Former Portland educator sentenced for exploitation of a child

Published: May. 15, 2023 at 7:58 PM EDT
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PORTLAND, Maine - A former special education technician at Ocean Avenue Elementary School in Portland was sentenced Monday to 22 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor on August 31, 2022.

Benjamin Conroy, 34, may also be required to pay restitution, but that amount will be determined at a later date.

According to court documents, in the fall of 2021, Conroy sexually exploited a student with autism at Ocean Avenue Elementary School and then sent sexually explicit images of the child to a third person using the dating app Grindr.

The person Conroy sent the pictures to reached out to the police. When investigators searched Conroy’s phone, they say they found he had also videotaped his interactions with the child.

“Benjamin Conroy sexually exploited a vulnerable child in a place where parents should feel confident their children are safe and protected, at school,” U.S. Attorney Darcie N. McElwee said. “He used his position as a school employee to victimize a young child with special needs. If not for a concerned citizen who received the child sexual abuse material from Mr. Conroy, we might never have known that a crime occurred. I commend that individual for not hesitating to report this conduct, as well as HSI and the Portland Police for the diligent and thorough investigation.”

Conroy will also be on supervised release for 15 years following his prison term.