is the most important thing to me, followed closely by my friends. It has taken a lot of work and time to start mending these relationships. My biggest fear is a lack of acceptance from my family of friends. This is something that my poor choices have caused a great deal of.”
Small said his goal for the future is to serve his prison time, become a productive member of society and stay clean from child pornography and all other illegal activities.
“No one is responsible for my actions involving child pornography but me,” Small stated. “I cannot and will not blame my parents, family, friends or society in general. I did this to myself. I am committed from this point on to make it up to society.”