A predatory sex offender who dressed as a female and entered the women’s locker room at North Clackamas Aquatic Park was sentenced Tuesday to nine months in jail.
Thomas Lee Benson, who was convicted of sexually abusing children 17 years ago, has a long history of dressing as a female and using women’s dressing areas.
Clackamas County Circuit Judge Steven L. Maurer found Benson guilty of second-degree criminal trespass, unlawful entry into a motor vehicle and frequenting a place where children regularly congregate, which is a crime for predatory sex offenders.
Benson was arrested in July shortly after he left the girl’s locker room at the aquatic center, 7300 S.E. Harmony Road. He had been observed wandering around the swim center talking to children. Benson fled when a man tried to detain him. Tayo Cotton, who was helping supervise a group of children, chased Benson through nearby Clackamas Town Center mall.
Sgt. Adam Phillips, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, said Benson was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse and paying to view child pornography. In 2001, he was convicted of second-degree trespassing for entering a locker room at an aquatic center. Seven years later, he was convicted of unlawful contact with a child.
“Mr. Benson has been known to dress as a female to gain access to undressed minor females by frequenting restrooms, dressing rooms, changing rooms, aquatic centers and pool locker rooms,” Phillips said. “Mr. Benson has been know to use money, candy and threats to gain access to his victims.”
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