Thursday, June 30, 2005


Peeping Tom Pulled From Outhouse Tank

ALBANY, N.H. (AP) -- A 45-year-old man was arrested after a teenage girl found him staring at her from below an outhouse seat, police said. Police said they pulled Gary Moody, from Gardiner, Maine, from the waste tank under a log cabin outhouse on Monday.

"We had to decontaminate him," said Capt. Jon Hebert of the Carroll County Sheriff's Department, adding that firefighters hosed the man down before police handcuffed him. "We treated him as if he were hazardous material," Hebert said.


Deaths of 2 inmates bring calls for change

From the Baltimore Sun:

Benjamin, held since January on an attempted-murder charge at the adjacent Baltimore City Detention Center, died last week, apparently after a beating in his cell. His cellmate, Lonnie Edwards, 20, was charged with first-degree murder last week.

Benjamin's friends and family were joined yesterday by relatives of Raymond K. Smoot, 51, who died after a violent confrontation with correctional officers May 14 in Central Booking. Some officers punched, kicked and stomped Smoot's head, according to witness accounts obtained by The Sun...

State corrections officials said they continue to investigate why Benjamin and Edwards fought in their cell.

In Smoot's death, state corrections officials fired eight officers. The Baltimore state's attorney's office is reviewing the case for possible criminal charges, and the FBI has opened a civil rights investigation into Smoot's death.

See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?


A web of porn arrests

From Newsday:

The arrest Tuesday of Robert Johnson, the former Newsday publisher and a New York State regent, was one of hundreds so far growing out of a 2 1/2-year-old federal investigation that targets the financing of child pornography Web sites, according to sources familiar with the case...

To date, more than 1,200 child pornography subscribers to the various firms have been charged, including at least 200 in the United States. They include a Chicago pediatrician; a campus minister at an all-girls school in Plainfield, N.J.; a Catholic priest in Louisiana and a Boy Scout leader in Belleayre, N.Y.

More, as story develops.


Hellfire and sexual coercion: the dark side of American polygamist sects

From the Guardian:

James Harmston's letters to his youngest bride threaten fire and brimstone for her refusal to sleep with him. Not only would Rachael, 43 years his junior, have "a lonely miserable life" in this world for not going to his bed, but it would be far worse in the next.

"Rachael, the facts are, whether you want to believe or not, the end is coming and judgment will be executed in severity, especially for those who have broken their covenants," Mr Harmston wrote, adding: "For certain I will deal with you in the future eternity."

He signed himself "Your Husband, King and Priest", and sent copies of his letters to five of his 18 wives, one of whom was Rachael's mother, Pauline.

They would be troubling letters from any jilted husband. But from Mr Harmston - the self-declared prophet of a polygamist and apocalyptic sect, the True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days - they were terrifying.

They also shine a light on a dark place in the American west. Polygamy is something that has officially been consigned to history, but it is still very much alive.

Watchdog groups believe there could be between 30,000 and 100,000 Americans living in polygamy today, many of them in Utah, where the practice first took root, and others scattered across the North American continent.

They live independently, shut up in reclusive homes out of public sight, or in self-contained communes governed by idiosyncratic rules and beliefs.

But everywhere it goes, critics and former sect members argue, polygamy takes with it the danger of institutionalised abuse of women and children, over whom it gives men supreme power...

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


Guard accused of smuggling drugs into jail

Chicago -- A former Cook County Department of Corrections officer will be arraigned on July 12 on charges of official misconduct, bringing contraband into a jail and unlawful possession of a controlled substance.

Michael Lawson, who worked in Cook County jail, was indicted on June 21.

Court documents accuse Lawson, 42, of the 1100 block of South Humphrey Avenue in Oak Park, of being part of a ring that smuggled cocaine and marijuana into the jail.

Authorities say Lawson was arrested June 4 while at work after he was found carrying a cell phone in his sock when going through a security checkpoint.

Investigators found cocaine and marijuana in his car, which was parked in the employee lot, and a cell phone charger in his bag, authorities say.

See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?


From choir chief to rapist

The Philadelphia Daily News gives us the low-down on Otis Joseph:

THE SKINNY BOY with electric energy loved to perform, and church was his stage.

As a youngster in East New Orleans, Otis Joseph seemed to know his gift for music was special. Instead of playing with other children, Joseph, an only child who never knew his father, focused on his musical talent.

He mastered the organ at 7. He directed the choir at a neighborhood Baptist church at 14. In high school, he followed his guidance counselor after school to recruiting events, and as a senior wore suits to class. On weekends, he went to the opera with a female friend who was an outcast at her wealthy, largely white high school.

Soon after he landed at Temple University in 1996, the young gospel master became a sensation in the Philadelphia church world, riding high on his dazzling personality and exhilarating performances. He has moved from one religious or educational institution to another, most recently directing an adult choir at Bright Hope Baptist Church.

But last week, Joseph's star crashed to the darkest depths. The popular young man who sought glory in the church world that had so comforted him as a boy was convicted of raping two young girls who were his students.

Immediately after Friday's verdict in Common Pleas Court, he was fired from Bright Hope and hauled off to jail. He had raped one girl from the time she was 11 until she was 14, and had once raped the girl's best friend when she was 14.

Joseph awaits sentencing. He faces still more trouble - charges of raping three sisters when they were 5, 10 and 17, and of raping a girl when she was 15.

In the days since the rape conviction, Joseph's fans have been reeling with shock. With his own successful music school and summer camp, and with his jobs teaching youth church choirs, Joseph had access to scores of vulnerable little girls...

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


Couple admits showing baby's molestation on Web

CENTER, Texas — An East Texas couple have admitted molesting their 1-year-old son, broadcasting the sex acts on the Internet and allowing a stranger to sexually abuse the child, authorities said.

Billy Don Latham and Ethel Latham were charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child and remained jailed today on $200,000 bond apiece.

A police officer and a Child Protective Services worker visited the Lathams' home after CPS received a tip about the suspected abuse, Shelby County District Attorney Lynda K. Russell told The (Nacogdoches) Daily Sentinel for a story today.

Ethel Latham let them search her home, and they found a computer full of pornography, Russell told the newspaper. Eventually, both parents confessed to the abuse, she said.

A police spokesman in Center, located about 165 miles southeast of Dallas and about 50 miles southwest of Shreveport, La., did not return telephone calls seeking comment, and details about the allegations were not immediately available.


Oklahoma city manager investigated for racial slurs

SAYRE, Okla. (AP) _ A police investigation of Sayre City Manager Jack McKennon has been turned over to the Beckham County district attorney, Police Chief Jeff Lambert said Wednesday.

Police investigated allegations McKennon used his pickup truck on June 15 to chase a boy from the city swimming pool while shouting racial slurs.


Child molestation trial scheduled for sheriff's deputy

(Original headline calls Carter a "former deputy," but as usual, he is "former" only because of his arrest...

HOLDENVILLE, Oklahoma -- A former Hughes County sheriff's deputy accused of touching several teen boys has been scheduled for trial.

The trial of Michael Allen Carter, 24, is scheduled to begin Sept. 22, Assistant District Attorney Linda Evans said. He is accused of touching four teenage boys and providing beer to two others since 2000.

Carter has been charged with one count of lewd molestation, three counts of sexual battery and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

Carter was hired as a full-time deputy in 2002 and handled the department drug dog. He was arrested Nov. 9.


Prison guards accused of taking bribes

Full story is covered by NEWS 9 TV in Oklahoma (video link here). A partial transcript:

Tuesday night prison guards are being accused of taking bribes.

We're told they're taking money and letting prisoners out of jail.

Nick Winkler found out why prisoners say it's easy to get out.

The music was not so sweet a few weeks ago.

Sources say the thieves who broke James McGinley's window and stole his radio should've been in prison instead they paid guards at a half-way house $50 to let them out for the night.

Lawyer Mark Bright represents a man who once stayed at the Carver Center the man says he has seen guards take money from prisoners.

Sources say prisoners would return in time to be counted by the bribed guard the next morning avoiding new guards during shift changes.

See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?


Katherine Harris' Top Campaign Donor Subject Of California Probe

Yep, that Katherine Harris...

TAMPA - Congresswoman Katherine Harris, the leading Republican candidate in the U.S. Senate race, received $50,000 in campaign contributions from a defense contractor that sought to do business in her district.
That contractor, MZM Inc., is under federal investigation over payments to a California congressman.

Contributions to Harris' 2004 re-election campaign by employees and the political action committee of the company made it her largest single donor that year.

The company's relationship to Rep. Randy ``Duke'' Cunningham, R-Calif., has led to a federal grand jury investigation concerning an MZM executive's top-price purchase of Cunningham's home.

