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Police lay additional child luring, sexual assault charges against 53-year-old man

Edmonton police have laid additional child-luring charges against a man after another girl came forward to accuse him of crimes.

The 15-year-old girl is the fourth to approach police in the case to say Horacio Benitez lured and sexually assaulted her among other offences.

Investigators with the Edmonton Police Service last month started looking into a report of a sexual assault on a girl, finding that the 53-year-old had befriended three girls — two aged 14, one aged 12 — using the social-media platform Snapchat between December and early March.

Police said in a media release on Friday that, in that time period, Benitez offered to buy vapes, marijuana and alcohol for the girls in exchange for nude images, videos and in-person sexual contact.

Police arrested Benitez on March 27 and charged him with several offences, including two counts each of sexual assault, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and luring of a child.

Since those charges were laid, police said, the 15-year-old girl came to police, leading to additional charges against Benitez of sexual assault, sexual interference, sexual counsel of child, distributing cannabis to a youth, luring a child under 16 years and obtaining sex services of a child for consideration.

EPS Det. Helena McNalley says police believe there are more victims of Benitez that haven’t yet come forward.

“(We) want to assure them that what happened is not their fault and they are not alone,” McNalley said in the release.

“We are here to help and encourage them to reach out to us.”

Anyone who believes they may be a victim of Benitez is asked to contact EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous tips can be given to Crime Stoppers by phone at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or online

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