SURREY (NEWS1130) – A former TV reporter has pleaded guilty to one count of sexual assault involving a minor.

The Crown is recommending Ron Bencze spend two to three years behind bars and that he be added to the sex offender registry. The defence seeks a conditional sentence.

Emotional victim impact statements have been read, as court heard details about the case for the first time. Bencze had apparently engaged in sexual touching and sexual text messaging with the victim, dating back as far as 2003 when the child was only in the third grade. According to an agreed statement of facts, the assaults often happened at the Benzce home.

A statement by Bencze says he regrets his actions and takes full responsibility.

Neil Mackenzie with the Crown says eight other charges involving two other suspected victims are likely to be stayed.

“In the circumstances here, the Crown is likely to proceed on the single count of sexual assault. It relates to a series of events over a number of years. Crown has concluded that it was appropriate to proceed on that count, and not proceed on the remaining counts against Mr. Bencze,” he explains.

Mackenzie points out the sexual assault charge is the most serious one against Bencze and was the most likely to land a conviction.

The judge says he needs more time, and will come back with a decision after August 27.

He has been fired by Global TV. He also once worked for News1130.

Case acts as reminder that predators come from all walks of life

All kids know not to talk to strangers, but in actual fact, the vast majority of child predators are people who are close to our families, like coaches, youth leaders and teachers, who have lots of access to our kids.

Chris Danielsen with Put Kids First says children have to be taught that just because an adult is a friend or an authority figure, doesn’t mean they’re safe.

“If they’re a coach, teacher or camp counsellor and they want to see a child alone, give your child permission to say ‘No, you must have another adult there and I must have a friend with me.’ Absolutely you have to give kids that power,” she stresses.

Even toddlers, she says, need to be taught to be wary of people who single them out for special, individual attention.

She points out a strange irony.

“Ron Bencze has interviewed me a dozens times on this exact subject. He was actually one of the class supervisors when my son and his friends went on a field trip to Victoria a couple of years ago.”