DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A former Mesquite ISD teacher’s aide was sentenced to 60 years in prison Friday without the possibility of parole.
Jessica Benton confessed to numerous sexual encounters with an 11-year-old boy after police arrested her in September 2016.
Benton, 26 at the time, worked at Tisinger Elementary. The victim attended another school in the district.
The incidents, which happened from May 2016 to August 2016, were reported by another child who witnessed the behavior and was brave enough to come forward and report it to his mother who then reported it to authorities.
None of the incidents happened at school and the victim was not her student.
After a three-day trial, jurors reached a guilty verdict Thursday in less than 30 minutes and then began the punishment phase.
Benton faced 25 years to life. After hearing from the victim’s therapist and family, the jurors returned a punishment of 60 years with no chance of parole.
Assistant District Attorney Reynie Tinajero said, “I am grateful for the dedication and detailed work of Detective Brandon Synder with the Mesquite Police Department and all the investigators involved. Their work in immediately gathering and securing DNA and other valuable evidence assisted greatly in the prosecution of this case.”
DA Faith Johnson said, “Even though we have a dedicated Crimes Against Children unit within the District Attorney’s Office and we work with Children’s Advocacy Center and other law enforcement officials across the county, it took a small child with true courage to speak up on behalf of another child to get this investigation started. This verdict should send a strong message, especially with students returning back to school this week that crimes against children will be prosecuted by the DAs Office to the fullest extinct of the law.”