A Navy Petty Officer stationed in Lemoore, California is charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl and forcing her to have sex with multiple men. According to the Fresno Bee, Charles Ray Benavidez, 32, was arrested April 17, but police are coming forward now to solicit help from the public in their investigation.
A Porterville Police Department spokesperson told the Bee that Benavidez met the teenager on a social networking site and, knowing that she was underage, traveled to Porterville, California to have sex with her. He made a second visit for similar purposes and on a third, forced the girl to have sex with a second man.
Benavidez later transported the girl to his home in Lemoore where she was forced to perform sexual acts with multiple men. Benavidez reportedly filmed and distributed via the Internet.
On April 17, a tipster alerted police about the crimes against the girl. Having secured a warrant, Porterville Police teamed up with Lemoore Police, a child sex crime specialist from the Tulare County, California and representatives of the Department of Homeland Security. The multi-agency squad searched Benavidez' house, then proceded to his place of work on the Navy Base and arrested him with help from the Navy Criminal Investigative Services.
The Bee reported that Benavidez was booked into the Tulare County Jail on suspicion of pimping a minor over 16, possession of child pornography, using a minor for sex acts, unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor and possession of marijuana for sale, police said.
The detectives heading the case are meeting with the California U.S. Attorney's office to determine whether Benavidez can be charged with sexual trafficking of a child.
Meanwhile, forensic investigators are analyzing the video and computer traffic in search other the other men who had sex with the underage girl.
Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call Sgt. Ron Moore or Detective Harvey Dominguez at (559) 782-7400.
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[An earlier draft of this article identified Benavidez as a Navy Officer rather than Navy Petty Officer. Raw Story regrets the error.]