PECOS, Texas (Nexstar)- Damion Edward Cruz-Benavente, 30, was found guilty in August by a jury in Pecos on one count of aggravated sexual assault by force, one count of sexual abuse by fear or threat, and one count of sexual abuse of a minor. On Monday, Cruz-Benavente was sentenced Monday to two life sentences in prison.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, while living in Big Bend National Park, beginning in 2015, Cruz-Benavente repeatedly sexually assaulted his victims using force and threats, placing the victims in fear. He was arrested on March 12, 2021, and has been in federal custody since his arrest.
“This is a horrific case of child victimization by an evil predator who stole a child’s innocence and has now received a sentence that provides some measure of justice for the brave victim,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff. “I am grateful for the tireless efforts of our law enforcement partners as we work together to protect our communities.”
“This sentencing should send a strong message to those who sexually harm innocent children in our community,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey R. Downey. “For years, the defendant in this case committed despicable and heinous acts against the victim and the victim’s siblings. The victim can now have faith that others believed the victim’s cry for help, wanted to help the victim heal and gave the victim the peace of mind to know the defendant will be behind bars for a very long time. Thanks to the exemplary efforts of the National Park Service, Alpine Police Department, the Killeen Police Department, and the dedicated work from our agents who aggressively pursue these heinous criminals, this individual will finally be held accountable for his actions.”
A mugshot for Cruz-Benavente was unavailable.