SAN ANTONIO – A federal jury today convicted Rick A. Benavides, a 48-year-old Department of Defense information technology contractor, of attempting to entice a child to engage in sexual activity.
According to evidence presented during the three-day trial, in February 2019 Benavides repeatedly requested that the minor send him a photograph of her full body while she showered through multiple online chats, including while at work. During his chat conversations, Benavides described the sexual acts he wanted to engage in with the minor. He also made plans to pick up the minor on Joint Base San Antonio (JBSA)-Lackland, take her to his off-base residence to engage in sexual activity, then return her.
On February 20, 2019, Benavides arrived at Lyons Park on JBSA-Lackland to meet the minor only to discover that the individual he believed he was communicating with was in fact an undercover U.S. Air Force Office of Investigations agent.
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff made today’s announcement.
Benavides remains in federal custody pending sentencing scheduled for October 20, 2021, before U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez. He faces from 10 years to life in federal prison.
The U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations conducted this investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bettina Richardson is prosecuting this 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 http://www.justice.gov/psc.