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Actress Diane Neal Claims Magician Ex-Boyfriend JB Benn Sexually Assaulted Her And Slit Her Dog's Throat

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Who Is JB Benn? New Details On Magician Accused Of Sexual Assault And Slitting A Dog's Throat By Ex-Girlfriend Diane Neal

Law & Order: SVU actress Diane Neal has filed a lawsuit against her former boyfriend, magician JB Benn. The couple was together from 2014 to 2018, during which time, she alleges, he abused, manipulated, and stole from her. Neal revealed that their relationship was riddled with abuse and that Benn defrauded her of millions of dollars over the years. She says he physically abused her, physically harmed her pets, lied about her to her friends and family and refused to put her name on the deed of a house they bought together. 

Reps for Benn say Neal is making up the charges against him and everything she says is “completely false and outrageously interposed as a tactic to cloud the fact that, on the merits, [Neal] has no entitlement to the relief she seeks.”

Who is JB Benn? Read on for all the details.

1. Who is Diane Neal?

Diane Neal is best known for her roles on Law & Order SVU and NCIS. But acting wasn't her first career plan. She went to college for biochemistry with an idea that she might become a doctor. The Daily Beast reports that she left school after entering a modeling contest and getting a contract with an agency. She spent several years traveling for her modeling work but says that it didn't interest her much. She had thoughts about returning to college when she discovered a brochure for an acting school. She decided that the idea of professional acting was the most appealing thing she had heard of so she went in that direction. After spending years on Law & Order SVU, she found out that she wasn't being asked back from a magazine that she read in the makeup room for the show. She was shocked at being let go without notice that way. She spent several years doing small roles on shows like Suits before landing on NCIS and then NCIS New Orleans. Her last role listed on her IMDB page is a part she played on Blue Bloods in 2015.

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2. Who is JB Benn?

When Neal met Benn, her friends had been giddy about his presence at a celebrity fundraiser in 2013. They told the actress that the most famous magician in the world was there. Maybe he was mainly famous among other magicians because Neal hadn't heard of him at the time. But he approached her at the event and asked for her number. She was going through a divorce and was ready to date again.

When she got to know him, she discovered that he was largely a loner, with few family ties and no close friends. He did have an extensive resume of magic work, including several TV specials. He had also performed for celebrities including Moby, filmmaker J.J. Abrams, and singer Sia. His website bio says he prefers to do "close up magic," rather than larger spectacles and he enjoys doing performances where he doesn't bring his own props, relying instead on objects he finds in the venue. 

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3. Falling in love

The couple started dating after their first meeting at the fundraiser and Neal says they were all but living together within a few months of that. “It was romantic,” Neal said to the Daily Beast. “It was a different kind of romance. It wasn’t like hot-fire passion. But it was sweet and it was simple.” He had moved into her New Jersey home and stayed there even while she was traveling for work on NCIS. She later came to believe that he used that time to gain access to her personal files, her professional contacts, and her finances. 

She and Benn are involved in legal action.

4. Buying a home

Neal and Benn wanted to buy a home together and started shopping for a house in upstate New York in 2014. They eventually found a home they wanted to buy but decided to put it in Benn's name until Neal's divorce was finalized, the Daily Beast reports. The plan was for her name to be added to the deed later and Benn told her he consulted a lawyer in preparation to do that. She claims that she sent him $100,000 to cover her share of the purchase cost when she was ready to be added to the paperwork and she also put a quarter of a million dollars into renovating the home. She later discovered that he never even spoke with a lawyer about changing the ownership documents. Eventually, she filed suit to contest the ownership issues. 

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5. Allegations of abuse

Keeping Neal's name off a deed to a house was the least of the abuses she alleges Benn committed. In the Daily Beast interview, she shared details of him taking calls on her behalf but never relaying messages to her, something she says had professional repercussions for her. He would repeatedly contact her friends and family and claim that she was mentally overwrought and potentially suicidal. When Neal's concerned friends and family would call her to find out what was wrong, they usually discovered that she was fine and Benn's claims were made up. 

Neal also took out aggression on Neal's pets, once injuring the throat of one of her dogs and trying to blame it on a cat. Neal says he also broke another dog's spine and she suspects he was responsible for the disappearance of a cat she had taken in. 

She told the Daily Beast about several instances where he beat her physically. She alleges that he kicked her repeatedly. Neal said that he never used his hands to harm her, only his feet — he is protective of his hands because of his magic act. 

Even after she tried to break up with him, he continued to stalk her and appear at her house. One night, she woke up to him sexually assaulting her with his hand and holding his phone as if he were filming the assault. She called out for her sister, who was staying with her, and he stopped the assault but Neal and her sister both said he merely laughed at them before leaving.

She claims repeated abuse.

6. What happens now?

The couple is still entangled in litigation over the ownership of the house. They were under mutual orders of protection for all of 2018 and weren't allowed to get anywhere near each other. As soon as those orders expired. Neal told the Daily Beast that Benn started harassing her again. She claims one day he drove past her house 7 times in 15 minutes. He eventually pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct on these charges and received a fine of $200. 

In her new suit, filed this week, Neal's attorneys say: “Ms. Neal has suffered a devastating ordeal — as a victim of domestic abuse that robbed her of her personal security, as a victim of a fraudulent scheme that robbed her of the financial security that she earned during an extremely successful acting career, and as a victim of lawyers and prosecutors who have served her extremely poorly. This lawsuit is a first step towards Ms. Neal reclaiming her life and obtaining justice. We will be taking all necessary steps, including working with law enforcement, to ensure Ms. Neal is protected and vindicated.”

Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.