Convicted sex offender pleads guilty to rape


By Nick Walton - nwalton@civitasmedia.com



Van Winkle

Van Winkle


A man serving a 20 years to life prison sentence from Miami County for sexually assaulting minors pleaded guilty to rape in Champaign County Wednesday.

Benjie D. Van Winkle, 43, of Correctional Reception Center, Orient, pleaded guilty to a first degree felony rape charge during a plea hearing. The grand jury indictment contends the charge is related to a crime that occurred between Jan. 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2014, and involved a minor.

Sixteen other charges were dismissed against Van Winkle and a sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 13. He faces a maximum 10 years to life prison sentence and $20,000 maximum fine.

Van Winkle was sentenced in Miami County last September for three counts of first degree felony rape. The first two counts of 10 years to life will run concurrently. Van Winkle’s third count of first degree rape was ran consecutively for a minimum of 20 years to life in prison and he is not eligible for early release.

Van Winkle was classified as a Tier III sex offender for life.

The three female victims were under the age of 13 at the time of the offenses.

Van Winkle pleaded guilty to the charges in Miami County in a joint plea agreement with the state to drop 10 counts of a grand jury indictment.

According to law enforcement officials, the alleged sexual assaults occurred outside of Fletcher in Brown Township, in Troy, as well as in Champaign County. According to reports, Van Winkle confessed to the allegations in February 2015 during the initial interview with authorities.

Van Winkle
https://www.urbanacitizen.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/36/2017/01/web1_VanWinkle.jpgVan Winkle

By Nick Walton

nwalton@civitasmedia.com

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.