Local Man Gets 45 Years for Child Sex Assault

Child Sex Assault
Judges Gavel | Image by Zolnierek/Shutterstock

A Collin County man has been sentenced to 45 years in prison after being found guilty of “Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child.”

Benny James Phennel will not be eligible for parole per state law, according to a news release announcing the sentence.

Phennel was well-known by his victim and had ongoing access to her. The abuse started when she was 10 years old and continued over a two-year period. After learning that another child would be spending the night with Phennel, the victim told family members about the abuse.

The 38-year-old admitted that he had “messed around” with the victim after her family confronted him about the abuse. Phennel was then reported to the Collin County Sheriff’s Office.

An employee of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County interviewed the child, who disclosed everything that had happened to her.

“We are proud of this child victim’s courage to disclose her abuse to an adult and to testify against her abuser. And how admirable that her motivation was to protect another child,” said Collin County District Attorney Greg Willis, per the release.

According to the National Children’s Alliance, more than 600,000 children are abused annually in the United States. Roughly 618,000 children were victims of abuse and neglect in 2020, the most recent year for which there is national data.

Data for child abuse cases and reports of sexual abuse against children in Dallas are currently unavailable to the public due to a purported ransomware attack that allegedly had an impact on some City servers.

Crime has been high in Dallas in recent years, especially downtown, which regularly logs more crime reports than Fort Worth’s downtown area, where a dedicated police unit and private security contractors patrol the area. The city has also been suffering from a serious shortage of police officers, lacking roughly 400 officers needed to police Dallas adequately.

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