Former prostitute tells of sex-for-pay encounters in former attorney's human trafficking trial

Witness says sex occurred in courthouse jury room

FLORESVILLE, Texas – A 28-year-old former prostitute testified Thursday that she had sex with former attorney Mark Benavides in exchange for his representation in several drug and prostitution cases.

The woman was testifying in Benavides’ trial on six counts of continuous human trafficking charges.

“I never paid him any money,” she testified. “I always went to court, and after court, we’d go to the room. That’s how I took care of it.”

The woman described the motel visits as “disgusting.”

“I acted like I liked it, and I wanted to make him happy,” she said.

Prosecutor Meredith Chacon asked the woman why she acted that way. The woman replied, “’cause I had to or else I’d end up back in jail.”

Like other victims, she said that in addition to the motel, she had sex with Benavides at his office and in witness and jury rooms at the Bexar County Courthouse.

Allegations that the women had sex at the courthouse is why Benavides trial is being held at the Wilson County Courthouse in Floresville. His lawyers asked for, and were granted, the change of venue. 

The lawyers argued that to have Benavides’ trial in the building where the alleged offenses occurred was unfair to him.

A conviction could mean significant prison time for Benavides. The punishment range is from 25 to 99 years to life in prison.

Benavides is eligible for probation. Testimony is expected to continue Monday before District Judge Dick Alcala.

About the Author:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.