Sunday, July 19, 2009

Roger Dale Roberts Charged with Making Child Porn

MUSKEGON COUNTY -- The choice was stark.

Either the child-pornography defendant was lying on the witness stand about alleged police misconduct -- after passing multiple private polygraph tests with the same story -- or two Norton Shores police officers were.

After many hours of hearings stretching over three separate days, Muskegon County Circuit Judge Timothy G. Hicks decided: The police testimony was "closer to the truth."

With that decision Wednesday afternoon, Hicks cleared the decks for a trial starting today for 50-year-old gym owner Roger Dale Roberts, charged with three felony counts of making child sexually abusive material. That's normally punishable by up to 20 years in prison, but in Roberts' case the top penalty is life because he has three prior felony convictions in 1994 for contractor fraud.

Roberts is accused of taking pictures and video of himself having sex with a 17-year-old girl he met through his business. Although 16 is Michigan's age of consent for sexual relations, it's a felony to make pornography of a person younger than 18.

Hicks rejected Roberts' motion to suppress virtually all the evidence against him, including a cell phone with video on it, a digital camera containing multiple still photos, and several glossy photos of the girl. Had the judge granted the motion, it would have made the case much harder to prosecute.

The defense motion was based on Roberts' allegations that last Sept. 19 police Sgt. Mike Kasher and Officer Jim Davis -- investigating the alleged victim's claim that Roberts had raped her -- entered his Seminole Road home without his permission; kept questioning him after he asked twice to call a lawyer; and seized his cell phone and camera without his permission. All would be violations of Roberts' constitutional rights and would bar the use of evidence police obtained as a result.

Roberts, a muscular man with two martial-arts black belts, testified that the officers showed up angry and aggressive, intimidating him into backing out of their way in his doorway as they barged in. He also said Davis snatched his cell phone from his hand and later picked up his camera from the kitchen in a search without permission.

Kasher and Davis testified that Roberts let them into his home, that he never mentioned wanting a lawyer, and that he himself first produced the cell phone to show them video of what appeared to be consensual sex, saying, "Does that look like rape?"

Three independent polygraph examiners, all with some law-enforcement background or training, rated Roberts as "truthful" in his allegations after separate tests administered last month. All three testified at the hearing on Roberts' motion.

Defense attorney A. Scott Grabel of Lansing argued that the polygraph results bolstered his client's credibility in a classic case of clashing stories.

But Senior Assistant Prosecutor Dale J. Roberts argued that the tests are unreliable, as demonstrated by the fact that they're not admissible at trial in Michigan or most other states.

The judge's conclusion about polygraph evidence: "It's not that valid. It's not that good."

Hicks also said he considered the officers' testimony on the stand to be more believable than that of Roberts or Roberts' 12-year-old son, who testified with the same story as his father's.

Byron Korschgen Arrested for Sexual Abuse

A Keokuk man has been charged with sexually abusing two girls.

Police in Lee County said Byron Korschgen, 35, has been charged with two counts of lascivious acts with a child. He is being held in the Lee County Jail on $20,000 bond.

Investigators said a 17-year-old girl told them that Korschgen sexually abused her when she was between the ages of 11 and 14.

A 9-year-old girl also told investigators that Korschgen abused her. Both girls spoke to police in Hiawatha.

SWAT Arrest Ronald Gapski for Sexual Assault

Janesville police arrested a man who was wanted on two counts of sexual assault of a child in Illinois.

Ronald Gapski, 49, was arrested by a SWAT team at 2338 Center Ave. shortly before 11 a.m. Sunday. He reportedly had armed himself with a butcher knife and refused to surrender to officers who went to the address to make the arrest.

According to police, Gapski was found armed with the knife on the roof of the residence. After refusing repeated requests to surrender, Gapski dropped the knife and was subdued by chemical spray before being taken into custody.

Gapski was wanted in Dixon, Ill. He also is expected to be charged with failure to comply with officers attempting to take a person into custody.

Operation Sentinel Arrest 18 for Child Porn

The chirping birds didn't wake the family sleeping inside a brick-faced house in Voorhees Thursday morning as the sun rose on a quiet, suburban street.

Local, state and federal law-enforcement officers, though, were spread out like a noose around the home and stealthily tightened their circle and they passed a patch of sunflowers, a children's tricycle and a pair of pink Hello Kitty rain boots.

A series of loud thuds on the front door echoed through the neighborhood and inside the home, one of New Jersey's most active downloaders and uploaders of child-pornography images and videos woke up.

"This is the police, we have a search warrant," an officer barked after repeated knocks. "Open the door."

Thursday was day four of Operation Sentinel, a weeklong series of predawn raids orchestrated by the Camden County Prosecutor's Office that culminated in 18 arrests across South Jersey, including the gritty streets of Camden and the picturesque borough of Haddonfield.

The suspects had downloaded or uploaded graphic images and videos of prepubescent children being raped, sexually assaulted and abused, authorities said. Some of the victims were infants.

