Veteran Kansas City Missouri Police Officer Jeffrey Holmes Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Swapping Sex For Women’s Freedom

July 4, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – A police officer from Kansas City has been charged with corruption after being accused of having sex with two women so that he would not arrest them, according to prosecutors. One of the women involved told officers that she was working as a prostitute when she met the officer in question. The second woman involved said she had outstanding warrants and was in possession of marijuana when she met the officer,

Jeffrey Holmes. Holmes, who is 47, accepted sex from the women in exchange for not arresting them during incidents that occurred in March and April. Holmes was released on $75,000 bond Tuesday and a judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf during the arraignment.

The Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners, Lisa Pelofsky, said that Holmes has been suspended without pay and he has worked for the department for 13 years.

“Police obviously are not in any way intimidated or afraid to follow up on these kinds of charges and pursue them,” Pelofsky said.

A probable cause statement filed by officers said that a woman told officers she was working as a prostitute on March 24 in a motel in Kansas City. She said a man called and said he wanted to meet her. The man on the phone was identified as Holmes, who arrived at the motel wearing a police uniform and a gun. The statement said that Holmes informed the woman she was ‘busted for prostitution’ and ordered to place her arms behind her back. The woman did not do so because she thought something was wrong. She noticed that Holmes did not have a radio on his person. Holmes then told the woman he wanted her to become a ‘snitch’ and began to ‘rub and hug’ her.

The woman claims she had sex with Holmes ‘because she wanted him to leave.’ Three weeks after the incident she reported it as rape and identified Holmes as the attacker after she saw him in a police parking lot on April 26. The phone records of Holmes show that he called the woman prior to and after the incident.

The second woman said she was at a different motel when she approached by Holmes in uniform and asked her if she was a prostitute. She told Holmes no but said he needed to see her room anyway. When they arrived at the room Holmes said they were going to have sex. When the woman asked why, Holmes said, “You don’t want to go to jail, do you?” The woman told officers she had marijuana in the room and outstanding warrants and feared she would be arrested if she did not have sex with Holmes. The woman took a photo of Holmes’ used condom and sent it to her roommate with the caption of ‘Cop DNA.’ Holmes returned to the room, flushed the condom and made the woman delete the text but not the photo from the phone. The photo was entered into the investigation by police.

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Widening Sex Scandal Rocks Lackland Air Force Base In Texas

June 26, 2012

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – From a chapel pulpit on Lackland Air Force Base, where every American airman reports for basic training, Col. Glenn Palmer delivered his first order to nearly 600 recruits seated in the pews: If you’re sexually harassed or assaulted, tell someone.

“My job is to give you a safe, effective training environment,” Palmer said firmly.

What the colonel did not mention directly in his recent address was a widening sex scandal that has rocked the base, one of the nation’s busiest military training centers. Allegations that male instructors had sex with, and in one case raped, female trainees have led to criminal charges against four men. Charges against others are possible.

The most serious accusations surround an Air Force staff sergeant scheduled to face a court-martial in July on charges that include rape and multiple counts of aggravated sexual assault. The other three defendants were charged with lesser crimes ranging from sexual misconduct to adultery. All of the defendants were assigned to turn raw recruits into airmen in eight weeks of basic training.

A two-star general is now investigating alongside a separate criminal probe, which military prosecutors say could sweep up more airmen. Advocates for female service members and members of Congress have started taking notice.

“It’s a pretty big scandal the Air Force is having to deal with at this point,” said Greg Jacob, a former Marine infantry officer and policy director of the Service Women’s Action Network. “It’s pretty substantial in its scope.”

Yet there are signs the Air Force still doesn’t have a handle on the full depth of the problem. Staff Sgt. Peter Vega-Maldonado pleaded guilty earlier this month to having sex with a female trainee and struck a plea deal for 90 days’ confinement. Then he acknowledged being involved with a total of 10 trainees – a number previously unknown to investigators.

On Friday, after months of embarrassing disclosures, the head of the Air Force’s training command ordered Maj. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward to lead an independent investigation. That same day, the Air Force gave reporters rare access to Lackland’s instructional headquarters in an effort to show there was nothing to hide.

The headquarters facility is where Lackland trains the people who train recruits. Inside one small classroom, three women and two men were lectured on the importance of having a moral compass while watching a slide presentation titled “Integrity First.”

Lackland has about 475 instructors for the nearly 36,000 airmen who will graduate this year. That’s about 85 percent of what Lackland would consider a full roster of instructors, a demanding job that requires airmen to work longer hours than most for four years, at the expense of family and personal time. The Air Force recently launched a smartphone app to help recruit instructors. Topping a page of frequently asked questions is whether the divorce rate for instructors really is higher. (The Air Force says no.)

Palmer said that a slight shortage in instructors has not lowered the standards for applicants. In response to the allegations, he said instructor training is being revamped and that he was accountable for problems within the training wing.

Leaders of the instructor program, however, said the responsibility falls on the accused.

“A person sitting in that seat, they’re going to do what they’re going to do when no one is watching,” said Master Sgt. Greg Pendleton, who oversees the training. “That’s across the board. That’s just them. When we’re outside this door or outside these walls, there are individuals that have their own personal values.”

So widespread is the fallout that Lackland halted operations for an entire day in March to survey about 5,900 trainees about whether they had seen or been a victim of sexual misconduct.

It was a highly unusual move for a vast 15-square-mile base that runs with relentless efficiency. A new class of airmen graduates every Friday for 50 of the 52 weeks in the year. At first, Palmer, commander of the 737th training wing, said he wasn’t sure that halting training was even possible.

Airman Andrea Madison, a new graduate who was in basic training at the height of the investigation at Lackland, said she never felt uncomfortable with her instructors.

“They want to make sure no foul play is happening, no one is taking advantage of us,” said Madison, of Columbus, Ohio.

Last week, one commander of a Lackland training squadron caught up in the sex scandal was dismissed after the Air Force lost confidence in his leadership. Col. Polly Kenny, 2nd Air Force Staff, said the dismissal was not directly related to the sexual misconduct investigation.

Nearly three dozen instructors at Lackland have also been removed in the past year, but the Air Force will not say how many lost their jobs as a result of the investigation that began last fall, only that the majority of dismissals were unrelated.

The first sexual misconduct allegations at Lackland surfaced a year ago against Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, who is charged with 28 counts.

Walker, the only instructor who has been accused of sexually assaulting another airman, faces life in prison if convicted. His civilian attorney, Joseph Esparza, has declined to speak with reporters and did not return multiple calls for comment.

Sexual assault victims are reassigned and can apply for a “humanitarian discharge” from the military, but Lackland civilian spokeswoman Collen McGhee said she did not know whether those affected by this case had done so.

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Sedgwick County Kansas Deputy Sheriff David E. Kendal Arrested And Charged With Sodomy, Unlawful Sexual Relations, Mistreatment Of Prisoners, And Sexual Battery After Gay Sex With Male Prisoners

June 21, 2012

SEDGWICK COUNTY, KANSAS – Sedgwick County sheriff’s detectives arrested a county jail deputy Tuesday as a result of an ongoing criminal investigation of alleged sexual misconduct in the jail.

At a news conference late Tuesday afternoon, Sheriff Robert Hinshaw announced that the deputy, David E. Kendall, 21, has been booked into jail on suspicion of two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy, two counts of unlawful sexual relations, two counts of mistreatment of a confined person and one count of sexual battery.

Previously, two attorneys representing inmates have said that they were investigating allegations that a deputy raped or sodomized two male inmates.

For now, Kendall is being held without bond in the jail medical clinic, to keep him away from the rest of the jail population. Kendall, who has been with the Sheriff’s Office since October 2008, will probably be moved out of the county partly because he is familiar with the jail’s security, Hinshaw said.

The allegations – against someone working for a law enforcement agency – “tarnish all of our badges” and are embarrassing, Hinshaw said.

Later in the news conference, he said he wants the public to have confidence in the Sheriff’s Office, which operates the jail.

“This whole issue is very important to the public,” he said.

Hinshaw, who is seeking re-election, acknowledged that he has heard some say that law enforcement tends to cover up for its own.

“I would respectfully disagree with that,” as far as the Sheriff’s Office is concerned, he said. In the last five years, he said, the office has fired 13 staff members accused of crimes, and that of the 13, nine were charged.

The sheriff said his view of the agency investigating one of its own is “if you’ve got a mess, you clean up your own mess.”

He noted that as part of a survey of sexual misconduct in prisons and jails, the Sheriff’s Office reported 51 incidents. Those involved staff-to-inmate or inmate-to-inmate contact for 2004 through 2011, with the exception of 2006.

Of the 51 incidents, 16 – or about one in three – involved sexual misconduct by staff. Four of the 16 incidents were found to be substantiated, four unsubstantiated and eight unfounded. Of the four substantiated cases involving staff, Hinshaw said, he knew of one in which charges were filed but wasn’t sure of the other cases.

“In a jail,” he said, “there is no such thing as consensual sex between an inmate and a staff member. It is a felony.”

Mark Schoenhofer, one of the attorneys representing the alleged victims, said after Hinshaw’s announcement of the arrest: “We’re happy that the Sheriff’s Office has taken steps on behalf of our clients to see that some justice was done. We’re happy that the arrest was made … and I’m hopeful that the DA’s (District Attorney’s) Office will follow up with charges.”

Schoenhofer said he and another attorney, Kurt Kerns, will be interested in what criminal investigators find and will continue their own investigation; Schoenhofer said they have yet to take any formal action toward possible litigation.

Hinshaw said he couldn’t discuss the evidence so far, but said his detectives are being assisted by the FBI and have conducted “a lot” of interviews of deputies, inmates and former inmates. He emphasized that the investigation is ongoing.

“We’re not anywhere close to being done,” Hinshaw said.

Sheriff’s detectives learned of an initial allegation on June 3 and of an additional allegation on Monday, Hinshaw said. One of the two inmates who is alleged to be a victim has been moved into U.S. marshal’s custody; the other remains at the jail.

Kendall remains on the payroll as the personnel process moves toward a possible firing, Hinshaw said. He said that Kendall’s rights as an employee and his rights as an accused must be upheld.

The criminal case will be presented, most likely in the next two to three days, to the District Attorney’s Office. It will decide what, if any, charges will be filed.

Speaking of the allegations, Hinshaw said, “Unfortunately, things like this do arise, not just here but in agencies across the United States.”

Asked by a reporter whether the Sheriff’s Office had made any changes in procedures as a result of the accusations against the deputy, Hinshaw said, “We already have very good procedures, protocols,” but that the office reviews practices as issues arise.

Asked how the suspected crimes could have occurred without someone knowing, Hinshaw said that although the jail has 200 cameras to monitor parts of the jail, staff members can’t see everything.

“This jail is virtually a small city,” he said. “Just like in any city … things can happen.”

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Veteran Chesapeake County Virginia Deputy Sheriff Michael Southerland Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Felony Rape

June 21, 2012

VIRGINIA BEACH, VIRGINIA – A deputy with the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office has been arrested on a felony rape charge, according to officials.

Maj. D.A. Hackworth with the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office told WAVY.com Michael Southerland was arrested in Virginia Beach Friday for felony rape, however, Hackworth did not know if the victim was a juvenile or an adult.

Virginia Beach Police spokeswoman Grazia Moyers said the alleged incident occurred on May 26 and the victim, who claimed to have known Southerland, reported she was assaulted at the oceanfront, after leaving a bar.

Southerland has been employed at the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office for the past four and a half years, currently assigned to the Civil Enforcement Section, Hackworth said.

He has been placed on administrative suspension and is currently out of jail on bond.

Southerland’s neighbors said he was well-liked and the allegations against him don’t sound like the man they know.

