Another police academy recruit charged in connection with child rape on St. Croix


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ST. CROIX - A second police academy recruit has been arrested in connection with the reported rape and pregnancy of a 16-year-old girl earlier this year.

Felicia Bennerson, of Sion Farm, appeared before V.I. Superior Court Judge Douglas Brady on Monday morning and was advised of her rights on the charges of misprision of a felony - concealing knowledge of a felony - interfering with an officer discharging her duties and accessory after the fact stemming from the May reports to police.

Brady advised Bennerson that if she is tried and convicted of the charges against her, she could face up to 14 years in prison.

According to the affidavit filed in support of the warrant seeking Bennerson's arrest, police received an anonymous report in May that a man - later identified as 23-year-old Delroy Thomas - had been having sex with the girl and that she was pregnant.

Thomas was arrested on rape and related charges last month.

V.I. Police Detective Vanessa Richardson said in her report that Bennerson had a close relationship with Thomas, who also was a police academy recruit, and told police that the girl had told her that Thomas had been raping her against her will. However, Bennerson did not report the rapes, according to Richardson's report.

The girl told police that she had known Thomas for a while, and whenever he would find her alone he would make lewd remarks or make sexual advances and eventually forced her to have sex with him.

She told police that she did not know how many sexual encounters they had or exactly when they occurred, but she knew there were times in March and there had been more than five sexual encounters, according to the police report.

Police contacted Thomas to advise him of the allegations, which he denied, saying he had never touched the girl or had sex with her. He consented to having police collect DNA samples from him to be used to determine paternity.

According to Richardson's report, Bennerson took the girl to terminate the pregnancy and tried on two separate occasions to interfere with the officers' ability to have access to the remains of the unborn fetus.

Police subpoenaed the doctor's office for the remains which were sent in June to a Florida lab for testing.

When the test results were returned last month, they proved that Thomas was the unborn child's father with 99.9999 percent degree of certainty, according to Richardson.

Bail for Bennerson was set at $50,000, and she was allowed released to the third-party custody of her father after they both signed an unsecured bond in the amount of bail. She was further ordered not to have any contact with Thomas or with the girl while the case is pending.

Thomas has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree aggravated rape and first-degree unlawful sexual contact. He was released on house arrest with the use of an electronic monitoring device after posting 10 percent of bail that had been set at $150,000.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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