Laredo, Texas: A 58-year-old former pastor was arrested on Monday, September 12 on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a disabled person. On Thursday, September 15, he was released on $100,000 bond.
According to the Laredo Morning Times the investigation began on March 2 when the Webb County Sheriff's Department received a report concerning a sexual assault that had taken place in February.
The woman told investigators that Jorge Ariel Benavides had picked her up on the night of February 1 at about 9:00 pm. She stated that she thought they were going to Los Lomas to look at paperwork concerning his adopting her and to return an undisclosed amount of money to her that Benavides had previously borrowed.
Instead, the woman alleged that Benavides took her to a ranch in Los Lomas which belonged to the now defunct Iglesia Cristiana Casa de Dios church where he worked as a pastor. At the property, Benavides reportedly told her that they were going to "chill" and began to remove his clothing and told her to remove hers.
The affidavit indicates that the woman complied out of fear.
"When asked what suspect Benavides had done to cause her fear, [she] stated she had been advised by suspect Benavides multiple times that she would be placed in a mental institution with the state because she is a consumer and no one would believe that a priest had raped her," the affidavit stated.
After reportedly sexually assaulting her twice, she was told to dress and wait for him in his vehicle.
"[She] then stated that when she was going into the truck, suspect Benavides advised [her] to pray because she was going to hell for the sin she had committed."
When contacted about the accusations, Benavides indicated that his late wife, who had passed away on July 2, was the woman's foster mother and caretaker and that they had all lived together. Following his wife's death, he stated that he automatically remained in charge of the woman through Happy Families, LLC.
He denied the allegations against him several times, accusing the woman of making up false allegations when she would not get her way. Benavides further alleged that she had pornography on her cell phone messages from various men interested in sex.
A representative of Happy Families, LLC., reportedly provided information showing that the woman was classified as a special needs individual with "attention seeking" tendencies who would make allegations if things did not go her way.
The woman's current foster mother was contacted who confirmed that she would contact men for sex and "does not make the right decisions."
She told investigators that on the night of February 1, she noticed that the woman seemed to be sad when she returned home. According to her statements, the woman asked for her to check her "down there" disclosing that she had "sexual intercourse aggressively, which hurt her."
The woman was treated at a local hospital where a SANE exam was conducted. A DNA sample that was willingly provided by Benavides matched with recovered semen.