Saturday, July 4, 2009

Weldon Bridges Wanted for Sexual Assault to Child

A man scheduled to stand trial for aggravated sexual assault of a child failed to show up for his trial on Wednesday, an attorney with the district attorney's office said.

Weldon Bridges, charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child, did not appear at his non-jury trial, which was scheduled for 9 a.m., Julie Alston, Angelina County assistant district attorney, said.

Bridges forfeited a $25,000 bond for the two counts.

Bridges, who has also been indicted along with his son for two counts of copper theft, is now charged with bond forfeiture and a warrant has been made for his arrest.

"We would like to find him," Alston said.

The father of the victim in the assault case said since the indictment, another victim had stepped forth and was going to be a witness in the case. Alston confirmed the father's statement.

Bridges had been scheduled for a plea hearing but changed his mind and opted for the trial.


Benito Catello Charged with Sexual Assault

A 75-year-old self-proclaimed prophet and church leader from Las Vegas was arrested Friday on multiple charges of sex crimes against children, Metro Police said.

Benito Catello is charged with 29 felonies, including sexual assault, sexual assault with a victim under 14 years of age and lewdness with a minor under 14 years of age.

Catello, who police described as a self-proclaimed “prophet” and leader of The Ministry, a church run out of his home near Owens Avenue and Mount Hood Street in northeast Las Vegas, is being held on bail of $295,000, according to Clark County Detention Center records.

A 48-hour hearing is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about Benito -- including other possible victims -- to contact the Metro Crimes Against Youth and Family Bureau at 828-3421. Callers who wish to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at 385-5555.

Catello is described as white, 5-foot-5 and 155 pounds with gray hair and blue eyes. Police said in recent years he might no longer wear the beard shown in his mug shot, which authorities said isn’t a recent photo.

Investigators said they weren’t releasing other details Friday but planned to discuss the case on Monday.
Other Information:

Aaron Hedrick Arrested for Sexual Exploitation of Child


A two-week investigation concluded Thursday with the arrest of a Seymour man on charges that his computer contained images of child pornography.

Officers with the Blount County Sheriff's Office charged Aaron Tate Hedrick, 33, of Hinkle Road, with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor, according to a release from BCSO spokeswoman Marian O'Briant.

Hedrick was arrested Thursday at his home after officers with the Hi-Tech Evidence and Technology Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children executed a search warrant at his home. Hedrick's computer, O'Briant said, contained more than 150 images of child pornography.

Hedrick is being held in the Blount County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear at 9 a.m. Friday in Blount County General Sessions Court.

O'Briant said she was unsure of the nature of Hedrick's employment or if he was involved in any children's activities.

David Oberst Arrested for Possession & Distributing Child Porn


A man who lives west of Lantana could face a 25-year prison term if convicted as charged of possessing child pornography.

The arrest of David Oberst, 56, came about during an undercover investigation of the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office and the Boca Raton and Boynton Beach police departments. Detectives looking for people distributing and possessing child pornography in Palm Beach County came across an Internet address that, in the last several months, had logged numerous hits in child pornography sharing, according to Michael Edmondson, the State Attorney's Office spokesman.

Detectives searched Oberst's home on Plantation Boulevard and said they found five instances of images of child pornography.

A sophisticated, computerized data-mining and tracking program used to identify, investigate and prosecute predators abusing children in Palm Beach County helped nab Oberst, according to Edmondson.

Late Thursday night, Oberst was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail charged with five counts of possession of material depicting the sexual performance of a child. Each count carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Phoenix Man & Woman Accused of Trying to Smuggle 2 Girls into the US

A Phoenix man and woman are accused of trying to smuggle two young children into the United States at southern Arizona's Douglas port of entry.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested the pair, identified only as a 22-year-old woman and a 21-year-old man, and turned them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for investigation.

Officers screening passengers Tuesday at the port say they became suspicious of a couple accompanied by girls ages 8 and 4.

Border agents allege the couple was trying to bring in the children for monetary gain.

They say the 8-year-old told them the pair drilled them on things they should say in such a way that she became afraid.

The girls, who are not related, were given shelter while awaiting reunions with their families.

Robert Allen Hooper Arrested for Sexually Abusing 2 Children

Cullman County Sheriff’s investigators arrested a Holly Pond man Wednesday for allegedly sexually abusing two children earlier this year.

Robert Allen Hooper, 68, was arrested on a June Cullman County grand jury indictment for two counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old. Quick could not release any details about the two victims other than that Hooper was acquainted with them prior to the alleged incidents.

Chief Deputy Tony Quick said the indictment developed from an April incident report of the alleged abuse. After conducting an investigation and having the victims interviewed at the Children’s Advocacy Center, investigators decided to wait until the grand jury before they made an arrest, Quick said.

“The victims were not in the home or in the immediate area, so that’s why we waited to present it (case) to the grand jury,” Quick said.

Hooper was incarcerated at the Cullman County Detention Center, but has since been released on a $20,000 bond.

Sexual abuse of a child less than 12-years-old is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Ballarat Man Arrested for Child Porn

A 29-year-old Ballarat man allegedly found with more than 200,000 child pornography images has been released on bail.

Customs and Border Protection investigators arrested the man after executing search warrants at his Ballarat home yesterday.

Investigators seized computer equipment allegedly containing more than 200,000 child pornography images, as well as hundreds of pornographic DVDs and books.

The raid came after DVDs containing child pornography were intercepted at an Australia Post mail screening facility at Tullamarine on June 19.

The man was charged with importing child pornography and was later released on bail to appear at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court at a later date.

Importing child and abhorrent pornography is illegal under the Customs Act 1901.

Customs and Border Protection's national investigations manager Richard Janeczko said importing child and abhorrent pornography materials was a serious crime with tough penalties.

”The materials seized by Customs and Border Protection in such cases depict the real victims of this crime – the children used to make the images,” he said.

”Those who attempt to bring these goods into Australia face investigation, prosecution and penalties, including jail time,” Mr Janeczko said.

The maximum penalties for importing pornography is $275,000 and 10 years imprisonment.

Three Men Arrested in Internet Sting for Possession of Child Porn

Wheaton Police Department detectives teamed up with the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan for an undercover internet sting operation that led to the arrest of two Villa Park men on charges of possession of child pornography.

Arrested and charged were Brian J. Baker, 19, of Carol Stream, Joel L. Hethcoat, 23, and Michael Lombardo, 22, both from Villa Park, according to a statement from the Wheaton Police Department. Arrests took place June 24, but police said each will proceed separately through the DuPage County court system, as the cases are not related.

All suspects remain in custody at the DuPage County Jail.


Former Teacher Kenneth Shadoan Facing 25 Counts of Child Porn

A former Paris math teacher has been indicted on two additional counts of possessing child pornography, this time in federal court.

According to the indictment, 31-year-old Kenneth Shadoan had images of minors engaging in sexually explicit activity in Bourbon and Pulaski counties between 2007 and 2009.

Shadoan is already facing 25 counts of child porn.

During a preliminary hearing, prosecutors said he solicited a 17-year-old male student.