March 28, 2012 4:06 PM
Tomoya Shimura, Staff Writer
VICTORVILLE • A former Victorville deputy accused of failing to report illegal sexual acts between a fellow deputy and a teen Explorer was acquitted in his misdemeanor trial Wednesday.
After a few hours of deliberations, a Victorville jury found Erik Alexandro Orduno, 32, not guilty of failing to report suspected child abuse as a mandated reporter.
The victim testified in the trial that she had sent text messages to Orduno about her feelings for former Victorville deputy Anthony James Benjamin and their sexual relationship.
Although Orduno knew the victim had a crush on Benjamin, he testified that he thought the sexual acts were between the victim and her boyfriend. He never thought Benjamin would do anything like that to an Explorer, Orduno said.
Orduno said he told the victim to focus on school and her boyfriend, who was close to her age.
Benjamin admitted he had engaged in sexual acts with the victim and knew she was a minor at the time. According to the complaint, the incidents took place on or about July 1, 2010 through Dec. 18, 2010.
Benjamin pleaded no contest to oral copulation of a person under 18 and was sentenced to 270 days in jail in August.
The victim said she had been attracted to Benjamin since the first day they met in the Explorer program at the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Victorville station. Benjamin became her mentor, and they went on a ride-along once a week and began flirting in the patrol car.
An anonymous tip to law enforcement about their relationship led to Benjamin’s arrest in May.
Sheriff’s officials said both Orduno and Benjamin were no longer with the department as of August
Tomoya Shimura may be reached at (760) 955-5368 or TShimura@VVDailyPress.com. Follow Tomoya on Facebook at facebook.com/ShimuraTomoya.
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