A federal judge sentenced a Covina man to 18 months in prison Wednesday for cyberstalking two people, including a teenage girl, and repeatedly sending them crude messages demanding sex.
U.S. Judge Dolly M. Gee described the threatening messages Carl De Vera Bennington, 34, sent to the victims as “cruel” and “sadistic” as she handed down the 18-month sentence for two counts of cyberstalking, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.
Bennington pleaded guilty to the charges last December.
When announcing the charges last year, federal prosecutors described the two victims as teenage girls in a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. But the statement released Wednesday does not state both victims as underage.
Ciaran McEvoy, a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, clarified that only one of the victims was a teenager at the time.
Among the hundreds of messages Bennington sent to the victims, prosecutors said, were demands for sex and threats to physically harm or kill them if they didn’t comply.
According to prosecutors, Bennington repeatedly messaged one of the victims over several years, even creating new accounts to continue harassing her once she blocked him from one account. Between June and November 2019, he sent her messages prosecutors have described as “graphic,” including repeated demands for sex, insults and even threatening to rape her.
When she asked him to stop sending messages, Bennington threatened to kill her and her family, prosecutors said. He also threatened to kill the other victim.
The other victim deactivated her social media accounts in 2017 after Bennington repeatedly harassed her with demands to be in a sexual relationship, prosecutors said. Once she reactivated the accounts in August 2019, he began threatening to kill her unless she respond to his demands.
Neither of the two victims met him in person.
According to prosecutors, the 34-year-old believed in so-called incel (involuntary celibate) ideology, which involves self-loathing and hating women as a person unable to find a willing sex parter.
The same sentencing memo that mentions the ideology states that Bennington was deserving of time in federal prison — despite suffering from some mental health issues — because of his “his deep-seated and violent ideology regarding women” and long pattern of cyberstalking.
In a statement, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said prosecutors have sought mental health treatment and enhanced supervision of Bennington to be provided once he’s released.