Accused faces backlash as more charges laid over youth prostitution

Political candidate copes with public backlash over publicity surrounding his arrest

Benny Wolfe heads into Penticton City Hall to pick up his  nomination papers for November’s civic elections. The mayoral candidate says he has felt a public backlash since coming forward about criminal charges against him.

Benny Wolfe heads into Penticton City Hall to pick up his nomination papers for November’s civic elections. The mayoral candidate says he has felt a public backlash since coming forward about criminal charges against him.

The father accused of pimping out his daughter near the Soupateria in Penticton is facing additional charges, while three other men face charges for allegedly receiving sexual services from her.

“The three men have been arrested in relation to an ongoing investigation involving the procurement of a youth for sexual purpose,” said Cpl. Annie Linteau. “Numerous charges have now been laid against the father who was allegedly making his daughter available to these men for sexual purposes.”

RCMP did not release the names of the three men — aged 34, 63 and 67 — pending charge approval. The men were released on a promise to appear in court and can’t be in the presence of anyone under the age of 16.

In May, RCMP received information that a young girl was being sexually victimized. Her 46-year-old father was arrested on July 22 and Crown counsel has since added charges for a total of three counts of assault, two counts of sexual interference, two counts of living on the avails of prostitution, one count of sexual exploitation and one count of a parent or guardian procuring sexual activity. The man remains in custody and will be appearing in court in September for a bail hearing. The man’s name is not being released as a publication ban is in effect.

Benny Wolfe, who previously ran for Penticton mayor in 2008 and plans to run in this November’s municipal election, chose to out himself as a John before police formally laid charges. It is an unusual campaign tactic to show voters he is not trying to hide anything. The 67-year-old man said he was a client of the juvenile for about eight weeks but argues that he was told she was of legal age.

Wolfe said he expected some backlash since he came forward publicly about the potential charge that carries a minimum sentence of six months and up to five years of jail time. In fact, the mutterings of passersby strolling in front of City Hall this week go ignored by Wolfe, who was there to pick up nomination papers for the November election.

“I have had three threats against my life and I have had to report to the police on three different occasions,” said Wolfe, standing on the steps of City Hall. “I also had a lady at the Farmers’ Market basically challenge me, and I said look at the paper, read the news but don’t judge me unless you have the full facts. Let the courts hear the evidence, then after all the evidence has been heard and the judge has ruled, then you can criticize me, if there is any at all.”

On Thursday Wolfe told the Western News that he received an eviction notice from the apartment where he is living effective Sept. 26. While Wolfe said he can handle the comments from the public until he gets his day in court on Sept. 7, he claims some people are getting physically abusive.

“I was approached in Safeway on Sunday at 10 a.m. when I was purchasing some ice cream and a fellow came up and said basically that I ‘was going to get it’ and ‘you are going to be hurt.’ On Friday when I was in line at the soup kitchen I was attacked from behind by a drug addict. He rushed behind me and hit me on the head,” said Wolfe.

Most offensive to Wolfe is being turned away at the door of a nightclub he frequents. Wolfe is known to dress extravagantly at the club in what he describes as glitter clothes, crazy hats, crazy glasses and his 1990s rapper-inspired giant clock around his neck.

“I really felt offended because I was welcome to that nightclub for close to three years. The young women loved me. I never approached them, they always approach me because I always dance centre stage and they love my clothes and the way I dance. They told me I’m not allowed in because I am going to destroy their image. I just shook my head and said, ‘you know what you are picking on the wrong guy because there are people in that nightclub that I would consider undesirables but they still let them in,’” said Wolfe.


Just Posted

Lightning in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms overnight

Justin Fotherby,17, and Ashley McMillan, 17 have been chosen for an invitation only competition that sees 20 of Canada’s top swimmers per event vying for a spot at the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. (Submitted)
Penticton swimmers off to Olympic trials

The pair are eyeing a spot on the Canadian team heading to the Tokyo Olympics

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bit by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck out

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Outdoor skating rink back at Penticton council

City staff recommend going forward with rink which could host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read