Ex-San Antonio attorney accused in sex crimes case is indicted again
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A former San Antonio attorney slated to go on trial at the end of the month, on accusations of having sex with female clients, has been indicted again.

A Bexar County grand jury on Thursday indicted Mark H. Benavides on four counts of continuous trafficking of persons in connection with alleged incidents with four women that occurred between 2012 and 2015.

Benavides, 48, was arrested in November 2015 and charged with compelling prostitution from at least nine female clients. Since then, he has been named in multiple-count indictments that include having sex with a child under 17 and inducing a child under 18 to engage in a sexual performance.

Court records indicate the compelling prostitution charge and one charge of sexual assault were dismissed in September.

Benavides now has five open cases against him: two charges of sexual assault of a child, one charge of sexual assault and two charges of continuous trafficking of persons, according to court records.

According to the State Bar of Texas, Benavides willingly resigned in lieu of disciplinary action and is no longer eligible to practice law in the state.

Women who employed Benavides as their attorney in prostitution cases from 2009 to 2012 told authorities that he coerced them into having sex to help lessen their legal problems or to get their cases dismissed, and that the alleged encounters took place at his law office, motels, his car and the courthouse, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed before the original indictments.

In June, Benavides was granted a change of venue to have his criminal cases heard in Wilson County. At the time, his attorney, Monica Guerrero, told Visiting Judge Dick Alcala that in addition to intense media coverage, she sought the change because some clients alleged Benavides had sex with them in at least two rooms in the Cadena-Reeves Justice Center that are used by jurors, and she did not want jurors doing their own investigating.

In a hearing Friday, prosecutors asked Alcala to set Benavides’ bail at $1.5 million, but Guerrero told the court that her client has been compliant with his bond conditions and GPS monitoring, and that the family is almost out of money.

“The family literally has sold everything,” she said, adding that Benavides already has paid bonds totaling $625,000.

Alcala set Benavides’ new bail at $75,000, kept the GPS monitoring restrictions and read him his rights. He was taken into custody by Bexar County Sheriff’s Office deputies.

Continuous trafficking of persons is a first-degree felony punishable by 25 to 99 years or life in prison.

Benavides is set to go to trial in Wilson County on March 26, with Alcala presiding. Trial dates haven’t been set yet in the other cases.

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