According to news reports, some former company employees have said they were coerced to donate money to the company's political action committee.

In a March 2004 fundraiser in Washington, Harris, of Longboat Key, received at least 20 contributions of $2,000 each from MZM Inc. employees and their family members, plus two $5,000 contributions from the company's political action committee.

Harris also received $1,000 from Cunningham's campaign committee later that year.


Corruption in Texas Lottery

AUSTIN — The scandal embroiling the Texas Lottery Commission over inflated jackpot estimates intensified Wednesday when top agency officials acknowledged firing a colleague who only days earlier warned ticket sales would fall short of advertised amounts.


2 kids in car trunk land mom in hot water

FREDERICKSBURG, Va. - A mother was charged with felony child abuse for allegedly putting her two 5-year-olds in the trunk of her car in a store parking lot.


Three Iowa 19-year-olds charged in torture of opossums

FORT DODGE, Iowa — Three teenagers who police say doused opossums in lighter fluid and set them on fire have been charged with animal torture.

The arrests came a week after authorities found a videotape of the three 19-year-olds laughing and jeering as they set the animals ablaze.


Corruption in the Houston Crime Lab

It's truly stunning how much political/legal corruption one state can produce:

HOUSTON -- The Harris County District Attorney's Office for years ignored its obligation to inform defense lawyers about accusations that Houston crime lab analysts had falsified drug test results, attorneys said this week.

Evidence in thousands of drug cases during the past seven years might have received closer scrutiny, the attorneys said, if they had been informed that two Police Department analysts were suspected of "drylabbing" — concocting results without performing tests.

"I was told something about a misidentification, but not that it was a faked result," said Jonathan Munier, who handled one of four cases in which it was recently revealed the two analysts were accused of faking results...

An independent investigator probing the crime lab problems revealed last month that Patel and James Price, who no longer work for the lab, had been disciplined after being accused of faking results in four drug cases between 1998 and 2000.

The investigator, Michael Bromwich, noted that lab supervisors discovered all four instances before the evidence could be used in trials. He plans to conduct at least a partial review of the 7,660 cases processed by Patel since 1998, and the district attorney's office is contacting defense attorneys who have pending cases involving Patel's work.

Police internal affairs reports on the allegations — and investigators' correspondence with the district attorney's office, obtained by the Houston Chronicle through the state open-records law — detail actions at the highest level of the Police Department and within the district attorney's office in response to the problems.

The documents show that prosecutors in the four cases, in addition to three who considered prosecuting one of the analysts, were aware of the allegations. The documents also show that prosecutors requested a large-scale review of Price's work, which uncovered six more cases with "discrepancies."

Yet, local defense attorneys say, they never were informed of the June 2000 review or its results...

The controversy is the latest to hit the crime lab, where questions have been raised about DNA, ballistics, toxicology and serology tests since November 2002.

Shortly after the problems became public, the county's 22 criminal district court judges called on Rosenthal to clear the way for a special prosecutor who — unlike Bromwich — would have subpoena power.

Rosenthal repeatedly refused.


Arlington pastor facing new charges

Terry Hornbuckle just won't go away...

FORT WORTH – Arlington pastor Terry Hornbuckle faces new charges of sexual assault, tampering with evidence and retaliation in indictments issued Wednesday by a Tarrant County grand jury.

Mr. Hornbuckle, founder of Agape Christian Fellowship Church in Arlington, turned himself in Wednesday afternoon and was released after posting bail. He was indicted in March on similar charges that he sexually assaulted three members of his church.

Mr. Hornbuckle declined to comment as he left the Tarrant County courthouse. He and his attorneys have denied the previous charges, and on Wednesday, attorney Mike Heiskell said in court filings that the latest charges are the result of work by an overzealous prosecutor.

"The prosecutor has, in a concerted effort, since publicizing a phone number for other alleged victims to call, managed over the last 3 ½ months to come up with two additional alleged victims," Mr. Heiskell wrote.

The indictment said Mr. Hornbuckle sexually assaulted two other women after giving them a substance that left them impaired.

Those assaults are alleged to have taken place in 2003 and 2004, Mr. Heiskell said.

He had asked state District Judge James Wilson to set bail at $5,000, saying that the court is already aware of Mr. Hornbuckle's whereabouts because he has been ordered to wear an electronic monitor.

The judge declined Mr. Heiskell's request and ordered Mr. Hornbuckle held in lieu of $250,000 bail on the new charges.

The grand jury also indicted him on a charge of tampering with evidence by attempting to persuade a prospective witness to withhold testimony or to lie to authorities. The retaliation charge involves an Agape employee who was threatened with termination from her job at the church, according to the indictment.

Mr. Hornbuckle also was indicted on drug possession charges for 1 to 4 grams of methamphetamine police said they found inside his car during his first arrest in March.

Mr. Hornbuckle, flanked by his attorneys and a bodyguard, limped to a waiting car after he posted bail.

Mr. Heiskell said Mr. Hornbuckle is scheduled for surgery today and is suffering from back pain so severe he must use a cane.

In March, Mr. Hornbuckle was indicted on four counts that he sexually assaulted three women. He is accused of attacking them between July 2003 and October 2004.

Two of the women, one of whom was 17 at the time, said Mr. Hornbuckle gave them a date-rape drug. All three have sued Mr. Hornbuckle, the church and church elders.

Mr. Hornbuckle was arrested again May 11, accused of violating the terms of his bail. A May 5 test found illegal drugs in Mr. Hornbuckle's system, Tarrant County probation officials said. A judge later ordered Mr. Hornbuckle into rehab.

Mr. Hornbuckle then checked himself into a drug treatment facility and an "after-care" program, Mr. Heiskell said.

In addition to wearing an electronic monitor, the terms of Mr. Hornbuckle's original bail require frequent drug and alcohol testing.

After his first arrest, Agape elders suspended him without pay and placed his wife, Renee, in charge of the church.

But Mr. Hornbuckle was reinstated in mid-April despite the lawsuits and criminal charges.

The church pays the Hornbuckles a combined $180,000 annually.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


More on Dallas corruption

Federal authorities have ordered two of Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill's top aides to appear before a grand jury next month as part of the City Hall corruption investigation.


Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Trials begin for 6 prison guards charged with drug offenses

Big story in Pennsylvania:

SUNBURY — Two former correctional officers at Northumberland County Prison charged last year in connection with a grand jury investigation pleaded guilty Monday morning to various drug offenses.

They will be sentenced within 90 days by Northumberland County President Judge Robert B. Sacavage.
Hubert “Hank” Dorkoski, 55, of Mount Carmel, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense of delivery of contraband (cash) and felony charges of criminal use of a communication facility and criminal conspiracy.

Dorkoski, a former Mount Carmel police officer, was charged with one count each of delivery of marijuana and contraband (money), three counts of possession of marijuana, nine counts of criminal use of a communication facility and two counts of criminal conspiracy. The remaining charges will be nol pros (not prosecuted) when Dorkoski is sentenced.

Dorkoski faces a maximum of 14 years imprisonment on the two charges.

Floyd Hulsizer III, 27, of Trevorton, who was charged with three counts of delivery of marijuana, one count of possession of marijuana and two counts of criminal conspiracy, pleaded guilty to one count of delivery of marijuana and criminal conspiracy, which are both felonies. The remaining offenses will be nol pros at the time of sentencing.

Hulsizer faces a maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment on the charges.
Senior Deputy Attorney General Michael Madeira, who is prosecuting the cases against the six current or former prison guards charged in the grand jury probe, said Dorkoski and Hulsizer have been cooperating with authorities since their arrests and will more than likely receive minor sentences.

Attorney Michael Rutt, who serves as a special conflicts counselor for Northumberland County, represented Dorkoski at his guilty plea. Hulsizer was represented by attorney Michael Morrone of Williamsport.

In other legal proceedings regarding the prison guard scandal, a habeus corpus hearing was held before Sacavage for current correctional officer Holly Yucha, 34, of Sunbury RD 4, who is represented by Michael Rudinski of Williamsport.

The hearing was requested by Rudinski to have all the charges dismissed against his client. Sacavage agreed to review the issues brought before the court at the hearing before rendering a ruling. No witnesses testified at the hearing. If Sacavage rejects the motion to dismiss the charges, it’s very likely Yucha will take the case to trial later this year.

Yucha is charged with one count of delivery of contraband to a prisoner and criminal conspiracy involving the furnishing of marijuana to several inmates. She is accused of bringing marijuana and methamphetamine into the prison and allegedly smoking marijuana in a cell with one of the prisoners.

