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Twentynine Palms Marine arrested on suspicion of abducting, having sex with teen he met online

Benjamin Robert Clinton, a 19-year-old Marine stationed in Twentynine Palms, Calif., was arrested Feb. 28, 2021 on suspicion of helping a 15-year-old teenager run away and having sex with her, authorities said.

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By JOSE QUINTERO | The Daily Press | Published: March 2, 2021

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (Tribune Content Agency) — Detectives arrested a 19-year-old Marine stationed in Twentynine Palms on suspicion of helping a Hesperia teenager run away and having sex with her, authorities said.

If charged by prosecutors, Benjamin Robert Clinton is expected to appear before a judge in a Victorville courtroom Tuesday afternoon.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department detectives from the Hesperia station arrested Clinton on Sunday at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, where he is stationed. He was booked on suspicion of unlawful sex with a minor and child abduction, booking records show.

Sheriff's officials said in a statement Tuesday that deputies responded to the 10000 block of Eighth Avenue in Hesperia on Sunday morning regarding a runaway teen.

The girl's grandmother said that the 15-year-old ran left home without permission sometime during the night.

"Through investigation, deputies discovered the victim and the suspect communicated over a period of time to coordinate and help the victim run away," sheriff's officials said.

Detectives coordinated with military officials and contacted Clinton at the Twentynine Palms base. Booking records show Clinton was arrested at 6:15 p.m.

It was unclear Tuesday morning if the girl was found with Clinton at the base.

Investigators believe the girl met Clinton online and the two have "been involved in a sexual relationship."

Military officials at the base were not immediately contacted Tuesday morning.

Clinton was being held at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga in lieu of $50,000 bail, booking records show.

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department to call the Hesperia station at 760-947-1500. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip hotline at 800-782-7436 or visit www.wetip.com.

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