Former Horlick High School wrestling coach accused of sexual assault, possession of child porn

NOW: Former Horlick High School wrestling coach accused of sexual assault, possession of child porn

RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A former Horlick High School wrestling coach is facing sex crime charges. 

Sixty-year-old Benigno Velasquez has been charged with the following:

  • Use of a computer to facilitate a sex crime
  • Child enticement
  • Sexual assault of a child by a person who works or volunteers with children (3 counts) 
  • Capture an image of nudity without consent (16 counts) 
  • Possession of child pornography (6 counts) 

According to a criminal complaint, Mount Pleasant police received a report on Feb. 25, 2021, about a man -- later identified as Velasquez -- who informed an underage boy he worked at the Army Reserve Center in the village of Sturtevant, and was 45 years old. The officer learned Velasquez was sending the underage boy inappropriate, "sexual in nature" messages on a cellphone app and in text messages where he went by the name "Ben."

Investigators were able to identify "Ben" as 60-year-old Benigno Velasquez, a Racine County resident who was employed at the Army Reserve Center in Sturtevant. 

Authorities took over the messaging, and started responding to Velasquez through the app and texts. Investigators say Velasquez continued to describe sexual acts he would perform on who he believed to be the 15-year-old boy. Velasquez then agreed to a meeting with the "15-year-old" at a Dunkin Donuts in Mount Pleasant. That's where police took Velasquez into custody. 

According to a criminal complaint, Velasquez admitted to messaging with the teen, and that he knew he was 15 years old. 

As a result of the investigation, authorities were contacted in March by a man who said his brother -- who is currently abroad in the military -- had more information on Velasquez. Investigators spoke with the 28-year-old serviceman via video chat. 

The man stated Velasquez -- known to him as "Benny" -- started wrestling with the Horlick High School wrestling team in his sophomore year, which he said was in 2009. He told investigators Benny would grab people "by the groin," and say things like, "Got you. Let me touch it a little longer." 

The serviceman told investigators the incidents involving Benny bothered him and he told other wrestlers about it. He stated Benny was caught recording the wrestlers as they were coming out of the shower, and he witnessed Benny grab other wrestlers by the groin. According to the criminal complaint, the man estimated Benny grabbed him inappropriately more than 100 times.

Investigators spoke with another man who was a former wrestler at Horlick High School from 2008 to 2012. That man told authorities he hated high school because of his involvement with wrestling, saying it was "emotionally traumatizing." The former wrestler stated he was recently contacted by Velasquez, that he deleted the text, but it was "very triggering" for him. He told investigators while in high school, Velasquez would inappropriately touch him and he would give the wrestlers "kisses on the neck." 

These new developments led authorities to search Velasquez's home, where they found nude photos of at least 16 different boys -- former students -- possibly taken from inside a locker room. 

In a statement released Wednesday evening, the Racine Unified School District said:

"These are extremely serious and disturbing allegations. While this man was not an RUSD employee, he did volunteer as a coach. As soon as we were informed of the allegations, we immediately contacted the police and are actively working to support their investigation as well as conduct our own. We have taken steps to ensure that this individual will not have access to our schools."
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