Former Anderson, California, police officer Bryan Robert Benson, 30, of Shasta Lake, was sentenced today in federal court to five years in prison and 3 years of supervised release for violating the civil rights of a woman he arrested by sexually assaulting her while she was in his custody, announced the Justice Department and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.
The federal indictment charged Benson with deprivation of rights under color of law in connection with the sexual assault of a woman he had placed under arrest on May 29, 2010. According to court documents, while Benson was transporting the victim to jail, he stopped in a parking lot and sexually assaulted her. Benson instructed the victim not to report it, and in order to impede any investigation, he reported to a police dispatcher that he and the victim had arrived at the Shasta County jail approximately eight minutes before they actually arrived. Benson was fired from his position with the Anderson Police Department as a result of this conduct.
“This defendant used his position as a police officer to prey on the vulnerable,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division. “He not only violated the victim, but also his oath to serve and protect, and the trust the community put in him. The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute those who abuse their position and authority to harm those whom they have sworn to protect.”
“Police officers are sworn to protect and to serve the citizens of their community,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner for the Eastern District of California. “Sexually assaulting a citizen in police custody is the worst betrayal of that duty. Officer Benson not only violated the trust of his community, he let down his fellow officers of the Anderson Police Department who work diligently every day to earn that trust.”
This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was 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.