Also, Rudinski made a motion requesting transcripts from the grand jury investigation be turned over to him before the trial commences. Since the Court of Common Pleas has no jurisdiction over the transcript request in a grand jury case, Rudinski’s motion will be ruled on by Northumberland County Senior Judge Barry Feudale, who serves as a presiding judge of statewide grand jury investigations.
Madeira said the state Supreme Court requires that no transcripts pertaining to a witness’ testimony be released until that witness testifies at trial.

Current prison guard Kazimir “KC” Grohowski, 33, of Mount Carmel, who is charged with two counts of possession of marijuana and criminal conspiracy, and one count each of possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine and aggravated assault, also is scheduled to go on trial later this year.

According to the grand jury, Grohowski allegedly distributed cocaine, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco and other contraband to inmates. Grohowski also allegedly stole prescriptions that were written for inmates.
Two other defendants arrested in the grand jury probe were Nathaniel Wohlheiter, 27, of Turbotville, and Shawn Dinklocker, 25, of Coal Township.

Correctional Officer Wohlheiter is charged with one count each of possession with intent to deliver marijuana and possession of marijuana, and two counts of criminal conspiracy. He was scheduled to enter a guilty plea Monday, but the plea agreement was continued until a later date.

Dinklocker, who was charged with one count of possession of marijuana and two counts of criminal conspiracy, previously pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced by Sacavage on Aug. 1.

All the former or current guards were arrested April 14, 2004, as the result of a two-year grand jury investigation into offenses allegedly committed between 2000 and 2002 at the prison at 39 N. Second St.

Yucha, Grohowski and Wohlheiter, who were serving as correctional officers at the time of their arrests, have been suspended without pay by the county prison board pending the outcome of their cases.

Hulsizer, Dinklocker and Dorkoski were former guards at the prison. Hulsizer had previously been fired, while Dinklocker resigned. Dorkoski retired prior to his arrest.

A felony charge of aggravated assault filed against another correctional officer, Christopher J. Guise, 48, who is a Marion Heights councilman, was withdrawn in May 2004 by Madeira, who felt not enough evidence existed to prosecute the case.
Guise, who had maintained his innocence since his arrest last year, was charged with assaulting inmate Norman Miller on Oct. 29, 2000.

Guise was initially suspended without pay by the prison board before later being terminated despite the charge being withdrawn. The former guard previously reported that he was suing the county to get his job back and recoup lost wages.

See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?


Clergy abuse trial set to start

Sacramento -- The first civil trial involving child sexual abuse claims against the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento is expected to begin Thursday in Sacramento Superior Court.
Francisco Chavez says he was repeatedly sexually assaulted by the Rev. Mario Blanco from about age 5 to 13. Chavez's attorney describes the priest - now working outside of church authority in Tacoma, Wash. - as a "predator."

"It's not true," said Blanco, after celebrating Latin Mass on Sunday at Our Lady Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church. "It's a sin. I cannot do it."

Blanco served in the Sacramento Diocese from October 1969 to April 1973 and was later dismissed following allegations of misconduct. A talented musician, he was a popular priest who served at predominantly Latino parishes. The priest floated among several Spanish-speaking congregations where he started youth bands.

The trial is the first in the Sacramento Diocese since the state temporarily lifted the statute of limitations for filing sex abuse claims in 2002. The diocese is dealing with 31 plaintiffs who say they were sexually abused by clergy; 16 of those plaintiffs are making allegations against Blanco. The diocese previously settled two cases in which the priest was accused of sexual misconduct.

"He was a serial predator," said Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota attorney specializing in abuse cases who represents Chavez. "As a result, he was allowed to abuse kids, most of them poor, most of them Hispanic."

Anderson says the diocese is responsible for not telling people about the priest. "They could have said something and they didn't," he said.

Jim Sweeney, attorney for the diocese, says it was not the responsibility of church officials to say why Blanco was dismissed.

"You don't go out and tell people why someone was fired," Sweeney said. He added that "there is evidence to suggest he (Blanco) engaged in sexual misconduct. But the question of third-party liability under California law is a much more difficult question."

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


Sunday school teacher sentenced in sex case

Marietta, OH -- A former Noble County Sunday school teacher was sentenced to 280 days in jail last week for sexual misconduct involving minors.

James Coyle, 60, of 37636 Coyle Road, Lower Salem, met his three victims at the Main Street Church of Christ, in Caldwell, according to court records.

Coyle was also the Washington County Children’s Home superintendent during the 1970s. From 1980 to 2002, Coyle taught at a Monroe County vocational school.

Washington County Children’s Services Director Dave Copen said his office has been contacted because authorities were concerned there may have been more victims.

“As far as I know there were no other victims,” Copen said. “At least there were no others who came forward to this agency.”

Coyle was charged with four counts of attempted sexual battery on a minor, and two counts each of attempted unlawful sex with a minor and gross sexual imposition with a minor. The alleged offenses took place during 1998, according to the Noble County Sheriff’s Office.

As part of a plea agreement, three third-degree felony counts of gross sexual imposition were dropped and Coyle pleaded guilty to four remaining misdemeanor counts of sexual imposition.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


Priest faces new sex abuse suit

ST. LOUIS - A former St. Louis priest, recently released from prison after sexual misconduct convictions were overturned, faces a new sexual abuse lawsuit.

Tony Pettus of south St. Louis claims in the lawsuit filed Monday that he went on a camping trip to Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park in southeast Missouri in 1970 or 1971 with priest James Beine, formerly of Highland, and six boys from St. Andrew's parish in St. Louis. Pettus said he awakened to find the priest touching his penis.

Attorney Ken Chackes said Pettus was about 11 at the time...

Beine, 63, was released from the Farmington Correctional Center June 2 after serving more than two years for allegedly exposing himself to children in a boys' bathroom at a St. Louis grade school where he was working as a counselor.

The Missouri Supreme Court ordered Beine's release in May after ruling the state's indecent exposure statute was unconstitutionally vague. On the day of his release, Beine said, "I knew that time would tell. I never committed any of these crimes."

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said that at least 40 people have reported being sexually abused by Beine. SNAP said the Roman Catholic Church has settled at least nine lawsuits filed against Beine...

Beine was suspended from the priesthood in 1977 over allegations of sexual abuse, and in the mid-1990s the archdiocese paid $110,000 to settle two lawsuits that claimed Beine sexually abused boys more than three decades earlier. He was formally removed from the priesthood last month.

A jury convicted Beine in 2003 of four counts of sexual misconduct involving a child by indecent exposure. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

But on April 26, the Missouri Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, ruled the sexual misconduct statute unconstitutional. The judges said in a unanimous decision that there was not enough evidence on one of the charges.

It was the second conviction against Beine that was overturned. He was convicted in March 2003 of possessing child pornography, but a federal appeals court ruled nine months later that investigators lacked the necessary warrant in making his arrest.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


Politicians strip search prisoners

Do I have to make the point that naked prisoners shouldn't be used as political props? Buried in a typical story about under-funded prisons (in Oklahoma) comes this bit of info:

...Corn made the statement after he and a handful of other state lawmakers toured the penitentiary in preparation for a special session of the Legislature called to address a budget supplement for the state Department of Corrections...

The senators, their assistants and some state employees walked the narrow hall in the F Cellhouse - a maximum-security unit for some of the toughest prisoners.

Corn, Reynolds and Don Barrington, R-Lawton, wore uniforms and shadowed corrections officers.

They snapped on rubber gloves and helped strip-search inmates and escorted them to the exercise yard.

See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?


FBI agent is charged with making bogus call

NORMAN, Oklahoma - An off-duty FBI agent is being blamed for a bogus call about a law enforcement officer being shot at Lake Thunderbird.

Christopher Wagner, 45, of Norman was charged Monday in Cleveland County District Court with false reporting of a crime stemming from a May 8 distress call broadcast on Moore's police radio frequency.

Wagner was an employee of the Oklahoma City FBI office when the incident occurred. FBI spokesman Gary Johnson would not confirm whether Wagner is still with the agency.

The misdemeanor charge claims Wagner made an anonymous radio call to a Moore dispatcher, saying he was an officer who had been shot twice. The call sparked a two-hour search of the lake area by several law enforcement agencies.

According to a court affidavit, Wagner came forward about two days later and confessed to his superiors he had made the bogus call while intoxicated.


Problems with medical contractor for Tampa's juvenile halls

It's unclear how deep the problems go, but we know this much:

The Department of Juvenile Justice opted to terminate the contract in the wake of a critical inspector general's report faulting Genesis Behavioral Healthcare Services for several issues, including having unqualified staff members signing off on mental health evaluations, department spokesman Tom Denham said on Tuesday.