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Veteran Prince George’s County Maryland Deputy Sheriff Lamar McIntyre Arrested, Suspended, And Charged With Raping Female Inmate

June 21, 2012

PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY, MARYLAND – A deputy sheriff is under arrest after allegedly sexually assaulting a female inmate, according to Prince George’s County police.

The woman, 34, told police that deputy sheriff Lamar McIntyre, 31, of Bowie assaulted her at about 2 p.m. Tuesday while she was being held at the Upper Marlboro courthouse before a trial, a county police release states.

McIntyre admitted the assault when questioned by county detectives and is charged with second-degree rape and second-degree sex offense, according to online Prince George’s County District Court records. He was remanded to the Department of Corrections in Upper Marlboro on a $75,000 bond, according to county police.

McIntyre, who has been a sheriff deputy since September 2009, was put on leave without pay, said Sharon Taylor, an office of the sheriff spokeswoman.

No attorney information was listed for him in online court records as of Thursday.

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Savage Black Beast Killed One And Raped 2 Others In Houston Texas After Being Accused Of Stealing Car Keys

June 8, 2012

HOUSTON, TEXAS – A man will likely face murder charges in a bizarre incident that began with a fight over keys and ended with a death, a sexual assault and two other assaults, police say.

Johnathan Renard Castaneda, 25, is on the run after the incident in the 5200 block of Van Fleet.

Baron Keith Armstrong, 45, is dead as a result of Castaneda’s assault, HPD says.

A man and two other women were beaten, and one of the women was raped by Castaneda, they say. They are hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

HPD answered an assault-in-progress call and found Armstrong dead and the others injured.

“All four were assaulted by one suspect, whom they were socializing with when the incident began,” HPD says. “Armstrong was looking for his keys and began to ask the others on the whereabouts of the keys. An argument started and the suspect attacked Armstrong and beat him unconscious.”

He was truly angered, HPD says: “The suspect then turned his anger on the other victims, beat them unconscious and then further assaulted Armstrong with household objects.”

He fled shortly before police arrived. The female victims positively identified him to cops.

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New York City Police Officer Michael Pena Found Guilty On Sex Charges After Raping Schoolteacher At Gunpoint – Will Spend At Least 75 Years To Life In Prison – More Charges Pending

June 7, 2012

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A former police officer who grabbed a schoolteacher off the street and sexually attacked her was sentenced Monday to at least three quarters of a century in prison after being convicted of high-level sex charges, though a jury couldn’t decide whether he was guilty of rape.

After staying silent during his trial, Michael Pena apologized to the victim and said he deserved to be punished, though his lawyer later said Pena was shocked at getting the maximum: 75 years to life.

“If I could go back in time, to the day of this incident, and somehow grab myself by the shoulder … I have no explanation for what happened that day,” Pena said softly, his remarks punctuated by long silences. “I will just have that guilt for the rest of my life.”

“My life has been shattered – my sense of security, my sense of safety, any and all independence,” she said, with a supporter by her side, holding her arm. She wept after she finished speaking.

A three-year officer who was engaged to be married, Pena was wrapping up an alcohol-soaked night of trying to pick up women when he accosted the teacher on an Upper Manhattan street early one morning last August, according to trial evidence.

She testified that Pena forced her into an apartment building courtyard and raped her at gunpoint, threatening to shoot her in the face with his police service weapon.

Pena’s lawyer, Ephraim Savitt, said the officer attacked the woman but never had intercourse with her, a requirement for a rape conviction. The defense said the woman was so terrified that she was mistaken about the extent of what had happened.

A resident of the building heard the attack and called police, who learned Pena was an officer only as they arrested him. One officer said he threw Pena’s badge to the ground in disgust.

Pena “showed by his deplorable conduct that he is not one of New York’s finest,” Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Richard Carruthers said at the sentencing. “Michael Pena is, instead, a sexual predator.”

Pena told authorities he was drunk and didn’t remember what had happened. No tests were done, so his blood-alcohol level was never established. But the judge took aim at Pena’s claim, noting that surveillance video captured Pena steadily trailing the woman, and that Pena tried to mislead witnesses and the responding officers about what was happening.

“The evidence proved conclusively that Michael Pena acted purposefully and intentionally throughout this dreadful incident,” Carruthers said.

Jurors convicted Pena in March of some of the top charges in the case, including predatory sexual assault, an offense that involves wielding a weapon during certain sex crimes. It carried the potential for life in prison.

But jurors deadlocked on rape charges. Pena is due back in court May 23 for prosecutors to say whether they plan to retry him on those charges.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. called Pena’s 75-year-to-life term “an appropriate sentence that takes the viciousness of the defendant’s crime into account.” Vance’s office had no immediate comment Monday on its plans regarding the remaining rape charges.

Meanwhile, Savitt said he was exploring a potential appeal for Pena.

Pena was fired from the police force after his arrest.

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Man Exonerated Of Bogus Rape Charge After 5 Years In Prison – Victim Lied About Kidnapping, Rape, Received $1.5 Million In Civil Suit, And Probably Won’t be Prosecuted For Lying

May 24, 2012

LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA — A former high school football star whose dreams of a pro career were shattered by a rape conviction burst into tears Thursday as a judge threw out the charge that sent him to prison for more than five years.

Brian Banks, now 26, pleaded no contest 10 years ago on the advice of his lawyer after a childhood friend falsely accused him of attacking her on their high school campus.

In a strange turn of events, the woman, Wanetta Gibson, friended him on Facebook when he got out of prison.

During an initial meeting with him, she said she had lied; there had been no kidnap and no rape and she offered to help him clear his record, court records state.

But she refused to repeat the story to prosecutors because she feared she would have to return a $1.5 million payment from a civil suit brought by her mother against Long Beach schools.

During a second meeting that was secretly videotaped, she told Banks, “`I will go through with helping you, but it’s like at the same time all that money they gave us, I mean gave me, I don’t want to have to pay it back,'” according to Freddie Parish, a defense investigator who was at the meeting.

It was uncertain whether Gibson will have to return the money and unlikely she would be prosecuted for making the false accusation so long ago, when she was 15.

Gibson did not attend the hearing and she could not be reached for comment. Prosecutors and defense attorneys said they were unable to find her recently.

Banks, once a star middle linebacker at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, had attracted the interest of such college football powerhouses as the University of Southern California, Ohio State University and the University of Michigan, according to the website Rivals.com, which tracks the recruiting of high school football and basketball players.

Banks said he had verbally agreed to attend USC on a scholarship when he was arrested.

He still hopes to play professional football and has been working out regularly. His attorney Justin Brooks appealed to NFL teams to give him a chance.

“He has the speed and the strength. He certainly has the heart,” Brooks said. “I hope he gets the attention of people in the sports world.”

Gil Brandt, an NFL draft consultant, said Banks would be eligible to sign with any team that might show interest. However, his years away from the game will be hard to overcome.

“History tells us guys who come back after one or two years away when they go into the service find it awfully hard,” Brandt said. “And this has been much longer a time.”

Brandt compared the challenge to someone who has been out of high school for years trying to get an A in their first class in college.

Banks said outside court that he had lost all hope of proving his innocence until Gibson contacted him.

“It’s been a struggle. But I’m unbroken and I’m still here today,” the tall, muscular Banks said, tears flowing down his face.

He recalled being shocked and speechless on the day Gibson reached out to him after he had been released from prison, having served five years and two months.

“I thought maybe it wasn’t real,” he said. “How could she be contacting me?”

He said he knew that if he became angry when he met with her it wouldn’t help, so he struggled to keep calm.

“I stopped what I was doing and got down on my knees and prayed to God to help me play my cards right,” he said.

In court, Deputy District Attorney Brentford Ferreira told Superior Court Judge Mark C. Kim that prosecutors agreed the case should be thrown out. Kim dismissed it immediately.

Banks had tried to win release while he was in prison, but Brooks, a law professor and head of the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law in San Diego, said he could not have been exonerated without the woman coming forward and recanting her story.

Brooks said it was the first case he had ever taken in which the defendant had already served his time and had been free for a number of years.

Banks remained on probation, however, and was still wearing his electronic monitoring bracelet at the hearing. His lawyer said the first thing the two planned to do was report to probation officials and have it removed.

“The charges are dismissed now,” Brooks said. “It’s as if it didn’t happen. … It was the shortest, greatest proceeding I’ve ever been part of.”

Banks had been arrested after Gibson said he met her in a school hallway and urged her to come into an elevator with him. The two had been friends since middle school and were in the habit of making out in a school stairwell, according to court papers.

There were contradictions in Gibson’s story, as she told some people the rape happened in the elevator and others that it happened in the stairwell.

A kidnapping enhancement was added to the case because of the allegation Banks had taken her to the stairwell. That enhancement also was thrown out Thursday.

Outside court, Banks donned a sweat shirt that read “Innocent,” as several friends and family members wept. His parents were jubilant, and Banks thanked them for standing by him.

“I know the trauma, the stress that I’ve been through, but I can’t imagine what it’s like to have your child torn from you,” he said. “I don’t know what I would have done without my parents.”

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Additional Secret Service Agent Misconduct Surfaces In Prostitution Scandal Investigation

May 23, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Amid an ongoing investigation into a prostitution scandal involving Secret Service members, new details have emerged about additional sexual misconduct allegations that have been leveled at Secret Service agents over the last five years.

In a Wednesday Senate Homeland Security hearing investigating the scandal, which rocked the agency in April after a dozen secret service officers were implicated for hiring prostitutes in Colombia, Senator Joe Lieberman, the chair of the committee, noted 64 additional allegations of misconduct over the last five years – including one complaint of non-consensual sex.

Lieberman said that most of the complaints “involved sending sexually explicit emails or sexually explicit material on a government computer,” but that three of the complaints involved charges of a relationship with a foreign national, “and one was a complaint of non-consensual sexual intercourse.”

Mark Sullivan, the head of the Secret Service, testified that the allegation of non-consensual sex had been thoroughly investigated by law enforcement, which ultimately decided not to go forward with charges. The other three incidents, he said, involved contact with foreign nationals and that all of the incidents “were investigated and the appropriate administrative action was taken on all three.” According to Sullivan, none of those three incidents involved prostitution.

Sullivan also discussed an incident in which an agent was “separated from the agency” after soliciting an undercover police officer posing as a prostitute in 2008.

In his opening remarks, Sullivan apologized for the Colombia incident and emphasized that what happened in Cartagena last month “is not representative of [the agency’s] values or of the high ethical standards we demand from our nearly 7,000 employees.”

“I am deeply disappointed and I apologize for the misconduct of these employees and the distraction it has caused,” he said.

Of primary concern among the committee members was the question of whether or not there may have been a “culture” within the Secret Service that tolerated the sort of behavior in which members engaged last month — particularly after the Washington Post reported Wednesday that several implicated agents charged that was the case.

“It is hard for many people, including me, to believe that on one night in April 2012 in Cartagena, Colombia, 11 secret service agents – there to protect the president – suddenly and spontaneously did something they or other agents had never done before,” Lieberman said in his testimony.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins, of Maine, also seemed skeptical that the incident in Colombia was a unique case.

“The facts so far lead me to conclude that, while not at all representative of the majority of Secret Service personnel, this misconduct was almost certainly not an isolated incident,” she said in her opening statement. “The numbers [of agents] involved, as well as the participation of two senior supervisors, lead me to believe that this was not a one-time event. Rather, and it suggests an issue of culture.”

Collins later pointed to the fact that the involved agents had engaged in similar behaviors independently of each other, as well as the fact that they disguised neither their own nor the prostitutes’ identities when signing into the hotel, as evidence that similar conduct may have been tolerated by the Secret Service in the past.

“Two of the participants were supervisors — one with 22 years of service and the other with 21 — and both were married. That surely sends a message to the rank and file that this kind of activity is tolerated on the road,” she said.

