Former California Police Officer Pleads Guilty to Civil Rights Offense for Sexually Exploiting Woman
WASHINGTON—Former Anderson, California police officer Bryan Robert Benson pleaded guilty today in federal court to a civil rights offense for sexually assaulting a woman while transporting her to jail, announced the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.
Benson, 29, pleaded guilty to one felony count of deprivation of rights under color of law. According to the factual basis in a plea agreement filed with the court today, Benson transported the victim to the Shasta County Jail after she was arrested for driving under the influence on May 29, 2010. Before arriving at the jail, Benson pulled into a parking lot. There, he falsely reported by police radio to dispatch that he had arrived at the jail when, in fact, he had not. Benson got out of the car, opened the passenger side door of the car, removed the victim from the passenger seat, and led her to the back of the police car. Benson pulled down the victim’s shorts and underwear and engaged in intercourse with her against the police car without her consent. The offense resulted in bodily injury to the victim, including physical pain and bruising.
Sentencing is scheduled for August 15, 2014. Benson and the government agreed in the plea agreement that the court should sentence Benson to five years in prison. Benson also faces a fine of up to $250,000.
“In sexually assaulting a woman in his custody, the defendant betrayed his oath to uphold the law, violated the trust placed in him by society, and, most regrettably, caused untold harm to the victim,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “The department will continue to hold such offenders accountable.”
“Members of the public have a right and an expectation that they can look to the police for help and safety,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner for the Eastern District of California.. “When a police officer abuses that trust for his own criminal purposes, he violates his duty to protect the public, undermines the effectiveness of his fellow officers, and subverts the rule of law.”
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Chiraag Bains from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew G. Morris for the Eastern District of California.