Friday, July 3, 2009

Melissa Wright Allowed Sex Offender Christopher Webb to Abuse her 14-year-old

A Durant woman has been charged with allowing a convicted sex abuser to abuse a 14-year-old girl.

Melissa Kay Wright, 29, was charged with enabling child sexual abuse following an investigation by Bryan County District Attorney Investigator David Cathey.

Christopher Wayne Webb, 40, was arrested and charged last month for failing to register as a sex offender. On June 22, Durant Police were told that Webb was living with a 14-year-old girl, according to court papers.

An affidavit states that Webb, who moved from Grapevine, Texas, was arrested at the home.

Cathey learned during the investigation that Webb was in a relationship with Wright, according to the affidavit, and the teen disclosed that Webb had sexually abused her.

Wright was arrested and she admitted to knowing that Webb is a convicted sex offender and that the girl was involved with him, the affidavit states.

Bond for Wright was set at $25,000 bond.

Children Found Hidden in Shed

Josh Romo wondered why his 2-year-old daughter sometimes dreaded going to her day care in Sealy. “Now we know,” he said Thursday after hearing news that state child welfare officials reported they found children stashed in a shed Wednesday at the Sealy in-home day care operation. His daughter was among the children in the shed.

“That lady’s going to hate me when she sees me,” the 31-year-old father said about one of the day care center’s owners. “Lock ’em up.”

The children — locked in the storage shed with gasoline, lawn equipment and insecticides — appear to be unharmed, Sealy police said.

Freddie Patek and his wife, Marietta Patek, both 65, who operate the facility, have been charged and are being held at the county jail, said Austin County District Attorney Travis Koehn.

Koehn said he is uncertain if keeping children in a shed and other areas of the house was common practice at the facility. However, Koehn added that the child welfare inspectors were not allowed immediate access to the home.

14 children found

Koehn said that Freddie Patek is charged with tampering with physical evidence because he hid the children and Marietta Patek is charged with six counts of endangering a child.

“It’s really, really frightening about what could have happened,” said Gwen Carter, spokeswoman for Texas Child Protective Services.

Officials said a concerned person Wednesday alerted the department that too many children were at the facility.

When department investigators visited the home, they found children inside a shed, in the backyard and several rooms in the home, Carter said.

Carter said that about 14 children — toddlers to preteens — were found at the facility, which is licensed to care for only three children at a time.

None injured

Paramedics examined the children and found them to be uninjured.

The children’s parents were called to pick them up, and the facility was shut down pending the outcome of an investigation, Carter said.

Parents told investigators that the Pateks did not let them look inside the home, Carter said.

The inquiry could take up to 30 days.

Carter said Marietta Patek once was registered to run a day care center at her home that could care for up to 12 children.

She closed that operation in 2001.

In 2003, she opened what was supposed to be a smaller-scale day care operation.

Neighbors defend them

Outside the large shuttered house in a leafy neighborhood, neighbors said that the Pateks have taken care of kids for decades.

Some called them foul-tempered, but others said they were pillars of the community.

“They’re model citizens,” said Lana Gregor, who said she’s known the family for more than 30 years. “They’re very hard workers and a credit to this place.”

Gregor and another neighbor, Sharla Bell, said they’ve let the Pateks take care of their children.

At the Twisted Willow Floral Shop a few miles away, owner Lynette Lee said stuffing children in a shed was a “poor choice.” But, she added, she wasn’t mad at the Pateks, despite the fact that her infant niece was one of those found in the shed.

“I’m sure she was just trying to protect her livelihood, hiding them from CPS’ eyes,” Lee said, “but they’re good people.”

Edgar Mendiola Arrested for Sexual Abuse

Police announced Thursday that Highway Patrol Troopers in Davis County have arrested a man who was being investigated by Logan police for allegedly sexually abusing a girl younger than 13 in Logan over the past year.

Edgar Mendiola, 37, is in custody at the Davis County Jail and being held on six first-degree felony charges of aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

Logan Police Lt. Rod Peterson said detectives began investigating Mendiola when the alleged victim informed someone who passed the information onto police detectives. Detectives were reluctant to give additional information to protect the identity of any victims. The Herald Journal also withholds information that could likewise identify possible victims of sexual abuse.

