SAN ANTONIO – Today a San Antonio man was sentenced to 168 months in prison for attempting to coerce and entice a minor.
According to court documents, Rick Benavides, 48, responded to a post purportedly from a 14-year-old who was visiting a relative on Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland (LAFB). Benavides requested multiple times that the child send him naked photos. He also stated numerous times he wanted to engage in sexual acts with the minor. Benavides made plans to pick the child up at the park on LAFB and take the minor to his house to engage in sexual activities.
Unbeknownst to Benavides, he was chatting with U.S. Air Force—Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) undercover agents. When Benavides entered LAFB and attempted to meet the child, he was arrested by AFOSI agents.
“Mobile applications are great tools which have enhanced many areas of our lives in recent years; however, we must protect our children from predators hiding behind the cloak of anonymity they provide,” said U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff.
On July 8, 2021, Benavides was found guilty by a federal jury of one count of attempted coercion and enticement of a minor.
The AFOSI investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Bettina Richardson prosecuted 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.
Department of Justice
Office of the U.S. Attorney
Western District of Texas