Crime - Sacto 911

Child porn suspect arrested after offering to host parties in ‘My Little Pony’ outfit

Daniel Wayne Benner once worked as a janitor in an Orangevale-area preschool, and offered on Facebook to dress up in a My Little Pony costume to entertain children at birthday parties.

He also had an affinity for trading child pornography, using a Kik internet account name of “hornylonely2005,” the FBI says.

On Friday afternoon, the FBI arrested the 33-year-old Orangevale man, charging him in a federal criminal complaint with distribution of child pornography.

Benner, whose Facebook page indicates he has worked as a cook and dishwasher, remained in the Sacramento County Jail Monday following an investigation that began in Little Rock, Arkansas, court files say.

An individual in that area was communicating online with an undercover agent and distributed child pornography during those chats, court records say. That suspect’s phone was seized and searched and led agents to the hornylonely2005 account, which court records say is owned by Benner.

Federal agents searched Benner’s home on Friday and interviewed him, saying in an affidavit that Benner “admitted that there would be files of child pornography on his current phone” and that they found such photos on his phone in a file labeled “Young.”

“Benner said that he would sometimes delete his child pornography collection, but that he would sometimes start recollecting,” the affidavit says.

Benner also told law enforcement that he once worked after hours as a janitor at a preschool, but “denied sexual contact with any children at the preschool.” The documents do not identify the school.

Sacramento Superior Court files show Benner has a 2006 conviction for oral copulation with a person under 18 and that he received a six-month sentence and five years of probation. That conviction was dismissed in 2012 after he filed a petition with the court seeking dismissal, court records show.

Benner also apparently had an interest in one particular My Little Pony character, which the FBI affidavit says was spelled out on his Facebook page.

“Rainbow Dash is looking to come to you for your birthday party she brings candy with her and loves to get hugs and loves posing for pictures contact me for quotes,” the Feb. 28 post says.

My Little Pony has long been a popular toy and entertainment franchise, and in recent years has spawned a following among adults who refer to themselves as “Bronies.”

“They’re not overly effeminate,” a 2017 Daily Beast story on the phenomenon says. “Many aren’t gay. They aren’t predatory, or even being ironic.

“They are just guys. Dudes. Dudes who like My Little Pony.”

There is no indication in court files that Benner was such a fan. Instead, the FBI affidavit indicates he was offering to dress up in a My Little Pony costume as a business venture.

“When asked about the My Little Pony costume and proposed party work shown on his Facebook profile, Benner said that he and two friends were going to start a birthday party business,” the affidavit says. “Benner was supposed to be the person in the costume.

“However, they were unable to secure any customers.”

Sam Stanton has worked for The Bee since 1991 and has covered a variety of issues, including politics, criminal justice and breaking news.