A former command sergeant major at Fort Carson, Colorado, was sentenced last week after he pleaded guilty to an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate and sending indecent text messages to another woman.
Sgt. Maj. Benito A. Perez, 51, received 179 days of confinement, a reduction in rank to sergeant first class and a written reprimand, said Fort Carson spokesperson Dee McNutt.
Perez pleaded guilty to one specification of indecent language in violation of Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and one specification of engaging in a prohibited relationship in violation of Article 92.
Perez originally faced four charges of sexual assault, five charges of “indecent” communications and one charge of fraternizing with a junior soldier under his command.
He was not sentenced on any of the charges related to an underage victim that were originally included by prosecutors and documented on charge sheets provided to Army Times.
The Colorado Gazette reported that there were two alleged victims in the case who took the stand.
One woman, a soldier previously under his command, testified that Perez made her feel “obligated” because of his rank to visit his office for closed door meetings, the Gazette reported.
Perez became “unduly familiar” with the junior soldier, who was a private first class, prosecutors said in the charge sheets.
Perez, who was a command sergeant major at the time, regularly called and texted the young soldier, requested that she send him photos, “order[ed]” her to his office for “regular closed door personal meetings,” touched her leg, hugged her and invited her to his home “after work hours,” the charge sheets read.
The other woman in the case was the victim in most of the charges against Perez, including incidents that took place when she was still under the age of 16.
The charges related to her being a minor were dropped as part of the plea agreement, the Gazette reported. However, the charge involving indecent text messages that Perez pleaded guilty to still involved this second victim.
Perez served as the 4th Infantry Division Artillery’s senior enlisted leader until January 2020. Before that, he was the command sergeant major for the division’s 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team from 2014 to 2017.
Perez has been in the Army for 31 years, is a Desert Storm veteran and deployed multiple times to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to service records reviewed by Army Times.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to clarify that there were two victims in this case, and Sgt. Maj. Benito A. Perez pleaded guilty to a charge involving each of them.