Throughout his testimony, Sullivan disputed that characterization and reiterated his belief that the incident in Colombia was not reflective of the agency as a whole.

“I do not think this is indicative,” he said. “I just think that between the alcohol and, I don’t know, the environment, these individuals did some really dumb things. And I just can’t explain why.”

He also emphasized that President Obama’s security was never at risk because the agents had not yet been briefed on relevant security-related details.

“At the time the misconduct occurred, none of the individuals involved in the misconduct had received any specific protective information, sensitive security documents, firearms, radios or other security-related equipment in their hotel rooms,” he said.

Lieberman reported that the investigation had revealed “troubling” incidents but said that so far it had failed to show “a pattern of misconduct” within the agency at large. He called on whistle blowers to come forward with any additional reports of untoward behavior.

“Our initial review of our Secret Service Agency’s disciplinary records for the last five years … show some individual cases of misconduct that are troubling but are not evidence yet of a pattern of misconduct,” Lieberman said. “These records do reveal 64 instances, again over 5 years in which allegations or complaints concerning sexual misconduct were made against employees of the Secret Service.”

According to acting Inspector General Charles Edwards, who is conducting a three-part independent review of the Secret Service investigation, conclusions from the first phase of the review will be made public in July.

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Maule Guards At Alabama Tutwiler Prison For Women Abused Female Inmates For Years – At Least 20 Guards Transferred Or Fired In Past 5 Years After Sex With Inmates

May 23, 2012

WETUMPKA, ALABAMA – Male guards at an Alabama women’s prison engaged in the widespread sexual abuse of female inmates for years, a nonprofit group alleged in a formal complaint filed with the Justice Department on Tuesday.

The Equal Justice Initiative asked the Justice Department to investigate alleged incidents occurring between 2009 and 2011 at the Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Alabama. The federal agency confirmed that it received the complaint though declined further comment.

“In interviews with more than 50 women incarcerated at Tutwiler, EJI uncovered evidence of frequent and severe officer-on-inmate sexual violence,” the Montgomery-based group said in a statement.

“This troubling cycle of abuse and lack of accountability has established a widespread pattern and practice of custodial sexual misconduct,” said Bryan Stevenson, the group’s executive director.

Stevenson also blamed the Alabama Department of Corrections for under-reporting the alleged attacks, which the group says include rapes, and for responding inadequately.

The group claims that more than “20 Tutwiler employees have been transferred or terminated in the past five years for having illegal sexual contact with prisoners.”

“It’s an ongoing thing, a daily thing,” said Stefanie Hibbett, 31, a former Tutwiler inmate. “You see women raped and beaten, and nothing is ever done.”

Hibbett said she was the victim of sexual assault in November 2010. She said she told the prison’s warden about the assault, but no charges were ever filed against the prison guard she says attacked her. An Alabama judge dismissed a civil suit she filed in the case in August.

Several imprisoned women also allegedly became pregnant after being raped by guards, giving birth while in custody, the nonprofit group reported.

CNN cannot independently confirm that account. The Alabama attorney general’s office referred questions to the Alabama Department of Corrections, which did not immediately return a call for comment.

A 2007 Justice Department report found that Tutwiler maintained the highest rate of sexual assault among prisons for women and 11th overall of those evaluated across the United States.

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Senate Wants Travelers To Pay More For Mistreatment By TSA Agents

May 22, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday moved forward with legislation to increase airline passenger security fees, beating back a GOP attempt to keep them at current levels.

The 2013 Homeland Security appropriations bill would increase one-way fees for passengers from $2.50 to $5 in order to close a budget shortfall at the Transportation Security Administration.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said the $350 million in funding would otherwise come from taxpayers and argued it is better to stick passengers who rely on TSA with the bill.

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Sen. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) sponsored an amendment to strip out the fee increase and offset the loss of revenue with cuts to state and local grants, emergency food and shelter funding, and dropping $89 million in funding for a new highway interchange leading to the Homeland Security’s new headquarters in southeast Washington, D.C. Hutchison noted that the Senate had decided not to increase the fees in the recent Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill.

That amendment was defeated on a 15-15 vote. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) joined Republicans in supporting the measure to strip out the fee increase.

Hutchinson joined Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) in voting against the DHS bill as a whole. Johnson and Moran have been voting against non-defense 2013 appropriations bills because they support the House GOP position that the spending caps in last August’s debt ceiling deal should be lowered. The other Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Committee have all voted to support the August debt ceiling deal levels.

The committee on Tuesday also approved the 2013 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs spending bill, traditionally the least controversial of all 12 annual spending bills. The vote was 30-0.

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Buffalo Police “Find” Suspect In Cold Case, Who They Would Have Found In 1994 Had They Conducted A Real Investigation – Man Says Someone Dumped Victim’s Bodyparts In His Backyard, And He Just Happened To Prior Conviction For Killing Another Woman, And Was Convicted A Year After 94 Murder For Attempted Rape

May 17, 2012

BUFFALO, NEW YORK – James Fountain seemed terrified when he called 911 to report a grisly discovery 18 years ago: Stuffed inside a wooden nightstand left in the backyard of his Montana Avenue home, he told the operator, he had found the chopped-up body parts of a woman.

Fountain, who had come off as meek and soft-spoken, cooperated with the investigation into the murder of Cynthia Epps, a 29-year-old mother of two young daughters, according to police who probed the horrific 1994 murder.

But last week, Buffalo’s Cold Case Squad detectives watched as the man who had seemed so shocked by the mutilated remains was arraigned in State Supreme Court on a charge of second-degree murder, accused of killing Epps and dismembering her body. He pleaded not guilty.

Recently uncovered evidence led investigators to Fountain.

More than a year ago, Cold Case Detective Charles Aronica was sifting through unsolved cases involving the slayings of women in the early to mid-1990s. He was hoping that recent innovations in DNA technology might reveal new leads.

The Epps case, from 1994, jumped out at Aronica. It had occurred during the city’s worst year for homicides in modern times — 92 killings. In contrast, there were 36 homicides reported in the city last year.

“Her murder was horrific, and I knew if we got evidence, that this might be the last cold case I reopened before retiring next year,” Aronica said.

Aronica, along with fellow Detective Lissa Redmond, began poring over the old evidence.

They went over crime scene photographs to identify where they might still find DNA evidence that would lead them to the killer, and they gave Erie County Central Police Services Forensic Crime Lab official Paul Mazur a long list of items to be tested. Mazur put forensic biologist Michelle Lillie on the case.

Months passed as Lillie conducted “meticulous testing” on the many pieces of evidence that were nearly two decades old.

Finally, they got a break.

DNA different from Epps’ was isolated. But whose was it?

The cold case detectives already were suspicious that Fountain was the man they were looking for.

Back in 1994, he had been ruled out after interviews determined he had not known Epps.

“Detectives had no reason to suspect Fountain had anything to do with it because he had no connection to her,” Redmond explained.

Investigators were left to assume Epps’ body parts, wrapped in a green blanket and placed in a wooden nightstand, had been randomly dumped in Fountain’s backyard on the 100 block of Montana.

But Aronica and Redmond learned that four months after the June 1994 slaying of Epps, a resident of Goodyear Avenue who lived only a couple of blocks away from Montana Avenue, Fountain was arrested for attempting to rape a woman.

In that case, Fountain had placed the woman inside a box and locked her inside a bathroom at her home.

“Fortunately, she managed to escape,” Redmond said.

Aronica and Redmond busied themselves digging further into Fountain’s past and discovered he had been convicted in 1977 of killing a woman in New York City.

“We would not have known about the manslaughter conviction at the time of the Epps murder because the records weren’t as easily available back then,” Redmond said.

A check of the New York State Sex Offender Registry revealed that he was convicted in 1984 for sexual attacks involving 7- and 8-year-old girls in the New York City area.

Sometime later, Fountain moved from New York City to Buffalo because he had relatives here, Redmond said.

The detectives didn’t have a hard time finding Fountain.

He was at Central New York Psychiatric Center in Marcy, where he had been placed in indefinite civil confinement after he had completed his lengthy prison sentence on the attempted rape from 1994 and other charges.

A judge agreed with the state’s claim that he had a “mental abnormality” and, if released, would pose a threat to society.

Obtaining a sample of his DNA to compare to the one found at the Epps crime scene was the next step.

That also proved easy for the detectives. After Fountain’s 1995 conviction on the felony attempted rape, a sample of his DNA was taken for a statewide criminal data base.

The results came back in October 2011. Lillie determined that the unidentified DNA taken from the Epps slaying matched Fountain’s.

“Given what we now know about the Epps homicide, I believe this is proof that civil confinement works,” Redmond said. “Who knows what could have happened if he had been released?”

Police are not saying much about Fountain’s motive for allegedly killing Epps, but Aronica did say, “It may have been an argument between the two of them.”

Two months ago, Redmond and Aronica interviewed Fountain at Marcy. And though the detectives declined to release the results of the interview, they said it went well.

What surprised them was the manner in which Fountain conducted himself. A small man who presents himself as unassuming, Fountain was extremely polite, they said.

The unexpected solving of the cold case has left the Epps family grateful that their daughter, sister and mother was not forgotten.

“This won’t bring my sister back, and I will not be held hostage or victim for what he did to my sister, but I am very grateful to both detectives,” said Epps’ sister, Roxanne McKinney Cumberlander.

Cumberlander added that when she saw Fountain in court last week, she realized he was a sick man.

“I forgive him and pray that he gets help and that God will save him,” she said.

Redmond said, “The family’s gratitude is overwhelming and makes our job meaningful.”

Fountain is now being held in the Erie County Holding Center, awaiting his next appearance before State Supreme Court Justice Penny Wolfgang.

Fountain’s court appearance was on the same day Aronica, a city officer for 40 years, celebrated his 60th birthday.

“This turned out to be a great birthday present, helping the Epps family get some closure,” Aronica said.

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Pedophile Milwaukee Wisconsin Sheriff’s Sergeant Phil Wentzel Quits After Child Pornography/Molestation Arrest – Drugged, Molested, And Photographed Girls 6 To 14 – Uploaded Pictures To Internet From Home And Work

May 8, 2012

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN – The Milwaukee County sheriff’s sergeant who has been accused of producing child porn resigned effective Monday, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

That immediately stops the internal investigation that the sheriff’s office had initiated last week.

“We did initiate an internal investigation, hence he resigned today,” Capt. Scott Stiff said Monday. “Effective immediately, he’s no longer employed with our agency, so there’s no need to conduct any further (investigation).”

Phil Wentzel, a former spokesman for the office, was accused in a federal complaint Thursday of taking photos of girls between 6 and 14 years old at a campsite in Campbellsport in Fond du Lac County, where he had rented a spot for his recreational vehicle since 2008.

Wentzel, 41, is accused of producing most of the child porn in April 2011, but files were created starting in May 2010, a criminal complaint states. He shared the photos in seven different photo albums through an Internet peer-to-peer file-sharing network.

Wentzel admitted to the FBI that he drugged and molested girls and took pornographic pictures of them, U.S. Attorney James Santelle said in a news release Friday. Wentzel also said he had a difficult time controlling his urges.

The complaint states he had accessed his accounts from several computers, including Milwaukee County computers in August 2011.

Arrested last week

He was arrested May 2 at the Sheriff’s Department and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

It was a search warrant in Denver that led investigators to the images.

According to the criminal complaint, Wentzel agreed to fully cooperate and give investigators the password to an encrypted hard drive they seized from his West Allis home in exchange for a tentative plea agreement and a reduced prison sentence.

Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. said in a statement to media last week that he was “disgusted with the nature of the allegations against the deputy as they were briefed to him.” He had no further comment while the issue is under investigation.

