Eric met Bench-Salorio when he was in the seventh grade. She was his English teacher, and Eric says the two became friends. When Eric was in the eighth grade, he says their relationship changed as Bench-Salorio started giving him special attention. Eric says Bench-Salorio began flirting with him and even asked if he had a girlfriend. "I said, 'No, why? You want to go out?'—like a joke," Eric says. "She said, 'Yeah,' and then it progressed from there."
Eric and Bench-Salorio started spending more and more time together. One night, they went to a football game together, but 13-year-old Eric says he didn't anticipate where the relationship was headed. "On the way home—she was dropping me off and she parked in the parking lot and we started kissing and stuff and then we got in the back seat and just went from there," Eric says.
The day after Eric and Bench-Salorio had sex for the first time, he says she told him she was falling in love with him. Eric says he believed Bench-Salorio at the time and also felt that he was in love. For a period of about three months, Eric says he and Bench-Salorio engaged in sexual activity once or twice a week.