Auburn couple charged in sexual abuse case

JOSEPH BENSON

JOSEPH BENSON

LINDA DENNISTON

LINDA DENNISTON

BY STACI WILSON

Three women reported that an Auburn Twp. man had sexually molested them for years, while his girlfriend did nothing to stop the abuse.

Joseph Benson, 64, was charged by Tpr. John Oliver with multiple crimes, including rape.

The women, now ages 23, 21 and 19, said the sexual assaults began when they were about nine years of age and continued to present time.
The Susquehanna County Independent does not identify the victims of sexual assault.

Police said the women had reported the abuse to Benson’s live-in girlfriend, Linda Denniston, 57, who is related to the victims.

According to police, Denniston never helped, nor reported the abuse.

Instead, police said, she made the women lie if asked about the abuse.

Denniston has been charged with felony endangering the welfare of children and other associated crimes.

According to the affidavit, one victim reported the abuse at school when she was still student. There was an investigation by Children & Youth but Denniston ordered her to lie to investigators, according to the complaint.

The victim said she was now coming forward with the allegations because she found out others were also being assaulted by Benson and Denniston was threatening the females if they spoke out about the abuse, according to police.

Following the Oct. 7 arrests of Benson and Denniston at their Auburn Twp. home, Denniston asked police about the allegations, according to the complaint.

She also, according to the affidavit, said the victims were “all liars.”
Denniston denied to police that the women had ever told her about the alleged abuse.

During a police interview, Benson at first denied the allegations made against him but later admitted to a sexual assault but said he never had sexual intercourse with the victims.

According to the affidavit, Benson said that when he had been confronted by Denniston about the assaults, he said he denied the allegations to her.

A preliminary hearing for Benson was scheduled for Oct. 21 in Montrose District Court. He is being held on $250,000 bail. No information was available regarding a preliminary hearing date or bail amount set for Denniston.

*Editor’s note: In the Oct. 9 edition of the Susquehanna County Independent, the accused was incorrectly identified as a “John Benson” the name has been corrected to “Joseph Benson” for the web edition. A printed correction will also appear in the next edition of the Independent. The Susquehanna County Independent apologizes for the error.