SAN ANTONIO – Officials from the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office and the Bexar County Public Defender’s Office are urging potential sex crime victims of a disbarred San Antonio lawyer to come forward.
Mark Benavides is currently serving an 80-year prison term after he was convicted in 2018 of trading sex for legal services from women he was representing.
Officials said the women were extorted by Benavides to take plea deals for crimes they didn’t commit.
”When you drill down deeper and what we’ve seen in the cases, it’s actually extortion,” said lead Bexar County Public Defender Michael Young.
Prosecutors proved that Benavides made women he was representing for alleged crimes, including DUI, minor drug offenses and prostitution, to have sex with him in exchange for legal services.
Many of the acts were recorded, and now, upon further review of the case, prosecutors said they found more victims in need of justice.
”Apparently, this has been going on for virtually his entire legal career, here. And so, I think it’s hard to know how many women out there were subjected to this kind of undue influence,” Young said. “There would be threats by Benavides to the women that ‘If you don’t plea, I’m going to make sure you go to jail.‘”
Prosecutors said rather than tack on more prison time for Benavides, who is eligible for parole in about 28 years, they’re more interested in making sure the clients he represented are receiving due justice for their cases.
Anyone who feels they were forced to take a plea deal by Benavides is urged to contact the Bexar County Public Defender’s Office at 210-504-6216. Officials said the call will be kept confidential.