Correction: An originally version of this story incorrectly stated Ever Benites’ new bond.
ITHACA, N.Y. — The bail was doubled for an Ithaca man who was indicted last week on charges that allege he sexually abused young children for years.
[do_widget id= text-55 ]
Ever Benites, 35, was charged with two counts of first-degree sexual abuse, course of sexual conduct against a child, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Benites has been released on $10,000 cash bail since he was arraigned in Ithaca City Court in July.
During his arraignment at county court Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Diane Lama said, “The charges in this situation are extremely severe and they detail horrendous crimes committed against young children.”
Court records show that one of his alleged victims was 6-years-old and the other may have been as young as 3-to-4-years-old.
Lama said Benites confessed to some of the crimes on video when he was first taken into custody by Ithaca police, and says family members and friends have also heard his confession.
She also said that his alleged victims, who are now young adults, have been receiving pressure from people who know Benites to drop the charges.
In addition to presenting a danger to his alleged victims, Lama said Benites has made efforts to have jobs where he can be around children, such as his employment at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center on West Court Street.
Benites, who has close family ties in Peru, is also a flight risk because of the decades he could spend in jail if convicted, Lama said.
She asked Judge Joseph Cassidy to increase Benites’ bail to $75,000 cash or $100,000 bond.
Benites’ attorney Vinton Stevens said, “My client is innocent until proven guilty, your honor.”
He said Benites has a wife and daughter, along with other family members in Ithaca and that he voluntarily turned himself in to Ithaca police upon learning that he would be charged.
Stevens also said that Benites’ statements to police were involuntarily made and do not support the charges in the indictment.
Benites’ reputation with his family and friends, Stevens said, is how the $10,000 cash bail was raised within days of his July arraignment at Ithaca City Court.
Stevens also said that Benites has surrendered his American passport, does not own a Peruvian passport and does not have the means or desire to flee to Peru.
He suggested that Benites remain in the community on bail.
Judge Cassidy said he gives Benites credit for showing up to all court appearances and cooperating with police.
However, he said, “The fact is he is now facing — with the indictment — up to 25 years (in prison).”
Cassidy increased Benites’ bail to $20,000 cash bail or $40,000 bond. Benites is now being held at the Tompkins County Jail.
[do_widget id= text-61 ]