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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Guam Man Found Guilty of Aggravated Sexual Abuse of a Minor

PECOS – Today a federal jury convicted a Guam man for aggravated sexual abuse of a minor.

According to court documents and evidence at trial, Damion Edward Cruz-Benavente, 29, was found 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.  While living in Big Bend National Park beginning in 2015,  the defendant repeatedly sexually assaulted the victim using force and threats, placing the victim in fear.

Defendant has remained in federal custody since his arrest on March 12, 2021.  Cruz faces up to life in prison on both the charges of aggravated sexual abuse by force and sexual abuse by threat or fear.  He faces up to 15 years in prison on the sexual abuse of a minor charge.

U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas and FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Downey, El Paso Division, made the announcement.

The FBI and the National Park Services along with assistance from the Killeen Police Department and the Alpine Police Department are investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lance Kennedy and Tracy Thompson are prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and CEOS, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Updated August 18, 2021