See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?


Dallas corruption update

Fantroy accused before

Missing Paul Quinn funds traced to checks to his kin, firm

Dallas City Council member James Fantroy, one of the targets last week in a continuing FBI investigation of possible corruption in City Hall, also has drawn suspicion over his dealings with a southeast Oak Cliff development group.

In September 2003, Mr. Fantroy was ousted as treasurer of the Paul Quinn Community Development Corp. after $50,000 disappeared from its bank account.

Directors of the nonprofit group traced the missing money to checks payable to Mr. Fantroy's family members and his company, J.L. Security and Investigations. Mr. Fantroy's signature appears on all the checks.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Former Fulton police officer faces sex abuse trial

Columbia, Missouri -- The 14-year-old daughter of a former Fulton police officer testified in court this morning that her father touched her sexually and pressured her to have sex with him.

Danny Vaught, 38, of Holts Summit faces charges of child molestation, attempted statutory rape and tampering...

The 14-year-old girl, identified in court papers as D.V., alleged that her father began showing her pornographic movies in the summer of 2002. Also that summer, she said, he took her into his bedroom, where a pornographic movie was playing. He then told her he wanted to have sex with her and touched her breasts and vaginal area, although no penetration occurred, she testified.

The girl said similar incidents happened other times and also described other acts. At night, she said, her father would give her typed stories that described sexual activity between a father and a daughter and would take back the letters the next morning.

In December, she said, her father gave her another story about father-daughter sex, which she copied into a notebook. The next day, she said, her father told her she would lose her virginity that day and subsequently put her on a bed and got on top of her. The girl said she escaped only after she pretended to begin hyperventilating.


Mayor and police chief gets just 5 years for raping 10-year-old

Judge faults the girl:

DeKalb County, Alabama -- Former Crossville mayor and police chief Ronald West remains free, pending appeal of his first-degree rape conviction.

DeKalb County Circuit Judge Randall Cole on Friday set a $100,000 appeal bond for West, over an objection from the prosecution. This after Cole categorized West’s case as “troubling” and sentenced him to serve five years in the state penitentiary.

Earlier this year, a jury convicted West, 67, of raping a 10-year-old girl in 1997 when he still served as Crossville’s police chief.

Cole presided over West’s sentencing hearing earlier this month, during which both the prosecution and the victim asked for the maximum sentence.

At that time, Cole said he needed more time to consider the matter and would take testimony given during the sentencing hearing under advisement.

West returned to court Friday. Cole sentenced West to 20 years, but split the sentence so West would be required to serve five actual years in the state penitentiary, with the remainder suspended.

During the five years, Cole said West would not be eligible for parole or early release.

However, West’s attorney Dale Fuller, of Albertville, submitted a written notice of appeal and asked the court to set an appeals bond.

Since his conviction, West has remained free on a $60,000 bond.

Deputies with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department took West into custody, but Fuller said he expected West would post bond before the end of the day. He said West would remain free on the bond pending outcome of the appeal.

Clay Barnett, who prosecuted the case for the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, objected to the appeal bond on the grounds West might now present a flight risk.

Fuller countered that West has “a tremendous amount of family ties to DeKalb County, where he has been a lifelong resident” and said if he did want to flee, he would have done so before now. “Fear of flight risk is misplaced,” Fuller said.

Before handing down West’s sentence, Cole categorized West’s case as “troubling.” Addressing West, Cole said, “This has been a very troubling case. What is especially troubling is that a man of your maturity and person of authority at the time would commit a crime so serious and that will be taken into consideration.”

But Cole said “other aspects” of the case were also troubling. Cole said although a jury found sufficient evidence to convict West, the court could not ignore “the weight of evidence” in the case.

“The victim did not tell anyone about the crime for five years and, on cross examination, could not recall some of the important details of the event including whether or not [West] experienced an erection or used a condom,” Cole said.

The girl earlier testified West, a family friend, raped her after taking her to Marshall County to visit an ailing relative in the hospital. She said the rape occurred at night during the return trip, inside the cab of West’s pickup, after he pulled the vehicle off onto a deserted road in Kilpatrick.

Cole said Friday the girl also failed to recall other details about the rape, such as the exact location and whether or not West exited the vehicle to remove his pants.

Cole said the girl, who testified during West’s trial that the rape happened in 1997 when she was 10 years old, said in a pre-trial interview that the rape happened when she was 14.

Fuller said he would begin the appeal process immediately, which is expected to take several months.

The court must decide whether or not sufficient evidence exists to grant an appeal. If so, an appeals trial will be held and if not, West’s conviction and five year sentence will stand.

“I can’t say I’m happy about this because one of my clients has been sentenced to the penitentiary,” Fuller said. “But all things considered, it could have been a heck of a lot worse.”

Fuller declined to categorize Cole’s comments.

“I can’t say that Cole didn’t believe the complainant witness. I don’t know what he believed and what he didn’t believe, but obviously he was very troubled by her testimony,” Fuller said.

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department arrested West in March 2004, after a grand jury returned indictments that included the first-degree rape charge.

The Alabama Bureau of Investigation presented the case against West to a grand jury, following a lengthy investigation.

In December 2004, a special grand jury indicted West on additional charges of sexual misconduct. All the charges against West were incorporated into the rape charge.

The jury had the option of acquitting West of rape and instead finding him guilty of the lesser charge of sexual abuse, involving the same victim.

Return to Bobo's World homepage.


Former cop pleads guilty to shooting man, kidnapping ex-girlfriend

Again, he's a "former cop" only because of the arrest...

WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- A former police officer faces a 15-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to shooting a man last December and kidnapping an ex-girlfriend.

Twenty-six-year-old Michael VanWaldick entered guilty pleas yesterday in a Watertown court. He pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the shooting of Ryan Door and to kidnapping for the abduction of Jessica Quinta, his former girlfriend.

VanWaldick was a member of the Watertown Police Department when he shot and wounded Dorr at his apartment on December eighth and kidnapped Quinta.


Trooper Accused Of Running Bookmaking Operation

METAIRIE, La. -- A 36-year-old Louisiana state trooper has been accused of running a bookmaking operation out of his home and the Metairie office where he worked as a member of a drug task force.

Authorities said Trooper Warren Ayo Jr., a 13-year veteran, was booked in both St. Bernard and Jefferson parishes on charges of malfeasance, money laundering and gambling by computer, said Lt. Lawrence McLeary, a State Police spokesman.

State Police said Ayo took bets on various sporting events while at work in the headquarters of the Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Unit. The unit, managed by the Drug Enforcement Administration, covers 12 parishes and counties in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.


"Twist of Faith" documentary airs tonight

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - "Twist of Faith," the moving Oscar-nominated documentary debuting Tuesday on HBO, opens with the words "Toledo, Ohio," and the taped deposition of a priest.

The Middle American town, the beefy, small-mouthed cleric - the images are haunting, and they're meant to be, for they also haunt Anthony Comes, the firefighter, father, husband, hometown guy and working-class Roman Catholic who is at the heart of this documentary and who, as it turns out, has just learned that his brand new dream house is five doors down from the parochial high school counselor who he says molested him when he was 14.

What follows is a riveting and heartbreaking account of one man's journey into the thick of what most Americans now know as the "pedophile priest scandal" - media shorthand for a human trauma that has tended to be framed as particular to Catholics.

The documentary, airing at 10 p.m. tonight on HBO, shows to grim effect that the emotional core of what happened to so many families is far more widespread.


Police Officer Charged with Sex Crimes

Police in Michigan say an officer is off the job after being arrested on charges of child sex crimes.

Police say Luna Pier officer James Gerard Aksamit, 42, was arrested at his Allen Park home last week. He is charged with child sexually abusive activity, using a computer to commit a crime, and disseminating sexually explicit material to minors.

Officials says Aksamit tried to arrange a sex meeting with a child over the internet. The "child" was an undercover investigator.


Former priest charged with abuse of student

Victim kept journal while at Calvert Hall

A former Roman Catholic priest who was a chaplain at Calvert Hall College High School from 1982 to 1993 has been formally charged with sexually abusing a student, according to Baltimore County police.

Jerome Toohey, 59, of Lutherville, was accused in December of sexually abusing a former student from 1987 to 1989, according to charging documents.

On May 26, those accusations led to three charges being filed against Toohey - child abuse, a third-degree sex offense and perverted practice...

This is not the first time Toohey has been accused of sexual abuse, according to the Archdiocese of Baltimore's list of clergy accused of child sexual abuse and published in the Sept. 26, 2002 edition of The Sun.

