In West Virginia, 27-year-old Henry Vincent Bennett had a bizarre excuse after he sexually assaulted a three-year-old girl. He claimed that the three-year-old tricked him into thinking she was his wife after his wife went to the bathroom and the toddler crawled into bed in her place. However, the facts of Bennett’s twisted story of sexual abuse on the toddler continued to peel back in layers, showing that the girl had no fault in his abuses and only his depravity did.
At the end of March 2019, Bennett was convicted of first-degree sexual assault of a child under five. He then learned his sentence. Bennett will spend the next fifty years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope had no sympathy for the child rapist. That’s why he sentenced him to fifty years in prison before he could get parole. He’d be 77-years-old if he ever made it back out into the free world. This was an intentional choice by the judge, who said, “I’m not locking him up for the rest of his life, but for the rest of his effective life.”
When state child advocacy workers found out the three-year-old victim had been sexually abused, they went to Bennett for answers. Bennett then started to tell lie after lie in an attempt to wriggle himself out of this situation.
He claimed that he placed his “butt on her butt.” However when the child was asked to make a PlayDoh model of Bennett’s “butt,” the little girl created a sculpture of a penis. During a subsequent interview with Detective J.B. Fox, Bennett died sexually assaulting the child. Then he admitted to two incidents, one involving a sex toy and another involving oral sex. He claimed that he had no idea he was raping a child but thought it was his wife who had left for the bathroom.
The jury deliberated for less than thirty minutes before they returned and found Bennett guilty of his two first-degree sexual assault charges. He was also convicted of two charges of incest.
Bennett’s attorneys tried to make a motion to have another trial because the sexual predator has a low IQ of 57. The defense also claimed that Bennett was “clearly confused” when the convicted rapist was cross-examined.
Despite the defense’s best effort to prove Bennett was not competent to stand trial, psychological and psychiatric tests proved otherwise. Bennett also chose to testify, which he was not required to do.
West Virginia has strict penalties for first-degree sexual assault. The convict must serve between twenty and one hundred years in prison. However, incest is punishable by just ten to twenty years in prison.
Bennett will spend the rest of his effective life in prison. He won’t be able to hurt any more children and will likely have to fend for himself in prison because inmates are notoriously aggressive toward perpetrators of child abuse and assault.
When Bennett leaves prison, if he survives that long, at the age of 77, the world will be an entirely different place.