If convicted, Wentzel is facing a minimum of 15 years in jail and a maximum of 30 years and a fine of up to $250,000.

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Brooklyn New York District Attorney’s Office Hid Rape Recantation From Defense Lawyers For A Year While Two Men Sat In Jail

April 19, 2012

The Brooklyn DA’s office sat on a rape recantation for nearly a year while two men accused of the crime sat behind bars, documents reveal.

Last June, Damien Crooks and Jamali Brockett were arrested for forcing a 13-year-old Jewish Orthodox girl into prostitution in 2003, and then raping, assaulting and sexually trafficking her for the next 8 years.

Two other men, Jawara Brockett and Darrell Dula, were also arrested and charged with raping the girl.

A day after accusing Jawara Brockett and Dula, however, the girl, then 22-years-old, went back to the police, and told detectives she was simply a prostitute for 5 years and made up the allegations against Brockett and Dula.

“I once again asked [her] if she was raped,” a detective wrote in a police report after the interview. “She told me ‘no’ and stated to me, ‘Can’t a ho change her ways?’ ”

The woman also signed a recantation, but the case proceeded and in spring 2011, a grand jury voted to indict Dula, Crooks and two others who were allegedly part of the crew.

Defense attorneys for the men didn’t receive the woman’s recantation until April 2012, when prosecutor Rebecca Gingold, who replaced Assistant District Attorney Abbie Greenberger, discovered the documents and turned them over.

“[The girl] indicated the night of the alleged rape that she had made up the story,” Crooks’ lawyer, Elliot Kay, told The New York Post. “She indicated that she was in a consensual relationship, as opposed to being the victim of sex trafficking.”

The Brooklyn DA’s office–who publicized the big bust last year–has yet to comment on the newly-discovered documents.

“How do they go on TV talking about this huge sex-trafficking bust when they had written documentation from police officers in which she admitted lying?” Kay asked.

Dula was released from prison Tuesday and spent time with his family in Crown Heights.

“I’m glad to be home with my family,” he told The Daily News. “I’m still in shock. I’m traumatized. It wasn’t a good experience. They took me away on my son’s birthday. It was heartbreaking.”

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Bored London UK Court Clerk Busted Surfing Porn Sites During Rape Trial Pleads Guilty

February 8, 2012

LONDON, UK – A veteran London court clerk caught surfing porn sites during a rape trial said he did so “because he was bored.”

Debasish Majumder, 54, pleaded guilty to a charge of misconduct in public office and five counts of possession of indecent images, the U.K. Daily Mail newspaper reported.

The prosecution alleged Majumder viewed about 30 images between Dec. 9 and 10 during a rape trial. The judge sitting behind him said he noticed the filthy photos as the victim in the case was testifying.

“He said that he watched a lot of internet porn, he said that at work there were moments in his day that were boring and he would surf the net not to get access to sites but to get the titles of sites to use on his home computer and normally sites were blocked,” the paper quoted prosecutor Annabel Darlow as saying.

Police later found evidence of child porn at Majumder’s home, the Mail reported.

He will be sentenced later this month once his medical reports are in.

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TSA Agent Harold Glen Rodman Arrested In Manassas Virginia, Charged After Raping Woman – While Wearing Uniform

November 21, 2011

MANASSAS, VIRGINIA – A Transportation Security Administration employee is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Manassas.

TSA won’t say where or what suspect does for agency

The suspect, Harold Glen Rodman, 52, allegedly was wearing his uniform and displayed a badge to the victim, a 37-year-old woman.

Police arrested Rodman on Nov. 20. He is charged with aggravated sexual battery, object sexual penetration, forcible sodomy and abduction with intent to defile.

A TSA spokesperson confirmed that Rodman works for the agency but wouldn’t say in what capacity or where.

Police said the victim reported that she and a friend were in the 10500 block of Winfield Loop in Manassas when the suspect approached them. The suspect flashed a badge and sexually assaulted the victim before fleeing on foot, police said.

Police responded and canvassed the area when Rodman stepped out of his residence. He matched the description given by the victim and was taken into custody, police said.

Those who live in the community says they were shocked to learn that a neighbor was facing sexual assault charges.

“He seems like a normal guy. I’m really shocked,” says one neighbor.

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Former Massachusetts State Police Trooper Joseph Silva Sentenced To 10 Years In Prison After Raping Woman In Maine

October 31, 2011

ALFRED, MAINE – A former Massachusetts state trooper was sentenced Thursday for sexually assaulting a woman from Portsmouth.

Joseph Silva received a 10-year sentence on a gross assault charge and received seven years each for the two aggravated assault charges and 10 years probation.

Silva made a brief apology in court, and his sister spoke on his behalf. The victim wrote a letter and did not appear in court.

The state asked for a 25-year sentence for Silva.

Silva, who lived in Newburyport, Mass., arranged to have dinner with the woman.

Later, Silva lured the woman to the Roadway Inn, in Kittery, telling her they could watch a Patriots football game.

Prosecutors said Silva raped and assaulted the woman, who managed to get away the next morning.

Silva was arrested in 2009 and indicted earlier this year.

It only took the jury about an hour to reach its verdict during last month’s trial

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Nashville Tennessee TSA Agent Arrested, Jailed, Charged With Statutory Rape

September 21, 2011

RUTHERFORD COUNTY, TENNESSEE – A TSA agent has been arrested in Rutherford County on charges of statutory rape.

Clifton Lyles was arrested by U.S. Marshals Tuesday night, following a grand jury indictment.

Lyles worked at Nashville International Airport.

Details about what led to his arrest were not released.

His bond was set at $10,000.

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New York City Police Officer Michael Pena Arrested, Charged After Armed Rape Of Teacher He Grabbed Off A Residential Street

August 20, 2011

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A drunken off-duty police officer grabbed a teacher off a
residential street, showed her a gun and forced her to a deserted
backyard where he raped her, authorities said.

“You’re coming with me,” he told the woman, after opening his jacket to display his weapon, police said.

Officer
Michael Pena was arrested Friday by responding officers after a witness
who lives in the upper Manhattan building saw through her window that
something was happening in the backyard and called 911, police said.

Pena
is an officer in the New York Police Department’s 33rd Precinct in
Washington Heights, south of the Inwood neighborhood, where he’s accused
of raping the woman. He was arrested on charges of forcible rape and
was behind held pending an arraignment.

Pena
was suspended without pay, chief police spokesman Paul Browne said. He
couldn’t be reached for comment because he was being held by police, and
it was unclear if he had an attorney. A call to a telephone number
believed to be his home rang unanswered.

Earlier
this summer, two NYPD officers were acquitted of charges they raped a
drunken woman they had been summoned to help get out of a cab. The
officers were convicted of official misconduct for repeatedly returning
to the woman’s apartment while telling dispatchers they were elsewhere.

The
police department fired the two officers within hours of the May
verdict, which ignited criticism from women’s rights activists and some
city councilwomen who said it spotlighted what they considered unfair
attitudes toward women who bring sexual assault complaints.

Pena
approached the teacher shortly before 6:30 a.m. Friday as she walked to
work, asking her for directions to the No. 1 train, Browne said. She
could tell he was drunk, and he grabbed her, showing her his gun.

Pena
walked the 25-year-old woman several blocks before stopping at the
backyard, police said. The woman told police she knew he was armed
didn’t know he was an officer.

A passer-by walked through the backyard but, perhaps not realizing the woman was being raped, left without helping, police said.

Responding
officers from the 34th Precinct arrived about a minute later. Pena and
the woman were standing, and the woman ran to the officers, warning them
Pena had a gun, Browne said.

The officers
took Pena to the ground and realized he was a colleague when they
checked for identification and came up with his police ID and shield,
Browne said. A loaded handgun was found at the scene. Emergency services
responded and took the woman to a hospital.

Pena,
27, has been on the police force since 2008, assigned to the 33rd
Precinct since January. He wasn’t working Thursday evening and wasn’t
expected back to work until late Friday for the midnight shift. It’s
unclear whether he was carrying his service weapon or his off-duty
weapon, police said.


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Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Patrick Venable Quits, Charged With On-Duty Rape Of Drunk Female Motorist

August 16, 2011

GUTHRIE, OKLAHOMA – The Logan County District attorney has charged a
former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper with second-degree rape.

Patrick Venable, 27, resigned June 29 after OHP began investigating
allegations of sexual misconduct against him. In July, OHP officials
said the investigation had been ongoing for several weeks, but they
would not reveal details of the allegations.

In a news release Tuesday, Logan County District Attorney Tommy Lee
says while on duty as a trooper, Venable pulled over a woman on the
Broadway Extension in Oklahoma City. Lee says Venable took the woman
into custody for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor.
He’s accused of then transporting her to a residence in Guthrie where he
had sex with her.

Venable is scheduled to make his first appearance in court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16.

If convicted of second-degree rape, Venable faces one to 15 years in prison.

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GUTHRIE, Oklahoma – The Logan County District attorney has charged a former Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper with second-degree rape.

Patrick Venable, 27, resigned June 29 after OHP began investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against him. In July, OHP officials said the investigation had been ongoing for several weeks, but they would not reveal details of the allegations.

7/22/11 Related Story: Accusations Of Sexual Misconduct Rock OHP

7/22/11 Related Story: OHP Trooper Resigns After Sexual Misconduct Alleged

In a news release Tuesday, Logan County District Attorney Tommy Lee says while on duty as a trooper, Venable pulled over a woman on the Broadway Extension in Oklahoma City. Lee says Venable took the woman into custody for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor. He’s accused of then transporting her to a residence in Guthrie where he had sex with her.

Venable is scheduled to make his first appearance in court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16.

If convicted of second-degree rape, Venable faces one to 15 years in prison.


Former Section Alabama Police Officer Ryan Keith Evans Arrested On Sex Abuse Charges

July 8, 2011

SCOTTSBORO, Alabama — A former Section police officer faces various sex abuse charges after being arrested in south Alabama.

Officials say Ryan Keith Evans was brought back to Jackson County from Houston County on Thursday. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Jackson County on charges following charges of sodomy, enticing a child and possession of pornographic material.

Evans’ bond was set at $130,000. Jail officials say he has posted the bond and has been released.

Evans was employed as a Section police officer prior to 2009.

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Trial Begins For New York City Police Officer Kenneth Moreno, Charged With 2008 On-Duty Rape Of Young Unconscious Woman – Made Fake 911 Call To Return To Victim’s Apartment

May 10, 2011

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – New York City police officer Kenneth Moreno took the stand during his own trial Monday and told jurors he didn’t have sex with an intoxicated woman who has accused him of raping her after being called to help her get home.

He did, however, admit to making a fake 911 call to police that evening to return to woman’s apartment, 1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reported.

The officers helped the drunken woman to her apartment and then returned three times within hours. The woman said she passed out but awoke to being raped.

Somber but forthcoming, Moreno took the stand as the key defense witness:

“Did you commit rape, Officer Moreno?” asked his lawyer, Joseph Tacopina.

“No,” Moreno said frankly.

“Did you have sex with (the woman)?”

“No,” said Moreno, who has been an officer for 17 years.

As CBS 2′s Pablo Guzman reports, Moreno’s version of what took place with the woman was stunning.

“She told me to come over to the bed. I said ‘I’m good where I’m at.’ She only had a pink bra on. She came over to me and asked me if I liked her. She tried to kiss me, but I smelled the alcohol. I said ‘you don’t like me.’ She got upset. I kissed her forehead. She took my hand and put it on her stomach and turned so my hand was on her lower back. She started moving her buttocks around my groin area. It was getting crazy. This was totally unexpected,” Moreno testified.

“I kind of pushed her away. I said there’s another time for this. She looked at me. I held her on the shoulders and said we’re not doing this. She got upset.”

