On Tuesday, March 24, 2015, Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives responded to 67-year-old Benson Lee Roberts’ residence in Haines City to investigate allegations of suspicious activity with several neighborhood children.
A witness told detectives a child was seen getting out of Roberts’ truck on Sunday, March 22, 2015. Through the investigation, it was learned Roberts had taken the child to a local retail store without the parent’s knowledge or permission. Detectives also learned Roberts had taken two children to the store the day before; both times without the children’s parents’ knowledge or permission.
Detectives learned Roberts owns a Recreational Vehicle and “approximately 50 times during the past few years,” he invited three neighborhood children in the RV without other adults present.
Roberts initially told detectives he invited the children to watch TV and have snacks inside the RV. Two of the child victims described Roberts touching their breasts and vaginal areas on different occasions while inside Roberts’ truck or RV.
Roberts told detectives he had touched one victim on her vaginal area over her clothes “on accident,” but then later confessed he touched the victim on her vaginal area approximately four to five additional times during separate visits. Roberts also confessed to touching another victim on her vaginal area over her clothes at least once. Roberts also admitted to taking two children to a retail store, on two occasions without parental knowledge or consent.
Roberts was charged with 4 counts of Interfere with Custody of Minor, 5 counts of Lewd Lascivious Molestation, and 1 count of Lewd Molestation.
He was booked into the Polk County Jail.
“Mr. Roberts thought he had a perfect setting to commit his unconscionable crimes against children in secret,” said Sheriff Grady Judd. “But what he didn’t consider, is this is the kind of secret that will not last. Rightfully, children talk to their parents and parents talk to law enforcement.”