Christian Benenati, a Broward County, Florida sheriff’s deputy, was arrested after he allegedly solicited an undercover officer posing as a prostitute, news sources indicate. Benenati, 40, was booked into Broward County Jail on a misdemeanor charge of soliciting another person for lewdness. He has since been released on $300 bond. It is not yet clear whether he has hired a criminal defense lawyer.
According to news reports, the alleged sex offense occurred during one of many undercover prositution stings put on by the Broward County Sheriff’s Department. An undercover female police officer posing as a prostitute at 1201 Northwest 31st Avenue in Pompano Beach, Florida was one of the faces of the Wednesday phase of the operation. Benenati, who was off-duty at the time, allegedly approached her and offered her $20 in exchange for oral sex. The undercover officer reportedly offered to complete the transaction at a nearby hotel, but Benenati told her that he preferred to do it in his Nissan Altima. Once the two had reached a definitive agreement, Benenati was reportedly detained.
One somewhat confusing detail of the arrests is the exact timing. According to press reports, Benenati approached the undercover officer at approximately 4:38 p.m. in the area of the sting (31st Avenue). However, he was apparantly not arrested until four hours later, when he was taken into custody at a Coral Springs sports bar. The exact circumstances behind the situation are unknown.
Benenati has reportedly worked for the Broward Sheriff’s Office for 10 years. Before that, he worked for Hialeah law enforcement. There is no indication that he has ever faced criminal charges or even trouble at work before. Benenati is currently on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident. He may face charges filed by the State Attorney’s Office, according to the press.
Benenati was not the only one to be accused of a sex crime in Florida recently. Shane Shuyler of Miami, Florida was arrested on June 6 after he allegedly took off his clothes at a playground and solicited a 3-year-old girl for sex, according to news reports. Shuyler was booked into Miami-Dade County Jail on multiple charges, where he was granted $15,000 bond. It remains unclear whether he was able to pay that bond. It is also unknown whether he has retained a private criminal defense lawyer.
Sources indicate that Shuyler, 40, was apprehended one June 6 at a playground located at 16901 in Northeast 19th Avenue in North Miami Beach. Shuyler allegedly took off all of his clothes and lay down on a bench at the park. He then allegedly reached towards a 3-year-old girl, stating, “come here pretty girl, I wanna stick it in you.” Shuyler is not accused of doing anything to the girl other than exposing his genitals to her.
Authorities reportedly believe that Shuyler was under the influence of ‘bath salts,’ a synthetic amphetamine drug. An officer purportedly stated that Shuyler had stripped because he was overheating (a symptom of bath salts), and that the drug was found in Shuyler’s wallet upon inspection. Shuyler does not appear to have commented publicly on the charges.