According to that list, in 1993, a former student at John Carroll High School, a Catholic school in Bel Air, sued Toohey for sexual abuse. Toohey was on the board of directors at John Carroll at that time.

Toohey denied those allegations.

No criminal charges were brought and the case was dropped because state law requires civil suits must be filed within three years of the alleged abuse.

However, the Archdiocese of Baltimore still removed him from the ministry and the ability to function as the priest. That meant he had to leave his chaplain's position at Calvert Hall.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


Former Officer Sentenced For Child Porn

Elizabethtown, Kentucky - A former Elizabethtown police officer who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges was sentenced Thursday to nearly six years in prison.

Brian Leasor, 38, previously had admitted that he used the Internet to receive images of children engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

The charges came after an investigation into Leasor's 2004 arrest for exposing himself to children on a Hardin County school bus.


BTK killer: church presdient and boy scout leader

Doesn't the fact of serial killer Dennis Rader give the lie to the myth of heartland moral superiority?

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


Monday, June 27, 2005


God doesn't want you to crash and die, but everyone else does

Before starting engines, drivers pray
NASCAR racers face danger with ministries' support


Did guards allow inmate to be beaten?

This appears to be a classic case of guards purposefully placing an inmate in a position to be beateb by other inmates: accused of shooting a child, and just happened to be put in one of the few cells without cameras. But, whoops!, wrong guy...

Jail to increase cameras this year

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA - The Lancaster County Prison is fast-tracking the installation of video surveillance cameras in its cellblocks, in the wake of the recent beating of an inmate.

Though there are surveillance cameras in the prison, there were none in the cellblock where inmates attacked Jon Eichelman, who was wrongly accused and imprisoned in the shooting of a toddler. Eichelman was released from prison two days after the beating, when police realized they had made a mistake.

See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?


After 1 year, inmate's killing unsolved

NASHVILLE, TENN. - Nearly a year after Lansing native Estelle Richardson, 34, was killed at the South Nashville Metro Detention Facility, no one has been charged, leaving her loved ones to wonder whether justice will ever be served.

Four guards at the jail, which is privately operated by Corrections Corp. of America, have been on paid leave since shortly after Richardson was found beaten and unresponsive in her single-person cell. She was pronounced dead July 5.

See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?


Four suicides in 15 months at the Ravalli County jail

HAMILTON, Montana - In less than three months time this spring, three men killed themselves in the Ravalli County Detention Center.

A fourth killed himself about a year earlier.

The deaths rocked the Ravalli County Sheriff's Department, the men's friends and families, and the communities where they lived.

When they went to jail, there were the obvious questions about their innocence or guilt. In the wake of their deaths, those questions remain, but their priority has been displaced by tougher questions.

Some are voiced by bereaved family members, but others come from former prisoners, attorneys and experts on jail policy. Some address broad, big-picture issues.

Why didn't the jail have a suicide-prevention policy in place, particularly after several suicides?

Why did the sheriff say the suicides came out of the blue when two of the men had histories of suicidal thinking?

Why, when suicide experts say that direct contact with inmates is the best prevention, do Ravalli County detention officers have so little opportunity for that contact?

Why is the jail so chronically understaffed? Why, in the fastest-growing county in Montana, hasn't the tax base increased enough to hire more detention officers?

Why does Ravalli County's justice system seem much harsher than places like Missoula - higher bails, longer sentences and what some see as overly aggressive prosecution?

And why have visits to the jail by mental health professionals increased so dramatically in the past year?

Other questions are highly specific, acute responses to the grief felt by families who lost a loved one.

Scott Lewis' family wants to know why he was not considered suicidal when his arrest came after a suicide attempt by Lewis, who then tried to get the responding deputy to shoot him in what's known as "suicide by cop."

Brad Palin's ex-wife wants to know why Palin's four children were kept from visiting their father in the detention center. Why bail was set at the maximum amount of $100,000 for someone with no past criminal history and who was not considered a flight risk. Why the Ravalli County Attorney's Office considered Palin a risk to himself, but the Ravalli County jail did not.

The family of Ryan Heath wants to know how he could kill himself while being locked in a cell with nine other inmates, a cell monitored 24 hours a day by a security camera.

Mark Wilson's family wonders if his death was even a suicide.

Former inmates, meantime, call the Ravalli County Detention Center a "hell-hole." The inmates, who asked not to be identified because they fear retribution from county authorities, charge that fights between inmates can go on for 15 minutes before guards intervene.

"Bull-dogging" - the practice of picking on a particular prisoner - is common, they say, and includes prisoners throwing urine on other inmates and threats being yelled throughout the night.

In his suicide note, Ryan Heath, a gay man and the third of the four to kill himself, wrote that "my life in jail has been a living hell. I don't want to be here anymore. I just want to be with my Lord."

Prosecutors stack up charges, say the former inmates. Later, they'll offer to drop some of the charges - if defendants agree to plead guilty. Ravalli County judges, they claim, set excessively high bails that keep people who have not been convicted of anything in jail.

Public defenders, they charge, spend as little as 10 minutes looking over paperwork before arraignments, then urge clients to accept plea agreements.

The whole notion of the justice system in Ravalli County, they say, is to put people who can't afford attorneys behind bars without a trial. No one, they say, should be surprised that some people caught in this system, and in this jail, decide to kill themselves.

See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?


Dead prison inmate "guarded" for nearly two months

Report on prison death answers little

(Sacramento) - The Office of Inspector General has concluded its special review of the death of Wasco State Prison inmate Daniel Provencio, who was shot in the head with a "sponge grenade" during a fight at the prison on Jan. 16. Anyone hoping to be enlightened about this bizarre case will be disappointed by the report.

The report leaves more questions than it answers. Its language is vague and bureaucratic. Key details are missing. Whole areas of investigation are overlooked. In short, the report is woefully inadequate and cries out for a supplemental investigation.

For starters, the report doesn't even mention Provencio's history. He served a three-year, eight-month sentence in Ventura County for drug possession with intent to sell. Three months later, he was returned to custody for violating parole by driving under the influence. He arrived at Wasco State Prison Aug. 23, 2004, and was due for parole consideration again on June 21.

On topics the report does cover, it glosses over important issues. There's not space here to look at them all, but the discussion of a few issues provides a sense of the report's overall shortcomings.

* The report mentions that on Jan. 16, when a fight broke out in the dining hall, Provencio and several of the 38 inmates in the dining hall were drunk, having "consumed a large quantity of inmate-manufactured alcohol just before the evening meal." Were drunkenness and drunken brawls common at Wasco, indicating serious problems of order and discipline, or was this unusual? The report doesn't say. Nor does the report explore whether Provencio was involved in previous incidents with that day's officers or other prison staff during his five-month stay at Wasco.

The report notes that inmate drunkenness and manufacture of homemade brew raise "serious questions about the effectiveness of security measures," which must set some sort of record for understatement. But the report offers no details about how often and what kind of cell checks and searches prison staff in the Wasco reception center did that day - or if they ever did any such searches. The report merely concludes that staff "may not have regularly performed thorough security checks" and need "clear written requirements governing security checks."

* Most tellingly, the report dodges the question of whether the Department of Corrections properly handled the situation after Provencio was confirmed to be brain dead on Jan. 20. The report doesn't investigate this issue at all.

Nowhere does the report state that one doctor on Jan. 19 and a second doctor on Jan. 20 examined Provencio and confirmed total and irreversible cessation of all functions of his brain, including the brainstem. Provencio was not in a coma, nor was he in a "persistent vegetative state" like Terri Schiavo. He was legally and physiologically dead Jan. 20. But no formal declaration of death was made until March 4.

Yet the Department of Corrections continued to talk and act after Jan. 20 as if Provencio were alive. He was kept on artificial life support and guarded around the clock. It took 25 days after brain death for the Department of Corrections to release the dead man to his family (after macabre efforts to win early release Feb. 14, as if Provencio were still alive).

This grotesque sequence of events raises a long list of questions. Two obvious ones: What is the state's policy in such cases? And what were the costs to the state for guards and medical care for the deceased man after Jan. 20? On these points, as on so many others, the report has nothing to say.

The report offers little insight into how the guard who was aiming the M1006 sponge grenade at Provencio's leg managed to hit him in the head instead. It cites all sorts of reasons that this "inaccurate placement" of the projectile could have happened, but can only come up with a lame conclusion: "Absent adequate training, the use of this weapon should be discontinued."

The governor, Legislature and the public deserve a better and more complete record of this entire incident. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger should demand a supplemental report to complete the public record. Obviously, many things went wrong.

See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?


