ANNAPOLIS, MD - Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced today that a jury convicted Jonathan Benitez, 22, of Laurel of two counts of second degree assault, two counts of third degree sex offense and lesser included charges.
"The victim coming forward and telling her mother what happened led to a successful conviction in this case and likely stopped any further abuse" said State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. "I urge parents to have a continuous dialogue with their children to let them know no one has permission to touch them in a way that they do not like as well as teach them to recognize when someone is taking advantage of them. If it should occur, children should be reminded to tell a trustworthy adult."
On July 29, 2018, Anne Arundel County police officers responded to a call from the victim's mother who said that her daughter was at a family party at a home located in the 31 block of S. Paula Drive when 22-year-old Jonathan Benitez, who lived next door, kissed and licked her 11-year-old daughter on her lips, squeezed her breast and buttocks and rubbed her stomach. The victim immediately told her mother about the inappropriate incident.
During the investigation, the victim's mother shared a picture and video of Benitez from the party with police officers. Additionally, the victim's brother who witnessed some of Benitez's actions corroborated the details of the assault.
As a result of this conviction, Benitez will be required to register as a lifetime sexual offender. He faces a maximum sentence of 40 years and will be sentenced on December 16, 2019 by the Honorable Stacy W. McCormack.
Assistant State's Attorney Brenda Harkavy prosecuted the case on behalf of the citizens of Anne Arundel County.