Predator Sent to Prison for 2 Life Sentences for Assaulting Minor

ALPINE, TX –– A Pecos jury has sentenced a man to two life sentences after finding him guilty of sexually abusing a minor.

Back in August of 2021, a jury found 29-year-old Damion Edward Cruz-Benavente guilty of one count of aggravated sexual abuse by force; one count of sexual abuse by threat or fear; and one count of sexual abuse of a minor.

According to the U.S. Attorneys Office, in 2015 Cruz-Benavente repeatedly assaulted the child by using force and threats, placing the victim in fear. Cruz-Benavente lived at Big Bend National Park at the time of the abuse.

“This is a horrific case of child victimization by an evil predator who stole a child’s innocence and has now received a sentence that provides some measure of justice for the brave victim,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “I am grateful for the tireless efforts of our law enforcement partners as we work together to protect our communities.”

Cruz-Benavente was arrested in March of 2021 and found guilty five months later. His sentencing hearing was held earlier this week.

“This sentencing should send a strong message to those who sexually harm innocent children in our community,” Downey said. “For years, the defendant, in this case, committed despicable and heinous acts against the victim and the victim’s siblings. The victim can now have faith that others believed the victim’s cry for help, wanted to help the victim heal, and gave the victim the peace of mind to know the defendant will be behind bars for a very long time," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffery R. Downey. "Thanks to the exemplary efforts of the National Park Service, Alpine Police Department, the Killeen Police Department, and the dedicated work from our agents who aggressively pursue these heinous criminals, this individual will finally be held accountable for his actions. The FBI is committed to preventing violent crimes against children and to bring those who harm them to justice. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and use every investigative tool to protect the public from these types of horrific crimes.”


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