Joshua Ray Benson, 18, of Bensalem, Pennsylvania, is accused of sexually assaulting at least seven teenage girls between the ages of 14 and 16, reports NBC Philadelphia.
According to the Bensalem police, Benson committed sexual assault offenses as a juvenile and continued to do so as an adult. His charges on November 21 specifically relate to his assaults on two girls while he was an adult. Police have said the total number of his victims is seven.
It’s alleged that Benson met the girls online, befriended them and then preyed on them.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. He Was Previously Convicted of Sexual Assault as a Juvenile
According to an official release from the Bensalem Police Department:
[Josh Benson] has been incarcerated at Edison Juvenile Detention Center for the sexual assault of 5 other teenager women that he assaulted while he was a juvenile. Currently, 7 victims who were, between 14-16 yrs. of age at the time of the assault, have come forth to report that he sexually assaulted them. Police believe there are many more.
On his Facebook page in August, Benson wrote about how he was going “crazzy” on house arrest. The Bensalem Patch reports that Benson has been “detained” for the past 90 days.
The two attacks that Benson was charged for on November 21 reportedly occurred between December 2012 and May 2013.
2. Benson Met His Victims Online
The official release from the Bensalem PD reads:
In many of the cases the suspect would befriend the victims by meeting them on a dating website or through other people. This has been occurring for the past several years. Over the course of a few weeks of befriending them the victims would trust him and at some point agreed to have a sexual encounter.
Almost immediately when the sexual encounter began the suspect became physically violent. The victims became terrified and asked him to stop, however the suspect became more violent by physically restraining them and continued the sexual assault.
On at least one occasion the suspect forcefully raped a teenager.
Police believe that there are many more victims of Benson’s actions out there. Bensalem Police are asking any victims who have not reported an assault from Benson to please contact Det. Chris McMullin or Det. Dave Nieves Jr at 215-633-3719.
I almost feel as though there are many other "Josh Bensons" in Bensalem, just not every girl has came forward about their experience.
— Haley Biggins (@halbiggs) November 21, 2013
The attacks are reported to have occurred at different locations around Bensalem, and in one instance, in his home.
Sergeant Andy Aninsman of the Bensalem Police Department’s SVU told the media:
You don’t know who you are talking to out there.
You get online and you start talking to people, and they start telling you how much they like you and they think you’re pretty, and the next thing you know you become a victim.
3. Benson’s Bail Has Been Set a $5 Million
Benson stood before District Judge Joseph Falcone in Bensalem on November 21. According to the Bensalem Patch, he swore at reporters as he was escorted out. Prosecutor Michelle Henry argued for the massive bail because his alleged victims feared “retaliation.” The bail includes conditions that Benson have no contact with the girls.
Criminal charges were filed against Benson after his young victims bravely came forward and told police about their ordeal. Benson appeared in court in his hometown of Bensalem on the morning of November 21. He was charged with sexual assault and related crimes, reports ABC Philadelphia. He’s being held at the adult facility in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, reports Philly.com.
CBS Philadelphia reports that his encounters began consensually but turned violent. When Benson was asked to stop, he would turn violent and in one encounter he choked a girl.
4. He Was in a Relationship in August 2012
According to his Facebook page, Benson was in a relationship as of August 2012, it doesn’t say when the relationship ended.
5. He Moved to Bensalem in 2010
There are conflicting reports about where Benson is from, with NBC Philadelphia saying Ohio and the Bensalem Patch saying Utah, but says Bensalem is his hometown on Facebook. He is a graduate of Bensalem Township High School.
According to the Bensalem Patch, Benson lives on the 2000 block of Brown Avenue in the town.
If you or anybody you know has been raped or sexually assaulted please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 1.800.656.HOPE(4673).