Former Whitman student Ben Katz takes plea deal in child sex crime

Sean Gannon, News Editor

Former Whitman student Benjamin Katz pleaded guilty last week to three charges regarding child sex crimes, according to court records.

Katz, 24, was sentenced on March 10 to nearly five years in prison with credit for time already served. The earliest possible release date is December 2023, according to the Oregon Department of Corrections. Once released, Katz will have about seven years of probation and will register as a sex offender. 

Katz was arrested his senior year in December 2019 by a Washington State Trooper in response to a felony arrest warrant from Clackamas County Circuit Court in Oregon City. He was accused of being a fugitive, according to local court documents. Because Katz had been charged with committing a crime in another state, the Court accused him of fleeing from justice.

Katz has served over one year so far for one count of luring a minor, one count of attempting to commit a Class B felony and one count of attempting to commit a Class C felony.

More severe charges in the initial indictment — using a child in a display of sexually explicit conduct, second-degree online sexual corruption of a child and two counts of harassment — were dismissed in exchange for his guilty plea. 

Katz is set to serve the remainder of his sentence in Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville, Oregon.