Saturday, July 18, 2009

'Operation Sentinel' Arrest Several New Jersey People for Child Porn

Nearly two dozen people in southern New Jersey have been charged with downloading and sharing child pornography.

Numerous search warrants were executed this week as part of "Operation Sentinel," a yearlong initiative by the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. It was designed to track and prosecute people hosting child porn on their computers.

County, federal, state and local authorities executed warrants at homes in 14 of the county's 37 municipalities in raids that concluded Friday.

The 21 people charged range in age from teenagers to the elderly and include a soldier, a police dispatcher, a truck driver and a retired executive.

Eighteen people were arrested and released on bail this week. Investigators were searching for three others.

More Information:

Matthew David Soileau Arresed for Child Porn

A 30-year-old Maryville man was arrested Friday on a count of sexual exploitation of a minor after authorities allege child pornography was found on a computer in his home.

Matthew David Soileau, 30, Mountain View Circle, Maryville, was the subject of an undercover investigation by members of the Blount County Sheriff's Office Hi-Tech Evidence and Technology (HEAT) Unit and Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) that spanned several days.

According to information from the sheriff's office, investigators executed a search warrant at Soileau's Maryville residence and seized his computer. Investigators reported finding several images of child pornography on the computer. Soileau was arrested at the residence after authorities served the search warrant.

Former Deputy Marvin Thompson Arrested for Child Porn

A former Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy was arrested Thursday on federal child pornography charges, according to authorities.

Marvin Thompson, 57, was booked into the Pinellas County Jail at 5:20 p.m. and was being held for the U.S. Marshal's Office, jail records show.

According to papers filed in federal court on Wednesday, Thompson had been indicted on charges that he accessed, or tried to access, child porn on three occasions last year in Thonotosassa. He is also accused of having child pornography in his possession, documents say.

Thompson was ordered to hand over his desk top computer as part of the investigation.

According to Vida Morgan, a spokeswoman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Thompson worked for the agency from Feb. 6, 1982, to Sept. 28, 2003. He left the agency of his own volition.

Young Victims Of Abuse Remembered

Visitors gathered at Metropolitan Park on Saturday to see a beautiful flag display with powerful meaning. Each flag represented a child who died from child abuse.

Last year, 1,530 children died from child abuse or neglect; 146 of those children lived in Florida. There was one flag for each child who died.

"The first thought was it is so lovely to see all these flags, but when you see the reason that they're here, it's very heartbreaking," said Martha Braddock.

Saturday at Metropolitan Park, visitors remembered the children, and learned how to make sure kids like them don't suffer the same fate. Members of the National Exchange Club put the symbols up and held the event. The purpose wasn't just to remember those children lost, but to raise money for child abuse prevention. Proceeds went to the Exchange Club's programs that educate parents on how to take care of their kids.

Among the children remembered was 22-month-old Kyla Hall. The toddler died last year. The medical examiner said she was hit in the chest so hard that her little heart ripped right open. What happened to Kyla was the focus of a Channel 4 investigation. Kyla was returned to her father, although she had been severely abused as an infant. He is now charged with her murder. Stories like Kyla's drew people to the healing field on Saturday, in hopes that money raised would help stop children from being abused.

Tom Boyd told Channel 4's Vic Micolucci he believed education was key. He said, "We think that all we need to do is change the diapers and get out of that stage and everything will be home free, and that isn't exactly how that goes."

If you would like to find out how you can help the Exchange Club prevent child abuse, you can call Amanda at the club at 904-353-3585.

Former Youth Coach William Jacobsen Sentenced to Life for Sexual Abuse


A life prison term has been ordered for a former youth baseball coach in Central Texas convicted of sexually abusing boys.

A judge in Belton on Thursday sentenced 32-year-old William Thomas Jacobsen, formerly of Little River-Academy.

A jury in June convicted Jacobsen of two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child, in allegations brought by boys related to their 2007 visits to the man's home.

