WASHINGTON - An American man extradited from Argentina, pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Isidro Hinojosa Benavides, 77, a U.S. citizen extradited from Argentina, was indicted in 2005 for traveling to the Republic of Chile and engaging in sexual conduct with a female child. Benavides has been held in custody without bond since his extradition from Argentina in 2009.
During the plea hearing, Benavides admitted to maintaining several residences in Santiago, Chile. Benavides admitted that he met the 12-year-old victim in 2002 when he was 70-years-old. He admitted he invited her on numerous occasions to his various residences and supplied her and other young girls with food, drinks and glue to inhale.
Benavides admitted to fondling the 12-year-old victim, showing her pornographic images and movies, and having her engage in sexual activity with him. Afterwards, Benavides admitted he gave the victim between $5 and $10 dollars. Benavides admitted that he abused the victim until she was 13-years-old.
Sentencing is scheduled for April 14, 2010.
The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Schmidt of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, former Criminal Division Trial Attorney Myesha Braden and Michael Yoon of the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. The Criminal Division's Office of International Affairs provided significant assistance in this matter. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Chilean Policia de Investigation.
ICE encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-DHS-2ICE. This hotline is staffed around the clock by investigators. Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, at 1-800-843-5678 or http://www.cybertipline.com.