Thursday, July 30, 2009

Man Could Face Homicide Charge After 2-year-old Dies

A 26-year-old East Bremerton man who was arrested Monday after a child in his care suffered a head injury so severe he was left brain dead could now be facing a homicide charge.

Life support to the two-year-old boy was discontinued at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma Tuesday night and the child was pronounced dead just after 10 p.m., according to Kitsap County Sheriff's Office spokesman Scott Wilson.

According to deputies, the man called 911 from the family's apartment in the 2500 block of Northeast McWilliams Road on Monday to report that his fiancé's son had fallen against a night table and was unconscious.

Wilson said physicians told deputies the child's injuries were inconsistent with the man's story.

According to Wilson, one doctor said, "Had the child been riding unrestrained in the back seat of a vehicle that was involved in a head-on collision, causing the child to fly through the front windshield headfirst, he would have sustained a less serious injury than he had received."

The state's Child Protective Services (CPS) received a referral on the family June 24 after the boy was taken to the emergency room with a cut on his leg. The boy's mother said the injury occurred while the boy was playing in the backyard, according to Sherry Hill with the state office of Children's Administration.

CPS determined that the referral was low risk, but there appeared to be a lack of supervision for the child and the family was referred for family therapy services, Hill said.

Deputies also determined that the child had fallen from a second-story window about 10 days before his death, according to Wilson. The child was treated for that injury at the emergency room where the mother claimed the boy's injuries had resulted from another playground accident. Evidence of other, older injuries were also discovered on the child's body, according to Wilson.

According to Wilson, the man had three children of his own and his fiancé, a 25-year-old woman, had two, including the toddler who died.

On Monday, deputies and case workers from CPS took the four remaining children into protective custody.

The children have been placed into temporary foster homes, Wilson said.

Deputies are still investigating whether the mother had any involvement in the child's death.

"If we find out that she was implicated in it, or knew about it and did nothing, then charges against her are certainly possible," Wilson said.

The man is being held on $500,000 bail in Kitsap County Jail on investigation of first-degree child assault, but Kitsap County prosecutor Chris Casad said the man could face a charge of homicide.

Charges are expected to be filed Thursday.

Teacher Robert Barth Arrested for Child Porn

An Orange County man was an Army veteran, foster parent, second grade teacher and accused child porn junkie. Robert Barth was quietly arrested on Monday, but the allegations against him came to light Thursday in a federal hearing where his lawyer was trying to get him out of jail.

Barth posted bond around 2:00pm Thursday. Neighbors and parents are stunned by his arrest and subsequent release.

Barth, 57, has taught fourth and second graders at Cheney Elementary School since 2004. The community around that school is in shock and frustrated; they had no idea why he suddenly left the school.

Federal investigators arrested Barth early this week on child pornography charges. Court documents reveal the 27-year Army vet started downloading child porn in 2005.

No one answered at his home Thursday and, later, a car pulled in and the garage closed.

Eyewitness News found a handprint of a small child outside the home and the Department of Children and Families says Barth and his wife have had 19 foster children since 2002, but DCF has had no allegations of abuse.

The school district pulled Barth out of the classroom and put him on paid leave in December when it learned he was under investigation by the FBI.

"It's kind of scary," parent Angel Gonzalez told Eyewitness News.

Gonzalez has two children and lives across the street in from Barth in his east Orange County neighborhood. He describes Barth as quiet, but friendly.

News of his arrest has people in the area wondering how a family man and teacher could get involved in such a disturbing crime involving children.

"I don't like it, kind of dangerous, especially working at school," Gonzalez said.

Barth is out on bond and will be on home confinement. Court documents show he has surrendered his passport.

The school district is working with law enforcement to determine if he'll be fired

Daniel Schillinger Sentenced to 20 Years for Sexual Assault

A 48-year-old Wisconsin Rapids man was sentenced this morning in Wood County Circuit Court to 20 years in prison for sexually assaulting children.

