ARMY RECRUITER ARRESTED ON SEX CHARGES
IN TEXAS - STAFF SGT ROLAND BENAVIDES HELD
ON $150,000 BAIL - ACCUSED OF ASSAULTING
POTENTIAL RECRUIT - TEEN-AGE GIRL TOLD MOM
WHO COMPLAINED TO ARMY, NOT LOCAL COPS
POSSIBLE "COVER-UP" AS NCO ALLOWED TO
REMAIN IN JOB - MAYBE OTHER FEMALE "VICTIMS"
Copyright © 2011 MilitaryCorruption.com
Few non-combat jobs in the military are as high-pressure as recruiting duty. The rewards are there - fast promotions, more money in the pay check - but the downside is deadly. If you don't "make mission," your career is over.
The worst part of a recruiter's life isn't the long hours and sacrificed family life, it's the temptations that confront him (or her) that could lead to ruin and a cell at Leavenworth.
Staff Sgt. Roland Benavides seemed to thrive on pressure. He was glib and charismatic and when he did a presentation at local high schools, there were always some teen-aged girls who were dazzled by his charm.
SARGE USED CHARISMA TO CHARM TEEN GIRLS
Sometimes, the 45 year-old Army NCO, didn't sweep a female off her feet but pursued her anyway, recklessly leaving intimate messages on her cell phone - and even coming over to her home when parents were away - and having sex.
Investigators in Austin, Tex. say the sarge did just that with a 17 year-old victim who reported she was sexually assaulted while alone at her house.
The teenager said at first Benavides' messages were related to Army matters and strictly business. "But soon they became sexual," she said, and that made her "uncomfortable." One day the recruiter showed up unannounced, ostensibly to discuss an entrance test score. The girl said they ended up in bed. She told her mother what had happened right afterward. That was in October 2009.
The furious mom called up the local Army headquarters and complained. She was told an "investigation" would be launched. It was, but the results weren't what the angry parent wanted.
The 14-year Army veteran told probers the girl in question "had a crush" on him and that it was he who had spurned her advances, thus the "sex assault" charges made in "retaliation." For whatever reason, he was cleared and left in his recruiting position until early this year, when more complaints like the one with the teen-aged girl surfaced.
WHY DID ARMY KEEP BENAVIDES IN RECRUITER JOB?
Now, Benavides is cooling his heels in the Travis County Jail in Austin, Texas. He's being held there in lieu of $150,000 bail.
Folks in the Austin area want to know why the sergeant wasn't transferred to another position after the first complaint? Could there have been a cover-up, and if so, is the Army responsible for other such alleged sexual assaults in the area that have now been reported?
Ironically, Benavides has been awarded four "Good Conduct Medals" during his years in the Army. He was part of 5th Recruiting Brigade, based at Fort Sam Houston, Tex.