A Schuylkill County man was sentenced his week in federal court in Scranton for possession of child pornography.

Carl Benson, 53, of Auburn, was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison followed by lifetime supervision, according to U.S. Attorney Peter J. Smith, of the middle district.

Benson was sentenced for downloading and distributing child pornography, Smith said. Benson pleaded guilty to the charge in August to downloading and sharing over 11,000 images of child pornography on his computer from 2005 to Nov. 3, 2009.

Smith said the case was a part of a nationwide program, Project Safe Childhood, to fight the growing "epidemic" of child sexual exploitation and abuse. The program was started in March 2006 by the U.S. Department of Justice.

Benson was indicted by a federal grand jury in May following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Smith said.

Benson was also ordered to pay a $100 special assessment.