Daniel A. Schillinger was given 15 years of extended supervision to follow his prison sentence and was ordered to pay $840.20 plus $270.35 restitution, undergo any counseling deemed necessary and have no contact with his victims or children younger than 18 for two counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child and one count of repeated sexual assault of a child.

Wood County Circuit Court Judge Edward Zappen Jr. said Schillinger’s lack of understanding about the seriousness of the crime and failure to take responsibility for his actions were factors in the sentence.

According to one criminal complaint, Schillinger repeatedly inappropriately touched and had sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl on several occasions in late 2006 and early 2007.

In the second case, the criminal complaint said Schillinger inappropriately touched two girls and had them touch him.

Teacher Danial Rothbard Arrested for Sexual Assault on 15-year-old

An elementary school math teacher and longtime camp counselor was arrested on July 21 and charged with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl, police said.

Daniel Rothbard, 28, of Merrick, was found in a car with the girl in the parking lot of Westbrook Elementary School in West Islip at 8:25 p.m. last Tuesday, and was arrested. Aside from being a camp counselor in East Rockaway, Rothbard teaches at Willow Road School in Franklin Square.

Detective Lt. Matt Sullivan of Suffolk County’s 3rd Precinct said Rothbard was “in a partial state of undress” at the time of the arrest. Sullivan did not say whether the girl was unclothed as well, but he did say the two were not having sex when they were discovered by a patrol officer.

Investigators learned that Rothbard, who graduated from Lawrence High School in 1999, met the girl through MySpace, and that in online conversations in which he used the name “DJ” or “D to the J,” he told her he was 17. Sullivan said that investigators are trying to determine whether he used the Internet to meet other underage girls.

Rothbard was charged with two felonies, third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sexual act; and two misdemeanors, third-degree sexual abuse and endangering the welfare of a child. He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip on July 22, according to his attorney, Todd Greenberg, and was released after $5,000 bail was posted in cash later that day.

Rothbard, who is married, has been a teacher in Valley Stream District 13 for the past four years. He has worked as a math specialist at the James A. Dever School in Valley Stream and, most recently, at Willow Road School in Franklin Square. He earned tenure in the district in 2008.

In a written statement, District 13 Superintendent Elizabeth Lison said, “The district is currently consulting with its legal counsel regarding this teacher’s employment status.” Lison also noted that Rothbard had undergone a background check before he was hired, and had no criminal record. She described the arrest as “an incident unrelated to his employment with the district.”

Rothbard was also employed for 16 years at Rolling River Day Camp in East Rockaway as a counselor, and then as an assistant supervisor. In a letter to parents, camp directors Rhonda and Mark Goodman wrote that his “employment has been terminated,” adding, “We have no reason to believe he engaged in similar behavior with anyone at camp.” But the letter urged parents to ask children about any inappropriate activity they may have experienced.

Mark Goodman said that Rothbard’s younger brother, Eric, works at Rolling River, as he has for “a lot of years.” Goodman could not confirm whether Rothbard’s wife, who is also a camp employee, would be returning to Rolling River, but said, “She’s taking a few days.”

“We know him as a very decent young man,” Greenberg said, “and we look forward to resolving this case.”

If convicted, Rothbard faces 16 months to four years in prison and the loss of his teaching license. Section 10.55 of New York State Education Law empowers the commissioner of education to revoke the certificate of a teacher convicted of a sex crime.

Rothbard is due back in court on Sept. 22.

Maynor Quintanilla Leon Arrested for Sexual Assault on 6-year-old

A Chillum man caught on videotape sexually assaulting a 6-year-old boy was arrested in Houston on Tuesday after police identified and located his victim, who confirmed that he had been attacked, authorities said.

Maynor O. Quintanilla Leon, 24, of the 5900 block of Eastern Avenue was charged with second-degree sexual offense and child abuse in connection with the attack on the boy, whom police identified as a family friend of Quintanilla Leon's.

Police in Prince George's learned that Quintanilla Leon might be in Texas and contacted U.S. marshals for help in finding him, authorities said. He is being held in Houston and is awaiting extradition to Prince George's, authorities said.

