SAN ANTONIO -- Lawyer Mark Benavides, accused of coercing clients into performing sex acts, is facing new charges, this time accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl.
He turned himself in on Thursday evening to deal with older charges, including prostitution, and walked out of the magistrate’s office a few hours later with three more counts of assault added to an already-long list of charges, 35 to be exact.
Now, a young girl says that he assaulted her. Investigators say that he was also in possession of child pornography.
Benavides did his best to avoid the cameras on Thursday night. There was no comment from his office and he was silent on his way to face a judge on Friday.
His lawyer says that Benavides needs a trial outside of San Antonio in order to ensure a fair trial and argued that in court on Thursday.
“There is a lot of media publicity because he is an attorney and did run for office,” said Maria Guerrero, Benavides’s attorney.
“The citizens of Bexar County have the right to hear the case,” Assistant District Attorney Meredith Chacon countered.
In 2014, Benavides ran for judge of the 186th District Court. In a reversal, he faced a judge in the 186th District Court on Friday.
His lawyer requested more time to prepare now that her client has been accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl. That’s all in addition to the nine victims claiming he coerced them into having sex and videotaping them from 2009 to 2015 by threatening to not represent them in legal cases if they didn’t do as he said.
The judge ruled that the trial will remain in Bexar County and is set to start in January.
His lawyer’s only comment to the media was in reference to Benavides turning himself in.
“There was a warrant and we are law-abiding people,” she said.
Meanwhile, Benavides’s law license is still active, but he is wearing a GPS tracking device because of his previous charges.
The judge cut his bail in half to $250,000.
(© 2016 KENS)