All of the suspects are males. Six of them are juveniles.

"They are married, single and divorced," Camden County Prosecutor Warren Faulk said during an afternoon news conference yesterday. "They are fathers, grandfathers and sons."

Once inside the raided homes, law enforcers gathered all occupants in one spot, most seemingly still half-asleep and confused, then quickly tried to track down where the computers were and who used them the most.

Sometimes they knew who the suspects were right away just from the look on their faces. Other times it was a surprise. In the Voorhees house, a 14-year-old boy was charged.

The noose had been tossed around the home long before officers crept through the grass there. For the past year, investigators with the Major Crimes Unit of the Camden County Prosecutor's Office and the New Jersey State Police have been identifying the homes of suspects uploading and downloading child pornography through an Internet Protocol address.

Police are looking for people downloading and uploading videos of child pornography because the videos bring stronger charges than still images. Investigators also tend to focus on the most graphic videos, often of children who have yet to hit puberty, so there are no gray areas or sympathetic juries.

"We're not going to have a medical expert come in and try to contest the age of these girls," said Gary McBride, a senior investigator with the Major Crimes Unit.

The downside is that those videos have to be viewed by law enforcement, and written summaries of their contents include words such as "father," "ejaculate" and "mouths."

A video of a murder would have been a godsend for Lt. Marty Devlin of the Major Crimes Unit during the hundreds of homicides he investigated in the county and in Philadelphia, where he spent more than 25 years as a detective.

Watching child pornography, Devlin said, is committing the rape and abuse all over again. One video that makes Devlin's jaw clench is of a little girl named "Vicky," who he said seems happy despite "everything you can think of sexually" being done to her by her father.

"Here's a little girl who is probably happy just to be spending time with her father," he said. "Law enforcement got lucky and found her."

When children are found in the homes during the raids, as was the case in the Voorhees juvenile suspect's house, the county's child-abuse unit comes in to question them. It's no big leap, Devlin said, to believe the suspects downloading the porn may some day look for the real thing.

"We're trying to stop young perverts before they become old perverts," he said. "We have plenty more in the pipeline too."

Devlin said authorities are still investigating whether child abuse took place in any of the homes.

Jordan Winczuk, one of the suspects arrested Monday in Oaklyn, had been indicted in March, accused of sexually assaulting five children.

A few miles from the Voorhees house, investigators were combing through suspect John Carpenter's lavish home on Royal Court, a street where luxury cars sat parked in driveways and fake palm trees sprouted from front lawns.

And, Devlin said, the operation hit the streets of Camden yesterday. "You get all walks of life with this stuff." *

Cassandra Butler Arrested for Child Abuse & Making Meth

A Winter Haven woman is facing drug and child abuse charges after Winter Haven police served a search warrant at her home.

Cassandra Hoyle Butler Police served the warrant about 7 p.m. Tuesday at 836 Ave. M S.W. and discovered a methamphetamine lab, according to a police report.

The woman at the home, Cassandra Hoyle Butler, 42, was arrested on charges related to drugs and child abuse, said Sgt. Brad Coleman, spokesman for the Winter Haven Police Department.

Police found two plastic 24-ounce bottles filled with fertilizer, a bottle of hydrogen fluoride, a funnel, plastic tubing and other common components of a meth lab, according to the report of the investigation.

Coleman said police also found a box with syringes inside, materials to smoke methamphetamine and unspecified quantities of the drug in two separate places around the home.

Butler's 3-year-old son was sleeping when police arrived, Coleman said.

Butler was charged with maintaining a dwelling where controlled substances are manufactured, ownership of a residence where controlled substances are manufactured with a minor child present, child abuse and possession of methamphetamine.

The child abuse charge relates to finding the methamphetamine lab in the home of a child.

Butler was taken to the Polk County Jail where she is being held in lieu of $18,000 bond.

On Wednesday, Coleman said he did not know where the child was taken after Butler's arrest.

Usually in such cases, he said, police notify the Department of Children and Families, and officials find a foster home for the child.

Judge Denies Bail for Jeremy Hendrex Arrested for Child Abuse

A judge is refusing to grant bail or house arrest for a man convicted last week of child abuse involving his infant daughter.

The request had been made by the attorney of Jeremy Hendrex, 29, of Sandusky and formerly of Weathersfield who was convicted Wednesday of seriously injuring his infant daughter. His attorney, Patrick Donlin, said in court documents he plans to file an appeal in the case.

Donlin's two separate motions filed Friday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court seeking bail for his client were denied by Judge Peter Kontos.

The first motion asked the court to grant post-conviction bail or house arrest for Hendrex pending his sentencing Aug. 24. The second asked the court to grant post-conviction bail pending an appeal of Hendrex's conviction.

Hendrex had his bond revoked following his conviction Wednesday and remains at the Trumbull County Jail. He faces between two and eight years behind bars for felonious assault and child endangering, both second-degree felonies.

