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Dead Girl Taken for Sex Ring

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How can we keep our own kids safe?


Yesterday, the body of 12-year-old Brooke Bennett, who'd been missing since June 25, was discovered. A 14-year-old witness told investigators Brooke's uncle had brought the girl to his home to initiate her into a child sex ring on the day she disappeared, federal officials said in an affidavit released yesterday.

The 14-year-old told authorities she helped Michael Jacques, the missing girl's uncle, take the 12-year-old to Jacques' Randolph home on June 25 to be initiated into the ring. The 14-year-old girl, a relative of Jacques who says she's been forced to have sex with Jacques since she was 9, said she understood that as part of the initiation, the 12-year-old "would have sex with adult males," according to the affidavit in U.S. District Court.

Bennett's former stepfather, Raymond Gagnon, was formally charged Wednesday with obstructing justice in the case. According to the affidavit, Gagnon told police he accessed Brooke's MySpace page from a computer at his San Antonio home after getting login information from Jacques.

Police said they have evidence that postings to the account were altered to make it seem like the 12-year-old had discussed a secret rendezvous shortly before she disappeared. Investigators believe the posting was written "to make it appear that (Brooke) was abducted by someone she met on the Internet," the affidavit states.

Roughly 33% of girls and 14% of boys are molested before the age of 18, according to the U.S. Justice Department. How common are child sex rings...and how do we keep our kids safe?

FBI agent Kenneth V. Lanning, Supervisory Special Agent at the Behavioral Science Unit at the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, has done extensive research on child sex rings. In a case study he did of 40 child sex rings, adult males were always the dominant leaders who organized and operated the sex rings. In no case did groups of children or youths seek out an adult for sex, pornography, or prostitution. Young people were selectively gathered together for a sexual purpose, usually implicit in the initial stages.

Although pedophilia is a sex offense in all states, there is a strong need among pedophiles to communicate with others regarding their interest in children. In sex rings, experiences are often exchanged. Photographs of children are traded and sold, as well as sexual services.

Symptoms of Child Ring Sexual Abuse

In one of Lanning's child ring studies, victims displayed the following symptoms:

Physical: stomach aches, headaches, and changes in appetite

Psychological: difficulty sleeping, nightmares, flashbacks, mood swings, phobias, and depression

Social: an avoidance of school, declining school grades, increased peer fighting, running away, and fear of adult males

abusive and sexualized language, withdrawal, suicide attempts, sexual activity with other children as well as with animals and younger children, antisocial acts such as lying and stealing, and sexually aggressive behaviors

For more warning signs of sexual abuse, click here.

As moms, it sickens us to know that child sex rings exist. We mourn for Brooke Bennett's mother in this tragic time, and hope that Brooke's murderer will be brought to justice.

next: Christie Brinkley: The Battle Continues...
23 comments so far | Post a comment now
Raven July 3, 2008, 1:43 PM

this is so sick. The man needs to be taken out and shot. How any man feels sexual feelings about a kid is disgusting. The sad part is he will probably get out of prison in 15 - 20 years and do it again.

Anonymous July 3, 2008, 2:01 PM

There was no “sex ring”. Jaques made up a group called “breckenridge” with fake email adresses to fool another victim for 5 years….. both he and the first brainwashed vicim conspired to lure brooke to sexual assault… being “initiated”.

This is an appalling case, as a parent of a 12 year old this makes me rethink the death penalty….

….but please get your facts straight

SF July 3, 2008, 3:53 PM

…but please get your facts straight - Anonymous

Actually there are more news reports supporting the statements of the “Dead Girl Taken for Sex Ring” post then mention the “facts” you claim in your post. Where do you get your “facts”.

The girls stepfather, Gagnon, has been mentioned with obstruction along with her uncle, Jacques, who’s mentioned as her abductor. Both are mentioned in the FBI indictment as being involved in sexual acts with the female minor, juvenile 1 in the indictment, who told authorities the “Breckenridge” story.

Jacques is identified as having altered Brooke Bennets Myspace page. Gagnon has stated he accessed the same account and altered information.

Jacques has a prior conviction of kidnapping and rape. He is listed in the Virginia sex offender registry.

As yet authorities aren’t stating either way if a ring exists. It seems there’s little doubt there was conspiracy between at least two adults.

VTBear July 3, 2008, 3:57 PM

The fact is that it is still not known whether or not there is/was a “Sex Ring”.

