Alaska State Troopers allege that a local man coerced his 10-year-old granddaughter into touching his penis, according to charging documents filed this week in the Seward court.
The encounter allegedly took place during a late-night conversation in which the man spoke on religious subjects and recounted stories from the Bible, the troopers report in an affidavit based on an interview with the girl.
The man, Vernon W. Bennett, 59, has been charged with second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, a felony, for having sexual contact with a person under 13. The Seward court has set bail at $5,000 cash.
Bennett denied the accusations in an interview with troopers, according to court documents.
Officers went to Bennett’s house around 1:30 a.m. on July 14 after a caller said a child had been sexually assaulted by Bennett. Troopers interviewed the woman and the girl before speaking with Bennett, who had left the property prior to their arrival, according to the complaint.
The woman reportedly told troopers that she and the girl had moved onto property owned by Bennett, the woman’s ex-husband, from Outside roughly three weeks ago. They had been sleeping in the main house while Bennett slept in a camper, she said.
She also said that the girl had not met Bennett prior to her coming to Alaska.
The girl reportedly asked to spend the night in Bennett’s camper, where she had taken to playing video games. The girl confirmed this in a separate interview, according to the complaint.
While she was playing video games, Bennett “began talking to [her] about God and told her different biblical stories,” trooper’s report in the criminal complaint. “At one point during their conversation, [Bennett] began talking about touching ‘private parts.’”
The girl told the Troopers that Bennett then exposed himself and instructed her to touch his penis. When asked, she was able to demonstrate for the officer the manner in which she did so, but “then stopped and planted her head into the kitchen table as if she didn’t want to do it anymore,” the officer writes.
Bennett allegedly told the girl that it was his turn to touch her private parts, at which point she told the Troopers she fled the camper and woke her grandmother.