QUINCY, Mass. — A man accused of targeting teenage girls for sex by offering them money faced a judge Tuesday.
Quincy Police say that man, 20-year-old Benjamin Chen of Quincy, turned himself in later Monday after seeing news coverage of this story. He faced a judge Tuesday on several charges including enticing a minor and soliciting sex for a fee.
Police began investigating three incidents over the past couple of weeks after several parents said their teens were offered money -- one up to $500 for sex. Police say in all three incidents that a man drove up and offered cash to the teens in exchange for some sort of sexual favor.
“The conduct here, which is just... bizarre. It’s dangerous. We are talking about 16-year-old and 13-year-old girls he is approaching, not once but twice,” said Norfolk County assistant district attorney Rita Muse.
Nicole Palermo lives in Quincy’s Germantown neighborhood. She lives right near the playground where a 13-year-old old girl told police she was approached by a man offering her money for sex.
"She was petrified,” Palermo said. “You could tell something was seriously wrong."
Quincy Police are looking into three similar incidents, two involving the same 13-year-old girl over a week period in Germantown. The other near the YMCA and one of the high schools across from the police department.
One parent told Boston 25 News that the man offered $50 to the 13-year-old girl and kept offering hundreds more when she said no.
“Our school resource officers are aware of it, our special investigation unit is aware of it and school security, to see if we can locate any cameras in Quincy Square or in Germantown as well," said Sgt. Karyn Barkas of Quincy Police.
In one of the incidents, the victim told police the man got out of his car and ran at them.
"I [saw] her running and the man coming out and at that point the Asian male was going to his car,” Palermo said. “Just took off."
There is a surveillance camera mounted near where one of the incidents happened that police say they are checking. People who live in the Germantown neighborhood are all keeping an extra eye out.
Jill Steinberg’s daughter knows both girls who were approached.
“She’s kind of freaked out about it and [I] just tell her [to use the] buddy system,” Steinberg said. “I’ll be walking her to and from the bus stop.”
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