VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - Two men are facing a slew of charges after deputies discovered a series of text messages containing a plot to groom and rape a 3-year-old girl, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.
Lafe Best, 37, of Golf Avenue, was arrested Tuesday and remains in custody without bond. Deputies said Best's friend and sexual partner, Benjamin Worster, 39, was arrested in January on charges of lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct, and 21 counts of possession of child pornography.
The arrests came after deputies discovered incredibly disturbing text messages on Worster’s phone.
According to the sheriff's office, a 3-year-old girl and her mother had moved into Worster’s apartment in December 2018. Soon, the little girl told her mother Worster had touched her.
On Dec. 17, Worster was taken to the hospital after an apparent overdose, and the child's mother found his phone lying on his bed. That’s when she discovered a text message thread with someone named “Lafe,” and a sickening description of a plan to groom and rape the 3-year-old girl, whether she was conscious or not.
A portion of the text messages were released this week by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.
"Just want to say it was difficult to post some of these details, and we really do apologize to anyone who finds it offensive and disturbing. It absolutely is. The reason for posting it is not to shock or offend, but to show the type of grooming behavior that takes place when a predator has access to a child," the sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.
***WARNING: These aren’t a complete record of the text messages exchanged between Worster and Best, but they’re still graphic.***
Worster: “Single mom&Has a 3 year old daughter&Shes not a very good mom and she ignored her daughter constantly&2nd day of meeting her daughter she ran up to give me a hug and buried her head right in my crotch&So im gonna get to work on that”
Worster: “And at 3 im working with memories that wont stick”
Worster: “Think I might casually accidently let her see it a few times see how she reacts maybe bring her by to watch a movie at your place when your roommates aren't home get her used to you too"
Worster: “Im looking up things under an anonymous browser on things that will safely make kids pass out for a couple hours:”
Best: “Cant wait lol”
Worster: “Me either&Gotta take this opportunity while I can at my age who knows when something like this will land in my lap again"
Best: “I know right. I've got all kinds of Visions dancing in my head right now lol”
Best: “Would love to bury my tongue in some little (REDACTED). Among other things lol"
Best: “You never know if her junkie mom can't come up with rent one month she might ust give her to you lol wishful thinking”
Best: “I'd prefer awake if we can manage it without repercussions”
Worster: “Yeah but beggers cant be choosers&Gotta feel this one out and see what shes like and how she can keep secrets and how easily she can be trained before I worry about the drastic things”
Worster: “But im over 100% sure I can at least get her knocked out alone and naked to at least fondle a d defile to my hearts content”
Detectives executed a search warrant at Best’s home on Tuesday, and discovered what appeared to be child pornography on his cell phone, in addition to his texts with Worster. Additional charges are expected as the evidence is forensically examined and the investigation continues.
"Please be alert, protect your children and call our Child Exploitation Unit if you believe your child may be a victim. 386-323-3574."
This story was written by FOX 46 from Charlotte, North Carolina.