Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office Successfully Apprehends Benjamin Hart in Sexual Battery Case
Published 3:26 pm Saturday, January 20, 2024
WASHINGTON PARISH, La. – In a significant update on an ongoing investigation, the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office (WPSO) has successfully apprehended and extradited Benjamin Hart, a cross-country truck driver from Weare, New Hampshire, in connection with allegations of sexual battery and indecent behavior with a juvenile.
The investigation, spearheaded by Detective Chad Cassard, was initiated on November 29, 2022, after it was discovered that Hart had targeted the victim through Xbox Live, establishing contact during video game sessions. The accused, born on January 9, 1997, had an existing case involving multiple juveniles in Carroll County, New Hampshire. Despite pending charges in Washington Parish, Louisiana, Hart evaded law enforcement.
In February 2023, Detective Cassard sought assistance from the U.S. Marshals Service, leading to Hart’s eventual apprehension in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on April 4, 2023. Initially held at the Metropolitan Detention Center, Hart contested extradition. The WPSO, in collaboration with the 22nd District Attorney of Washington Parish, pursued a governor’s warrant for his extradition.
After a competency hearing in January 2024, Hart was deemed competent by a Bernalillo County medical examiner and judge. Subsequently, the Governor’s Warrant for extradition was granted. On January 19, 2024, Benjamin Hart was transported to the Washington Parish Jail, where he faces charges of sexual battery, indecent behavior with a juvenile, and trafficking of children for sexual purposes. The investigation is still active.
Sheriff Randy “Country” Seal emphasizes the importance of parents monitoring their children’s online gaming and social media interactions closely, stating, “This case serves as a crucial reminder for parents to monitor their children’s online gaming and social media interactions closely. Incidents like these are not just occurring in large cities; they are striking close to home in our own community.”
The WPSO expresses gratitude to the local District Attorney’s office for their invaluable assistance in securing the New Mexico judge’s approval for extradition. The WPSO remains dedicated to ensuring the safety and well-being of the community, particularly its youngest members. Anyone with information about Hart or potential victims is urged to contact the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office and speak to Detective Chad Cassard.