Charges against the suspect were filed in 1st District Court on Tuesday. Mendiola is scheduled to appear before Judge Thomas Willmore sometime next week.

Peterson said an arrest warrant was filed into the nationwide National Crime Information Center, operated by the FBI, in conjunction with the case.

“The Utah Highway Patrol made a traffic stop on him and arrested him,” he said. “The detectives that were working the case had probable cause to believe that there were a minimum of six separate incidents.”

Court records show Mendiola has no previous criminal convictions.

Carlos Witherington Charged with 8 Counts of Child Porn

An alleged child pornographer is in custody of Belvidere Police.

43-year-old Carlos Witherington has been charged with eight child pornography counts. These include making and possessing the material. A two-week investigation led Belvidere Police to search Witherington's home in the 1200 block of South State Street. Authorities seized crack cocaine, drug packaging materials, a video camera, CD's and other video equipment.

Police are still trying to pinpoint alleged victims who, according to police, are clearly under the age of 13 and are believed to be from Belvidere. Witherington is in the Boone County Jail being held on $1 million bond. If convicted, he could face up to 30 years in prison.

Daniel Webber Arrested for Raping 11-year-old Girl

A Smyrna man is accused of repeatedly raping an 11-year-old girl — and police say the girl's mother covered up the crime.

Twenty-six-year-old Daniel Webber was arrested Thursday night. State police say the investigation of Webber began after the victim told a school counselor that she didn't want to be around Webber because he hurt her.

But the Division of Family Services didn't immediately find evidence of wrongdoing, in part because the girl's mother said Webber had done nothing wrong.

Police say the girl's mother was with her and Webber at the beach last week when a bystander spotted Webber kissing the girl. That led to a search of Webber's home, and he was charged with three counts of first-degree rape and four counts of second-degree rape.

The mother was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

William Wanderer Sentenced to 3 Years to Possessing Child Porn


A Franklinville man was sentenced to three years in prison Thursday after pleading guilty to possessing digital images of children engaged in sexual acts.

William Wanderer, 62, of South Delsea Drive, was charged with second-degree endangering the welfare of a child Nov. 18 following an investigation by the Cyber Crimes Unit of the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office, according to a news release from the prosecutor's office.

Wanderer waived his right to have the case brought before a grand jury.

Following the completion of his term, Wanderer must register as a sex offender under the state's Megan's Law regulations, which require convicted sex offenders to report their address to local law enforcement and may result in public notice of their presence in a community.

Superior Court Judge Walter L. Marshall Jr. also told Wanderer he could not have contact with his wife, daughter or grandchildren.

Assistant Gloucester County Prosecutor Joseph Brook said the family requested that condition, according to the release. Wanderer did not object, apologizing to his wife and child in court, the release stated.

Wanderer also had two sex offense convictions in Pennsylvania in 1991, and he received probation, according to the release.

Stephen Bradford Charged with Rape After her Mother Permitted the Abuse

A teenage girl told authorities her mother prostituted her to a man for money, including cash for a Dodge pickup and a house down payment, a police report says.

The abuse began when the girl was 8 years old and continued into her teen years, with sex eventually being traded for prescription painkillers, cocaine, money and a car, the report says.

Stephen Bradford, 56, of Hensley is being held on charges of rape and endangering the welfare of a minor, both felonies.

He was being held at the Saline County jail after a judge on Thursday set bail at $100,000.

The mother also was arrested in the case. Police arrested her on Wednesday at her Hensley home on a felony charge of permitting the abuse of a minor.

"Her mother told the suspect if he did not pay her she would contact police and tell them he had raped her," Saline County detective Gary Robertson wrote in a report.

Police began investigating the claims earlier this week after the girl crashed her car into a ditch on U.S. 167 near East End. A state trooper arrested her on a charge of driving while intoxicated.

While in custody, the girl revealed the abuse, saying her mother sent her to Bradford's home to have sex for money, the report says.

The girl underwent a forensic interview on Tuesday, telling an investigator that Bradford once went to her father's house, threw her down on a bed and raped her when she was home sick from school.

"The victim disclosed that she felt like it was all her fault and she wanted to get out and get help," Robertson wrote.