Baptist meets Druid

Complaint Filed Against South Carolina Officer for Proselytizing On Duty

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) -- A Greenville County minister has filed a complaint against a Greer reserve police officer claiming he tried to convert her to his faith during a traffic stop.

Debra Gainey, a minister at the Emerald Sanctuary Druidic Church, filed her complaint Monday with Greer Police Chief Dan Reynolds. Gainey claims reserve officer Tony Stewart discussed his religion with her during a June 10 traffic stop and sent a letter to her home inviting her ''to listen to the words from the Baptists.''


Sunday, June 26, 2005


Alaska prison Minister and Deacon-in-training Convicted of Embezzlement

Fairbanks, Alaska -- A federal judge sentenced Johnny Lee Napier to nine months in prison and ordered him to pay $104,000 in restitution Friday for embezzling grant money from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Federal Judge James Fitzgerald said Napier deceived the government when he took money from three grants for his personal use.

Napier was indicted in Fairbanks federal court in November on three charges of misappropriating federal funds from grant money awarded between 1999 and 2002, while Napier was executive director of two local nonprofit agencies.

Napier pleaded guilty in March to embezzling $50,000 in federal grant money in 2002 while he worked at Minority Education and Entrepreneurship Training Inc.

In exchange for the guilty plea, the government agreed to drop two charges that Napier embezzled an additional $60,000 while employed at Fairbanks Family Alternative and Minority Education and Entrepreneurship Training Inc...

Napier, who operates a prison ministry, is undergoing training to be a deacon at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.

"I did something wrong and I'm paying the penalty," Napier said following the judgment. "I'll continue to do my prison ministry regardless of where I am."

Thanks to YH for the heads up!

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


Weekly church-related crime update, June 20 - 24, 2005

  • On Monday, a Lawrence, Kansas jury convicted Martin K. Miller, 46, a youth group leader and board member at Victory Bible Church, of first-degree murder in the death of his wife, Kansas University librarian Mary E. Miller. Says the Lawrence Journal World:

    The case included testimony about Martin Miller’s four-year extramarital affair, pornography addiction, and desire to pursue more sexual relationships — all of which stood in contrast to his leadership roles at his church and his children’s Christian school... Prosecutor Jones said in his closing argument that divorce wasn’t an option because Miller stood to lose his roles as a youth-group leader at church and a board member for Veritas Christian School. “Murder?... Of course he knew it was a sin,” Jones said. “But that was supposed to be a private sin. No one was supposed to know about that one.”

  • On Tuesday, a Mesa, Arizona Dennis Montoya, a minister at Word of Grace Church, appeared in court on two child molestation charges. The victim was reportedly an eight-year-old girl. Police said Montoya confessed and they fear there are more victims.

  • A Rumson, New Jersey grand jury indicted Rev. Joseph W. Hughes, the pastor of Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church, with charges related to the theft of $2 million from his parish. Hughes, who has a "fondness for expensive cars, upscale restaurants and Caribbean vacations," according to the Asbury Park Press, also bought a $47,000 BMW, jewelry and assorted household appliances for a church handyman named David Rogers who, it appears, is somehow related to Hughes. The moral bearings of the church community were perhaps revealed when a group of wealthy parishoners offered to repay the stolen $2,034,428 if prosecutors agreed not to send Hughes to jail. Officials rejected the deal, noting that "[t]his was money from fund-raisers and meant for charity. There are very few instances where we would even consider not seeking jail time for this kind of theft, and this is certainly not one of them."

  • In Philadelphia, Mississippi, Edgar Ray Killen, a soft-spoken "country preacher" was convicted on manslaughter charges for the so-called "Mississippi Burning" killing of three civil rights workers in 1964. Killen had previously been found not guilty of violating civil rights laws in a federal court; a lone holdout juror said she "could not convict a preacher."

  • On Tuesday, Norman Pugh, a youth minister at Arnoldsville Baptist Church near Winterville, Georgia, was arrested on child molestation charges involving a 14-year-old girl who had spent the night at his house.

  • In Roseboro, North Carolina, Terrance Howard, a 19-year-old muscian at Holy Tabernacle Church, was charged with statutory rape of a girl between the ages of 13 and 15.

  • On Wednesday, a lawsuit was filed against the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis, Archbishop Raymond Burke and Thomas Cooper, a priest. An unnamed man alleges in the suit that when he was 12 or 13 years old he was molested by Cooper. "The suit says Cooper performed oral sex on the boy at least three times at Cooper's "clubhouse" on the banks of a river somewhere in Missouri," reported the St. Louis Dispatch.

  • Thursday saw the beginning of testimony in the sexual assault trial of John A. Salazarm, a Catholic priest at Church of the Holy Spirit in Tulia, Texas. Says the Houston Chronicle:

    In the late 1980s, Salazar pleaded guilty to charges of molesting two boys in Los Angeles. He served more than two years in prison and was released to a treatment program for sex offenders before coming to the Amarillo diocese in 1991.

    But, remarkably, the church continued to re-assign Salazarm to various rural parishes throughout Texas, and didn't defrock him unitl 2004, after thousands of lawsuits against the church prompted a "zero tolerance" policy. By that time, Salazarm had allegedly attacked again, this time molesting a 18-year-old man he had gotten drunk with at a wedding.

  • In Mobile, Alabama, Thomas Anthony Crandall, a former Catholic priest already on probation for a drug conviction, was arrested on child pornography charges.

  • In Chattanooga, Edward Hughes Monday, 61 and pastor of Bethlehem Evangelistic Mission Church, was arrested for rape and sexual battery in a case involving a teenage boy. A neighbor to the church wasn't surprised: "I know several people that has said things about him, you know trying to mess with 'em," she said.

  • The Archdiocese of Philadelphia defrocked seven priests. "The dismissals," noted the Philadelphia Inquirer,

    were announced in a spare notice on Page 8 of the archdiocesan newspaper, the Catholic Standard and Times... While the published notice began with the words, "in the spirit of transparency," archdiocesan officials provided no details of the abuse. The announcement did not use the word sexual in describing the accusations, saying only that the priests were defrocked for "misconduct involving minors."...

    The Inquirer, however, published details of the crimes of the seven men.

  • On Friday, Charles Dwight Smith Jr., the minister youth group leader at North Penn Church of Christ in Lansdale, Pennsylvania, was charged with "deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and indecent assault" for multiple encounters with two 15-year-old girls at his church, his home, and a church school.

  • In Lamite, Louisiana, grand jury charges were filed against seven people associated with Hosanna Church, including the minister and a sheriff's deputy, for "aggravated rape in a case that has included accusations that children and animals were sexually abused." (Backgound links found here.)

  • Ohio Congressman Steven LaTourette announced he would meet with citizens concerned about Apostolic Faith Church. Explained WEWS News:

    The church was drawn into the investigation after the death of 43-year-old Carolyn Clark. After her death, news spread about legal papers Carolyn Clark filed in a custody dispute she won a few days before she died, accusing leaders of the couple's church of sexual and physical abuse against members, including children.

  • In Thomasville, Georgia, Roderick Suber, 25 and youth minister at Faith Horizons Ministries, was sentenced to four years in prison for statutory rape of a 16-year-old girl when she stayed at his house overnight, and on a church camping trip. When Suber was arrested, Jeff Christopher, pastor at the church and Suber's father-in-law, said Suber would remain as youth minister. Suber, incidently, wore a tie with the Lord’s Prayer on it to court.

  • In Philadelphia, Otis Joseph, choir director at West Oak Lane Church of God, was found guilty of raping two girls. One girl was raped from the time she was 11-years-old until she reported the attacks at age 15. The other was raped at age 14. Joseph has yet to face unrelated charges that he molested three sisters and had a relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

  • See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.

    Return to Bobo's World homepage.


    Saturday, June 25, 2005


    State police investigator charged with sex acts with boys

    Massena, NY - AP — A State Police investigator in northern New York faces three charges, accused of molesting three boys between the ages of 10 and 16 over the past decade.

    Saint Lawrence County prosecutors say 43-year-old Stephen Kotzen, of Louisville, was investigated this week when one alleged victim said he had been molested, which led to two others.

    According to the felony complaint, the first incident took place in 1995. Kotzen is accused of two counts of first-degree committing a criminal sexual act and one count of second-degree committing a criminal act.


    Trooper accused again of forcing couple to strip

    An Illinois State Police trooper was charged Thursday and accused for a second time of forcing people to remove their clothes to avoid prosecution.

    Jeremy Dozier, 31, was arrested late Thursday morning on official misconduct charges stemming from an April 29 incident in Gurnee.

