Before his court-martial today, Airman Basic Benjamin Peck seemed to be in good spirits, laughing and joking outside the courtroom.
Once inside, however, his demeanor quickly and drastically changed.
Peck, a member of the 361st Training Squadron at Shepard Air Force Base, plead guilty in military court on one count of committing a lewd act upon a child under the age of 16, and one count of attempting to entice a child under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity.
He was sentenced to five months confinement, five months loss of pay, and given a reprimand. He was not given a Bad Conduct Discharge, as was recommended by the prosecution.
Airman Peck met the victim in the case on the chat site "Omegle," which randomly connects two people via video chat. Over a span of months, the two developed a relationship online, eventually chatting on an almost daily basis on Facebook.
After a while, the nature of the online conversations turned sexual, with the 23 year old Peck sending sexually explicit messages, photos, and videos to the victim when she was 15 years old.
The prosecution argued for the maximum penalty for Peck, which would have included 12 months of confinement as well as a Bad Conduct Discharge. The defense countered by saying that while what Airman Peck did was illegal, the fact that he never intended to meet up with the victim in person, and the fact that the victim reciprocated his advances were mitigating factors.