A West Virginia man was convicted of sexual assault on Thursday after a Mercer County jury took less than 30 minutes to find him guilty.
NBC’s WVVA reports that Henry Vincent Bennett, 26, of Bluefield, was found guilty following a 10-month investigation that sparked after a 3-year-old girl told family members and state child advocacy workers that she had been sexually abused by Bennett. When later questioned, Bennet “made incriminating disclosures to family members and a social worker.”
The little girl told a social worker that Bennett put his “butt on her butt.” She then sculpted his “butt” with Play-Doh given to her, and when done, the child made a model of a penis.
— True Crime Daily (@CrimeWatchDaily) December 14, 2018
Bennett denied the accusations, but admitted to police that two separate incidents happened by accident when the little girl climbed into bed with him in the middle of the night while his wife was in the bathroom, according to the Bluefield Daily Telegraph.
During the first incident, Bennett said he put a sex toy “accidentally” into the little girl’s buttocks, thinking she was his wife. In another incident, Bennett said the child climbed into bed and performed oral sex on him, again claiming he thought the little girl was his 185-pound adult wife.
This is video just into our newsroom of Henry Vincent Bennett at his arraignment this morning. Bennett is accused of sexually assaulting a 3-year-old family member. His bond is set at $1 million. https://t.co/8wBRNMXS2q pic.twitter.com/epH5zIaEg6
— Katy Andersen (@KatyAndNews) February 13, 2018
Bennett said when authorities questioned him, they forced him into a false confession. Yet, he pointed out the sex toys used on the child, when he initially said it was so dark in the room he didn’t realize his daughter was not his wife.
Bennett: “I was laying on my back. I thought it was April, and when I rolled over (child) yelled.”
Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler: “You told Officer Fox after that incident happened, you regretted that.”
Bennett: “I regretted saying that…I regretted talking to him, yes.”
After the jury’s verdict, Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope announced to Bennett he’d been convicted of two counts of incest, two counts of first-degree sexual assault, and two counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or custodian.
Motions and a possible sentencing hearing is scheduled for March 26, 2019. Thee judge ordered Bennett to undergo a “sex offender evaluation.”
Meanwhile, the child’s mother, April Bennett, is facing charges of child neglect after taking plea deal. She was initially charged with being an accessory to the sexual abuse. She’s scheduled for a hearing early next year.
[Feature Photo: Henry Vincent Bennett & April Bennett/Police Handout]