    Dozier, who has been a state trooper for 10 years, faces similar charges in Cook County for a June 16 incident along the Edens Expressway and Route 41.

    In both cases, officials said, Dozier forced the young couples he encountered to disrobe and run around in exchange for Dozier not citing them for what he said was illegal activity.

    In the Gurnee incident, police Chief Robert Jones said a couple from Antioch was engaged in sexual activity in a car parked near a hotel on Grand Avenue near the I-94 junction.

    Dozier opened the car door and shined a flashlight inside, Jones said, and ordered them to get out without getting dressed.

    The couple put on their clothes before they got out of the car, but Dozier ordered them to remove their clothes and run around a nearby construction site while naked, Jones said.

    He said the couple, a 20-year-old man and 17-year-old girl, reported the incident to his department the next morning.

    "They came in and said a police officer had done this to them, so we opened a criminal investigation," Jones said. "The investigation was following its own course when we heard about the Cook County situation."

    In Cook County, Dozier is charged with pulling up behind a man and a woman who were sitting in a car parked on the shoulder of the highway near Northbrook.

    Dozier told that couple, a 22-year-old Wauconda man and 18-year-old Vernon Hills woman, he believed they had been drinking but refused to issue them the tickets they requested.

    Instead, police said, Dozier ordered them to strip naked and urinate in a ditch next to the highway.

    That couple reported the incident as soon as they drove from the scene, and a state police dispatcher told them to meet an officer at the Lake Forest Oasis.

    They drove away a second time when the officer sent to meet them about their complaint turned out to be Dozier.

    Dozier was arrested the next day and suspended with pay from the state police.

    The Antioch couple identified Dozier as the officer who accosted them, Jones said.


    Jury finds church choir director guilty of raping two girls

    Charged with molesting five different girls, and only now he is fired?

    Philadelphia -- Jurors yesterday convicted a 28-year-old West Oak Lane music teacher of raping two girls who were his students.

    Otis Joseph, of the 7300 block of Walnut Lane, was found guilty of all charges and faces a mandatory minimum five to 10 years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 28.

    Joseph's mother and girlfriend openly wept when the jury announced its verdicts, and Common Pleas Court Judge Shelley Robins New immediately revoked Joseph's bail. Joseph, who had been choir director at Bright Hope Baptist Church, was escorted from the courtroom by sheriff's deputies.

    During the eight-day trial, a 15-year-old girl testified that Joseph, her music teacher, repeatedly raped her, beginning when she was 11 and continuing until she revealed the abuse at a West Oak Lane Church of God retreat last year.

    Two of the church's pastors testified they were present when Joseph confessed to the sexual encounters, after the girl's mother confronted him.

    The girl's best friend also testified that Joseph raped her once in February 2004, when she was 14.

    Joseph taught both girls sixth-grade music at Germantown Settlement Charter School. He continued to teach the first victim at his private music school, Standing Ovations.

    Joseph testified Tuesday that he never touched either girl. He said the teens, their mothers and the two pastors were lying.

    The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for three days before reaching their verdicts: guilty of two counts each of rape, sexual assault and statutory sexual assault, plus related charges.

    Assistant District Attorney Richard DeSipio later told reporters that the jury "gave justice to two brave little girls... . To confront someone who was popular in the community, [the girls] perhaps saved hundreds of other potential victims."

    Jurors never heard that Joseph faces additional charges of abusing other young girls.

    In separate cases, he is charged with molesting three sisters and having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

    Joseph's attorney, Keith Dews, said he would talk to his client about reaching plea agreements in the other cases.

    "Given this verdict, it certainly changes... the defense we would put up," Dews said. "At this point, I'm trying to save him as much of his life as I can."

    After his arrest last year, Joseph continued to direct an adult choir at Bright Hope Baptist Church.

    In February, a judge ordered that Joseph have no unsupervised contact with children at work.

    The Rev. William H. Gray 3d, minister of Bright Hope, said last week that church leaders had decided that Joseph would no longer lead the youth choir while charges were pending.

    After the verdicts were announced, Bright Hope attorney Bernard Lee said that Joseph would be terminated immediately. Lee said Gray would have no further comment on the matter.

    See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


    U.S. Rep. Investigating Alleged Church-Cult Murder

    (Background info here.)

    ASHTABULA, Ohio -- A murder case that has brought attention to a controversial church in Ashtabula County has caught the eye of U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette.

    The office of Congressman Steven LaTourette set up meetings with a group of citizens Thursday.

    The citizens wanted the Concord Republican's staff to hear their concerns about the Apostolic Faith Church. There also were concerns about local authorities' ability to effectively investigate.

    LaTourrette's aide said the lawmaker is paying attention.

    The church was drawn into the investigation after the death of 43-year-old Carolyn Clark.

    After her death, news spread about legal papers Carolyn Clark filed in a custody dispute she won a few days before she died, accusing leaders of the couple's church of sexual and physical abuse against members, including children. Clark said she was trying to get her young children away from the church, which she accused of brainwashing her husband and older children.

    The woman’s husband, Ralph Clark, is charged in her murder. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

    See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


    (Still another) Youth minister headed to prison

    I'll obviously have to start a new catagory dedicated soley to youth ministers...

    Thomasville, GA -- A former youth minister is headed to prison for having sex with a 16 year old girl.

    Roderick Suber was sentenced to four years in prison and six years probation for statutory rape. "He's not to be around anyone under the age of eighteen without adult supervision, sex offender status, which means he has to register in whatever county he lives in," says Thomas County sheriff's investigator Jason Carroll.

    Suber was arrested after a school counselor alerted police about his relationship with the girl.

    See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


    Hosanna church update

    (For back ground see here and here.)

    Louisiana minister, followers indicted

    AMITE, La. – A minister and six of his followers, including a former sheriff's deputy, were charged Thursday with aggravated rape in a case that has included accusations that children and animals were sexually abused.

    A grand jury indicted Louis Lamonica, 45, who was the pastor of Hosanna Church in Ponchatoula, on six counts of rape.

    Four counts each were brought against former Tangipahoa Parish sheriff's deputy Christopher Blair Labat, 24; Allen R. Pierson, 46, who lived in an apartment on the church complex; church member Paul Fontenot; and Austin Bernard, 36, whose wife, Nicole, first exposed the allegations.

    Mr. Pierson's wife, Patricia, 54, and Mr. Lamonica's wife, Robbin, were charged on two counts each.

    Authorities have said witnesses described the use of robes, pentagrams on the church floor, sex with a dog and the sacrifice of cats. The alleged victims, suspected to number up to two dozen, range from infants to young teens.

    Investigators believe the abuse began in 1999 and continued until the church closed in 2003. But it was not until Mrs. Bernard called in April, saying she had fled to Ohio to protect her child, that police had any idea of what was happening, officials say.

    About the same time, Mr. Lamonica walked into the sheriff's office in neighboring Livingston Parish and gave detailed descriptions of church activities, officials say.

    See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


    Minister charged in sex crimes

    NORRISTOWN, Penn. -- A Lansdale minister who is also a youth group supervisor has been arrested for allegedly having sexual or indecent contact with two 15-year-old girls during encounters at his former church, his Franconia home and a church school in Lower Pottsgrove.

    Charles Dwight Smith Jr., 43, of the 100 block of Theresa Lane, Franconia, was arraigned late Thursday before District Justice Harold D. Borek of Lansdale on charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, unlawful contact with a minor, endangering the welfare of children, corruption of minors and indecent assault.

    Smith, also known as "Chuck," was released after posting 10 percent of $100,000 bail to await further court action. Smith, the married father of four children, has already waived his preliminary hearing and will now answer to the allegations in Montgomery County Court.

    According to a criminal complaint filed by Lansdale police detectives, an investigation of Smith began in May after a 15-year-old girl reported to her school counselor that she had sexual relations with Smith at North Penn Church of Christ, 423 Derstine Ave., where Smith was the minister and the supervisor of the church youth group. Police were immediately notified...

    The girl, according to court papers, told investigators she exchanged computer messages, text messages and had telephone conversations with Smith between September 2004 and May 2005.

    "(The girl) told me that a number of these messages contained sexually explicit language explaining oral sex and sexual intercourse in graphic terms and Smith would talk about things that he wanted to do to her," Lansdale Detective James L. Waltrop wrote in the criminal complaint.

    Smith, detectives alleged, also sent the girl pictures, via the computer, depicting adult sexual activity.

    In fall 2004, while the girl was at Smith’s Franconia home with other youths, Smith followed the girl into a wooded area during a game called "manhunt," and forced the girl to touch him inappropriately, according to the criminal complaint.