Prosecutor Leslie McWilliams says two victims described the abuse during Jacobsen's trial, while two others offered testimony during the sentencing phase.

Jacobsen had fled to Mexico after the allegations became public, but was arrested last August.

Kristofer McMullen Sentenced to 30 Months for Child Porn

A St. Charles man was sentenced to 30 months in prison and must register for life as a sex offender after he pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography on Friday.

Kristofer R. McMullen, 30, of the 1800 block of Walnut Street, St. Charles, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography stemming from a December 2007 search of his home. At that time, St. Charles police seized two computers that later turned up the presence of several movies and videos of children engaged in sex acts.

Abby Weyhrich Arrested for Child Abuse

KinderCare Learning Center has notified parents it suspended a teacher but would not tell parents which teacher is suspected of injuring a child.

A KinderCare parent, who asked not to be identified because his child still attends the center, expressed concern about the secrecy.

The teacher, according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office, is 27-year-old Abby Weyhrich of Centennial.

Weyhrich faces a single count of misdemeanor child abuse for an alleged altercation with a 4-year-old girl at the KinderCare Learning Center at 16808 Village Center Drive.

According to police, Weyhrich left marks on the girl's arms on July 10.

Police said the center's director told them Weyhrich grabbed and held the girl's arms in self-defense.

Investigators took photos of the girl's injuries and issued a citation to Weyhrich, who did not respond to a request for comment.

Center director Laura Kasten declined to discuss the situation.

KinderCare spokesperson Beth Woodward called it an "isolated incident" and defended the decision not to identify the suspended teacher to concerned parents.

"In every situation, legally we still are required to protect that person's confidentiality and privacy rights," Woodward said. "In any investigation or allegation, we do not name teachers."

Woodward said KinderCare staffers are not trained in safe restraint methods and are not allowed to use such methods on children.

Weyhrich appeared in Douglas County Court Thursday and has a pre-trial conference scheduled for next month.

Rev James McDevitt Arrested for Sexual Abuse


Authorities in Delaware County lodged sexual abuse and other charges against a Roman Catholic priest with ties to the Capital Region who is accused of spanking several males ranging in age from 11 to 19.

The Rev. James J. McDevitt, 62, was serving as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Margaretville, located roughly 20 miles south of Schoharie County, before the investigation that led to 20 misdemeanor charges.

According to the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese, McDevitt was ordained in 1997 and then served as associate pastor at St. Pius X Church in Loudonville.

He served as chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital in Troy from 1999 to 2000 and then as associate pastor at St. Mary’s in Ballston Spa.

Details of the investigation were not immediately available Friday, but an officer at the Delaware County Sheriff's Department said McDevitt is accused of spanking the males.

The charges relate to six boys in Delaware County, and investigators allege McDevitt had criminal contact with two of the alleged victims roughly three years ago.

McDevitt is charged with six counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of third-degree sexual abuse, seven counts of forcible touching and six counts of endangering the welfare of a child, according to the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department.

When the investigation began, McDevitt requested a voluntary administrative leave and it was granted, Albany Roman Catholic Diocese spokesman Ken Goldfarb said Friday.

Goldfarb said when on administrative leave, priests are not allowed to celebrate Mass, administer other sacraments nor appear in public as a priest.

Other priests will fill in at the Margaretville church, Goldfarb said.

Goldfarb said the diocese has not received any complaints about McDevitt in his 12 years as a priest.

McDevitt served as pastor of St. Peter’s in Delhi, Delaware County, before being appointed pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Margaretville.

Jerome Alan Spencer Arrested for Sexual Battery

Pinellas County sheriff's deputies have arrested a Safety Harbor man they say committed multiple sex crimes against two children, including sexual battery on at least one of them, during the past decade.

Jerome Alan Spencer, 55, of 3104 Avocet Place faces six felony charges: one count of capital sexual battery, three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, one count of false imprisonment and one count of sexual performance by a minor. He is being held without bail at the Pinellas County Jail.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Spencer committed the offenses between December 2000 and July 3 of this year.