Investigators were tipped off about the attack July 8, when someone delivered a videotape depicting the attack to the department's District 1 station. The person apparently received the tape from someone else and was unable to tell investigators who was on it, said Cpl. Mike Rodriguez, a Prince George's police spokesman. Later, the tape's finder the tape called to identify the man in it as Quintanilla Leon, Rodriguez said. Investigators questioned him, but lacking a victim, could not charge him, Rodriguez said.

An officer showing Quintanilla Leon's picture in District 1 found an address for him, according to a source familiar with the case, who was not authorized to speak about it. The 6-year-old lived at that address and told investigators what had happened, the source said.

Trooper Jay Gruwell Charged with Sexual Abuse on 5-year-old

A Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper faces a felony charge of child sexual abuse based on a 5-year-old girl's allegation that he made her touch his genitals.

Trooper Jay Gruwell, a 23-year veteran of the force stationed in Lusk, waived a preliminary hearing Wednesday and was bound over to Campbell County District Court. District Judge Dan R. Price II has not yet set a date for his arraignment.

An affidavit by a Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation agent states Gruwell, 54, was off-duty and visiting a home in Gillette at the time of the alleged incident in May.

The agent states in the affidavit that the girl told someone in the home that Gruwell exposed himself. She later told an investigator that Gruwell made her touch him.

According to the affidavit, Gruwell told agents that he exposed himself in the girl's presence. He said she fled when he asked her if she wanted to touch him.

Court records show that Cheyenne lawyer Gay Woodhouse represents Gruwell. An attempt to reach her for comment on Thursday was unsuccessful.

Col. Sam Powell, administrator of the Highway Patrol, said Gruwell has been on administrative leave since May 20.

Powell said Gruwell has an unblemished record with the patrol.

"I would remind everyone, whether you are a police officer or not, that you are innocent until proven guilty," Powell said.

Emily Kay Thurber Charged with 11 Sex Crimes Against Children

A 26-year-old Rupert woman charged with 11 sex crimes against children has been scheduled for a preliminary hearing on some of the charges Friday.

Emily Kay Thurber is charged with one count of lewd conduct with a child, one count of sexual battery of a minor child, two counts of sexual abuse of a child, three counts of statutory rape and four counts of criminal conspiracy. Prosecutors say the charges stem from incidents between 2005 and 2008 with two victims. They are split among three separate court cases.

Thurber’s fiance, 30-year-old Joseph David Lentz of Idaho Falls, was accused of taking part in the alleged abuse. He was sentenced in May to four to 16 years in prison for statutory rape and sexual abuse of a child

Lucas Ruric Coe Has Long History with Child Protective Services

The boyfriend of the Spring woman whose 4-year-old daughter died after being beaten and sexually assaulted has a lengthy history with Texas Child Protective Services as well as criminal records for assault with a deadly weapon, criminal mischief and injury to a child, records obtained by the Houston Chronicle show.

Before Emma Thompson's June 27 death, CPS officials had investigated him not once but three times in unrelated cases involving another girlfriend's child.

But child abuse workers said they never knew Lucas Ruric Coe, 27, had been in the same house as Abigail Young and her three children.

It would take Emma's death before CPS learned the truth from Young: that she had been dating Coe since last December. The revelation came this week during a custody hearing in which Young's other two daughters were placed with her estranged husband and his parents.

When CPS was notified June 8 that Emma had blisters on her hands, inside her mouth and in her genital area, investigators were sent to interview Young and examine Emma and her two sisters, ages 11 and 6.

When tests confirmed the young girl had herpes, Young, a registered nurse, said she lived alone with her children, and that no one other than her estranged husband and day care workers had access to Emma, CPS spokeswoman Estella Olguin said.

“Throughout the investigation, Ms. Young denied that anyone other than her and her husband and the day care (center) had access to her children,” Olguin said. “She denied seeing anybody else or having a boyfriend.”