    During a subsequent Halloween party at another church member’s house in Bucks County, Smith repeatedly grabbed the girl’s buttocks, detectives alleged.

    When the church youth group took a trip to a Mifflin County farm between Nov. 12 and Nov. 14 of 2004, Smith attempted to force the girl to kiss him and then masturbated in her presence, according to court papers.

    The girl reported another incident, during which Smith allegedly kissed and groped her, occurred on the property of the Coventry Christian School in Lower Pottsgrove in February, court papers indicate.

    The alleged incident did not occur during a school-sponsored event.

    School Superintendent Mark Niehls explained that other groups and churches occasionally rent space at the school for various functions.

    Smith was not employed by the school and had no connection to the school, officials said.

    Niehls said Friday was the first time he learned that such an alleged incident had occurred on the school’s property.

    In April, the girl went to the Lansdale church after school and Smith sexually assaulted her while they were alone in Smith’s office and the church library, detectives said.

    As the investigation progressed, in June, detectives learned that Smith had indecent contact with another 15-year-old girl who was a member of the youth group. That girl told detectives that Smith touched her inappropriately during bus trips to Arkansas and West Virginia and later discussed the conduct with the girl in sexually charged e-mail messages, asking her if she had been sexually aroused by his touching, court papers indicate.

    When detectives confronted Smith about the allegations he confessed, according to court papers.

    See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.


    Corruption on the county fair circuit

    Is there anything as emblematic of the heartland as the county fair? And, yep, that too is corrupt:

    Published remarks differ from affidavit in livestock dispute

    Williams County, Ohio -- Howard Parrish, a nationally known hog breeder accused of fraud involving his granddaughter's champion hog at last year's Williams County Fair, judged a show of 500 hogs this week at the San Joaquin Fair in Stockton, Calif.

    But such judging jobs have declined markedly for Mr. Parrish since the Ohio Department of Agriculture announced charges against him in December, he wrote in an affidavit filed with the department this month.

    He has been removed from at least five prominent hog shows, has been asked to resign from the Edon State Bank Co. board, where he had been a director for 18 years, and estimates that his family and farm near Edon, Ohio, have lost more than $150,000 because of the agriculture department's investigation, he said in the affidavit.

    "We have suffered severe criticism by the national and local swine breeding community," wrote Mr. Parrish, who also is a well known hog auctioneer.

    Mr. Parrish, who is accused of sending a substitute hog to the slaughterhouse instead of his granddaughter Caprianna Parrish's grand champion, said in the affidavit that he did not make such a switch.

    "I am deeply offended by such allegations and look forward to clearing the Parrish name," he concluded.

    However, The Record newspaper in Stockton reported

    Wednesday that Mr. Parrish told one of its reporters that he knew he took the wrong hog to the slaughterhouse and that the champion had been stolen from his farm overnight.

    "The wrong pig did end up there because we've had some theft going on at the farm," The Record quoted Mr. Parrish as saying.

    A woman who answered Mr. Parrish's phone, when told it was a Blade reporter calling, hung up.

    Mr. Parrish's attorney, Charles "Rocky" Saxbe, said yesterday he had not heard about Mr. Parrish's quotes in The Record.

    "I don't read the Stockton paper. I haven't talked to Mr. Parrish," he said. "I've submitted our position to the department of agriculture. We stand by what we filed."

    Earlier, Mr. Saxbe said Mr. Parrish was "mystified" as to why the ear identification marks on the slaughtered hog inspected by the agriculture department did not match his granddaughter's grand champion.

    The agriculture department "makes a fantastic leap of association that assumes that Mr. Parrish's experience in the breeding business miraculously translates into his familiarity with the grand champion hog's characteristics," Mr. Saxbe wrote in papers filed last week with the department of agriculture.

    Mr. Parrish, who has been a member of the Williams County fair board for 23 years and president for the last three, was the Williams County fair board's records chairman, an organizer of the fair's swine show, and one of five buyers of his granddaughter's champion hog at the fair auction.

    He is fighting the agriculture department's proposal to ban him from any contact with livestock exhibitions in Ohio for two years.

    His granddaughter agreed this month to return all of her prizes from the grand champion. Her father, Frank Parrish, agreed to a written reprimand from the department, which originally proposed banning him from livestock exhibitions for one year.


    Air Force Academy Update

    Leader of AFA panel is 'born-again'

    Fox, henhouse:

    The leader of a review group that examined religious tolerance issues at the Air Force Academy said in an interview Friday that he has identified himself as a born-again Christian.

    Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady made that disclosure in a conference call to discuss the 90-page report issued Wednesday by the Air Force, which found "perceptions" of a pro-Christian bent at the Colorado Springs campus, but dismissed claims of widespread religious discrimination.

    AF judge throws out rape allegation against ex-cadet

    A military judge ruled Friday that the trial of an Air Force officer accused of sexually assaulting a fellow Air Force Academy cadet can continue at Randolph AFB, but won't include a rape allegation made in the case.

    A motion to delay the trial had been sought on behalf of 1st Lt. Joseph J. Harding, who wanted to obtain a Colorado Springs counselor's records of sessions with the alleged victim.

    Col. David Brash, the judge, said Harding still will be tried on a charge of forcing another cadet to fondle him in 1999 during his cadet years. He faces five years in prison and the equivalent of a bad-conduct discharge, but avoids a potential life sentence on the rape allegation.


    Jail rape lawsuit filed

    MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma -- A former Choctaw County woman, who says she was raped while in jail, has filed a federal lawsuit alleging her civil rights were violated after local authorities failed to prosecute the case.

    Named in the lawsuit are Bonnie Drewery, Justin Green, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Choctaw County and Choctaw County Sheriff Lewis Collins.

    Rhelda Hostetler, 38, identified herself as the rape victim in the complaint. Hostetler was jailed for alleged misdemeanor violations, according to the complaint.

    According to the complaint, Green unlocked Hostetler's cell door about March 17 to allow Bonnie Drewery, a male inmate, inside her cell.

    Once inside the cell, Drewery allegedly raped and assaulted Hostetler.

    Green was charged in February with violation of jail rules and regulations, a misdemeanor. He pleaded no contest April 28 and was fined $250. He has since been terminated.

    See our complete collection of bad behavior at the hands of prison and jail guards: Where did they learn that?


    Tulsa Man Arrested for sex abuse of child, dog

    Tulsa, Oklahoma - A Tulsa man is in the Tulsa County jail, accused of crimes that have shocked even some law enforcement officials.

    43-year-old Terry Wayne Bennett is charged with 3 counts of first degree rape, 11 counts of lewd acts against a child under 16, and 6 counts of cruelty to animals.

    Tulsa County Sheriff's deputies say Bennett sexually assaulted a 6-year-old child in his care, over a span of several years. They say he also sexually abused one of his dogs and that he tried to abuse another dog, but the dog bit him.

    They say they have Bennett on tape confessing the crimes to a friend.


    Corruption in Florida

    TAMPA - George Sucarichi, the lead contract negotiator for the Hillsborough County firefighters union and the Hillsborough Fire Rescue captain at the center of two ongoing controversies, is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

    FDLE spokeswoman Cindy Sanz said agents are looking into the practice of swapping shifts that Sucarichi is accused of abusing, and his fundraising tactics where most of the donations go toward administrative costs and payroll of a company he owns instead of firefighting causes.


    Scorned great-grandmother, 78, blows away 85-year-old ex-lover

    ATLANTA - Furious that their romance was ending, a 78-year-old great-grandmother shot her 85-year-old ex-beau to death as he read the newspaper in a senior citizens home, police said.


    Developments in Delay-related corruption trial

    Speaking of Texas corruption....

    AUSTIN, Texas - Documents released in a civil lawsuit Friday show that Texas Association of Business officials were trying to influence the outcome of state House races when they ran a $1.7 million "voter education project" paid for with corporate money.

    "Of the nine incumbents ... we went after, seven were defeated. This is huge news," a TAB executive said in a 2002 e-mail the day after the group helped Republicans win control of the Texas House for the first time since Reconstruction.

    TAB officials have claimed that their corporate spending was meant to educate voters, not affect elections.

    TAB and its president, Bill Hammond, have been part of a 2 1/2 -year state criminal investigation into whether state election law was violated when corporate money was used to influence the 2002 elections. TAB targeted 22 House races; Republican candidates won 18.

    TAB is the umbrella organization for Texas' local Chambers of Commerce.

    Indictments have been returned against three associates of U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in connection with how corporate money was spent by the political action committee Texans for a Republican Majority. TRMPAC coordinated its activities with TAB. The TRMPAC defendants say they are innocent.


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