Police: Serial rapist’s behavior was ‘escalating’

CEDAR PARK, Texas (KXAN) — A man already in jail awaiting trial on a sexual assault charge was booked on another charge after police discovered another victim who they say was raped by the man.

Jordan Benford faces the charges in connection with alleged sexual assaults on March 9 and June 4; he has been in the Williamson County Jail since his arrest on June 13. Friday, he was served with the new charge while behind bars, where he is being held on $750,000 bond.

Cedar Park police say all of the victims are around 15 years old. Court documents talk about at least four cases police know of, but investigators believe there could be even more victims.

“At this stage in the game, its locating victims because there’s people out there suffering and people afraid to come forward … afraid of embarrassment or shame,” explained Williamson County Assistant District Attorney Sunday Austin.

Prosecutors say there’s nothing to be ashamed of and that it’s important these victims receive the proper help and resources they need to get through this.

Right now, it’s unclear just how many more victims there may be.

Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix says in regards to Benford, “His behavior, up to this point, appears to have been escalating to the point one of the victims was bound prior to the act.”

Court documents indicate Benford exchanged text messages with his victims before the assaults, leading investigators to believe he knew them.

In the March incident, police say Benford picked up a girl at Life Time Fitness and drove her to a home nearby, where he sexually assaulted her.

In June, police said sexually assaulted another female in a car at the Cinemark movie theater in Cedar Park and again in the parking lot of the Cedar Park Recreation Center.

Monday, investigators also issued a warrant for 18-year-old Thomas Palacios, who detectives say helped Benford in at least one of the crimes. He has not yet been arrested, and police say he has been uncooperative so far.

Nearly two years before Monday’s press conference, Benford had another charge. He was 17 then and still in high school.

Court documents accuse Benford of assaulting a 14-year-old girl in 2012 at a Vista Ridge High School barn.

Benford’s former lawyer says he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge. The attorney said he doesn’t think the 2012 sexual assault case against Benford was very strong.

Leander ISD confirms Benford went to Vista Ridge High School. He later graduated from Rouse High School in 2014.

A district spokesperson says the district gets notified about the arrest of any student and that the district followed the process outlined by law in this case.

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