The felonious assault alleged that Hendrex caused ''serious physical harm'' to his daughter, 10-week-old Alyssa Jarome, on Sept. 22, 2007. The endangering charge alleged that Hendrex was reckless in causing injuries to the child.

The jury decided Hendrex intentionally caused the injuries.

Donlin told the jury there was clearly reasonable doubt after conflicting testimony from his medical expert and several experts from Cleveland Clinic offering reports or called to the witness stand by the prosecution.

Doctors who testified for the prosecution said they detected two skull fractures that could have come only from deliberate blows.

A physician from Washington, D.C., testifying for the defense said he found no fractures and that initial seizures suffered by the infant were most likely from a condition developed at birth.

Alyssa, now 2, speaks about only 10 words and is considered developmentally delayed and blind in one eye, caused by retinal bleeding.

In early statements, the defendant admitted nothing. But in final statements captured on tape, he admits the baby hit her head on a bathtub faucet, slipped off his lap on to the floor and tripped over an electrical cord under a rug. He also said the baby fell from his arms onto wooden trim on a sofa in the Weathersfield trailer he shared with the child's mother.

Working to End Child Abuse

In May and June the Pittsburg County Child Advocacy Center provided direct and indirect services to 35 alleged victims of child abuse and their non-offending family members.

The month of April was Child Abuse Prevention Month and it was spotlighted with several community activities, however Child Abuse happens everyday and requires constant attention to address the needs of the child and family and to pursue prosecution of offenders.

Child sexual and/or physical abuse can have consequences that last a lifetime, not just due to physical issues, but also due to emotional and psychological issues.

The Child Advocacy Center helps victims and families address the emotional and psychological issues through referral to appropriate services, such as counseling.

If you are aware of Child Abuse you can report it anonymously by calling locally to Child Protective Services at 421-6101 or by calling the Hotline at 800-522-3511.

Cecilia Miers is the Executive Director of the Pittsburg County Child Advocacy Center. For more information or requests for presentations, call 918-420-CARE (2273) or email Make tax deductible donations to PC-CARE, Inc. and mail to 501 E. Delaware Ave., McAlester, OK 74501.

Justin Patrick Hanson Charged with Child Abuse on 2-year-old

A South Salt Lake man faces up to 60 years in prison after disturbing medical evidence suggested he severely abused a toddler during several episodes of discipline over a two-week period while the child's mother, the man's girlfriend, was out of the house.

Prosecutors charged 20-year-old Justin Patrick Hanson with four counts of second-degree felony child abuse Friday, according to documents filed in 3rd District Court.

The 2-year-old boy and his mother moved in with Hanson and his mother two weeks ago and she would occasionally leave Hanson to babysit her young boy, the document said.

A week into the new living arrangement, scratches and red marks started appearing on the child, the mother told police.

Then this week, she arrived home from a brief visit to the store two days ago to find her two-year-old boy vomiting.

Hanson discouraged his girlfriend from taking the toddler to the hospital, because he said hospital officials "would think he had injured" the child. But she admitted the toddler into Primary Children's Medical Center anyway, the document states.

There, a doctor determined the boy "sustained blunt force trauma to the abdominal area with significant injury to numerous internal organs including the pancreas, liver, gall bladder and lower bowels," the document says.

Due to "severe blows to the lower abdomen" levels of a digestive enzyme in the toddler's pancreas soared from a healthy-high of 130 to 2,038, a 1,468 percent increase, the doctor told investigators.

Elevated enzymes also indicated "traumatic injury" to the child's liver, the doctor reported.

"The gall bladder rests under the liver and could only be damaged by a severe amount of force such as a blow or sequence of blows to the body," the reported said. Several other organs, including the intestines, were determined to be swollen and bleeding.

Child Protective Services called police on Wednesday at 10:40 p.m. after examining the child when he arrived at the hospital, and an hour later South Salt Lake Police officers transported Hanson to their station for questioning.

During Hanson's interview, in which he told police he was the "disciplinarian," he told detectives he "didn't do this on purpose" and said, "If I put these (injuries) on the kid I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do it," the document said.

"And last," the statement said, the doctor, "observed bruising on (the child's) eyelids, anterior abdomen, back, sides, both ears, both sides of mouth, face, forehead and temporal area consistent with physical abuse."

Officers booked him into jail in lieu of $75,000 bail according to court documents and South Salt Lake Police Sgt. Matt Budd.

Budd did not know the toddler's current medical condition.

Other Information:

Steven Byerly Arrested for Sexual Abusing 12-year-old


A Marshall County man has been arrested for sexually abusing a child.

The Marshall County Sheriff’s Office says allegations of sexual abuse involving a 12-year old child prompted an investigation.

Deputies on Wednesday arrested 56-year old Steven M. Byerly of Benton on two counts of first-degree sexual abuse. He was lodged in the Marshall County Detention Center.