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Niagara Falls man imprisoned in statutory rape case

LOCKPORT – A man who plied an adolescent girl with drugs and alcohol while having a sexual relationship with her in 2014 was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison and 10 years of post-release supervision.

“What kind of a man gives illegal drugs to a 15-year-old girl?” Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon demanded of Russell Bennett, 32, of 22nd Street, Niagara Falls, who pleaded guilty to third-degree rape, also known as statutory rape.

“I have no explanation,” Bennett replied. Pressed for an answer, he offered, “Stupidity.”

Defense attorney David J. Mansour said Bennett considered the teenager his girlfriend. He said a graphic image found on Bennett’s phone was one the girl sent to him, and there was never any forcible compulsion in the relationship.