A pair of Pendleton men are behind bars on suspicion they forced a 16-year-old girl to perform sex acts. One of the suspects is a convicted sex offender, and Pendleton Police Chief Stuart Roberts said a woman also is a suspect in this case.

Pendleton police Monday arrested William John Benard III, 32, and Brandon Alexander Patterson, 26, on initial charges of first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree sodomy, first-degree sexual penetration, all felonies, and fourth-degree assault, a misdemeanor. They are in the Umatilla County Jail in Pendleton in lieu of $150,000 bail each.

Detectives have been working the case since taking an initial report on Jan. 6 of rape, Roberts said, the date of the alleged crimes. The investigation found Benard and Patterson knew the victim but didn’t rape her, Roberts said, but forced her to do other sexual acts at 1108 N.W. Furnish Ave. in Pendleton, the residence of one of the suspects.

And a woman was present as well. Roberts said she witnessed the crimes and “did nothing to intervene on behalf of the victim.”

Police have not arrested her and Roberts didn’t name her. The chief said the case against her likely will go to a grand jury.

According to the county’s online jail roster, Benard is 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 350 pounds, and Patterson is 6 feet tall and weighs 200 pounds. Given their size, Roberts said the victim stood little chance against them.

Detectives also are looking into the background of the suspects. Patterson is a convicted sex offender, but it appears he didn’t commit previous sex crimes locally, Roberts said. Patterson is on the docket for an arraignment Friday in circuit court in Hermiston on a charge of failing to register as a sex offender.

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