Clovis NM – Ninth Judicial District Attorney, Andrea Reeb, announced that today a Curry County jury found Benjamin Lerman, age 43, of Clovis, guilty of Child Solicitation by Electronic Device, a third degree felony. Lerman is currently a Senior Master Sergeant at Cannon Air Force Base.
In November of 2015, Lerman began electronic communications with what he thought was a 15 year old girl. Lerman sent sexually explicit messages and photos of himself over a period of several months. He had actually been communicating with an undercover Sheriff’s deputy. On March 20, 2016, Lerman arrived at the North Plains Mall, a meeting he set up to have sexual interactions with the juvenile, when he was arrested by the Curry County Sheriff’s Office.
The Honorable Fred Van Soelen presided over the trial, which began on Monday, September 3, 2018. The jury deliberated about an hour and a half before returning their guilty verdict. Judge Van Soelen immediately sentenced Lerman three years in the New Mexico Department of Corrections, with one and one-half years suspended. Lerman will serve 5 - 20 years of intensive supervised probation and will be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.
District Attorney Andrea Reeb stated, “ I am extremely pleased with this conviction. I would like to thank the jury for this verdict. Predators over the computer are a huge problem in this community. Especially predators traveling from other jurisdictions to meet who they believe are young children. Luckily, this was an agent acting in an undercover capacity. What is especially concerning is that this defendant represented our military community. A strong message was sent today that this conduct will not be tolerated if you chose to victimize children in the 9th Judicial District.”
Jake Boazman, Deputy District Attorney and Lara Maierhofer, Assistant District Attorney, prosecuted the case for the State. Lerman was represented by criminal defense attorney, Gary C. Mitchell, of Ruidoso, NM.
For more information, please contact the District Attorney’s Office at 575-769-2246.