Two Florida men were arrested for plotting to “groom and rape” a 3-year-old girl and detailing their plan in disturbing text messages uncovered by the child’s mother, police said.
Authorities said Lafe Best, 37, was arrested Tuesday, following the arrest in January of his friend and sexual partner, Benjamin Worster, 39, on charges of lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct and 21 counts of possession of child pornography.
Authorities began investigating the duo after the girl’s mother contacted police about text messages she discovered on Worster’s phone when the 39-year-old was taken to the hospital for an apparent overdose, Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said. The girl and her mother moved into Worster’s apartment in Ormond Beach in December.
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The mother found the phone lying on a bed and spotted a text message thread between Worster and Best with a “sickening description of a plan to groom and rape the 3-year-old girl, whether she was conscious or not.”
Warning: Graphic description below
Police released portions of the text messages that showed Worster calling the woman “not a very good mom” who ignores her daughter constantly. He said the girl was young enough that her memories “won’t stick” and told Best he was looking up items that “will safely make kids pass out for a couple of hours.”
At one point, Best responds to Worster’s plan with, “Can’t wait.”
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Police searched Best’s house on Tuesday and discovered the text message exchange with Worster, along with alleged child pornography.
Best was also living with two people who have a 20-month-old child, police said.
“At this time, it’s not believed he was a victim of any abuse; however, authorities will continue to follow up as the investigation continues,” police said.