Legislation Plugs Loophole about Sex with Prisoners

Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Ex-officer Bryan Benson

California wants to be perfectly clear about this. If you arrest somebody and take total control of their freedom, and then ask them for sex, it is NOT a consensual relationship.

That wasn’t perfectly clear until Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation Friday nailing down the fine points of when law enforcement officials can have sex with their prisoners. The answer is “never.” And that includes sex in a vehicle on the way to or from the lockup. Just so you know.

Assembly Bill 2078 was passed in response to a controversial plea bargain struck with a former police officer in the Shasta County small town of Anderson (pop. 9,932) who was accused in 2010 of kidnapping and raping a woman he was taking to jail.

Bryan Benson’s defense was that the woman could consent to having sex because she wasn’t in jail custody at the time of their encounter. She was in an unmarked police car in a parking lot nearby.

Benson pleaded no contest in September to assault by a public officer, a felony, and soliciting a lewd act, a misdemeanor. He was fired from the force, sentenced to a year in jail and given three years’ probation, but avoided having to register as a sex offender. Benson may still face federal charges.

The victim has filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against the city of Anderson, but Benson is not a defendant. He has filed for bankruptcy.

–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Brown Signs Bill Closing Loophole that Prompted Plea Bargain for Ex-Anderson Cop (by Jim Schultz, The Redding Record Searchlight)

Assembly Bill 2078 (California Legislative Information)

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