After her mother began sending her to Bradford, he moved in with the girl and her mother, as the two adults were in a relationship, the report says. That's when the abuse became more frequent, and the girl informed her mother, which at one point caused the mom to become angry and Bradford to move out, the report says.

But after the split, the mother again sent her daughter to Bradford for sex, the report says.

The accuser and her younger sister have been placed in foster care pending the outcome of the investigation, the report says.

Lt. Scottie Courtney with the Saline County sheriff 's office said records indicate this is the first time Bradford has been arrested in the county.

Demetrious Hughes Charged with Sexual Assault on 6-year-old

A Chicago man was ordered held today on $500,000 bond after he was charged with engaging in a sexual act with a 6-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl with developmental disabilities.

Demetrious F. Hughes, 43, of the 8000 block of South Indiana Avenue, was charged with criminal sexual assault and unlawful restraint.

In April, the children were playing at their father's house when Hughes, the father's friend, had sex with the girl, prosecutors said in a hearing in Cook County Holiday Bond Court before Judge Laura Sullivan. When the 6-year-old boy entered the room, Hughes allegedly pulled down the boy's pants and placed him on top of the girl.

Rosalino Gomez Charged with Sexual Assault

Lower Township

Villas man charged in child sex assault

From Press staff reports

A Villas man has been charged with two counts each of aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

The arrest of Rosalino Gomez, 36, of the 100 block of West Bates Avenue, was announced jointly by police Chief Ed Donohue and Cape May County Prosecutor Robert Taylor. The arrest was the result of a joint investigation between the department's Detective Division and the County Prosecutor's Office Special Investigations Unit.

Investigators acted on reports that Gomez committed an "act of sexual penetration" on a juvenile female whom he had supervisory authority over. The investigation, authorities said, revealed he committed these acts on two separate occasions.

Gomez was in the Cape May County Jail with bail set at $200,000. Gomez faces as long as 20 years for each count of aggravated sexual assault and as long as 10 years for each count of endangering the welfare of a child.

Carol Ricker Arrested for Child Rape

A Logan woman is behind bars and charged with 12 first-degree felony counts of rape, sodomy and aggravated sex abuse of a child.

Police arrested Carol A. Ricker, 46, at her home at 530 West Center St. Thursday after a months-long investigation.

Ricker was booked in the Cache County jail on four counts of rape of a child, four counts of sodomy on a child and four counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child.

Ricker’s bail is set at $240,000.

Daniel Acker Arrested for Assaulting Boys

A 62-year-old Milwaukee-area swim coach accused of assaulting boys is out of jail after posting $100,000 bail.

As a condition of his bail, Daniel Acker had to surrender his passport and cannot have contact with children other than a niece and nephew.

Acker was arrested in March while coaching youth swimmers at Frank Lloyd Middle school in West Allis. Earlier that day, a man told police Acker had sexually assaulted him in the early 1970s.

Acker faces five counts related to sex crimes against children. Investigators say he has not been charged in other cases because the statute of limitations expired.

Acker's expected to go on trial in October.

Former Mayor Tom Adams Sentenced for Possessing Child Porn

Former Lake County GOP Chairman and Green Oaks Mayor Tom Adams was sentenced this week to 30 days in jail and 30 months of probation for possession of child pornography, Adams' attorney said.

Adams, 71, was sentenced Monday to spend 30 intermittent days in the county work-release program, pay a $10,000 fine, undergo psychological treatment and complete 200 hours of community service, attorney Tom Briscoe said. Also, Adams must register as a sex offender, and he is prohibited from having unsupervised contact with children younger than 17, Briscoe said.

Adams, who pleaded guilty in February to 16 counts of child-pornography possession, could have gotten up to 14 years in prison.

In the plea agreement, charges of dissemination of child pornography were dropped, Briscoe said.

School Employee Salvatore Graci Receives ONLY 1 day in Prison for Possession of Child Porn

A former Souderton Area School District employee who pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography in March has received his sentence: one day in prison.

Salvatore Graci, 34, who was employed as a technology specialist in Souderton Area from 2003 to 2007, was sentenced this week by U.S. District Judge Lawrence F. Stengel.

He will also have to pay a $5,000 fine, register as a sex offender and serve 10 years' supervised release, according to U.S. District Court officials.

