San Antonio, Texas, April 27, 2016: Today, a Bexar County Grand Jury indicted local defense attorney Mark Benavides, age 46, with 35 counts for the charges of Sexual Assault and Compelling Prostitution. The indictment covers offense dates ranging from 2009 to 2015.
In November 2015, San Antonio police arrested Benavides for the charge of Compelling Prostitution. The arrest was the result of a joint investigation between the District Attorney’s Office and the San Antonio Police Department. The investigation stemmed from a report in 2012 that Benavides had coerced a client to perform sexual acts on him, in addition to new allegations that were raised by a client who asked for a new trial in 2015. The separate complaints were similar enough to warrant an investigation. Prior to his arrest, several other women came forward who also claimed that Benavides had coerced them into performing sexual acts and that he had videotaped these encounters. Additionally, there were more women who came forward after he was arrested.
The victims were each able to identify Benavides, and their stories were corroborated by evidence collected from the motel where they stated the sexual activity occurred as well as by court documents that verify the dates of the assaults. All of the victims recounted that they felt they had no choice in the matter and that if they did not perform the sexual acts in the manner that Benavides required, they would go back to jail or he would not give them proper legal representation. Benavides was appointed on several of the cases, and hired on others. At this time there are nine victims alleged in the indictment.
Sexual Assault and Compelling Prostitution are both 2nd degree felonies, punishable by 2-20 years in prison, and up to a $10,000.00 fine. The cases, which are currently pending out of the 186th District Court, will be prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office Special Crimes Unit.