Instead of transporting the woman who’d been arrested by another officer directly to the Shasta County Jail, Anderson Police Department Officer Bryan Benson allegedly took a detour off Highway 273. That’s where he parked his car behind a Redding building, pulled the woman from the car and sexually assaulted her, said Redding Police Chief Peter Hansen and Shasta County District Attorney Jerry Benito during a Tuesday afternoon joint press conference.
During the conference, held at the Redding Police Department, Benito said that the victim had been handcuffed at the Anderson Police Department. She was later placed, unhandcuffed, in the front seat of Benson’s unmarked police car for transport to the Shasta County Jail in Redding.
The victim said that as Benson drove, the officer began making verbal sexual advances and attempted to have the woman perform sexual acts, which he said the victim declined.
After that Benson drove into a dirt pullout that led to a side street and eventually behind a building, Benito said, which is where Benson sexually assaulted the woman.
Benito said that after the assault, Benson drove the victim to the Shasta County Jail. During that time, the woman texted her sister a message that said she was just “raped by a cop.”
Benito said that after Benson dropped the victim off at the jail, the woman told Sgt. Champagne that Benson had sexually assaulted her. Champagne then checked the time log and noticed the time discrepancies, and immediately contacted the Redding Police Department, which began the investigation.
According to a Shasta County District Attorney statement, Benson was arrested this morning at the Anderson Police Department and booked into the Shasta County Jail on several felonies. The charges include forcible rape, rape by threat of authority, sexual battery by restraint, kidnapping, bribery and assault by a public officer.
Anderson Police Department Officer Bryan Benson, above, was booked in the Shasta County Jail today.
According to Benito and Hansen, the evidence against 25-year-old Benson includes:
• A time discrepancy between Benson’s reported time of arrival at the Shasta County Jail versus the actual time.
• Bruising on the victim’s left thigh and right arm.
• June 3 testimony from Officer Goodwin, who’d originally arrested the woman on May 29 and requested her transport from the Anderson Police Department to the Shasta County Jail. (Benson was on duty at the time, in uniform, but driving an unmarked vehicle he’d used earlier for special patrol of recent crime areas.) Goodwin said that after Benson returned to the APD, Benson told Goodwin he’d had sex with the woman on the way to the jail.
• Tire tread marks that matched Benson’s car in the area where the victim identified she’d been attacked.
• Because the victim had reported that Benson had ejaculated on the rear tire of the car and on the ground, investigators swabbed the vehicle’s tire and found a substance that was analyzed and later identified as semen. DNA results are pending.
• The victim’s sister confirmed reception of the text message, which was sent during the time the victim was in Benson’s custody and transport.
• Tire tracks found at the dirt area of the alleged assault were similar to those from Benson’s car.
Other points covered during the press conference included:
The victim’s name is being kept confidential, as are details related to the woman’s early-morning misdemeanor case that led to her arrest because those could lead to the victim’s identification.
Benito praised the collaborative work between the his office, the Redding Police Department, Anderson Police Department and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department for a thorough investigation that culminated in enough sufficient evidence to proceed with the filing of criminal charges.
Benson’s bail is set at $500,000.
Independent online journalist Doni Greenberg founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Greenberg was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.