Man plotted to rape 3-year-old girl, sheriff says

Lafe Best is accused of plotting to rape a 3-year-old girl. (Volusia County Sheriff's Office)

The discovery of a series of disturbing text messages led to the arrest of a man who investigators say plotted to rape a 3-year-old girl.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office arrested 37-year-old Lafe Best on charges of charges of conspiracy to commit sexual battery on a child.

Investigators said Best's arrest stemmed from a child porn investigation into his sexual partner, 39-year-old Benjamin Worster. Deputies arrested him last month on charges of lewd and lascivious molestation and conduct.

The girl and her mom lived with Worster. After the girl told her mother Worster touched her, Worster ended up in the hospital being treated for an overdose. The girl's mother said she found Worster's phone and saw a set of texts exchanged with someone named "Lafe." Investigators called the text messages a "sickening description" to groom and rape the little girl, whether she was conscious or not.

The sheriff's office, shocked by the graphic content, faced its own dilemma in posting those graphic texts on its Facebook page. But the sheriff's office said it decided to do it not to shock people but "to show the type of grooming behavior that takes place when a predator has access to a child."

Investigators searched Best's home on Tuesday and found child pornography on his cell phone. He could face additional charges as the investigation moves forward, the sheriff's office said.

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