An issue in this trial has been whether the woman was too drunk to say no and whether the cops should have called an ambulance instead of taking her to her apartment, the place of the alleged rape.

“I asked her what was going on. The cab driver said she was drunk. She heard what he said. She said, ‘I’m not drunk. I’m just sick,’” Moreno testified.

Tacopina then asked, “Did she respond to your questions?”

Moreno answered: “Yes she did. I told her, if you can’t stand on your own [I was going to have to call an ambulance]. She said she did not want to go to the hospital. ‘Then you’re going to have to stand up.’ She got up.”

Officer Moreno tried to show that his time with the woman was friendly. But he stunned many in the courtroom when he said he tried to comfort the intoxicated, vomiting woman with, “We talked about music. I even sang to her. I sang Bon Jovi’s ‘Living On A Prayer.’

“She said I want you to stay. I said you want me to stay? She said, yes, stay with me. She just wanted to be held. So I held her.”

Earlier, Assistant District Attorney Coleen Balbert aggressively cross-examined Moreno’s partner, NYPD officer Franklin Mata, about the alleged rape of the young, drunk, fashion executive inside her apartment in December 2008.

When asked if he could recall anything that was said between the woman and Moreno, Mata testified she told Moreno: “No, she doesn’t have a boyfriend,” and later, “I don’t want an ambulance.”

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Regina Provincial Canada Judge Dennis Fenwick Sentences Man To Just 6 Years In Prison After Raping His Teen Daughter And Fathering Two Children With Her

May 4, 2011

REGINA, CANADA – In August 2004, a 12-year-old girl came into the Regina General Hospital in advanced labour, giving birth to a son the following day.

Hospital staff became suspicious both because of the girl’s young age and because she didn’t provide the name of the father.

Rumours began swirling that the father of the baby was also, in fact, the girl’s father, and so began a police investigation that resulted finally on Tuesday in a six-year sentence for the father on a charge of sexual assault.

The 45-year-old man -who can’t be named to prevent identifying the victim, who is his biological daughter -entered the guilty plea Tuesday at Regina Provincial Court in relation to assaults on the girl that eventually resulted in the birth of that child and a second just over a year later.

Judge Dennis Fenwick -referring to the offences as “reprehensible” -agreed to impose the sixyear term as jointly proposed by Crown and defence lawyers.

While the girl was reluctant to tell police the truth about what had happened, Crown prosecutor Chris White said she eventually admitted her father had given her alcohol and then had sex with her, resulting in the two pregnancies. The assaults occurred between Nov. 1, 2003, and Dec. 31, 2005, both within Regina and in other locations in the province.

White said the matter took such a long time to come to a conclusion because of lack of co-operation from the girl, her father and her father’s family -some of whom helped hide him from police for lengthy periods of time.

Police interviewed the girl again in October 2005, when she finally broke down and admitted the truth -that her father and she had sex and the pregnancy had resulted.

By that time, the girl was already pregnant again, with her second child by her father. At age 14, in December of 2005, she gave birth to a second son.

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Norton Kansas Police Officer Ryan L. Zweygardt Arrested, Charged With 2 Counts Of Rape

April 22, 2011

NORTON, KANSAS — A Norton police officer was arrested Thursday on two counts of alleged rape, according to a press release from the Norton County attorney’s office.

Ryan L. Zweygardt, 27, was scheduled to make his first appearance in Norton County District Court today. A preliminary hearing tentatively has been scheduled for May 6. Bond was set at $500,000.

County Attorney Doug Sebelius said this morning the alleged incident was reported to law enforcement April 11.

“Shortly after that, the police chief had placed (Zweygardt) on suspension,” Sebelius said.

He was unsure if Zweygardt’s status with the department had changed since his arrest. He has been with the Norton police for less than a year.

The Norton County sheriff’s department and Kansas Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation.

Sebelius said Zweygardt was not on duty when the alleged incidents occurred. They were brought to law enforcement’s attention by the victim, an adult female, and by her seeking medical attention, Sebelius said.

Zweygardt is being held in Graham County jail, due to renovations taking place in the Norton County Sheriff’s department.

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Lancaster County Nebraska Judge Paul Merritt Threatens Rape Victim With Jail If She Won’t Testify

April 7, 2011

OMAHA, NEBRASKA –  A Nebraska judge’s unusual decision to threaten an alleged sexual assault victim with jail if she doesn’t testify could backfire and discourage other women from reporting they were raped, victim advocates said Thursday.

The 24-year-old Kansas woman is appealing the contempt order, saying that testifying about the sexual abuse she endured as a child would cause her deep humiliation. But Lancaster County District Judge Paul Merritt wrote in his ruling that the charges against her alleged attacker hinge on her testimony.
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$62 Million Federal Lawsuit Charges New York City Police Officers Kenneth Moreno And Franklin Mata With Raping Her While On Duty – Officers Also Facing Criminal Charges

March 29, 2011

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – A woman who claims two on-duty NYPD cops raped her in her East Village apartment is suing the city for $62 million, the officers’ lawyers said Monday.

The victim’s lawsuit is under seal in Manhattan federal court, but lawyers made the revelation in a hearing before jury selection began in the long-delayed criminal trial of suspended officers Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata.

Prosecutors also said during the hearing that at least five witnesses whom the victim initially told about the rape may testify against the cops.

“[The victim told the witnesses] she’d been raped,” Assistant District Attorney Colleen Balbert told a judge.

The officers are accused of raping the semi-conscious woman in the early morning of Dec. 7, 2008, after responding to a 911 call to help into her apartment.

Balbert said the victim immediately told four of her neighbors when she awoke that morning. About an hour later, she told her boss, who met her at a hospital.

Defense lawyers, who claim the woman was too drunk to remember what happened, tried unsuccessfully to get the woman’s boss bounced as a witness because she heard about the claims after the initial “outcry” to her neighbors.

“That is not immediate, she had her outcry,” Moreno’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, said, trying to limit the damage multiple witnesses could create.

Testimony of what another person said is considered hearsay and is barred at trial – except when it’s considered an initial “outcry” statement.

The lawyers for the cops also said the woman “collaborated” with her friends, suggesting she concocted the rape story.

The legal arguments came before more than 100 prospective jurors were called into the courtroom. Several panel members gasped as the judge described the rape allegations against the cops.

Before the jury questioning, Supreme Court Justice Gregory Carro dismissed a dozen misdemeanor official misconduct charges lodged against the cops on the grounds they were not crimes but patrol guide violations.

He allowed four official misconduct charges to stand, including failing to call an ambulance and failing to report that they returned to her apartment three times that night.

The officers still face a litany of charges, including felony counts of rape and burglary, and up to 25 years in prison.

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Cleveland Ohio Corrections Officer Arrested, Charged With Sexually Assaulting A Male Inmate

March 27, 2011

CLEVELAND, OHIO – Highland Hills Police have arrested a 32-year-old Cleveland correction officer for the alleged sexual assault of a male inmate.

Authorities say the incident happened at the House of Correction on Northfield Road in Highland Hills Friday.

Cleveland Police Sgt. Sammy Morris tells Fox 8 News, “The police investigation was initiated following a complaint by a 24-year-old inmate. Upon receipt of the complaint, Assistant Director Bounds immediately notified Highland Hills who responded to the scene and initiated the investigation.”

According to Sgt. Morris, if the correction officer is charged with a crime, he will be suspended from duty, without pay, pending the outcome of the case.

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Former Israel President Moshe Katsav Sentenced To Just 7 Years In Prison For Raping An Employee Twice

March 22, 2011

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL — An Israeli court sentenced Moshe Katsav, the country’s former president, to seven years in prison for rape on Tuesday.

The sentencing is the latest stage in a sordid drama that Israel’s leaders point to as proof of the principle of equality before the law, but one that has also seen the prestige of Israel’s highest office brought to a historic low.

Mr. Katsav, who has consistently maintained his innocence, burst into tears upon hearing the sentence, according to reports from inside the Tel Aviv courtroom, and shouted at the judges that they had made a mistake, crying out: “It is a lie! The girls know it is a lie!”

In December Mr. Katsav, 65, was convicted of forcibly raping an employee — identified only by her first initial, A. — on two occasions while he was minister of tourism in 1998.

The court also convicted him of sexually abusing and harassing another woman and of harassing a third while he was president — a distinguished, if mostly ceremonial, position that Mr. Katsav held from 2000 to 2007. He was also convicted of obstruction of justice.

The sentencing came four years after accusations of sexual offenses were made against Mr. Katsav while he was still the head of state.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the sentencing that this was “a day of sadness and shame” for Israel, “but it is also a day of deep appreciation and pride for the Israeli justice system.”

He added: “The court issued a sharp and unequivocal ruling on a simple principle, that of equality before the law; nobody is above the law, not even a former president, all are subject to the law. This distinguishes the State of Israel in a very large region.”

Mr. Katsav is expected to begin his sentence in early May, after the Passover holiday, though it is likely that he will appeal.

One of his lawyers, Zion Amir, told Israel Radio, “Regarding the sentence, I have no doubt that this was not the last word.” Mr. Amir said he was not surprised by the sentence in light of the “harsh” verdict against Mr. Katsav. Many Israeli legal experts said the punishment was fitting given both the gravity of Mr. Katsav’s crimes and the added weight of his public standing.

Rape verdicts usually carry a minimum sentence of 4 years and a maximum of 16 in Israel. The judges said in their ruling that the fact that Mr. Katsav had been president was no reason for leniency. On the contrary, they said, he had abused his authority and standing in order to carry out his crimes.

They wrote that Mr. Katsav’s acts had “brought disgrace on the symbol of the institution of the presidency.” In addition to the seven-year sentence, Mr. Katsav received a two-year suspended sentence and was ordered to pay compensation to two of his victims. No television cameras or radio microphones were allowed in the courtroom during the proceedings and most of the trial took place behind closed doors.

Mr. Katsav had contended that the rape accusation was a plot by the former Tourism Ministry employee, who he said was seeking revenge after she was fired. But the judges who convicted him cited evidence that contradicted Mr. Katsav’s testimony, which they said they found “false.”

Expressing a minority opinion, Yehudit Shevach, one of the panel of three judges who handed down the sentence, said that four years’ imprisonment and more compensation would have been sufficient punishment. She cited what she called the “trial by media” and remarks by the then-attorney general, who described Mr. Katsav’s behavior as that of a “serial sex offender” even before he was formally charged. Mr. Katsav’s lawyers also argued that he had been demonized and condemned by the news media and by leaks and statements from public figures before the trial started.

The other two judges, George Kara and Miriam Sokolov, argued that the unprecedented publicity, some legitimate and some not, was a result of Mr. Katsav’s high standing.

Miriam Rosenthal, a lawyer and former Tel Aviv district attorney, said that the court had neither lightened the sentence nor penalized Mr. Katsav unduly because of the high post he held.

Mr. Katsav resigned from the presidency in disgrace in 2007, two weeks before the end of his seven-year term, to a chorus of public criticism over a deal he had reached with state prosecutors.

According to its terms the rape charges against him were to be dropped in exchange for an admission of guilt for lesser offenses. Mr. Katsav was to serve no jail time under the deal. But in a dramatic courtroom twist in April 2008 Mr. Katsav backed out of the plea agreement, saying that he wished to fight for his innocence in court.

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Frisco City Alabama Police Chief Ronald Marshall Arrested, Charged With Raping Woman Who Tried To File Theft Report

March 18, 2011

FRISCO CITY, ALABAMA – Frisco City Police Chief Ronald Marshall is accused of raping a woman who called his office to file a police report.

Agents with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation arrested Marshall Thursday on one count of rape and one count of ethics violation.

