A Birch Bay man must spend 28 months in prison for molesting two girls who were younger than 10, a judge ruled Tuesday, Feb. 24.
Randall Lloyd Benson, 51, knew the girls long before he was arrested in March 2013. The older girl described how Benson sexually touched her once while they slept on his living room floor, and once in his bed. The younger girl told a detective Benson molested her with a “sharp thing.” Police believe it was a night light in Benson’s dresser drawer.
Benson’s story conflicted with the one told by the girls: He’d been using an electric handheld massager on the older girl — she has leg pain, Benson said — when the massager “got away from him and slipped inside her underwear,” according to charging papers. As for the younger girl, Benson told a detective his hand “slipped inside her underwear” once or twice while they were wrestling.
Benson admitted guilt in December to reduced charges of two counts of child molestation in the third degree. Yet he has maintained that he’s innocent. Last month he told a Department of Corrections evaluator he pleaded guilty because he believed he wouldn’t get a fair trial.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
The girls’ family did not want them to be traumatized again by taking the witness stand. According to Benson’s public defender, Hilary Boyd, at trial there would have been “issues of fact” with some of the girls’ claims, in part due to how they were interviewed by detectives.
Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder approved the 28-month sentence recommended by Boyd, Deputy Prosecutor Shannon Connor and the Corrections evaluator. Benson has already served almost two years awaiting trial. He will have to register as a sex offender once he’s released.
Benson has little criminal history, outside of driving offenses in the ’80s and ’90s.