The new downtown San Diego Superior Court and satellite courts will have new download charges starting Jan. 1, 2021.
The new downtown San Diego Superior Court and satellite courts will have new download charges starting Jan. 1, 2021. Photo by Chris Stone

A man who worked as a caretaker for the elderly, including in Vista, was sentenced Thursday to more than 14 years in prison for sexually assaulting three senior citizens.

Brandon Benavente, 26, pleaded guilty in December to 11 felonies related to sexual assault, financial and elder abuse and theft, as he also stole property from other victims.

Meanwhile, Benavente’s girlfriend and co-defendant Odaliz Mendez, 27, pleaded guilty to “multiple felonies relating to her involvement in the theft scheme,” according to the state Attorney General’s Office.

A judge sentenced Mendez last month to credit for time served and two years of probation.

Prosecutors said that from December 2019 to December 2020, Benavente committed “multiple acts of burglary, theft, fraud, identity theft and sexual abuse” against a resident at Vista Village Senior Living, as well as “other victims throughout San Diego County.”

Benavente and Mendez took “jewelry, a handgun and thousands of dollars from their victims,” according to authorities, who said the investigation was prompted in May 2020.

At that time, Benavente was caught on camera entering a resident’s room and taking cash from a wallet.

According to the prosecutors, Benavente’s 14-year, four-month sentence is one of the longest elder-abuse sentences imposed in a case brought by the California Department of Justice.

“My office will not stand for abuse of the elderly by their caretakers,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “The crimes that took place under the care of Brandon Benavente are unacceptable. No caretaker should expect to get away with sexually, physically, or financially abusing any senior citizen in our state.”

– City News Service