Man accused of lewd acts with teen on ride-along
Jesse B. Gill, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/06/2011 03:08:01 PM PDT

VICTORVILLE – A sheriff’s deputy accused of sex acts with a 17-year-old police Explorer on ride-alongs pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony charges.

Anthony Benjamin, 30, of Beaumont faces two charges of oral copulation on a minor. Michael D. Williamson, his Pasadena-based attorney, entered the pleas before Judge Lynn M. Poncin in Victorville Superior Court.

Outside the courthouse, Benjamin refused to comment.

Williamson said he could not say much about the case because he had just received the documents detailing the charges.

“There are a few legal issues we need to work out before we know what we’re going to do with this,” he said.

“I can say that (deputy district attorney Kathleen DiDonato) and I are talking on good terms, and we hope to work things out.”

DiDonato declined to comment on the charges against Benjamin.

Benjamin is scheduled to appear in court again July 14 and July 20 for pretrial hearings.

The Victorville-based deputy was the second San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy to be arrested and accused of sex with an underage Explorer over a two-week period.

Nathan Gastineau, 31, of Redlands was arrested April 22. He pleaded not guilty June 21 to three counts of lewd acts on a minor and three counts of unlawful sexual intercourse.

Jason Anguiano, 27, of Rialto, was arrested April 25 and accused of having a sexual relationship with the same 16-year-old Redlands girl as Anguiano, who is not a deputy, pleaded not guilty June 28 to two counts of sexual penetration with a foreign object and one count of unlawful sexual intercourse.

On May 5 – less than two weeks after Anguiano was arrested – Sheriff Rod Hoops held a news conference announcing that Benjamin had been arrested and was accused of sex acts with an Explorer in a patrol car while on a ride-along.

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