The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

Northeastern admissions counselor arrested on child pornography charges

The+John+Joseph+Moakley+United+States+Courthouse+sits+at+1+Courthouse+Way.+Former+Northeastern+admissions+counselor+Beau+Christopher+Benson+was+arrested+Nov.+21+for+allegedly+receiving+and+possessing+child+pornography.
Elizabeth Scholl
The John Joseph Moakley United States Courthouse sits at 1 Courthouse Way. Former Northeastern admissions counselor Beau Christopher Benson was arrested Nov. 21 for allegedly receiving and possessing child pornography.

Editor’s Note: This story contains details of sexual assault and child pornography.

An admissions counselor at Northeastern was arrested Tuesday for allegedly receiving and possessing child pornography, the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney’s office said Wednesday. 

Beau Christopher Benson, a 35-year-old who resides in Dorchester, allegedly used Zoom video chat rooms to share and view child pornography. Fifteen video files, which depicted explicit content of children 2 to 14 years old and contained conversations about child pornography between Benson and other members in Zoom chat rooms, were found saved in his Dropbox account, according to a press release

Law enforcement was notified of his possible involvement in viewing and distributing sexually explicit material of children in April. Benson appeared in front of U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Donald L. Cabell on Wednesday, who ruled Benson would remain in custody. Another detention hearing is scheduled for Nov. 27.

According to an affidavit from Boston Police Department Sergeant Detective Michael Sullivan obtained by The News, which describes the content of the 15 videos, Benson allegedly entered Zoom chats with other men and masturbated to videos that depicted children being sexually assaulted.

The affidavit states an unidentified person who previously pleaded guilty to child pornography charges came forward to police saying he knew Benson personally and had “encountered [him] in Zoom rooms that were used for the streaming of child pornography” prior to meeting him. 

According to the affidavit, the Boston Police Department received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children July 27 referring the police to the Dropbox file Benson, using a username and email that contained his name, allegedly uploaded videos to. According to the affidavit, Dropbox reported that there were two graphic videos uploaded to the file July 10. 

BPD obtained search warrants for Benson’s residence in August, the affidavit read, and Benson reportedly admitted that his email was the one associated with the Dropbox account in a police interrogation. 

Benson told authorities he had allowed a guest staying at his residence to use his Dropbox account and was unaware that it contained child pornography. 

“Benson indicated that Dropbox reported to him that [he] had illegal pornographic content,” the affidavit continued. “Benson denied having anything to do with child pornography found in his Dropbox account.”

Benson also said that he had encountered Zoom rooms where people were playing child pornography, but he would “immediately leave” the room upon realizing what was being streamed. He admitted to using the Dropbox file to save “homemade adult pornographic videos,” the affidavit read. 

It was unclear when Benson allegedly began participating in chat rooms or was first in possession of the explicit videos, though the affidavit concluded that Benson “knowingly received child pornography” on or about Dec. 24, 2021. 

According to Benson’s LinkedIn, he has worked at Northeastern as a senior associate director of admissions for international recruitment since October 2017. In July, he was promoted to director of global enrollment strategies, in which role he is responsible for “overseeing undergraduate international student enrollment.”

According to travel itinerary logs obtained by The News, Benson visited several high schools in New York and abroad to recruit students to the university from August to November. The travel occurred after the BPD executed the search warrant and questioned Benson about child pornography connected to his email account. 

Northeastern did not immediately respond to questions from The News about whether the university was aware BPD had executed a search warrant and questioned Benson about child pornography.

The university also did not respond to requests for comment or questions about whether Benson was still employed by the university, but a university spokesperson told The Boston Globe that Benson had been “suspended indefinitely” from his position. The Globe said the spokesperson declined to comment further. 

Benson formerly worked in admissions at New York University and was the associate director of admissions for the school from 2015-2017. 

As of Wednesday at 2:55 p.m., Benson’s profile page on Northeastern’s website linked to an error 404 message. He was also no longer listed as an admissions counselor on the university’s admissions staff page

If Benson is found guilty of receiving child pornography, he could face up to 20 years in federal prison. The charge of possession of child pornography holds a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, according to the press release. 

This article was last updated Nov. 27 to include additional information from the affidavit. 

This is a developing story. The News will continue to add more information as it becomes available.

About the Contributors
Emily Spatz, Campus Editor
Emily Spatz is a journalism and political science combined major with a minor in english and campus editor of The News. She is currently a general assignment reporter co-op at Boston.com has interned at her hometown newspaper covering business, city events and politics. She hopes to continue bringing pertinent, timely and thorough reporting to the Northeastern community. You can follow her @emilymspatz on X.
Elizabeth Scholl, Deputy Photo Editor
Elizabeth Scholl is a second-year pharmaceutical sciences major with a minor in business administration. She currently serves as one of the deputy photo editors for The News. Her favorite events to photograph include sports, concerts and anything The News needs last minute.
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