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The Villages
Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Convicted sex offender checks into hotel in The Villages upon release from prison

Matthew Eric Benedict
Matthew Eric Benedict

A convicted sex offender has checked into a hotel in The Villages after his release last week from prison.

Matthew Eric Benedict, 34, was released Tuesday from a Florida prison after serving more than four years behind bars on charges of possession of pornography and sending harmful images to a minor.

The day after his release, Benedict checked into the Comfort Inn & Suites Hotel at 1202 Avenida Central in The Villages, where he remained on Sunday, according to information from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Benedict had been working as a janitor at Seminole Springs Elementary School in Eustis in 2017 when he exchanged sexual images with a 15-year-old boy using a cellphone, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies said the parents of the teen discovered Benedict had given their son a cellphone on which the two exchanged explicit images and text messages. According to the arrest affidavit, when deputies searched Benedict’s home, he admitted to them that he had given the teen the phone and that he sent sexual images to him. The sheriff’s office said at the time that Benedict had not been acquainted with the boy through his work as a school janitor, however, outraged parents demanded Benedict’s immediate firing.

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