Authorities in Florida say a two men are facing criminal charges related to an alleged plot to sexually abuse a young girl. The 3-year-old and her mother reportedly moved in with the suspects late last year.
According to WFLA, 37-year-old Lafe Best and 39-year-old Benjamin Worster were friends and sexual partners. The former was arrested this week and the latter was already facing charges following an arrest last month on suspicion of possessing child pornography, among other counts.
Investigators in Ormond Beach reportedly collected evidence including text messages between the two men, leading to Best’s arrest on Tuesday.
The messages were allegedly found on Worster’s cellphone after police seized and searched it upon his arrest. Police claim the communications revealed a plan to abuse the girl regardless of whether she was conscious at the time.
“Gotta take this opportunity while I can at my age who knows when something like this will land in my lap again,” Worster allegedly wrote in one message.
“You never know if her junkie mom can’t come up with rent one month she might ust [sic] give her to you lol wishful thinking,” Best allegedly wrote in another text, according to WSVN.
The toddler reportedly told her mother that Worster touched her. When the man was admitted to the hospital for a suspected overdose in December, the alleged victim’s mother reported finding the disturbing messages after locating Worster’s cellphone.
When police learned of Best’s alleged involvement in the conversations, officers obtained a warrant to search his home and found what they believed to be child pornography on his cellphone. He was arrested and locked up without bond at the Volusia County Branch Jail.
Reports indicate an even younger child lives in the same home as Best, but there was no indication in early reports that the 20-month-old is suspected of having been abused.
[Featured image: Lafe Best and Benjamin Worster, handouts]