Where investigation stands
So far no one has been charged in the month-old death. Harris County investigators are waiting for the preliminary results of Emma's autopsy, performed 34 days ago in Conroe, before making any arrests.

The girl, who had suffered a skull fracture, a severed pancreas, and vaginal tearing, evidence of sexual assault, was dead by the time she reached a hospital.

“The Harris County Sheriff's Office-Homicide Division is patiently awaiting autopsy results from the Southeast Texas Forensic Center in Conroe before approaching the District Attorney's Office with charges in this case,” said Lt. John Legg, spokesman for the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

“The investigation is ongoing. No one at this time has been officially named nor ruled out as a possible suspect.”

Young has denied having anything to do with her daughter's death. A woman who answered the door at Coe's mother's home in Waller on Thursday said Coe would have no comment.

Awaiting trial
CPS investigated Coe as a possible perpetrator three times — in 2005, 2006 and 2007 — all involving the son of another girlfriend. He has been indicted on charges of injuring that child; the case has yet to come to trial in Montgomery County. The indictment accuses Coe of striking the boy on the head and body with his hand in July 2007, according to prosecutor Frank Barnett.

In January 2005, CPS first investigated injuries to a Magnolia boy, then 5, which included two black eyes, bruising on one cheek, a bruise on his back and a light bruise on one of his buttocks, said CPS spokeswoman Gwen Carter. Coe was living with the boy and his mother.

When CPS discovered the boy's injuries, he was removed from the home.

“What we found was his injuries were not consistent with the explanation given” for how they occurred, Carter said. The case was closed in August 2005 when the mother reported her relationship with Coe had ended.

Same boy, three times
Coe came to CPS' attention again in 2006 when more injuries on the same boy were reported.

This time, the child had bruises to his face, ears, shoulders and chest, as well as a busted lip. He told caseworkers another child at school hurt him and he had fallen, but he also said Coe had twisted his ears. Coe and the child's mother denied bruising the boy, Carter said.

CPS concluded no abuse occurred and closed the case.

“Looking at it, I think there's some follow-up that should have been done,” Carter said of the case. “Just reading this, I think there's some things the caseworker should have gone more in depth with, knowing the history.”

Coe appears for the third time in March 2007 when the agency investigated a complaint of physical and emotional abuse to the same boy, then 7. Again, more bruises.

CPS discovered the boy living with Coe, along with a 2-year-old girl that Coe had fathered with the boy's mother. The agency took custody of both children, who later went to live with grandparents.

Criminal history
Coe's extensive CPS history is matched by a long criminal history.

In addition to the indictment on charges of injuring the boy, Coe has previously been arrested on other charges in Montgomery, Harris and Galveston counties, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, two driving while intoxicated cases and criminal mischief, records show.

He served six years of probation that ended in March for a December 2002 aggravated assault case in Harris County. Tomball police Detective Ron McGullion said Coe was arrested after intentionally crashing his vehicle into a car occupied by several people, badly breaking one man's leg, during a fight over a woman in an Academy store's parking lot.

5-year-old Killed Because Argument Over Breakfast

The father of a 5-year-old boy is in jail in Osceola County. Detectives say he beat his son to death because of an argument over breakfast. The boy wouldn't eat his breakfast at his dad's Poinciana house on Friday and, deputies say, his father beat him to death.

The father's girlfriend is also in jail. Detectives think she may have been the first to hit the little boy with her belt and, when the boy hit back, they say his father went over the edge.

Former Deputy Michael Boulware Charged with Having Sex with Minor

A former Sumter County deputy has now been charged with having sex with an underage girl.

Michael Boulware, 26, has been charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Arrests warrants claim Boulware had sex with a 14-year-old girl near the Wedgefield Community sometime between June 1 and June 30 of this year.

Boulware was arrested earlier this month on three counts of contributing to the deliquency of a minor and three counts of transferring alcohol to a minor.

Deputies say Boulware gave alcohol to three people who were all under the age of seventeen. The claims were first reported on July 16, and Boulware was fired the next day after he was charged.

Boulware was a deputy assigned to the patrol division.