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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Bond hearing set for gun store owner who allegedly had sex with teen

Benjamin Yarish

A bond hearing has been set for a Leesburg gun store owner who allegedly had sex with a teen.

The bond hearing has been set for June 24 for 48-year-old Benjamin Yarish who lives at Harbor Hills in Lady Lake who has been lodged without bond since his March 25 arrest after allegedly contacting the girl in violation of a court oder.

Yarish, who owns and operates Central Florida Gun and Tactical in Leesburg, is accused of molesting the girl in July while she was a guest in his home. He was arrested Aug. 12 on a felony charge of battery and released after posting $25,000 bond. At the time of his release, he was ordered to have no contact with the girl.

However, Yarish made multiple attempts to contact the girl through social media. A “control call” was set up between Yarish and the girl. The recording was turned over to the state attorney’s office. During the call, Yarish told the girl he would get her a “burner phone” so she could contact him whenever she wished. He told her not to tell anyone they had talked. The following day, Yarish messaged the girl and told her she is “always on my mind and heart,” according to an arrest report from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. He told her to delete the message after reading it.

Last year, an investigation was launched after the Department of Children and Families received an anonymous complaint that Yarish had sexual intercourse with the juvenile victim, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The girl told investigators she was at Yarish’s home on July 18 when a woman who had accompanied her to the home “passed out” in the living room. The woman had been dating Yarish for about nine months. The girl went to sleep in a bedroom at the home.

The girl was in bed when Yarish entered the room and began rubbing her back, the affidavit said. Yarish began “fondling the juvenile victim’s breasts and kissing her lips and breasts.”

Yarish, who stands more than six feet tall and weighs 240 pounds, climbed on top of the girl, who is 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 95 pounds. He began to have sex with the girl, who told investigators it was the “first time she has had any kind of sexual experience.” She said she asked Yarish to stop “multiple times,” but he continued. She said it felt like the intercourse lasted “forever.” She was bleeding and in pain when it ended. She later feared she might be pregnant.

Yarish allegedly told the woman who had accompanied the girl he could “set them up for life” if they “made this all go away,” the affidavit said. He also boasted he had connections in the sheriff’s office.

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