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Grand Junction man sentenced to decade in prison for sexually exploiting young girls

Federal prosecutors claimed 33-year-old Benjamin David Harbin of Grand Junction, using "Cuteboy4110" as his handle and a picture of a puppy for his profile photo, contacted more than 100 minors on Instagram. Most were young girls under the age of 12.

He persuaded several to take and send him sexually explicit photos of themselves.

Harbin was sentenced in a Denver courtroom Monday to 10 years in federal prison. 

Benjamin Harbin's booking photo from a 2021 arrest. Mesa County Sheriff's Office

"The defendant in this case underestimated the steadfast dedication of the FBI when it comes to protecting children," FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Mark Michalek stated in a press release. "He thought that by hiding behind an online profile and targeting children in another state, he could evade law enforcement. He was wrong. FBI Denver will do what it takes to investigate allegations of child exploitation and hold those accountable who commit such shameful crimes."

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In a plea agreement signed in December, Harbin agreed to facts stated by the prosecution which described his activity beginning in late 2019 with three girls in particular - an 8-year-old in New York state, a 9-year-old in Canada, and a 9-year-old in England. 

With each of the girls, Harbin suggested they become secret boyfriend and girlfriend. Later in the conversations, he began requesting sexually explicit photos. 

The New York girl told investigators she admitted her age to Harbin after he told her he didn't like talking to girls older than 11, according to the plea agreement. Their online exchange lasted six days. 

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"The sexual exploitation of children is a despicable crime that causes immense harm to the victims and their families," stated United States Attorney Cole Finegan. "We will not tolerate the predatory behavior of those who seek to exploit the innocence of our children, and we will work tirelessly to hold them accountable for their heinous actions." 

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