According to court documents, a search conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at Graci's School Lane home in November 2007 uncovered 10 videos, equivalent to more than 600 images, of child pornography on his home computer and an external hard drive.

Prior to the raid, court documents show Graci had been employed as an Instructional Technology Support Specialist by Souderton Area, but district officials said in March that Graci passed the district's background check and showed no signs of criminal activity before or after he was hired in 2003.

He was not a teacher working in the Souderton Area schools, they said.

According to court records, Graci had been employed from 1997 to 1999 as a fifth-grade teacher at Presentation B.V.M. Parish elementary school in Wynnewood; from 1999 to 2000 as a fifth-grade teacher at Waldron Mercy Academy in Merion; and from 2000 to 2003 as a sixth-grade teacher at St. Bernadette of Lourdes School in Drexel Hill.

The court documents also say that credit card records revealed Graci successfully subscribed and received access to three different child pornography Web sites on or around Jan. 10, 2006, March 3, 2006, and May 7, 2006, all of which would have been during his time in the Souderton Area School District.

Those records also revealed that Graci had subscribed to Comcast high-speed Internet service at his previous home on the 3800 block of Elizabeth Court in Montgomery Township from August 2003 to October 2006.

Two of the videos show minors identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and minors identified as victims in former law enforcement investigations, court documents say.

The case against Graci was brought by Project Safe Childhood, a national Department of Justice initiative launched in May 2006 to fight child abuse and sexual exploitation.

Omaha Police Say Man Hit 3-year-old in Face with Gun


Omaha police say a man pistol-whipped his girlfriend, then hit her three-year-old son in the face with the gun after an argument in a northwest Omaha apartment Friday afternoon.

The child was taken by rescue squad to an Omaha hospital with a head injury, but it was not believed the child was critically hurt. The child had a cut under one eye. The woman refused treatment at the scene.

Police were called to an apartment complex at 5307 N. 110th Plaza shortly after 4 p.m.

The man had left the scene before police arrived.

Terrance Lane Arrested for Viewing Child Porn at Library

Omaha police have arrested a man they believe was viewing child pornography on a city library computer.

Investigators say a security guard at the library caught 54-year-old Terrance Lane looking at a picture of a nude, elementary-aged girl on the computer.

Lane was originally cited for a misdemeanor, but the city attorney has charged him with a felony.

Information from: KETV-TV,

Richard Turpin Arrested for Child Sexual Abuse

A man accused of committing child sexual abuse while on probation is set to be in Pittsburg County District Court on Wednesday.

Richard Lee Turpin, 43, of McAlester, faces a district court arraignment, where a trial date is to be set for the charges which also include inducing a minor to engage in prostitution.

He also faces two counts of placing an obscene/threatening/harassing phone call after two or more former felony convictions.

Turpin, who has at least four prior felony convictions according to court documents, was on probation at the time the offenses allegedly occurred in July 2008.

He is to be arraigned before Associate District Judge James Bland during the motion docket set to begin at 10 a.m. on Wednesday.

The charge of child sexual abuse accuses Turpin of performing a lewd or indecent act by watching a 16 year-old girl undress last July.

Turpin is accused ofinducing a minor to engage in prostitution charge by offering to pay the girl $200 to let him commit sexual acts on her.

He is also accused of making obscene comments to the girl during phone calls made on July 29 and July 30, 2008.

Turpin was arrested following an investigation by McAlester police which began after the girl called her grandmother.

He faces a maximum sentence of from 20 years to life in prison on the charges of child sexual abuse and inducing a minor to engage in prostitution.

He faces a maximum sentence of up to a year imprisonment, a $1,000 fine, or both, on the two charges of placing an obscene/threating harassing phone call.

Court documents show that Turpin’s previous felony convictions include:

• A 1996 Atoka County felony conviction for possession of a controlled dangerous substance. Turpin was sentenced to five years in prison, with the sentence suspended.

• A 2006 Pittsburg County conviction for possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine. Turpin was sentenced to 12 years in prison, with all but the first six years suspended.

• Another 2006 Pittsburg County conviction for possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine. Turpin was sentenced to 12 years, with all expect the first six years suspended.

• A 2006 Pittsburg County conviction of false declaration of ownership in pawn. Turpin was sentenced to six years in prison.