Illegal immigrant pleads guilty to sexually assaulting 12-year-old girl in Iowa

Benitez first crossed into the United States via Mexico in April 2022.

Jarryd Jaeger Vancouver, BC

An illegal immigrant from Honduras has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl in Iowa after he was released at the southern border. He has been in the US since at least spring 2022.  

Junior Manuel Dubon Benitez, 18, admitted to the crime in an Iowa District Court in Black Hawk County on May 14, and is scheduled to be sentenced in the coming weeks. The 18-year-old was originally charged with second-degree sexual abuse, but under the terms of a plea agreement, that was reduced to third-degree sexual abuse. He faces up to 10 years in prison.  

According to the Washington Examiner, Benitez was arrested in Waterloo, Iowa on February 14, just days after the incident took place. It was not made clear how he and the victim, whose identity was not made public due to her age, knew each other.   

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement told the outlet that Dubon Benitez was a citizen of Honduras and entered the country illegally near Hidalgo, Texas, in April, 2022. After arriving in Hidalgo, Texas, and being released he moved inland, and eventually ended up in Iowa. It was not revealed whether he came alone, or with family.   

Following his guilty plea, Benitez was kept in custody of the Iowa Department of Corrections, where he will remain until he is sentenced. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has filed a detainer with the agency, requesting that it turn him over to them after he has served his time in prison instead of letting him loose. If the state abides by ICE's wishes, deportation proceedings will commence once he is released.  

The news comes amid a spike in violent incidents involving illegal immigrants in the US, many of which include the sexual abuse of minors. In New York City, for example, a 13-year-old girl was raped by an illegal immigrant, and in Houston, Texas, two illegal immigrants who had been caught and released by border patrol agents allegedly strangled a 12-year-old girl to death. 

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