Judge sentences sex offender to 21 years, to represent years victim has suffered
A trial for sex offender William Derek Bennon, 47, concluded this week in Lexington County. Bennon has been sentenced to 21 years in prison. The trial began Monday and concluded Thursday afternoon when the jury returned a guilty verdict on both charges.
Bennon received a concurrent sentence for each count of criminal sexual conduct with a minor, first degree, which involved a child under the age of 11. The sentence was imposed by Circuit Court Judge Frank Addy Jr. The crimes occurred between the years of 1998 and 2004, when the penalty range was zero to 30 years. Therefore, under the law, Bennon was sentenced in accordance with the penalty range in effect at that time.
Eleventh Circuit Solicitor Rick Hubbard stated, “The victim in this case displayed remarkable courage and the verdict resonates a powerful measure of justice.”
The victim reported in 2018 that she had been assaulted as a child from 1998 to 2004. The Irmo Police Department investigated, assisted by the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department.
In a recorded statement from Bennon, he called himself a “monster” and stated, “I know I went too far,” according to the Solicitor’s Office.
The victim, now 25, testified during the trial and addressed the court at sentencing. She testified that she initially reached out for counseling at Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands in 2014 while attending college. In her court statement, she addressed the “heavy impact” the crimes have had on her life. “Some things I struggle with every day. Specifically, intrusive thoughts and memories. The harm that the defendant inflicted on me will last a lifetime,” she said.
Judge Addy addressed the overall impact of Bennon’s crimes, noting that the victim had been “imprisoned” by the emotional trauma of abuse since 1998, amounting to 21 years. As a result, Bennon was sentenced to 21 years.
He will be transported to the S.C. Department of Corrections to begin immediate service of the prison sentence.