Man facing sexting, sexual assault trial

Oct. 10, 2011 at 4:09 PM
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PEMBROKE PINES, Fla., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- A young Florida man is headed to trial on sexting and sexual assault charges that could land him in prison for life if convicted, authorities say.

Benjamin Rand, 20, of Pembroke Pines in southeastern Florida allegedly threatened to make public explicit photos he pressured two teenage girls to send him unless they had sex with him or provided more photos.

He also has been charged with sexually attacking the girls, ages 14 and 16, both of whom allege he forced them to have sex with him, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Sunday.

Discovery of the photos on his cellphone came after the 14-year-old girl and her family reported to police in March that Rand had raped her, the newspaper said.

The girl said they had started dating and he pressured her to send him nude photos, and when she tried to distance herself from him, threatened to post them on the Internet. She agreed to meet him at a Pembroke Pines strip mall, where he raped her in his car, she alleged. Rand was charged with sexual assault in the case.

The 16-year-old girl had met Rand on a social networking site and he allegedly asked her to send him nude photos of herself, court documents show. She said Rand brought her to his home and forced her to have sex, court records show.

Rand, who was indicted in April and has been denied bond, goes on trial Oct. 24 in federal court in Fort Lauderdale on child pornography and sex-related counts and charges of sexually attacking the two girls.

He could face up to life in prison if convicted of all the charges against him.

Rand had served 17 months in juvenile detention after pleading no contest in 2008 to possession of photos involving sexual performance of a child, federal prosecutors say. The charges involved three underage girls, one of them 13, court records show.

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