FBI agents arrested a 33-year-old San Gabriel Valley man Tuesday on a federal cyberstalking charge for allegedly conducting an internet harassment campaign against two teenage girls who rejected his sexual advances.
Carl Bennington, of Covina, faces up to five years in federal prison if convicted. He will remain in federal custody pending the outcome of a detention hearing scheduled for Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. His arraignment is set for May 11.
The criminal complaint alleges that, from at least February 2016 through last month, Bennington repeatedly used various social media accounts to harass the victims, sending hundreds of messages threatening to commit acts of physical and sexual violence against them if they did not submit to his advances.
Neither teen ever met Bennington in person, according to the complaint. When one of the victims demanded that Bennington stop harassing her, Bennington replied that he was going to kill her and her family, prosecutors allege.
Bennington is an online promoter of the “involuntary celibate” subculture, based around the inability to find a romantic or sexual partner despite desiring one, a state that adherents describe as “inceldom” or “incelibacy,” federal prosecutors allege.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges social media records show that, in addition to the threatening and harassing messages he sent to young women and girls, Bennington frequently made statements on internet groups promoting incel ideology.
According to court documents, the ideology promotes the view that women oppress men and have too much freedom to choose their own sexual partners. The ideology ranges in tone from sad and self-loathing to advocating the “absolute hatred” of women, court documents state.