Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lakewood High student sexually assaulted at gunpoint, St. Pete police say

ST. PETERSBURG — A 16-year-old Lakewood High School student was kidnapped and sexually assaulted at gunpoint early Thursday morning while she was walking to school, according to St. Petersburg police.

Benjamin Devoe Mohead, 32, was arrested about an hour after the student's mother called police.

The student was alone when Mohead drove up and displayed what appeared to be a gun, police said. They said Mohead forced the frightened student into his car, drove her to the Lakewood golf course and sexually assaulted her.

"From as near as we can tell, this was a crime of opportunity," said police spokesman Mike Puetz.

It wasn't the first time Mohead was accused of aiming a gun at a stranger, then raping her.

Seven years ago, Mohead was charged with sexually assaulting a woman at the Crystal Inn at 4600 34th St. S. The woman was partying at the motel on Jan. 4, 2005, then approached a room seeking a ride. The man she was looking for wasn't there. But his cousin, Mohead, was.

He pulled out a gun and ordered her to undress, a police report said. Then he undressed.

"You made me do it," he told her, according to a police report.

Mohead then sexually assaulted the woman, according to the report, and warned her: "You better not say anything." But she reported the assault as soon as she was able to leave the room a few hours later.

Mohead pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of felony battery a year later. Pinellas-Pasco Chief Assistant State Attorney Bruce Bartlett said Thursday that the plea deal came about after witnesses provided conflicting accounts. Mohead was sentenced to a year in prison.

He was freed in 2006, then served another year in 2008 for forgery, records show. He was released in 2009, then arrested twice in 2011 for failure to pay child support and possession of cocaine, according to records.

Then came Thursday's incident. The student was walking to school in her Lakewood Estates neighborhood about 7 a.m. She was near Anastasia Way and Cumbia Way when a green sedan pulled up alongside her.

The driver demanded that she get in, police said. She had never seen him before. She refused. But police said the driver brandished what looked like a handgun. The teen was scared and got in.

The man drove a short distance to the golf course, police said, then stopped and sexually assaulted her. He also robbed her of some cash.

The teen screamed, police said, so the driver let her out at the intersection of Desoto Way and Cardinal Way S. He drove away — but not before she saw his tag number. She walked home and told her mother. They called police at 7:19 a.m.

Officers quickly zeroed in on the Mariner's Pointe Apartment complex at 1175 Pinellas Point Drive S. They found the car they believe was used in the assault, a dark green 1995 Buick LeSabre. Inside, police found a pellet gun.

The car belonged to a female resident, and police identified her boyfriend as their suspect: Mohead. Officers said the teen picked him out of a photo lineup.

Officers soon found Mohead walking nearby and arrested him. He was charged with two counts of armed sexual assault, one count of armed kidnapping and one count of armed robbery. He was being held Thursday without bail in the county jail.

Hours after the arrest, a message from Lakewood High principal Bob Vicari was sent out to the phones of students and their families.

"As our student was walking to school, she was abducted and sexually assaulted by an adult male …" Vicari said. "I am calling to notify you … and to ask that we work together with your Lakewood High student to make sure he or she is aware and takes all precautions possible when traveling to school."

Staff writer Curtis Krueger contributed to this report. Danny Valentine can be reached at or (727) 893-8804.

Lakewood High student sexually assaulted at gunpoint, St. Pete police say 03/01/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 1, 2012 11:16pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Protest sparks Texas lawmaker threats of gun violence


    AUSTIN, Texas — Hundreds of protesters opposing Texas' tough new anti-"sanctuary cities" law launched a raucous demonstration from the public gallery in the Texas House on Monday, briefly halting work and prompting lawmakers on the floor below to scuffle — and even threaten gun violence — as tense …

  2. Photo gallery: 20 mugshots of pro athletes arrested in Florida - 1994 to 2017


    In light of today's arrest of Tiger Woods in Jupiter, Florida on DUI charges, here are 20 booking mugs of professional athletes who have been arrested in Florida, from 1994 (Jennifer …

    Desmond Bryant - 2005 - Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Desmond Bryant was arrested in Miami on charges of criminal mischief after allegedly "going to a neighbor's house inebriated and causing a commotion." 

  3. For starters: Rays at Rangers, with Erasmo on the mound again


    Coming off Sunday's 6 1/2-hour, 15-inning marathon win over the Twins, the Rays will have the pitcher who finished that game, Erasmo Ramirez, start tonight's game in Texas, first pitch 8:05 Tampa Bay time.

    Ramirez threw only 12 pitches on Sunday so the Rays decided to let him make his planned start tonight, …

  4. Curlew Hills Memory Gardens honors Memorial Day (w/video)


       Curlew Hills Memory Gardens honored those that served during their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor. The event featured guest speakers, live choral performances by the Palm Harbor United Methodist Church choir and live music by Bones South, an area trombone ensemble with …

    Eight-year-old Piper St. Jean, of Tampa, uses a brush to clean the grave of her grandfather, Henry St. Jean, who served with the United States Air Force during the Korean and Vietnam wars. at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens on Monday moments after the conclusion of their 31st annual Memorial Day Service on Monday (5/23/17) in Palm Harbor.
  5. Authorities release name of Tampa woman killed in Temple Terrace apartment fire


    TEMPLE TERRACE — Authorities have released the name of a woman who died in a fire that destroyed a dozen units in an apartment complex here Sunday.

    Firefighters battle an early-morning fire Sunday that claimed the life of 28-year-old Tenecia Renee Brannon and left about 30 others homeless. [Temple Terrace Fire Department]