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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Man found guilty of sexually battering and molesting 13-year-old child

A Clermont man was found guilty of molesting a 13-year-old child in a 2021 case.

Hezekiah Benjamin Jr.
Hezekiah Benjamin Jr.

Last week, a Lake County jury found 60-year-old Hezekiah Benjamin Jr. guilty on one count of sexual battery of a victim under 18 and two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation of a child under 16. While this case was his first conviction in Florida, Benjamin’s prior out-of-state history detailed other instances of child exploitation. 

“Benjamin has a notable history of preying upon young, innocent children,” said Bill Gladson, Fifth Judicial Circuit State Attorney. “Our office is thankful that we were able to obtain justice for the victim in this case, and in some manner, closure for Benjamin’s other victims.” 

Back in May 2021, it was reported to Clermont Police Department officials that Benjamin had sexually battered a 13-year-old child. Officials received a call reporting this information where the caller advised the victim texted them, stating Benjamin was abusing them. 

The victim was subsequently interviewed at the Child Advocacy Center in Leesburg for further investigation. At the center, the victim confirmed sending the text messages and informed investigators of the abuse committed by Benjamin, relaying vital details of the incidents. The victim further indicated they feared Benjamin. 

CPD deputies then attempted to contact Benjamin regarding the allegations. After several unsuccessful attempts, an arrest warrant was issued. Benjamin was then arrested on the warrant and booked into the Lake County Jail. His sentencing hearing will be scheduled for a later time. 

Thanks to the hard work of Detective Wray from CPD during the investigation of this case, Assistant State Attorneys Kati Cosden and Gennady Gusak were able to secure a successful prosecution.

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