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California man promoting 'incel ideology' charged with allegedly threatening teens

NBC News logo NBC News 4/22/2020 Andrew Blankstein and Tim Stelloh

Judge In Gloves To Protect From Coronavirus Writing On Paper © Getty Judge In Gloves To Protect From Coronavirus Writing On Paper A California man who promoted "incel ideology" and expressed sympathy for Santa Barbara mass shooter Elliot Rodger was charged Tuesday with allegedly making violent threats against multiple teenage girls, federal court documents show.

Carl Bennington was charged in Federal Court in Los Angeles with a single count of cyberstalking, according to 33-page criminal complaint. The 33-year-old Los Angeles County man faces a maximum prison sentence of five years and did not enter a plea.

Bennington will be in federal custody until his next scheduled court appearance on Thursday.

Federal prosecutors allege that since 2016, Bennington used multiple social media accounts to send hundreds of repeated, unsolicited and graphic messages to his victims, including a Texas woman who told authorities she began receiving random messages from the defendant beginning at age 14.

"It's been going on for 8 years," she said, adding that she didn't know how to get him to stop.

Bennington also posted several Facebook messages about Rodger between 2015 and 2019, saying he had read Rodger's writings and calling him "a victim," according to the documents.

Rodger expressed hatred for women and has been lionized by some who consider themselves "incel," or involuntary celibate. He killed 6 people and injured 14 others in the 2014 attack at UC Santa Barbara.

In July and September 2019, Bennington was placed on 72-hour mental health holds by Covina Police after family members called the police and reported Bennington was acting irrationally and threatening to injure or kill them, according to the complaint.

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