South Carolina authorities arrested more than 40 suspected child predators and sex traffickers as a part of a recent sting, according to the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office.
But one suspect’s lurid plans for his child victim stood out, police said.
Not only did Justin Teeter Bensing, 36, want to turn a child into a “full time baby maker and sex slave,” according arrest warrants obtained by FOX Carolina — the Myrtle Beach, S.C., man also expressed “passions for cannibalism and bestiality,” the sheriff’s office said.
Bensing said in online communications that he wanted to “cannibalize” a child, Greenville County Sheriff Will Lewis said Thursday. His hopes were dashed, however, because the 14-year-old girl Bensing thought he was talking to was actually an undercover officer, according to authorities.
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“This man was coming from Myrtle Beach to pick up a child, take her back to Myrtle Beach and sell her,” Lewis said. “Do you think he’s not doing it in Myrtle Beach?”
Bensing was arrested on two counts of criminal solicitation of a minor, according to the sheriff’s office. He had no prior arrests in the state, FOX Carolina reports, and had traveled about four hours from Myrtle Beach to get to Greenville.
“This is beyond the worst type of human being that you could possibly imagine,” Lewis said at a press conference Thursday announcing the arrests, which were a part of a sting called Operation Millstone. “They are looking for, actively stalking children, for the purpose of kidnapping, killing, cannibalize, trafficking.”
The two-week, multi-agency operation aimed to take on child predators and potential human traffickers in the region, Lewis said.
Fourteen child predators were arrested in total, the sheriff’s office said, in addition to two human traffickers, 10 prostitutes and 17 johns. Lewis said the sheriff’s office purposely planned the sting to be around Valentine’s Day to catch potential predators. The operation first ran from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2, and then picked up again from Feb. 14 to 16, the sheriff’s office said.
One suspect authorities caught had told his wife he was headed out to buy his wife a Valentine’s Day present, according to the sheriff’s office. But instead, he was arrested at a location staged by Operation Millstone for soliciting a 14-year-old for sex on Feb. 14, Lewis said Thursday.
In other arrests, the suspects told authorities that they knowingly would have been passing sexually transmitted diseases along to their child victims, the sheriff’s office said.
“They wanted a 14-year-old child to transfer a disease to,” Lewis said. “You want to take about the depravity of humanity? Look at these people.”
Some of those arrested had been charged with similar crimes before, Lewis said.
And even as Lewis announced the dozens of arrests, though, he offered a warning.
“They are still looking for your kids,” Lewis said. He said that parents should be vigilant about checking their children’s social media, and who they’re communicating with online.
The name Operation Millstone is an allusion to the Bible verse Matthew 18:6, Lewis said.
The verse reads: “If anyone causes one of these little ones — those who believe in me — to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”