The victims are a 7-year-old girl and a 15-year-old girl, authorities said. The crimes occurred at a private home in north Pinellas County. Their names are not being released because of their ages and the nature of the crime.

In August 2006, deputies say, Spencer committed sexual battery on a 12-year-old.

That same month, Spencer brought one of the girls into an empty apartment, threatened violence and told her "if she screamed he would duct tape her mouth shut," authorities say.

That victim was forced to take off her clothes, after which Spencer made a video of a sexual nature of the girl, deputies said. According to deputies, Spencer admitted after his arrest to bringing the child to the location and making a video.

From June 27 until July 3, Spencer committed lewd and lascivious acts against one of the girls "multiple times," deputies say.

Crimes against the 7-year-old occurred recently while her mother was out of the house, authorities say.

When the mother returned and discovered what happened, she contacted police. After interviews with detectives, the 15-year-old victim also was identified.

Spencer was arrested about 5:30 p.m. Thursday at 39650 U.S. Highway 19 in Tarpon Springs, where he is a maintenance worker for a condo association.


Drunk Omaha Woman Arrested for Kicking & Bitting 11-year-old

Omaha Police arrested a 30-year-old Omaha woman for two counts of misdemeanor child abuse.

According to police reports, officers responded to a report of child abuse near 28th and Bedford Avenue on July 10.

A nine-year-old girl told police her mother scratched her on the chin and kicked her in the back.

Officers were also told the girl’s 11-year-old sister suffered “multiple bites on the left arm and hand.”

The report states the mother arrived home “intoxicated” and was upset with the children. She then allegedly argued with her children and bit the 11-year-old child.

Both children were taken to Creighton Medical Center for treatment.

According to the report, five children were removed from the mother’s home and placed in protective custody with Project Harmony.

The mother was booked for two counts of misdemeanor child abuse and an outstanding misdemeanor warrant.

Paramedic, Cook & Store Employee Arrested for Child Porn

A paramedic, a cook and a store employee were arrested Friday in separate child pornography investigations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI.

Schertz emergency medical technician Stephen S. Henry, 28, was suspended without pay in May after he was arrested by Schertz police on a charge of possessing child pornography. On Friday, ICE agents rearrested Henry, who posted bail in the state case, after a federal grand jury in San Antonio indicted him Wednesday on 13 child-porn related charges.

ICE agents also arrested Jose Ivan Ortiz, 35, a cook at La Mansion del Rio, on a separate indictment charging him with distributing and possessing child pornography.

Separately, FBI agents took Guy Frank Coligan, 57, into custody after an investigation that authorities say uncovered child porn on his home computer dating to December 2005.

Coligan, who worked in the lawn-and-garden department of a local Sears, is charged with distributing, receiving and possessing child pornography.

After he was arrested Friday, Coligan reportedly told FBI agents that a new computer he bought also had child pornography, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bettina Richardson said during his initial hearing.

The trio's indictments outline a litany of images and videos relating to child porn that were uncovered during forensic examinations of computers.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Pamela Mathy ordered all held pending bail hearings next week.

Schertz EMS director Dudley Wait said Henry first volunteered with the department in 2005 and has been a full-time EMT since 2007. He had been described as a good paramedic by his peers.

Wait said his department will re-evaluate Henry's case in light of the indictment to determine if he should be fired.

Wait said no evidence has been found that Henry downloaded child pornography on any city computers or while he was on the job. Wait also said no evidence has surfaced that Henry did anything inappropriate with a patient while carrying out his EMT duties.

“That was a big concern because of the public trust that being in EMS carries with it,” Wait said.

Louis Paul Jr Arrested for Sexual Abuse

A 66-year-old man has been charged with four misdemeanors for allegedly sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl and making inappropriate comments to two other girls, police said.

