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Police: Agency worker offers to write off community service requirement in exchange for sex

Updated Wednesday, July 25, 2012 | 4:54 p.m.

Benedetto Vitale

Benedetto Vitale

An employee at a North Las Vegas agency that assists victims of domestic violence was arrested Tuesday for attempting to coerce a woman into having sex with him instead of working her community service hours, North Las Vegas Police reported.

Police said the incident occurred Sunday when a 24-year-old woman reported to the SafeNest Donation Center at 4208 Arcata Way, in North Las Vegas, to discuss her duties. She reached Benedetto Vitale, director of operations, planning to talk about working off court-mandated community service hours.

Instead, officials said, Vitale tried to pressure the woman into having sex with him in exchange for signing off on her community service hours.

Vitale, who has worked for SafeNest for eight years, was charged with one count each of open and gross lewdness, forgery and sexually motivated coercion.

Officials said North Las Vegas Police detectives are looking into the possibility of other victims during Vitale’s time at SafeNest.

SafeNest public information director Lisa Chapman said the allegations stand in stark contrast to the nonprofit organization’s mission and hoped they would not shake the confidence victims seeking shelter have in SafeNest.

Chapman said Vitale’s position did not involve contact with victims of domestic violence, and dealt only with donation center volunteers.

“We are hoping that what we hope was an isolated incident does not shake the trust of our community and what we do,” Chapman said. “We are cooperating fully. It is our intention to do an internal investigation, work with police and make sure the right thing is done by all persons involved.”

She said Vitale was placed on administrative leave.

SafeNest, according to its website, has been in operation since 1977, and offers “confidential assistance including shelter, food, clothing, counseling, education and other services to individuals experiencing domestic violence.” An executive director heads the nonprofit agency, which is overseen by a board of directors.

Officials urge anyone with more information regarding the case to call the North Las Vegas Police Department at 702-633-91111 or to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 702-385-5555.

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  1. SafeNest is a great organization that does good things for the people of the Las Vegas community.

    I am glad to see they reacted quickly and released him from his duties. They don't need someone like this hindering the great things they do.

    Hopefully NLV Police will be able to keep him locked up for a while. He needs to learn to not abuse a position of trust he had.

  2. Whoa, hold on here a minute! This is merely an accusation and we all know how well some of them turn out. Remember the LaCrosse team? How about Tawana Brawley and her lying co-conspirator, the race-baiting, anti-Semitic, rabble rousing Al Sharpton? Then there was Richard Jewell, the supposed Atlanta bomber, besmirched by local law enforcement and the FBI. If this guy is guilty as accused, then he should go away for a long time. But let's not have one of those old fashioned Southern lynchings in what used to be derisively called, "The Mississippi of the West."

  3. Jerry Sandusky got away with preying on little boys for decades; he was a pillar of his community with his charity, Second Mile, and his affiliation with Penn State's football program. It's always those with the most clout, socially, that seem to get caught up in these messes. With power comes responsibility, and the temptation to abuse it.

    If this man is indeed guilty, I say make HIM do community service; picking up trash off the side of the highway.

  4. Well, he confessed to the cops and there is a records of the meeting with the women.

    He has now been fired and charged.