Men face sex-related charges

WARREN – A Trumbull County grand jury on Thursday indicted two area men on felony sex-related charges involving minor females.

Rick A. Benchea, 61, of Belvedere Avenue, Warren, is charged with 12 counts of rape and two counts gross sexual imposition.

David A. Messer, 28, of Vienna Avenue, Niles, is charged with illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance and pandering obscenity involving a minor.

Arraignments for both men are scheduled for 11 a.m. today in front of Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge W. Wyatt McKay.

All of the counts of rape against Benchea carry a potential of life sentences and allege force or threat of force against the victim, an 11-year-old girl. Some of the charges stem from allegations that the girl was raped when she was younger than 10. Investigators said she was about 7 1/2 years old when the abuse started.

Benchea was picked up on a warrant July 10. On Thursday, he remained at the Trumbull County Jail on $1 million bond.

The girl reported on June 4 that she was raped by a man she knows, identified as Benchea, between Jan. 1, 2013, and May 28, 2014.

Messer, arrested Monday, is accused of taking sexually explicit photos of an 8-year-old girl dating back to May.

Investigators reported that that girl’s mother found digital pictures of her daughter with Messer, who is an acquaintance, and called police. Investigators deemed the photos as sexually explicit in nature.

Messer, who is also due in Niles Municipal Court on Aug. 6 on a domestic violence charge, was also at the county jail on Thursday on $250,000 bond.

The indictments were included in a special report of the grand jury. The grand jury declined to indict Raphael J. Napolitan on a charge of aggravated robbery.

vshank@tribtoday.com