Charles Benavidez.jpg

Charles Benavidez

FRESNO — A Lemoore sailor who pleaded guilty in January to sex trafficking a minor has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Charles Ray Benavidez, 33, admitted to recruiting a 17-year-old girl through social networking sites to engage in commercial sex acts with multiple men.

Detectives with the Porterville Police Department said Benavidez went to meet with the teen in Tulare County several times. He later brought her back to his Lemoore home, where she was coerced into engaging in sex acts. Benavidez videotaped several of the encounters.

An aviation ordnanceman second class, Benavidez was arrested at the base on April 17, 2013. His charges ranged from pimping a minor over 16 and unlawful intercourse with a minor to possession of child pornography.

He was initially held at the Tulare County Jail until federal charges were filed against him on May 23, 2013. He has remained in federal custody ever since.

His plea carried with it a minimum statutory sentence of 10 years in prison.

The investigation was a joint effort by the Central California Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, police in Porterville, Tulare and Lemoore, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

“For most people, criminal acts against children are impossible to comprehend, but for the children who have been sexually exploited, these crimes are all too real,” said Mike Prado, resident agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Fresno, in a written statement. “The physical and emotional scars are difficult, if not impossible, to outgrow.”

The reporter can be reached at 583-2425 and jjohnson@HanfordSentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @JoeJohnsonHS.

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