One Year Ago Today (May 14, 2021)…A felon who broke into a Riverside home and sexually assaulted a woman and her developmentally disabled daughter before police officers stopped him was sentenced to 35 years to life in state prison.

Manuel Paul Benavente, 35, of Riverside pleaded guilty in March to two counts of forcible rape and one count of assault with intent to commit rape, as well as a sentence-enhancing allegation of committing a sexual offense during a burglary.

In exchange for Benavente’s admissions, the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office dropped several other charges, including rape of an impaired victim.

Superior Court Judge O.G. Magno certified the terms of the plea agreement and imposed the sentence stipulated by the prosecution and defense.

About 2:20 a.m. last Aug. 20, the defendant stripped naked and popped a screen on a window leading into a home on Hayes Street, near Arlington Park, then forcibly accessed a bedroom, according to Riverside police Officer Ryan Railsback.

He confronted the property owner, “ordering her to disrobe,” then sexually assaulted her before turning his attention to the woman’s 30-year-old developmentally disabled daughter, who was still in bed, Railsback said.

While Benavente was attacking the second victim, her mother called 911, and patrol officers raced to the location, according to Railsback. He said they looked into the bedroom window, spotted Benavente “on top of the woman” and immediately entered the home and detained him.

Both victims, whose identities were not disclosed, suffered minor injuries, he said.

The defendant’s clothes were found outside the house.

It was unclear whether Benavente had been stalking the victims, or targeted them at random.

According to court records, he had a prior conviction for felony burglary.

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