Saskatchewan sex offender who fled to U.S. with children gets four-plus years in jail

A convicted sex offender living in Saskatchewan who cut through a fence to drive across the Canada-U.S. border with two children and their mother has been sentenced to more than four years in prison in the United States.

Benjamin Martin Moore was sentenced last Friday to a 52-month term in South Dakota Court after previously pleading guilty to possession of child pornography.

He was also sentenced to five years of supervised release and is not allowed to initiate contact with children under the age of 18.

An agreed statement of facts entered in court says Moore, along with the children and their mother, illegally crossed the border in August 2022 and travelled to a campground near Sturgis, S.D.

The seven-year-old girl and eight-year-old boy were the centre of an Amber Alert after they were not found at their home in Eastend in southwest Saskatchewan.

Moore was arrested after two days at the Sturgis campground.

The court document says U.S. agents used their cruisers to pin Moore’s vehicle to stop the man from fleeing with the woman and children.

It says a cellphone and SIM card found in Moore’s possession contained child pornography.

Moore pleaded guilty in December. The offence carried a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Moore is also facing charges in Canada for failing to report a change of address, which is required for convicted sex offenders, and breaching a court order not to have weapons. RCMP have said he will face the charges upon his return to Canada after he is released from custody in the United States.

At the time of the Amber Alert, Mounties said Moore was being investigated by social services in Saskatchewan. The U.S. court document says when Moore was contacted by social services, he lied and said he and the woman and children were in Ontario.

Moore instead drove the woman and children to the border near Turner, Mont., where he cut through a barbed wire fence in the middle of the night, says the document.

RCMP had said they were concerned due to Moore’s background.

Canadian court records show Moore was convicted in 2009 for sexual interference of a minor. He was sentenced in Regina provincial court to two years and two months in prison.

The records also say he served three months in jail in 2011 after he was convicted of breaching a recognizance order.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2024.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press