Anchorage Man Indicted On Sex Trafficking, Sexual Assault, Weapons Misconduct Charges

An Anchorage man was indicted by a Grand jury this week on multiple charges involving sex trafficking, sexual assault and weapons misconduct.

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Xavier Lanell Cook Benson is facing 12 counts related to what law enforcement officials allege in a written release, was a brutal and exploitative sex trafficking and prostitution operation in Anchorage, Juneau, Kenai and Fairbanks. 

Adam Alexander is an attorney with the state’s office of special prosecutions. He says Benson will have to meet a high bar to get out on bail.

“He would have to post a hundred thousand dollars cash on the performance bond,” Alexander said. “He would have to secure the assistance of a bail bondsman on the cash corporate appearance bond and he would have to propose a third party custodian to the court for the court’s approval.”

Alexander says investigations such as this that involve Anchorage police and the FBI are complex and often long term.

“The commercial sex trade is, in many cases, fueled by physical and emotional exploitation,” Alexander said. “And people often times, and I’m not speaking to Mr. Benson here specifically, but people often times, who operate prostitution enterprises, target vulnerable people and at the same time are becoming increasingly sophisticated.”

If convicted, Benson faces up to 60 years in prison.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 18 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications with veteran Alaskan broadcasters Nellie Moore, D’Anne Hamilton, Len Anderson, Sharon McConnell and Veronica Iya. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori