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California man gets prison for harassing teen girls online

April 14, 2021 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California man was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in federal prison for carrying out an online harassment campaign against two teenage girls who rejected his sexual advances, prosecutors said.

Carl De Vera Bennington, 34, pleaded guilty last year to two federal cyberstalking charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

At the sentencing hearing, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee described Bennington’s messages to his victims as “repeated, cruel” and “sadistic.”

Bennington admitted that from 2016 to 2020 he repeatedly used various social media accounts to harass the victims, sending hundreds of messages threatening to commit acts of physical and sexual violence against them if they did not submit to his advances.

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Neither teen ever met Bennington in person, according to federal prosecutors.

When one of the girls demanded that Bennington stop harassing her, Bennington replied that he was going to kill her and her family, court papers showed.

Bennington suffers from mental health issues, which prompted prosecutors to seek enhanced supervision and treatment following his release, officials said.