The fact is that there are still adult men who were involved in the sexual abuse of the 14 year old in this case.

Whether that can be classified as a Sex Ring or not I cannot say. It is a sad day for Central Vermont.

Anonymous July 3, 2008, 4:08 PM

Breckenridge was a sex ring! God, Anonymous, why are you defending this child molester? According to court papers, Michael Jacques, 42, convinced a young relative that she was a part of an underground sex program called “Breckenridge” and repeatedly assaulted her over the last five years. Papers also state that Jacques told the girl that he would cut her throat if she did not go along with the program. And now Brooke was being “initiated” into the same program and was told she’d have to have sex with adult men. My guess is that when she said no, she was killed for it because Jacques didn’t want to get caught. JUST SICK. And there are three types of sex rings: solo sex rings (sounds like this could have been - only one adult involved), transition sex rings, and syndicated sex rings. I hope this guy burns in hell.

cat July 3, 2008, 4:18 PM

the point here is that a childs life was taken because of low life scum, and Oh but that is legal isn’t it because you may recieve a little jail time and then they will let you out to do it again. and what about the mother[if one can call her that] she should be locked up also. they both deserve the death penalty,or anyone else that was connected. but as always in this country crime pays.

Anonymous July 3, 2008, 4:24 PM

Now the stepfather has been charged with having sex with the other sexual abuse victim - Ray Gagnon, Brooke’s former stepfather, has been charged with sexually assaulting the same child.

I cannot believe these people.

Anonymous July 3, 2008, 4:26 PM

even if it was just the uncle and stepfather involved, that is considered a “sex ring” - Google Kenneth V. Lanning, there are some interesting studies done on this. I hate to think such a thing exists but it’s quite prevalent.

cam July 3, 2008, 8:06 PM

I just don’t understand why they would want to hurt such young children. It just hurts my heart to think about someone doing such horrible things to someone.
My thoughts are with the girls family.

PJH July 6, 2008, 1:21 PM

As a father to three daughters, I am always vigilant about knowing their whereabouts and the people they come into contact with. They sometimes call me paranoid; so be it. I call it keeping them safe from harm. Just when I think humankind has evolved past the ape stage of development this tragedy occurs. And the Supreme Court just struck down the death penalty for child rape. We used to hang people for stealing horses. Guess what, people stopped stealing horses.

Ramona Johnson July 7, 2008, 1:38 PM

This story has been on my heart since I heard about it. I am so saddened by the was people treat people. Listen, we all have to answer to God for the things we do. We all need to get it together. One day we will stand before God and atone. But the truth is our sins have already been atoned for. Jesus paid every price and we have to accept him as our Lord and Savior…and then as we grow in a relationship with him we discover that Gods love is the cure for whatever is ailing us and we wont touch little boys and Girls. John 3:16 people. That is the answer. Without it this world is quickly going to hell. Everyone…Jesus loves you.

Eileen July 8, 2008, 9:07 AM

Rage is the first thing that comes to mind regarding adults treating children as play toys. I’m not sure of the role the mother played in all of this but the young girl was really the pawn in a demented game for pure selfish motives. Think of all the people that will be affected by Brooke’s demise-school friends, teachers, playmates, grandparents (where were they as she was growing up). If Brooke was part of my family I’d have 5-large Irish brothers put the end to those men who belong on death row.
Until our legislation gets stricter on child molesters and murders, this kind of horrible injustice will continue to plague our society. What kind of justice system gives you more time for having a pot seed in your car than in committing a crime against a person. Child crime should be automatic death penalty! I feel so sad for a young girl who never lives to see the beauty of her own children and to be able to grow up and experience peace in her future.

Angie July 9, 2008, 9:55 AM

“and what about the mother[if one can call her that] she should be locked up also. they both deserve the death penalty”

I’m a little confused. What did the mother do that deserves the death penalty? She lost her daughter.

Esther July 9, 2008, 2:49 PM


Esther July 9, 2008, 3:03 PM


April July 13, 2008, 1:55 AM

As a child I was sexually abused and now I have a 12yr old and a 16yr old that I worry about everyday. Its sad when you cannot even trust your own family. I feel that these men (sometimes womem)should be treated just like the murderers. Locked up and know chance for release. My heart and my condolences go out to the mom of the little girl.

andrew December 3, 2008, 3:39 AM

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