LOS ANGELES – A San Gabriel Valley man was sentenced today to 18 months in federal prison for sending hundreds of messages over several years to two victims, including a teenage girl, demanding they engage in sex acts with him and threatening to physically harm or kill them if they refused.
Carl De Vera Bennington, 34, of Covina, was sentenced by United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee, who described Bennington’s messages to his victims as “repeated, cruel” and “sadistic.” Bennington pleaded guilty in December 2020 to two counts of cyberstalking.
Bennington repeatedly sent one victim unsolicited online messages over a period of several years. When she blocked him from contacting her from one of her online accounts, Bennington created new online accounts and then continued sending her messages, including graphic messages between June and November 2019 in which he insulted the victim, demanded she engage in sex acts with him, and threatened to sexually assault her. When the victim demanded that Bennington stop harassing her, he threatened to kill her and her family.
Bennington also harassed another victim, who deactivated her social media accounts in 2017 after he solicited her to engage in a sexual relationship with him. In August 2019, after she reactivated her social media accounts, Bennington sent her numerous online messages threatening to kill her unless she responded to his demands for sex acts.
Neither victim ever met Bennington in person. Bennington frequently promoted incel (involuntarily celibate) ideology, which involves individuals who are unable to find a willing sex partner, according to a sentencing memo filed by prosecutors, which notes the ideology ranges in tone from expressing sadness and self-loathing to advocating the “absolute hatred” of women.
While Bennington suffers from mental health issues – which prompted prosecutors to seek enhanced supervision and mental health treatment following his release – a prison sentence was warranted because of his long pattern of cyberstalking activity and “his deep-seated and violent ideology regarding women,” according to the sentencing memo.
The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated this matter.
Assistant United States Attorney David T. Ryan of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section prosecuted this matter.