VERDICT: JURY CONVICTS EAST PETERSBURG MAN OF RAPE AND OTHER CHARGES

An East Petersburg man was convicted Wednesday in Lancaster County Court of rape and other crimes against a woman at his home in 2015.

A local jury convicted 22-year-old Manzelle Benitez of three felonies and a misdemeanor regarding the Aug. 15, 2015, attack on Northfield Drive.

The jury deliberated for about two hours, following a 3-day trial, before returning a verdict Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

Benitez, who lived at the Northfield Drive home, will be sentenced after a background check and sex offender assessment are completed in about two months. He is at Lancaster County Prison without bail, pending sentencing.

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

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 took the stand.

In all, Benitez was convicted of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault – all forcible – and a misdemeanor count of indecent assault.

Manheim Township police Detective Sarah Goss filed charges.

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