No one had to follow. God could have stopped me.

Benjamin Cyrus (born Charles Mulgrew) was a cult leader and statutory rapist who appeared in Minimal Loss.


Born as Charles Mulgrew, Benjamin and his mother were kicked out of a self-sustaining La Plata County, Colorado community led by Libertarian Leo Kane after girls told Leo that he molested them. As an adult, and going by his current name, Benjamin returned, usurped Leo, and became the new leader of the community, turning it into a religious cult known as the Separatarian Sect. Benjamin then took over the commune, proclaiming himself a Messiah of sorts. He was identified by local authorities as the perpetrator of child sexual abuse among his cult members. It is revealed that he, himself, is married to a young adolescent girl, named Jessica Evanson. In the past, he had been convicted of three counts of statutory rape. In prison, he volunteered at the prison hospital.

Minimal Loss

Reid and Prentiss are called in to meet with him and are introduced as "child interview experts". He holds them hostage after the death of a local social worker at the hands of Colorado State Police. When Benjamin finds out that a lone FBI agent is present, Prentiss admits her identity, partially to protect Reid, and ends up getting beaten by the cult leader. Rossi offers to speak to Benjamin and asks him to let the children in the compound go. He refuses, saying he will not release them from his "protection". Benjamin then prepares a mass suicide ritual to root out the unbelievers. The ritual is a bluff, however, and those who showed emotion after drinking the "poisoned" wine are released. After negotiations, Benjamin agrees to let the children go and surrender. He has, however, rigged the compound with explosives. The FBI agents then break into the compound as Prentiss is leading the women and children out. Benjamin is shot dead by Morgan. His body is found by Jessica Evanson, his adolescent wife, who picks up the detonator. Morgan, Reid, and the other agents manage to escape before she detonates the bombs in a fit of rage, killing herself and the remaining cultists.

Modus Operandi

Benjamin only molested the majority of his victims, which were young girls. When he physically attacked his victims, he would beat them to the point of near-unconsciousness, or when feeling insulted, he would hit them in the genitals. He was also armed with an AKMSU carbine rifle and a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson 4506 pistol.

Real-Life Comparison

Benjamin is likely based on the real-life cult leader David Koresh. Similarities between the two include:

  • Both were self-proclaimed Messiahs and leaders of self-sustaining cults located in rural areas with their own compounds.
  • There were allegations of child abuse against them (Koresh and Cyrus both had young wives), leading to standoffs with federal authorities and ending with the mass deaths of multiple members of both cults.
  • Both changed their names at some point in their lives: David Koresh was born Vernon Howell; Benjamin Cyrus was born Charles Mulgrew.
  • Both were born of young single mothers.
  • Both were said to be good at remembering portions of the Bible.
  • Both got the previous leaders of their cults thrown out before taking charge themselves.
  • Both were shot and killed during a siege by the FBI.

The scene in which Benjamin orders his followers to drink a supposedly poisoned drink as a way to test their loyalty, only to reveal after that it wasn't really poisoned, as well as his plan to commit suicide with his followers, is taken from Jim Jones.

Known Victims

  • Unspecified dates: Numerous unnamed girls (molested only)
  • 2000(?)-2008:
    • Numerous unnamed girls (consensually molested only)
    • Jessica Evanson (his underage wife; presumably consensually molested only)
  • October 7-8, 2008: The Liberty Ranch standoff:
    • Emily Prentiss (held hostage and non-fatally beaten; was rescued)
    • Spencer Reid (also held hostage; later assaulted and intended to kill)


  • Benjamin's new identity may have been chosen the following way:
    • "Benjamin" after Benjamin Franklin, whom Reid quotes in the beginning of the episode.
    • "Cyrus" is the Anglicised form of "Koresh", the surname of David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians, who were involved in the Waco siege.