East Petersburg man convicted of rape of woman at his home

Manzelle Benitez

LANCASTER, Pa. –  An East Petersburg man, 22-year-old Manzelle Benitez, was convicted Wednesday afternoon in Lancaster County Court of rape and other crimes against a woman at his Northfield Drive home in August 2015.

The jury deliberated for about two hours, following a 3-day trial, before returning a verdict at 1:30 p.m. Benitez was convicted of Rape, Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, Aggravated Indecent Assault, all forcible and Indecent Assault, a misdemeanor.

Assistant District Attorney Susan Ellison, who won the conviction, presented witnesses and evidence regarding the attack.

Benitez first clenched the victim around the throat and told her to “do what I say,” before the attack continued in a bedroom. The victim also took the stand.

Benitez will be sentenced after a background check and sex offender assessment are completed in about two months. He is being held at Lancaster County Prison without bail, pending sentencing.

Lancaster County Judge Jeffery Wright, who presided over the trial, will order sentence.