By Brad Segall, Pat Ciarrocchi and Todd Quinones
BENSALEM, Pa. (CBS) — Authorities in Bucks County say a Bensalem teenager is accused of sexually assaulting several underage teenage girls.
And officials believe there may be more victims out there.
Bail has been set at $5 million for Josh Benson, who is now accused of sexually assaulting seven girls — the two most recent alleged incidents while he was an adult.
He was already being held on charges of assaulting five teens while he was a juvenile.
All of the girls are between the ages of 14 and 16.
Bensalem police sergeant Andy Aninsman says the 18-year-old man met most of the girls on a dating web site.
“You don’t know who you are talking to out there,” Aninsman warns. “You get online and you start talking to people, and they start telling you how much they like you and they think you’re pretty, and the next thing you know you become a victim.”
Aninsman adds, “If you see this and your gut is wrenching as to what happened to you, pick up the phone and call Bensalem Police and we will do everything in our power to make sure you get justice.”
Steve Doerner of Network of Victim Assistance says there are warning signs.
“There will sort of be that instantaneous friendship, sort of a mentoring process to start to build that trust, and often times that may be a red flag.”
Court papers say that Benson would start a relationship with the girls and then force himself on them. When they asked him to stop, investigators say, he would become more aggressive — even choking at least one girl.
“It’s pretty extraordinary to have seven sexual assault allegations,” says Benson’s attorney, Robert Mancini.
“This kid’s got problems…he’s got major, major problems,” Aninsman adds. “It appeared the more [the victims] asked him to stop, the more violent he became.”
Benson claims to have lost control while admitting to the assaults.
Police say Benson moved to Bensalem three years ago from Utah and went to an alternative high school locally.
He has been transferred to Bucks County Prison.