Local attorney arrested, accused of forcing clients into prostitution

Mark Benavides is a candidate for 175th District Court

San Antonio – A local attorney running to be a Bexar County District Judge was arrested Tuesday evening and charged with compelling prostitution, which is a second degree felony.

Mark Benavides, a Democratic candidate for 175th District Court, was arrested around 5:30 p.m., accused of forcing at least three women to have sex with him in exchange for legal services.

In early October, one of the alleged victims testified in a hearing for a new trial she had sex with Benavides in a jury room next to the court room where she was facing intoxication manslaughter charges. She said it was on Benavides' advice she took a plea deal and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

After the hearing Benavides commented about the allegations the woman was making.

"They're all false accusations," Benavides said. "She is just very upset that she wound up having to do 15 years for killing somebody's father and husband and is making up a bunch of lies about me."

According to an arrest warrant obtained by KSAT 12, Benavides' alleged crimes began in 2009 and continued for years.

Police said victims and witnesses described how Benavides used his position as a lawyer for the victims to press them into sexual encounters.

One victim told investigators she never paid Benavides for his legal services with money, all she had to do was agree to have sex with him.

Another victim detailed a sexual encounter in a jury room. She told investigators she believed if she did not agree to have sex, Benavides would some how negatively alter the outcome of the case.

Those are just some of the allegations being made by the three women. They also say Benavides video taped several of the encounters.

Benavides is married with children. 

About the Author:

Tim Gerber is an investigative reporter and anchor on the KSAT Defenders team.