Rio Nido sex offender arrested on charges of unlawful sex with teen

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A registered sex offender suspected of meeting an underage teenager for sex in Santa Rosa several times, including at least one instance that resulted in sexual assault, was arrested Thursday.

Benjamin Thomas Shumate, 28, was on parole in Rio Nido when he met a 17-year-old girl through an online dating application in June, Santa Rosa police said. Over the next few months, they met in Santa Rosa for sexual purposes, police said.

Shumate sexually assaulted the girl during at least one of those meetings, although it was not immediately reported, police said.

He was arrested Thursday on suspicion of unlawful sex with a minor, oral copulation of a minor, penetrations with a foreign object and violation of parole. He was booked into the Sonoma County Jail.

In 2015, Shumate was convicted in San Diego County for arranging to meet with a minor for sexual purposes. He was sentenced to four years in state prison, but was released in May 2016 and subsequently paroled to Sonoma County.

Police arrested Shumate in cooperation with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

You can reach Staff Writer Susan Minichiello at 707-521-5216 or On Twitter @susanmini.

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