Bensalem man arraigned on rape charges

Posted: November 23, 2013

Update: Police on Friday said that following publicity about the case, an eighth alleged victim came forward. Joshua Ray Benson was a juvenile at the time of the assault and was charged as a juvenile, police said. The victim was 17 at the time.

Earlier story

BENSALEM Joshua Ray Benson was a casual user of Internet dating websites, going online in pursuit of female companionship, police said Thursday.

As a Bucks County teenager, Benson looked for girls in the Philadelphia area between the ages of 14 and 16, police said. When he caught their attention, he cultivated friendships with them just long enough to gain their trust.

But when the initial stage of sexual contact got underway, Benson became violently aggressive, sexually assaulting the girls against their will, police alleged.

Benson, 18, was arraigned Thursday on charges he forced two female minors into sexual activity as an adult from December 2012 through May. He was already in custody at the Edison Juvenile Detention Center for the last three months on charges he sexually abused five other female minors when he was a minor himself, police said.

All seven alleged victims have come forward with allegations of sexual assault against Benson, according to police, who said they believe "there are many other victims out there."

Some of the seven victims were courted on an online dating website that police would not identify. The other alleged victims were introduced to him by friends, according to police.

Benson's lawyer, Robert A. Mancini, said the chargers against his client were "as serious as it gets."

"At this point, they are allegations," he said.

Michelle A. Henry, a Bucks County prosecutor, argued for District Judge Joseph Falcone to levy a "substantial bail" on Benson at the county's adult jail, saying the two alleged victims in the adult case were assaulted "numerous times" and feared retaliation.

Mancini requested an unsecured bail, arguing his client would still be detained at the juvenile detention center for the juvenile case.

Falcone set bail at $5 million. Benson turns 19 on Dec. 7. He is originally from Utah but has lived in Bensalem for the last three years, according to authorities.

In June, Benson agreed to pre-adjudication on charges he purchased alcohol as a minor, according to court records. The terms of his agreement were to do 24 hours of community service and take alcohol education classes.

Benson's next court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 3 in his adult sexual assault case.

Police said anyone with assault allegations against Benson can contact the Bensalem Township Police Department at 215-633-3700.

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