Louis A. Paul Jr., of county Route 68, faces a charge of third-degree sexual abuse and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child after an investigation by the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

He is accused of fondling a 13-year-old girl he knows, and making sexual comments to the girl and two other teenage girls, said Washington County sheriff's Investigator Bruce Hamilton. Hamilton said he was arrested on similar charges in connection with a different girl in February, and the other girls came forward after learning of his arrest.

The sexual abuse charge is a felony and not a misdemeanor because he is not accused of forcing the girl to have sexual contact, and she is over the age of 11. If she was under 11, the sexual abuse count would be a felony.

Paul was released pending prosecution in White Creek Town Court. Hamilton was assisted in the case by Washington County Child Protective Services.

Keith Benoit Arrested for Child Porn

A 56-year-old Civil Service employee from Cannon Air Force Base was arrested Friday after investigators found child pornography on his computer.

Keith Benoit is charged with 100 counts of sexual exploitation of children and is being held on $500,000 bond, according to a press release from the Curry County Sheriff’s Office.

As part of an ongoing investigation, deputies from the sheriff’s office, assisted by the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office, served a search warrant at Benoit’s residence on Sandstone Drive.

During a preliminary scan of his home computer, officers said they found 100 images of pre-pubescent children engaged in sex acts. Police said the majority were under age 5 with some as young as infants.

The computer was seized and an analysis will be conducted.

The release said more charges are anticipated.

Spec. Christopher Young Will Spend 20 Years in Prison for Child Abuse

A Fort Leonard Wood soldier will spend the next 20 years in military prison for an off-post incident last fall near St. Robert that severely injured his 13-month-old stepson.

Post officials announced recently that Spec. Christopher Young was convicted on July 10 of one specification of maiming. According to Fort Leonard Wood officials, Young pleaded innocent to maiming his stepson “by shaking and hitting him, causing blindness, hearing loss and necessitating a feeding tube,” but despite his plea, was found guilty in a general court martial under Article 124 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Young, 26, had been a petroleum supply specialist assigned to the 193rd Brigade Support Battalion of the 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade at Fort Leonard Wood. His sentence is the maximum possible for the offense: 20 years confinement, reduction to the lowest enlisted rank of E-1, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge.

The case began ten months ago when Pulaski County sheriff’s deputies arrested Young on Sept. 30 following a child abuse incident on the afternoon of Sept. 28 in which he was accused of striking his stepson on the head and body.

Pulaski County prosecutors released jurisdiction to the Army on Oct. 17. That’s common in complicated off-post cases involving servicemembers since military prosecutors typically have greater investigative resources at their disposal and potential penalties are often far higher than what would be likely in a civilian court.

Unlike many Fort Leonard Wood servicemen, Young has ties to the state and his hometown is in Patterson.

According to Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department records, 911 dispatchers received a call at 2:47 p.m. on Sept. 28 but asked for law enforcement intervention because they believed the report of a child breathing but not conscious “doesn’t sound right.”

Dispatch logs report the child’s father claimed his son had fallen from a toy earlier in the day. When deputies arrived at the home on Top Drive east of St. Robert about 3 p.m., they called in a senior detective who specializes in child investigations. Ten minutes later, medics requested a helicopter for their patient who was airlifted to Springfield for emergency treatment. Police in Springfield were then asked by Pulaski County deputies to go to a hospital in their city and assist until the sheriff’s deputies could arrive.

Young wasn’t immediately taken into custody, but he was arrested by sheriff’s deputies at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 30 in the Fort Leonard Wood JAG office and taken to the Pulaski County Courthouse. According to court documents, he was arraigned and pleaded innocent to a Class C felony charge of abusing a child that accuses him of knowingly inflicting cruel and inhuman punishment on the child by “hitting and/or shaking” the child “causing external closed head injuries and injuries about the face, head and body and internal injuries to the brain and eyes.”

According to a press release issued at the time by Pulaski County Sheriff J.B. King, Young was held in his jail on a $100,000 bond by civilian authorities until military authorities took charge of the case.

The military justice system doesn’t allow bail and Young was transferred to a military prison at Fort Knox last fall.