Tommy Chapman, the District Attorney for Conecuh and Monroe counties, tells News 5 the 38-year-old victim went to the police station Wednesday to report someone stole her computer. According to Chapman, the chief told her they had to go to City Hall and fill out some paperwork, but they never made it there. Instead, the woman says Marshall drove her to a secluded area outside town and raped her in his patrol car.

Marshall made his first appearance in court Friday morning where a judge set his bond at $105,000.

When asked by News 5 whether his office plans to handle the case, Chapman said “Absolutely. I’m not going to run away from a bad police officer in my jurisdiction. If they put on a gun and a badge and abuse the power they got, they out to be ratted out.”

Last week, a grand jury indicted Billy Hilton Jr., a former part-time officer in nearby Excel, on sex abuse charges. Published report say Hilton is accused of forcing a woman to have sex with him while he was on duty.

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Veteran St. Bernard Parish Louisiana Deputy Sheriff Thomas Spicuzza Arrested, Suspended, Charged With Raping Unconscious Woman

March 16, 2011

ST. BERNARD, LOUISIANA – A St. Bernard Parish deputy has been arrested for allegedly raping a Chalmette woman while he was off-duty and giving her a ride home to the parish from a Mardi Gras event, said Sheriff Jack Stephens.

Deputy Thomas Spicuzza, 37, surrendered himself to deputies Wednesday after a judge signed a warrant for his arrest. Bond has been set at $50,000.

Spicuzza, a 10-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, drove the 28-year-old Chalmette woman home from a Mardi Gras event in New Orleans because she wanted to leave early, according to the alleged victim’s report. Spicuzza hadn’t attended the party with the woman, but knew her and her fiance, Stephens said.

The woman, who told investigators she was on prescription medicine for anxiety and depression, said she lost consciousness and couldn’t remember the ride back to her home in St. Bernard with Spicuzza. She said she remembers waking up in a bed with Spicuzza and the two having sex, and then later, Spicuzza bringing her home.

Spicuzza maintains his innocence, saying the act was consensual.

Stephens said there’s a zero-tolerance police for officers who are arrested.

“For better or worse law enforcement officials should be and are held to a higher standard than civilians,” Stephens said. “We know the law, it’s our job to protect people and prevent things like this from happening, so the allegation is disturbing, and it’s unsettling to the whole department.”

Spicuzza has been on administrative leave since March 12, when the woman reported the alleged rape to the police. The incident in question happened the week before, Stephens said, and the woman said she didn’t tell her fiance about the alleged incident for several days.

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Veteran San Diego California Police Officer Anthony Arevalos Arrested, Suspended, Charged With Sexually Battering Female Motorist He Pulled Over

March 12, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – A San Diego police officer has been arrested on suspicion of sexually battering a woman he pulled over for investigation of drunken driving.

Police said 40-year-old Anthony Arevalos, an 18-year department veteran, was taken into custody Friday and booked into county jail. His peace officer powers were revoked and he was suspended without pay while the investigation continues.

Police say the officer stopped a 32-year-old woman Tuesday as she drove out of the downtown area after a Mardi Gras celebration. The alleged battery, which involves touching of a sexual nature, occurred during the traffic stop.

Lt. Andra Brown, a department spokeswoman, said she didn’t know whether Arevalos has retained an attorney. She declined to discuss evidence in the case.

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Former Cobb County Georgia Deputy Sheriff Jason Bill Found Guilty After Assaulting, Kidnapping, And Raping Woman At Gunpoint

March 12, 2011

COBB COUNTY, GEORGIA – A former Cobb County deputy was found guilty Friday of raping an illegal immigrant.

Former Cobb deputy Jason Bill faced seven counts including rape, kidnapping and assault of a 23-year-old woman. Channel 2’s Ross Cavitt was at the Cobb County Courthouse when a jury found him guilty on all counts.

Prosecutors said Bill forced the woman to have sex at gunpoint. He told jurors he did not do it.

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20 Year Veteran Newport News Virginia Police Officer Carolyn Harris Arrested For Sex With A 2 Year Old Girl

March 6, 2011

NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA – A woman in a position of trust in the community now faces serious charges. Carolyn Harris, 44, a Newport News Police officer of more than 20 years, was arrested Monday.

She’s charged with two felonies, aggravated sexual battery, and indecent liberties with a child by a custodian.

According to police, the victim, a two-year-old girl, is related to Harris and was visiting her when the assault took place.

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Man Gets A Slap On The Wrist After Canadian Judge Shifts Blame To His Rape Victim

February 25, 2011

MANITOBA, CANADA – A Canadian judge whose controversial ruling and remarks in a sexual assault case sparked outrage is being investigated by the Canadian court system, a website statement said Friday.

Last week, Manitoba Justice Robert Dewar sentenced 40-year-old Kenneth Rhodes to a two year conditional sentence to be served at home for raping a 26-year-old woman.

That sentence, along with comments by Dewar which suggested that there was “sex in the air,” have led to several complaints from the victim and the public.

According to court records provided by CNN affiliate the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Rhodes met the victim and her friend at a bar before they drove out of town to a small lake on an isolated road in August 2006. The victim said Rhodes made several passes at her, and later that night, after she was intoxicated, he raped her.

“The victim was so afraid that she fled without pants through the woods,” prosecutor Sheila Seesahai told the court, adding that Rhodes took advantage of the much smaller victim.

Rhodes’ defense had a different story.

“It was a lapse of judgement on his part,” attorney Derek Coggan argued, according to court records.

The judge’s suggestion that the women’s choice of clothes and their behavior may have given the accused the wrong impression led many to believe he placed some of the blame for the attack on the victim.

Protesters upset with the judge’s ruling gathered outside the Law Courts in Winnipeg on Friday and shouted “no means no.”

Concerned about the dangerous precedent the ruling and remarks could set for future sexual assault cases, the protesters called for the judge to apologize to the victim and all Manitobans.

The court issued a statement on behalf of Dewar saying it was “inappropriate to comment further at this time” because the case could still be appealed.

The Canadian Judicial Council on Friday indicated its intent to review complaints against Dewar. A statement on the council’s website said the it “works to foster ongoing public confidence in the judiciary.”

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Former Laurel Deleware Maryland Police Officer And Registered Sex Offender Kevin Hovatter Arrested, Charged With Rape

February 25, 2011

LAUREL, DELAWARE – February 24, 2011 (WPVI) — Authorities say a former Laurel police officer has been charged with raping a woman several years ago.

Delaware State Police said 32-year-old Kevin Hovatter was arrested following an investigation prompted by an anonymous tip.

Investigators said Hovatter met the victim, now 28, after a domestic incident between her and her boyfriend and touched her inappropriately at the police station.

The victim met with Hovatter over the next two years for fear of being arrested, and Hovatter allegedly committed inappropriate acts with her during those meetings.

Hovatter was indicted Monday on charges of rape and sexual extortion and was being held on $40,000 secured bond.

Hovatter was charged in 2006 with raping a woman after making a traffic stop. He has been a registered sex offender since 2007.

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Selma Alabama Police Officer Christopher Harris Arrested And Charged With Raping A Child

January 12, 2011

SELMA, ALABAMA – A Selma Police Department officer faces charges of raping a child less than 16 years old but older than 12, according to a WSFA 12 News Montgomery report.

Christopher Harris was arrested by the Alabama Bureau of Investigation and taken to the Dallas County Jail, where he remains under a $50,000 bond, WSFA reports.

The Grand Jury will take the case later this month, the report says.

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Two Westminster Colorado Police Officers Suspended With Pay After Sexually Assaulting Woman While On Duty

October 23, 2010

BROOMFIELD, COLORADO – Two Westminster police officers are under investigation and on paid leave, Investigator Trevor Materasso said Friday.

A woman contacted Broomfield police at about 3:20 a.m. on Thursday and said that while she was at a home in the 12800 block of South Princess Circle, in Broomfield, she became the victim of a sexual assault involving two Westminster police officers.

The officers were off-duty at the time, Broomfield police said in a statement.

A criminal investigation was under way Friday.

“Directly following the conclusion of Broomfield’s criminal investigation, Westminster will conduct an internal investigation into these allegations,” Materasso said. “This administrative process is being conducted after the criminal investigation, so as to not interfere with any criminal investigative process. Westminster has remained uninvolved with the criminal process to ensure the integrity of Broomfield’s investigation.”

The two officers have not been arrested or charged.

“At this time, these are only allegations and the officers deserve the same due process to determine their innocence or guilt before any action is taken against them,” Materasso said.

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Broke State Of New Hampshire To Release Sex Offenders Who Haven’t Completed Rehabilitation Program Under New Law

September 24, 2010

CONCORD, NEW HAMPSHIRE – Saying they had no other choice under new mandatory parole laws, state Adult Parole Board members yesterday agreed to set free eight inmates nearing their maximum term in jail. Among the paroled were child sex predators who have not completed prison programs aimed at rehabilitating them, according to Department of Corrections records.

“You are a danger. You are a predator,” board member Mark Furlone said to Robin Woodburn Jr., 34, of Manchester. “I think it is disgusting we have to parole you out.”

Woodburn’s victims were 7 and 13.

Woodburn said he wanted to be released to the Concord area and is looking for a spot in a rooming house.

Senate Bill 500 requires that violent offenders coming before the board be released nine months before their maximum prison sentence is served. The measure allows non-violent offenders to be paroled after they have served 120 percent of their minimum sentence.

The Department of Corrections estimates Senate Bill 500 will save about $7 million over five years and decrease the inmate population by 500 to 600.

Jeff Lyons, spokesman for the department, has said the law ensures that the last nine months of an inmate’s maximum sentence are spent under “intense supervision” in the community.
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Sex offenders (from left) Anthony Blakney, Michael Navarro, Theodore Roosevelt and Robin Woodburn Jr. are among the first inmates to be released under Senate Bill 500.

But board member Alan Coburn, who was serving as chairman yesterday, said he was told by staff that even if a person coming up on mandatory release has no place to live, no job or no treatment set up, he still has to be paroled.

Advocates for Senate Bill 500 have said the bill would reallocate savings from the early release into programs within the community and provide treatment such as counseling for inmates. (See related story.)

They argue that in the past, inmates who “max” out their time go into the community without any plan or support, and that this change ultimately would be safer and give victims more knowledge and control.

Sex offenders Woodburn, Michael Navarro, Anthony Blakney and Theodore Roosevelt are among the first inmates to be released under Senate Bill 500.

►End of inmate program raises questions (4)

Navarro, who was convicted of aggravated felonious sexual assault on a 15-year-old, said he plans to move to Kittery, Maine. He said he plans to seek sex offender treatment once a week in Biddeford, Maine, and go to police station and register in Kittery. He was told he could have no contact with minor females or the victim, no porn and no internet.

“We are going to put you on the strictest supervision that Maine offers,” Coburn said, but noted that the state could reject the plan.

Anthony Blakney, 27, of Manchester, will be released Oct. 28. He has been serving five years for 10 counts of felonious sexual assault on a 15-year-old in 2004. He was kicked out of sex offender treatment for behavioral reasons, and has had 23 disciplinary write-ups in less than three years, according to DOC records.

Yesterday in Berlin, prison staff said he was convicted of carrying a deadly weapon in the prison, a metal shank.

Jeramie M. Johnson Sr., 25, of Laconia, will be released on Nov. 19 to his aunt’s home in Franklin. He was originally convicted on a burglary offense, but while incarcerated was convicted of indecent exposure and lewdness.

He refused sex offender treatment while incarcerated.

“I am here on a burglary and I was never convicted of a sex crime,” he said by video relay from the prison in Berlin.

“Are you willing to do sex offender treatment on the outside?” asked Coburn.

“No,” the inmate said.

“We are going to release you because we have to,” Coburn said. “What we are here to do is to set conditions.”

