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UPDATE: Cedar Park Police Want Prison For Alleged Serial Rapist

Updated: Tuesday, August 12 2014, 03:10 PM CDT

UPDATE: August 12, 12:05 p.m.

Cedar Park Police say a second suspect wanted in connection to a sexual assault has turned himself in.

Police say Thomas Palacios (pictured right), 18, turned himself into Cedar Park Police Detectives on Tuesday morning.

He is currently being held at Williamson County Jail on one count of sexual assault.

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ORIGINAL STORY: August 11

This time police and prosecutors think they have what they need to keep a so-called serial rapist behind bars. There are five victims with one thing in common. They all accuse Jordan Benford (pictured left) of sexually assaulting them.

"This is a guy that really needs to be put away," charged Cedar Park Police Chief Sean Mannix. He says 19-year-old Benford is a serial rapist. Mannix announced the latest charges Monday afternoon.

One victim spoke out after seeing a KEYE TV report on Benford last month. "Upon seeing the story, she felt bad about having not come forward and thought that we needed to know, and we applaud her courage in doing that," Mannix says.

Her testimony and that of the other alleged victims could help Benford get serious time in prison. Benford got probation after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor stemming from a sexual assault in October 2012.

Police and the Williamson County District Attorney's Office believe that outcome is unlikely this time.

"In this case, given the pattern of behavior, I believe that a jury would recognize the seriousness and I would hope to be long retired before this department is ever dealing with this gentleman again," Mannix said.

"He's looking right now at separate charges for sexual assault and those are second degree felonies, they're punishable by confinement anywhere from two years to 20 years and a fine can also be assessed up to $10,000," explained Williamson County Assistant District Attorney Geoffrey Puryear.

That is for each allegation. Police still believe there could be more victims.

They're encouraged them to come forward -- not just to convict Benford, but to get help. 

Puryear says, "There are resources we can provide them in addressing some of the damage not just physical but psychological damage that an assault like this can inflict on someone."

There is another suspect in one of the sexual assaults. Police have issued a warrant for 18-year old Thomas Allen Palacios. Police are encouraging him to turn himself in before they go get him.

(Photos from the Williamson County Sheriff's Office.)

By Melanie Lofton

UPDATE: Cedar Park Police Want Prison For Alleged Serial Rapist


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