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Two men accused of plotting to groom and rape a 3-year-old girl

Lae Best and Benjamin Worster

WARNING: This story includes graphic content released from Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

ORMOND BEACH, Fla. — Sheriff’s detectives have arrested an Ormond Beach man on charges of conspiracy to commit sexual battery on a child after authorities found text messages containing a plot to groom and rape a 3-year-old child, according to information from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.

Lafe Best, 37, was arrested Tuesday and is in jail under no bond.

His arrest stems from another case in Ormond Beach involving Best’s friend and sexual partner, 39-year-old Benjamin Worster.

Worster was arrested in January on charges of lewd or lascivious molestation, lewd or lascivious conduct and 21 counts of possession of child pornography.

That case was prompted by the discovery of text messages on Worster’s phone. The 3-year-old victim and her mother had moved into Worster’s apartment in December. Soon, the 3-year-old girl told her mother Worster had touched her.

On Dec. 17, Worster was taken to the hospital after an apparent overdose, and the victim’s mother found his phone lying on his bed. That’s when she discovered a text message thread with someone named “Lafe,” and a description of a plan to groom and rape the 3-year-old girl, whether she was conscious or not.

A portion of the messages — released by the sheriff’s office — are included below because they demonstrate how predators work to groom young children for sexual abuse. *WARNING: These aren’t a complete record of the text messages exchanged between Worster and Best, but they’re still graphic.*

Worster: “Single mom&Has a 3 year old daughter&Shes not a very good mom and she ignored her daughter constantly&2nd day of meeting her daughter she ran up to give me a hug and buried her head right in my crotch&So im gonna get to work on that”

Worster: “And at 3 im working with memories that wont stick”

Worster: “Think I migbt casually accidently let her see it a few times see how she reacts maybe bring her by to watch a movie at your place when your roomates aren’t home get her used to you too”

Worster: “Im looking up things under an anonymous browser on things that will safely make kids pass out for a couple hours:”

Best: “Cant wait lol”

Worster: “Me either&Gotta take this opportunity while I can at my age who knows when something like this will land in my lap again”

Best: “I know right. I’ve got all kinds of Visions dancing in my head right now lol”

Best: “Would love to bury my tongue in some little (************) Among other things lol”

Best: “You never know if her junkie mom can’t come up with rent one month she might just give her to you lol wishful thinking”

Best: “I’d prefer awake if we can manage it without repercussions”

Worster: “Yeah but beggers cant be choosers&Gotta feel this one out and see what shes like and how she can keep secrets and how easily she can be trained before I worry about the drastic things”

Worster: “But im over 100% sure I can at least get her knocked out alone and naked to at least fondle a d defile to my hearts content”

On Friday, the State Attorney’s Office notified a sheriff’s detective of Best’s involvement in the Worster case.

Sheriff’s detectives executed a search warrant at Best’s residence on Tuesday, and discovered what appeared to be child pornography on his cell phone, in addition to his texts with Worster. Additional charges are expected as the evidence is forensically examined and the investigation continues.

Best was living in a home with two people who have a child who’s about 20 months old. At this time, it’s not believed the child was a victim of any abuse; however, authorities will continue to follow up as the investigation continues.

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