The board agreed to require Johnson attend a sex offender treatment. He was also ordered to have no contact with children, register as a sex offender in Franklin and have an alcohol evaluation.

John Eckert, executive assistant to the parole board, said yesterday the purpose of parole is to encourage inmates to get it together.

“Now, from an institutional perspective, there is no incentive,” he said.

Also granted mandatory parole yesterday were:

— Mark J. Ouellette, 24, of Laconia who received a two-to-four-year sentence for robbery. He will be eligible for release on Nov. 1. The conditions set yesterday include no contact with Cumberland Farms and the Laconia Spa store, no weapons, and completing a high school graduation equivalency. He said he had no definite plan for where he would stay, but has relatives in Manchester.

— Robert Richardson, 40, of Manchester, originally incarcerated for stalking, is currently serving one to two years for possession of drugs. He said he plans to be released to the Manchester homeless shelter.

— Christopher Moore of Dover, was convicted of unarmed robbery and simple assault. He will be released Oct. 12.

If those who are paroled violate their conditions, they can be returned to the jail for no more than 90 days.

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DNA Tests Free Two Innocent Men Imprisoned For 30 Years – A Third Died In Prison

September 16, 2010

HATTIESBURG, MISSISSIPPI – A judge in Hattiesburg, Mississippi today threw out the guilty pleas of two men who had spent three decades in prison for rape and murder after DNA tests showed they were innocent. The decision comes too late, however, for a third man who died in prison eight years ago.

Bobby Dixon, Phillip Bivens and Larry Ruffin were sentenced to life in prison for the rape and murder of Eva Gail Patterson of Hattiesburg in 1979. Larry Ruffin died behind bars in 2002.

The Innocence Project filed a petition in July on behalf of Dixon and Bivens and a separate petition on behalf of Ruffin just yesterday. The advocacy group had lobbied for new DNA tests of the evidence from the 1979 rape, and tests showed that the DNA matched that of another man Andrew Harris, who is currently serving a life sentence in a Mississippi prison for a 1981 rape.

Bobby Dixon was released from prison last month in order to undergo treatment for terminal cancer, but Bivens, now 59, remained behind bars. He attended the hearing in his prison jumpsuit before being set free by the judge’s ruling.

“It was a good result in a tragic situation,” said Emily Maw, director of the Innocence Project New Orleans and lawyer for Dixon, Bivens and the Ruffin family. “This is a particularly sad case. Another man committed the crime and then let these men sit in prison for 30 years. We hope it will have an impact on how we look at confessions and guilty pleas.”

Dixon and Bivens had pleaded guilty in 1980 to the crime and claimed that Ruffin was the rapist. Dixon claimed in an interview with the Jackson Clarion-Ledger that he fingered Ruffin after police beat him. Ruffin insisted on taking his case to trial continued to maintain his innocence until his death in a prison accident.

Judge Robert Helfrich said he did not rule on Ruffin’s petition because it was received Wednesday and he had not had time to review it. Maw said that she expects the petition for Ruffin’s posthumous exoneration will not be taken up until a grand jury has decided whether to charge Andrew Harris with Patterson’s rape and murder.

The results of the DNA test make Ruffin the second inmate to have been exonerated posthumously by DNA testing. In 2009, DNA tests showed that Texas inmate Tim Cole did not commit the 1985 rape for which he was serving time. Cole died in prison in 1999.

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St. Lucie County Florida Deputy Sheriff Matthew Blair Morris, Arrested, Suspended, Charged With On Duty Forced Sex – Previously Suspended After Attack On Little League Umpire And Warrantless Home Invasion

September 15, 2010

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, FLORIDA – A St. Lucie County sheriff’s deputy is facing a criminal sex charge after a woman accused him of forcing her to perform a sex act on him while he was on patrol, Sheriff Ken Mascara said Tuesday at a news conference.

Matthew Blair Morris, 33, is charged with sexual battery by a law enforcement officer and official misconduct of a law enforcement officer after a 41-year-old Fort Pierce woman accused him of the crime, Mascara said.

“I promise this community we will fully and impartially investigate all such incidents,” Mascara said.

Morris, who had been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, is in the St. Lucie County Jail without bail for the sexual battery offense and in lieu of $10,000 bail for the official misconduct charge. Mascara said he requested Morris be placed on a suicide watch because he feared the three-year deputy would harm himself.

“The actions of Matthew Morris are a stain on the honor and good name of every member of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, including me,” Mascara said.

Morris, who Mascara said is married with two children, told investigators the early-morning sex was consensual.

Mascara said there could be other victims and asks that anyone with information about the case to call the Sheriff’s Office detective bureau at 772-462-3230.

If convicted, Morris faces up to 30 years on the sexual battery charge and five years for the official misconduct charge, said officials with the State Attorney’s Office.

According to the affidavit, the incident took place between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Sunday on the campus of the Fort Pierce Magnet School of the Arts while Morris was on patrol.

The woman told detectives that before the sex act occurred, Morris made contact with her twice. The first time was between 1 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. near North 11th Street and Avenue B, where he asked her if she had a boyfriend, she said, and the second time was about 2 a.m. on Avenue B, between North 10th Street and Dundas Court, where he asked her to meet him between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. at a park on South Indian River Drive, the affidavit states. The woman said they didn’t meet because Morris received a service call.

However, Morris later found the woman walking near 10th Street and Orange Avenue, and told her he wanted to talk with her about something and to walk toward the school, the affidavit states.

At the school, Morris exposed himself to the woman and said it would be “beneficial” for her to do what he wanted because he regularly works in the area and that it would not be “beneficial” for her and her friends if she refused, the affidavit states.

During the encounter, the woman said Morris had his hand on his gun and she feared he would harm her if she didn’t follow his commands, the affidavit states. After the incident, Morris hinted that he had a second woman in the area who would perform sex acts on him, the affidavit states.

“I would like to thank the victim involved in this incident for her courage to come forward,” Mascara said.

Sunday’s incident was not the first time the Sheriff’s Office had problems with Morris, according to internal affairs reports.

He has been disciplined twice in his three-year career, most recently receiving a two-day suspension without pay in May after he pushed an umpire at his son’s Little League game. Another incident took place in 2009, when Morris and another deputy searched a home without showing the resident a warrant. Later, the homeowner got a copy of the search warrant but it didn’t have his address on it.

In Morris’ annual reviews, supervisors said he had a “proactive philosophy” and he “possesses the needed skills to achieve advancement.”

From 1995 to 1997, Morris took part in a two-year mission trip to Honduras with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I want to assure the people of St. Lucie County that I will not tolerate any misconduct or lawlessness by any member of the Sheriff’s Office,” Mascara said.

Appeared HereST. LUCIE COUNTY —
A St. Lucie County sheriff’s deputy is facing a criminal sex charge after a woman accused him of forcing her to perform a sex act on him while he was on patrol, Sheriff Ken Mascara said Tuesday at a news conference.

Matthew Blair Morris, 33, is charged with sexual battery by a law enforcement officer and official misconduct of a law enforcement officer after a 41-year-old Fort Pierce woman accused him of the crime, Mascara said.

“I promise this community we will fully and impartially investigate all such incidents,” Mascara said.

Register on SunSentinel.com and you could win $5,000

Morris, who had been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, is in the St. Lucie County Jail without bail for the sexual battery offense and in lieu of $10,000 bail for the official misconduct charge. Mascara said he requested Morris be placed on a suicide watch because he feared the three-year deputy would harm himself.

“The actions of Matthew Morris are a stain on the honor and good name of every member of the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office, including me,” Mascara said.

Morris, who Mascara said is married with two children, told investigators the early-morning sex was consensual.

Mascara said there could be other victims and asks that anyone with information about the case to call the Sheriff’s Office detective bureau at 772-462-3230.

If convicted, Morris faces up to 30 years on the sexual battery charge and five years for the official misconduct charge, said officials with the State Attorney’s Office.

According to the affidavit, the incident took place between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. Sunday on the campus of the Fort Pierce Magnet School of the Arts while Morris was on patrol.

The woman told detectives that before the sex act occurred, Morris made contact with her twice. The first time was between 1 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. near North 11th Street and Avenue B, where he asked her if she had a boyfriend, she said, and the second time was about 2 a.m. on Avenue B, between North 10th Street and Dundas Court, where he asked her to meet him between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. at a park on South Indian River Drive, the affidavit states. The woman said they didn’t meet because Morris received a service call.

However, Morris later found the woman walking near 10th Street and Orange Avenue, and told her he wanted to talk with her about something and to walk toward the school, the affidavit states.

At the school, Morris exposed himself to the woman and said it would be “beneficial” for her to do what he wanted because he regularly works in the area and that it would not be “beneficial” for her and her friends if she refused, the affidavit states.

During the encounter, the woman said Morris had his hand on his gun and she feared he would harm her if she didn’t follow his commands, the affidavit states. After the incident, Morris hinted that he had a second woman in the area who would perform sex acts on him, the affidavit states.

“I would like to thank the victim involved in this incident for her courage to come forward,” Mascara said.

Sunday’s incident was not the first time the Sheriff’s Office had problems with Morris, according to internal affairs reports.

He has been disciplined twice in his three-year career, most recently receiving a two-day suspension without pay in May after he pushed an umpire at his son’s Little League game. Another incident took place in 2009, when Morris and another deputy searched a home without showing the resident a warrant. Later, the homeowner got a copy of the search warrant but it didn’t have his address on it.

In Morris’ annual reviews, supervisors said he had a “proactive philosophy” and he “possesses the needed skills to achieve advancement.”

From 1995 to 1997, Morris took part in a two-year mission trip to Honduras with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“I want to assure the people of St. Lucie County that I will not tolerate any misconduct or lawlessness by any member of the Sheriff’s Office,” Mascara said.

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Maine State Police Officer Suspended After Woman Reports Forced On-Duty Sex

September 4, 2010

MAINE – A longtime Maine State Police trooper is on administrative leave while the Attorney General’s Office investigates an accusation that he compelled a woman to have sex with him while he was on duty, police sources say.

The trooper says the sex was consensual, which would violate the department’s rules but not necessarily the law, the sources say.

The Department of Public Safety confirmed that a trooper is on administrative leave while being investigated for allegations of misconduct.

“An allegation was made against this trooper in early July. We referred it to the Maine Attorney General’s Office and we have fully cooperated with their investigation,” said the department’s spokesman, Steve McCausland.

He said it is standard procedure to put a trooper on leave with pay while an attorney general’s investigation is under way.

“We’re not getting into the details of what the allegation was,” McCausland said, including where the alleged incident occurred.

The Attorney General’s Office would not confirm or deny the investigation.

Sgt. Michael Edes, president of the Maine State Troopers Association, said he was aware of the probe but could not comment on an unresolved personnel matter.

“There is an ongoing investigation that’s now being handled by the AG’s office against one of the troopers and we’re waiting to see which way it goes,” Edes said.

The Portland Press Herald is not naming those involved in the case.

The newspaper does not name people accused of sexual assault until they are the subject of court action.

The newspaper also does not name alleged victims of sexual assault.

According to sources, the incident occurred in July as the trooper was taking the woman from York County to a homeless shelter in Portland.

The woman was not under arrest and was being transported voluntarily after an incident in York County.

The woman later contacted Portland police and made a complaint. Officers there referred the case to state authorities after determining that the alleged incident happened outside the city’s jurisdiction.

Portland police referred questions about the incident to state police or the Attorney General’s Office.

Cyndi Amato, executive director of Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine, said sexual involvement by an officer on duty is wrong — whether it’s legal or not.

“If someone is trusting their safety to police to transport them from one place to another, whether in custody or not, there’s that trust they are not going to cross a professional line to do anything to hurt the person,” said Amato, who was unaware of the case.

