The man suspected in the death of Brooke Bennett and his teenage lover plotted together for weeks to abduct the 12-year-old Vermont girl so that she could be initiated into an organized sex ring, according to shocking federal court documents released today.
Court papers also suggest that Michael Jacques, Bennett's 42-year-old uncle who is charged with her kidnapping, may have been preparing for the likelihood that the girl would never return home.
Jacques allegedly took steps before Bennett's abduction to lure police into thinking that she had gone to meet someone she had been corresponding with online. And before Bennett's disappearance, Jacques instructed his 14-year-old female accomplice to collect semen from her boyfriend, which was later planted near Bennett's torn underwear.
The revelations, outlined in a federal criminal complaint, came a day after Vermont State Police discovered Bennett's body in a shallow grave near Jacques' Vermont home. Her disappearance had triggered the state's first Amber Alert.
Federal prosecutors allege that Jacques used a pair of online identities to manipulate his young accomplice into thinking she was working with several men who were planning to initiate Bennett into a secret sex training program called "Breckenridge."
The unnamed girl, who is a minor, repeatedly expressed her willingness to help lure Bennett into Jacques' clutches and to help subdue Bennett if necessary, according to a stream of e-mails released by investigators.
Early E-mail lanning
The planning into Bennett's abduction began as early as May 28, according to e-mails recovered by authorities from a pair of computers belonging to Jacques.
Federal prosecutors for now have stopped short of charging Jacques with murdering the girl, whose body will undergo an autopsy today. Authorities have not yet identified a cause of death.
Jacques' attorney, Michael Desautels, the federal public defender in Vermont, did not immediately return a call from ABC News.
The e-mails also describe a sexual "training program" called "Breckenridge" that the girl, identified only as Juvenile 1, was already a part of and that Bennett was going to be initiated into. Juvenile 1 writes about a "farming season" in which her "teasing" results in sex with multiple partners.
Investigators believe that Jacques wrote to Juvenile 1 under two names, "Rauel Domingo" and "Chevy Pickup."
On May 28, according to the complaint, "Rauel Domingo" wrote in an e-mail that they needed to find a way to get Bennett involved in the "Breckenridge" program soon. Juvenile 1 suggested how to set up the abduction and said that she wanted to see Bennett suffer to "see how she likes it."
On June 20, an e-mail from "Domingo" worries about Juvenile 1's willingness to carry out the plan.
"I want to know if you are willing to help dad with the taken-down and the tie up on Wednesday morning," "Domingo" asks her.
It is unclear whether "dad" refers to Jacques. The e-mail also suggests that a Taser could be used. "I suppose we could just have him tase her and knock her down then do it himself, but that is a little more traumatic than I wanted her to experience that early in the morning," read the e-mail. "She will have enough of that later."
Juvenile 1 writes back to assure "Domingo" that she "will help out dad witht [sic] the tie down," according to the complaint.
Protect the Sex RingAt the same time, additional instruction was coming from "Chevy Pickup" that warned Juvenile 1 about the importance of protecting the "Breckenridge" program.
On June 23, two days before Brooke's disappearance, "Chevy Pickup" instructed Juvenile 1 in an e-mail to have her boyfriend, identified as Juvenile 2, ejaculate on her stomach and wipe up the semen with a "CLEAN, PLAIN" handkerchief, according to an e-mail cited in the complaint.
"Then put the handkerchief into a plastic sandwich bag and seal it up and hide it," the e-mail to Juvenile 2 instructed. A semen-stained handkerchief was found near Bennett's torn underpants the day after she disappeared.
Authorities also traced a June 16 purchase by Jacques of more than $1,000 worth of sexual items from a Web site that were shipped to his Vermont home.
Originally, Juvenile 1 told investigators that she and Jacques left Bennett at a convenience store in Cumberland Farms and that Bennett was going to a hospital with a friend to see the friend's sick relative.
Four days later, after being confronted with her e-mails, the 14-year-old girl admitted to investigators that Jacques had told her to lie about what happened on the morning of June 25.
The girl confessed, according to the federal criminal complaints, to helping Jacques bring Brooke to Jacques' home after they originally left her at the Cumberland Farms store.
She told state police investigators that she had been involved in sex with Jacques since she was just 9 years old, when she got a phone call and received a note under her pillow that Jacques would be her "trainer" in a sex program called "Breckenridge." To graduate, she told investigators, according to the complaint, she had to achieve a specific "success" rate.
When she and Jacques picked up Bennett, they told the 12-year-old girl she was going to a party, the girl told investigators. The older girl admitted to police that she knew Bennett was going to be initiated into the sex ring that day and would be having "sex with adult males," according to the federal complaints.
Once at Jacques' home, the two girls watched television together before the kidnap suspect asked Brooke to go upstairs with him. That was the last time the unidentified girl saw Brooke, she told investigators, before leaving the house with Juvenile 2, identified as her "boyfriend."
Stepfather's involvement?Raymond Gagnon, Brooke Bennett's stepfather, also faces a federal obstruction of justice charge tied to his role in allegedly helping Jacques cover up the girl's disappearance.
Authorities had already compiled a series of damning evidence against Jacques and Gagnon. In one of their first interviews with Jacques, he told authorities he had the passwords and user names to Brooke's MySpace account.
Jacques told police that he logged onto Brooke's MySpace site on June 25 and found a posting the girl allegedly wrote to some boyfriend online suggesting they meet. Jacques called up the note for investigators. "I do want to see you in the morning so please meet me... u know where," the posting reads. Prosecutors now say the posting on Brooke's MySpace page the night before she disappeared was an effort by Jacques to throw off police.
Gagnon, who lives in San Antonio, Texas, admitted to investigators that he accessed Brooke's MySpace account after the night of June 25 with password and username information provided by Jacques. He told authorities he did not make any changes to her posting.
Gagnon also admitted to authorities that he had three-way sex with Juvenile 1 and Jacques in June 2007 during a visit to Vermont.
Phone records show that there were six cell phone calls made between Jacques and Gagnon over a roughly three-hour span around midnight on June 26, the night Brooke disappeared.
Questions RemainAuthorities in Vermont beat back fears today that the man suspected in the kidnapping death of Brooke Bennett is involved in a deeper organized sex ring targeting other children in the state. They acknowledged, however, that they don't have answers to all of their questions.
"If your questions is 'Is there a Breckenridge society?' the short answer is we don't know for sure," Thomas Anderson, the federal prosecutor, said at the news conference.
Vermont Attorney General William Sorrell, who also attended the news conference, urged caution. "There's nothing from this investigation that's been turned up, nor otherwise are federal and state authorities aware of, any ongoing efforts to recruit young girls or boys here in Vermont to have sex with adults," Sorrell said.