Two men have been arrested after police discovered a series of graphic and disturbing text messages in which the two men discussed plans to groom and rape a 3-year-old girl in Florida, authorities said.
Lafe Best, 37, was arrested Tuesday and is in the Volusia County Branch Jail without bond. He is charged with conspiracy to commit sexual battery on a child. He was arrested in connection with a different case involving his friend and sexual partner, Benjamin Worster, 39, according to a Facebook post from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Worster was arrested in January on charges of lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct and 21 counts of possession of child pornography.
The Sheriff’s Office began investigating Worster after discovering a series of text messages on his phone which he had exchanged with Best. The messages detailed their plan to groom and rape a 3-year-old girl, authorities said.
The texts were apparently first discovered by the girl’s mother. The 3-year-old and her mother moved into Worster’s apartment in December. Sheriff’s officials said on Facebook that soon after, the toddler told her mother Worster had touched her.
On Dec. 17, Worster was taken to the hospital after an apparent overdose, authorities said. The 3-year-old’s mother found Worster’s phone lying on his bed and discovered the text messages.
The Sheriff’s Office included a portion of the text messages in their Facebook post to demonstrate “how predators work to groom young children for sexual abuse.”
Detectives executed a search warrant at Best’s residence Tuesday and discovered what appeared to be child pornography on his cell phone, in addition to the graphic texts exchanged with Worster. Officials expect Best will face additional charges.
Best was living in a home with two people who have a 20-month-old child. Police do not believe the 20-month-old was a victim of any abuse at this time.
WARNING: POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC DETAILS: