A Covina man faces federal prison time at sentencing Wednesday for carrying out an online harassment campaign against two teenage girls who rejected his sexual advances.
Carl Bennington, 34, pleaded guilty in December to two federal cyberstalking counts. Although the charges together carry a maximum of 10 years behind bars, prosecutors agreed to recommend a sentence of no more than 21 months, court papers show.
From at least February 2016 through March 2020, Bennington used various social media accounts to harass the victims, sending hundreds of messages threatening to commit acts of physical and sexual violence against them if they did not submit to his advances.
Neither teen ever met Bennington in person, according to federal prosecutors in Los Angeles.
When one of the girls demanded that Bennington stop harassing her, Bennington replied that he was going to kill her and her family, documents show.
Bennington is an online promoter of the “involuntary celibate” subculture, based around the inability to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state that adherents describe as “inceldom” or “incelibacy,” federal prosecutors said.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated that in addition to the threatening and harassing messages he sent to young women and girls, Bennington frequently made statements on internet groups promoting incel ideology.
The ideology promotes the view that women oppress men and have too much freedom to choose their own sexual partners. The belief ranges in tone from sad and self-loathing to advocating the “absolute hatred” of women, according to court papers.