Bad Lawyers

San Antonio Lawyer Compelled Clients for Sex
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Mark Benavides

Summary: A South Texas lawyer forced clients to have sex with him for payments and for better outcomes on their criminal cases.

To learn more about the case, read San Antonio Attorney Charged with Compelling Prostitution and Sexual Assault of a Child and Woman Says She Traded Sex for Legal Services.

  
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San Antonio lawyer Mark Benavides got caught on camera telling someone to “destroy” evidence when detectives were searching his home. The video footage of the police interrogation was shown during a pre-trial hearing where Benavides can be heard on the police station telephone giving the order.

Benavides is heard saying, “These (expletive) DVDs are there. You know what I’m talking about, the one I told you to destroy. …This pretty much will cancel my political career. …I could lose my law license over this.” Police were searching his home on November 17, 2015.

The 47-year-old was indicted on 35 counts that range in severity, with the most severe coming to light after his arrest in November. These severe charges include having sex with a minor, inducing a minor to engage in sexual performance, and compelling prostitution from at least nine female clients. He is also charged with possession of child pornography located on a mini DVD labeled as “137 of 276,” which featured images of a person under 18 engaged in sexual acts.

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Many of the charges against the Democrat, who has run unsuccessfully for several local judicial positions, come with penalties that prohibit probation. Benavides is currently free on bail until his April 3 trial. During the pre-trial hearing, defense attorney Monica Guerrero filed a motion to stop prosecutors from using a video where Benavides turned down a detective’s offer to call a lawyer for him and spoke for several minutes before being led away in handcuffs. Benavides is cooperative in the video with interrogator San Antonio Police Detective Manuel Morales. Visiting Judge Dick Alcala denied her motion.

Benavides denied having sex with his clients even when Morales told him that several women had come forward with complaints against him. Eventually, Benavides tells Morales, “I don’t understand the connection between having sex with your clients and the charge of compelling prostitution. I hear of attorneys having sex with their clients all the time. I’ve never heard of them getting in trouble.”



The women claim to have had sex with Benavides between 2009 and 2012 in multiple places like his law office, his car, motels, and the Bexar County Courthouse in a meeting room. They identified him by a large tattoo of the “scales of justice” on his back. He told the women that he could lessen their legal problems and even get their cases dismissed if they had sex with him. One woman even claims she was introduced to him by her pimp and that Benavides paid her $100 to $200 for sex.

Another woman explained to police that she was a defendant in a criminal case in 2012. She feared that Benavides relationship with the judge would affect her case for the negative if she didn’t have sex with him.  Another woman that came forward said she was unable to pay for his legal services so he required her to meet him at a motel every Tuesday to make “payments.”

Benavides exploited his female clients by making them fee financially and emotionally attached to him because he was their attorney on their criminal cases. He claims that one client that received a 15-year sentence for killing a man is upset and making up lies about him.

Defense attorney Lisa Rodriquez asked for the cases against Benavides to be tried individually because 35 counts and nine complainants would be “extremely prejudicial” and prevent a fair trial. Judge Alcala denied her motion.

Do you think attorneys should be allowed to have sex with their clients without consequence? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about attorneys in trouble for having sex with clients, read these articles:

Photo: ksat.com



 

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