WARNING - DISTRESSING CONTENT

A jury took less than 30 minutes to convict a West Virginia man who told police he sexually abused a 3-year-old girl by accident.

Henry Vincent Bennett was arrested in February after his daughter told family members and state child safety workers she had been sexually abused.

The young girl at one point made a model of a penis out of Play-Doh and said it was Bennett's "butt", and said that her father had put his "butt on her butt", testified Cindy Lambert, a child advocacy worker.

Advertisement

The 26-year-old father initially denied he assaulted his three-year-old daughter.

The prosecutor handed him a box of tissues, and then tripped the defendant up, getting him to confess to the crime. Photo / WVVA
The prosecutor handed him a box of tissues, and then tripped the defendant up, getting him to confess to the crime. Photo / WVVA

Prosecutors say Bennett told detectives that he twice mistook the toddler for his wife after she climbed into his bed.

The sickening case took a dramatic twist when Bennett, who had claimed police pressured him into a false confession, slipped up on the witness stand and repeated his confession in front of the jury.

"It's a TV moment. It's a thing that happens on crime shows like Perry Mason," prosecutor George Sitler told WVVA after the trial.

"You wait your whole career to get somebody to actually confess to what they're accused of on the stand, and this is the first time I've ever seen it happen," the prosecutor added.

A jury took less than 30 minutes to convict a West Virginia man who told police he sexually abused a 3-year-old girl by accident. Photo / Facebook
A jury took less than 30 minutes to convict a West Virginia man who told police he sexually abused a 3-year-old girl by accident. Photo / Facebook

Under cross-examination by Sitler, Bennett repeatedly denied that his confession to police was true.

"You thought making up a story would give you can chance to go home?" Sitler asked, handing Bennett a box of tissues to wipe away his tears. "Why did you do it?"

"Because I was scared," Bennett replied.

The prosecutor says Bennett faces 80 to 270 years in prison at his sentencing in March.

His wife, April Bennett, pleaded guilty to child neglect, provided testimony and will be sentenced this month.