Crime

Florida man gets 10 years in C..O. online teen luring, rape

DA says he kept trying to meet teens online...

BEND, Ore. - (Updating to correct nature of rape charge)

A 25-year-old Florida man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison, convicted of contacting Prineville-area minors at several online sites and traveling to Central Oregon, where he had sex with a 14-year-old girl last spring.

Airon Bennett was arrested twice and released on bail – but then tried to meet two other teens, leading a police officer to pose online as the girls and arrange a meeting at Bend’s Drake Park, prosecutors said.

After a plea agreement was reached, Bennett was sentenced last Friday in Bend by Deschutes County Circuit Judge Roger DeHoog, according to Crook County District Attorney Daina Vitolins. She said prosecutors in the two counties coordinated their investigation and prosecution of the cases.

Bennett, of Coral Gables, Florrida, began contacting minors in Prineville on various apps such as Kik and on social media, in Facebook and other groups with names such as “Teen Hangout World 13-17” and “Teen Dating (14-17 ONLY),” Vitolins said.

Last spring, he came to Crook County to meet and have sex with a 14-year-old, which he did in Deschutes County, the DA said.

“He did this in spite of the fact that her parents intercepted a telephone call and told him that she was 14 and to stop contacting her,” Vitolins said Wednesday.

Bennett posted bail in Crook County and was then arrested in Deschutes County, where he posted bail and was again released in September, under electronic monitoring by GPS.

“He immediately started trying to hook up with two other girls from Prineville who go to school in Redmond,” Vitolins said. “Their parents contacted Redmond PD.”

Redmond police Officer Chris Wooten posed as the girls online and arranged a meeting with Bennett in Drake Park, the prosecutor said. Vitolins said Bennett showed up “even though his release agreement in both Crook and Deschutes counties specifically stated no contact with minors.”

Vitolins said Bennett was convicted on charges including two counts of third-degree rape and one count of second-degree sex abuse, as well as charges of luring a minor and online sexual corruption.

The DA said while they only know of the physical contact with one teen, Bennet had 40 online contacts with minors after his release in September, and had sent obscene photos of himself to some of them. He had no past criminal history prosecutors were aware of.


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