“At the very least, it’s a betrayal of trust. At the other end, it’s an abuse of power.”

An officer who engages in sexual conduct while on duty faces professional penalties, but whether such activity violates the law depends on the status of the sexual partner.

It is illegal for an officer to have sex with someone who is in police custody, even if force or the threat of force is not used, because the victim is in such a subordinate position that they lack the freedom to refuse or consent.

However, if a person who participates in a sexual act with an officer is not in custody and participates willingly, the case is not so clear-cut legally.

One recent case involving illegal conduct occurred when a Cumberland County corrections officer was arrested for having sex while on duty with an inmate who he said was his girlfriend.

The officer was fired, charged with sexual assault and sentenced to 60 days in jail in a plea agreement.

The Attorney General’s Office is designated as the investigating agency when the subject of a probe is employed by the state police.

“We have arrangements with most of the state law enforcement agencies to essentially do any investigation that may involve allegations of criminal conduct,” said Brian MacMaster, head of investigations for the attorney general.

The agency sometimes investigates non-state law enforcement officers who are involved in criminal conduct if it has enough manpower and another agency, such as a county sheriff’s department, is not able to do so, he said.

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Veteran Bloomington Illinois Serial Rapist Police Officer Sgt. Jeff Pelo Sentenced To 400 Years in Prison

August 30, 2010

BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOIS – It was nothing short of a nightmare — a man obsessively tracking women,
sneaking into their homes, assaulting them, and forcing them to perform
a bizarre “cleansing” ritual that washed away any hint of evidence from
their bodies.

Bloomington, Ill., Police Detective Clay Wheeler spent two years pursuing the first serial rapist in his town’s memory.

“I’ve seen more brutal things, more violent things, but some of the
things that happened and what he would say and tell these girls as he’s
assaulting them, and I mean, I get chills. It just disgusts me,” he
said.

Rapist’s Victims Awakened by Masked Intruder

The rapist’s first victim was then 25-year-old Kristi Mills, who awoke to a masked intruder standing in her doorway in April 2003.

“I was in shock, absolute shock. I looked at the door and saw the light
there, and something just didn’t seem right. And that’s when I saw him,”
she said. “The next thing I remember is he was on top of me in the
bed.”

Mills said the intruder told her he was there to burglarize her, and
that he didn’t want to hurt her, but if she made noise, he would shoot
her.

Wearing a ski mask and gloves, he seemed oddly calm and methodical as he
bound her with zip ties and duct tape, she said. Then he slipped a
pillowcase over her head and sexually assaulted Mills for 45 minutes.

“He seemed very assertive when he talked and not like somebody who’s,
you know, panicking. He seemed like he knew what he was doing,” Mills
said.

Still blindfolded, he forced her into the bathroom where she heard water
running. “I started to panic and I thought he was going to shoot me in
the bathtub,” she said. “Just over a month from my 26th birthday, and I
was going to die.”

Mills was forced to take a long bath and told to wash carefully, while
her rapist calmly walked about her apartment cleaning up after himself.

Then he was gone, taking with him all the evidence, including the bed sheets.

She was so upset and scared that when she got out of the bathtub,
removed the pillowcase, and ripped the tape from off her eyes, she
actually tore out chunks of hair. Though she said she wanted to run and
hide, she decided to call 911 and report it.

Rapist Left Next Victim Shaking in Tub

Two years later, the rapist found his fourth victim, 28-year-old
restaurant manager Sarah Kalmes-Gliege, who also awoke to someone coming
into her room in the middle of the night. She was just six weeks away
from her wedding.

“It was gun to my head, knife to my throat,” said Kalmes-Gliege.

He made it clear he had been stalking her, and he threatened her loved
ones. “He knew everything about me,” she said. “What my sister looks
like to what car my [finance] drove, my work schedule. He knew where I
worked out. Pretty much everything.”

The intruder sexually assaulted and attacked Kalmes-Gliege for almost
three hours. As with Mills, he was careful. He bound her hands and
covered her head with a pillowcase.

“The majority of the assault was spent just humiliating and demeaning
and terrorizing me. I mean, it wasn’t at all about anything to do with
sex. Just devastation is what, how I felt.”

Before leaving, as he had with Mills and his other victims, the attacker
forced Kalmes-Gliege into the bathroom for a long soak to wash away the
evidence.

“All I could think about was, ‘I can’t have someone call my family, my
fiancé, my parents, my siblings and tell them that I have been killed
six weeks before I get married,'” she said.

He left her alone, shaking in her tub and waiting hours until sunrise to flee.

Although she considered telling no one, she thought, “If I don’t tell
the police, this person is going to rape yet another person.” So she
called the cops.

Even through her trauma, Kalmes-Gliege had memorized details of her
attacker, from his gait to the haunting eyes behind his mask.

“He had a very distinct way of walking,” she said. “Kind of cumbersome.
He had very distinct bright blue eyes. I knew I would be able to pick
them out as soon as I saw that person.”

Mills also remembered his eyes. “When you’re staring into those eyes and
that’s the only thing you can see and the only thing you can focus on,
they stick with you.”

Police Hunt for Model Citizen

Detective Wheeler and his partner Matthew Dick realized this was a
special kind of rapist; he was a stalker, a man seemingly obsessed with
his victims who gathered intimate details about them.

“He’s actually engaging in conversation rather than just the quick act
of violence,” Dick said. The victims described how he would talk almost
lovingly to them, as if he was their boyfriend, before getting angry
and violent.

And he knew how to cover his tracks. “It was very obvious to us that
this was a sophisticated criminal and knew what he was doing,” Dick
said.

When the police turned to the FBI for help, they were told the rapist might be a seemingly model citizen.

“The one thing they did tell us that I’ll never forget is that this
would be some guy that everybody works with. They’ll say, ‘Naw. He
couldn’t do that. He wouldn’t do that,’ you know. And it’d be somebody
that would be maybe a respected member of the community,” Wheeler said.

The police had no prime suspect, until he stalked then 29-year-old
Jonelle Galuska. She said she knew she was being watched, so when she
was awoken one night by her startled dog, she immediately called the
police.

At 1 a.m., Bloomington police officer Dave Zeamer arrived to find a man
standing against the house, and in the glare of his flashlight, saw a
man turn and walk away.

“I yell, ‘Police. Stop, police!'” Zeamer said.

To his shock, he knew the man who turned around. It was one of his own … fellow Bloomington police officer Jeff Pelo, his former supervisor.

Pelo was a 17-year veteran of the Bloomington police, a former policeman of the year and married father of three.

“You got that relief of, ‘Oh, it’s Pelo.’ But then you are like, ‘Wait a
minute, it’s Pelo. What’s he doing out here?'” Zeamer said.

Once a trusted cop, now Pelo was a suspected serial rapist. “As soon as
I heard that Jeff Pelo was stopped outside that house, that connection
had been drawn in my mind,” said Dick.

Mounting Evidence Points to Police Sergeant

Mounting evidence revealed how Pelo may have used his police training and access to commit the crimes and cover his tracks.

Detectives found that Pelo’s police computer had been used to run
license plate searches on three of the victims. Pelo claimed that
someone else must have been using his computer terminal.

“Victims described how [the rapist] would pull some of the items around
from his belt. You know, the gloves that they described were consistent
with what police officers or security officers commonly wear,” Wheeler
remembered. It made sense that the rapist might be a cop, he said.

During a tense interrogation, Pelo denied “prowling” around Galuska’s
home and said he was only looking at the nearby lake. He was
house-hunting, he said, rubbing his head and eyebrows nervously.

Then, a search of Pelo’s home turned up a jacket and a ski mask made of
fibers that matched the kind found on the duct tape used to bind Mills.

“Fiber evidence was what I think was the most important,” Dick said.
“About the only actual physical evidence to tie Jeff Pelo to these
crimes.”

The victims were brought in to see if they could identify him, first
through a voice line-up. “The third victim, when she heard his voice,
she literally curled up into the fetal position and pulled herself into
the wall of the interview room,” Dick said.

“If you spend two hours listening to that person threatening, degrade
you, it doesn’t take very much to recognize it,” said Kalmes-Gliege.

Three victims also picked Pelo out of a photo line-up, even though the
rapist had worn a mask during the attacks. But it was those clear blue
eyes both Kalmes-Gliege and Mills said they remembered so vividly.

Believing Pelo was the rapist, Dick and Wheeler said he had betrayed the badge they held dear.

“To go to the victims and have to tell them that ‘This was one of my own
that did this to you,'” Dick said. “It was pretty devastating.”

Family Stands By Pelo

Pelo’s family — his wife of 20 years, Rickie, and their three kids —
stood by him. Rickie Pelo said the police jumped to conclusions.

“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said. “He’s explained
to me. He’s never given me any reason not to believe him. So I do
believe him.”

Pelo’s home life was exemplary, according to his family. He seemed to be
a devoted family man who volunteered at his kids’ schools. He coached
his daughter’s softball team and was present at all sporting events.

Rickie Pelo describes her husband as being her kids’ biggest fan. “In
fact, my oldest daughter’s friends would always joke around. They knew
when her dad was in the audience because they could hear him,” she said.

At Pelo’s trial in May 2008, the most damaging testimony came from his victims.

“The women that were his victims, the women that survived his attacks,
were all women that were willing to stand up,” Mills said. “We took
control back. And I think that’s what really led to his downfall.”

After six weeks the jury returned a damning verdict: guilty on 35
counts of rape, kidnapping and stalking. He was sentenced to 440 years,
one of the longest sentences in Illinois history. Pelo is currently
appealing, asking a judge to overturn his conviction.

“I just felt it was important to have him be accountable to me, to my
family, to the public for the things that he did. I have no doubt that
the person sitting in jail right now, Mr. Pelo, is who is responsible
for every single one of these attacks,” said Kalmes-Gliege.

But Pelo’s family says the jury got it wrong. “I don’t think he did it,” Rickie Pelo said.

“There wasn’t DNA that said it was him. There wasn’t any hard proof to
say it was him, so I just don’t understand how so many people have come
to the conclusion that he’s a bad person,” said daughter Shayla Pelo.

Rickie said she tries to shut out the present, fondly remembering the
Jeff Pelo that she knew, the man she fell in love with when she was just
18.

“He had such a great sense of humor,” she said. “Such a loving, caring
heart. Actually, the first thing that I fell in love with are his eyes.
His eyes were just beautiful, and I could just lose myself in them.”

They’re the same eyes that will stare at four walls in a small cell for
the rest of his life, the eyes his victims say they cannot forget.

Appeared Here


Duke University Alabama Police Officer Webster Delenn Simmons Arrested, Charged In Bizarre Rape Case

October 27, 2009

DOTHAN, ALABAMA — Houston County Sheriff’s investigators believe a Duke University police officer recently gagged and handcuffed a local woman as he sexually assaulted her, the Dothan Eagle is reporting on its Web site.

Sheriff Andy Hughes told the Eagle that detectives arrested Webster Delenn Simmons, 37, on Monday and charged him with felony first-degree rape and felony first-degree sodomy. Simmons, of Rougemont, N.C., remains held at the Houston County Jail on a $120,000 bond.

Hughes said deputies charged Simmons with the rape and sodomy of a 34-year-old Houston County woman during the early morning hours Saturday. The victim and Simmons had been together at a local nightclub in the hours leading up to the assault, which Hughes said happened inside Simmons’ vehicle.

The Dothan Eagle also reported:

During the investigation, Hughes said detectives seized evidence from inside Simmons’ vehicle, which included two pair of handcuffs, a ball gag, thick white rope, an unknown power source with wires attached to a nail, along with a whip and flog. The woman apparently woke up early Saturday morning handcuffed with a ball gag in her mouth.

Appeared Here