Friday, July 31, 2009

David Smith Arrested for Possession of Child Porn

An employee at a state facility for people with developmental disabilities in Madison has been placed on leave after his arrest Friday for possession of child pornography, police and state officials said.

David E. Smith, 53, of Waunakee is being held in Dane County Jail.

Smith is employed as a therapy assistant at Central Wisconsin Center, where he worked with adults, said Stephanie Smiley, a spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Smiley said it did not appear that Smith was involved in illegal activity at work, but an investigation is ongoing. Smith is continuing to receive his $38,600 annual salary while on leave, Smiley said.

Waunakee Police Chief Kevin Plendl said “hundreds” of images depicting child pornography were found in Smith’s possession during a search of his home at about 2:30 a.m. Friday.

A computer and camera taken from Smith’s home are being analyzed, Plendl said. Plendl said police obtained a search warrant after receiving information Thursday night that Smith had child pornography at his residence.

Michael Christopher Arrested for Child Porn

Cumberland County sheriff's detectives found child pornography on the computer of a Fort Bragg soldier. They arrested Michael Christopher Skeen, 21, of H-6262 Kendenburg St., Friday.

Skeen's home computer contained photos and videos of children engaging in sexual acts with adults, detectives said. They said Skeen is suspected of downloading the images Nov. 12, 2008, and July 15, 2009.

Skeen is charged with five counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and five counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. He was being held in the Cumberland County Detention Center under $125,000 bond.

Jason Hagg Sentenced to Probation for Sexual Assault

The 36-year-old former director of a Mountainside church youth group was sentenced yesterday to two years probation for his relationship with a 16-year-old girl he supervised.

Jason Hagg, the son of the church's spiritual leader and a married father of four young children, appeared before Superior Court Judge Joseph Donohue in a tie and navy blazer. About 10 relatives, along with Hagg's wife, lined the court's gallery in a silent show of support.

The judge said probation was appropriate because Hagg would benefit more from rehabilitation than from jail time. While the legal age of consent in New Jersey is 16, Hagg was charged because he held a supervisory position over the girl.

"He completely understands and has taken responsibility for this act, and understands the impact on his family," the judge said. "Mr. Hagg comes from a family of high moral qualities, and he has those same qualities. ... He is clearly very involved in his children's lives."

Hagg was arrested last year and charged with sexual assault. But as part of a negotiated deal, he pleaded guilty to criminal sexual contact. Besides two years of probation, he was ordered to pay fines and have no contact with the victim. Under Megan's Law, Hagg will also be required to register with police.

His attorney, Remi Spencer, described her client as a "devoutly religious man" who loves his wife and children. She said he has no prior criminal history, and community and church members submitted about 35 letters to the judge attesting to his good character.

"This case has taken a terrible toll, not just on Jason, but on his wife and his parents," Spencer told the judge. "The fact that the allegations are even out there is something that cannot be taken back ... the gossip mill can be far more painful for the person than the actual sentence."

Quoting biblical verses, the 16-year-old girl and her father each provided statements in court. Standing before the judge, the teenager said she was saddened to see "a church family broken up," but that her faith in Hagg was betrayed.

"He was my friend who I looked up to and trusted very much," she said. "It was a blur to me, a whole confusing mess."

In a letter read by the assistant prosecutor, the girl's father said after Hagg's arrest their family saw "relationships, friendships, trust, our church home for the past 32 years, suddenly cut off."

Hagg admitted in court that he groped the girl while he headed her church youth group, according to Assistant Prosecutor Scott Peterson.

The sexual contact with the teenager took place on multiple occasions in April and May of 2008, at the Mountainside Gospel Chapel and at his home in Piscataway, Peterson said.

Detectives learned of the incidents after a friend of the victim informed a school official at the Berkeley Heights high school the teens attended. The official at Governor Livingston High School then contacted police.

Police arrested Hagg while he was at work as a deliveryman with United Rental in Piscataway. He was released from jail after making $100,000 bail last year.

John Robert Starcevich Sentenced to Probation for Child Porn

A Butte man was sentenced to probation and home confinement for possessing images of child pornography found on his computer.

John Robert Starcevich, 52, appeared before U.S. Judge Donald Malloy in federal court in Missoula Thursday.

At an earlier date, Starcevich pleaded guilty to receipt and possession of sexually explicit images of older children. The images were found by a person asked to repair Starcevich's computer.

Malloy sentenced him to serve five years on probation with six months of home confinement. He was also ordered to pay a $100 special assessment fee.

Counselor Alexander Combs Charged with Possession of Child Porn

A youth counselor at a summer camp in Mukwonago has been charged with one count of possession of child pornography, the state Department of Justice announced Friday.

Alexander R. Combs, 22, of Madison admitted to downloading sexually explicit images of young girls on his computer and engaging in online conversations with people who identified themselves as minor females, according to a criminal complaint.

According to the complaint, a search of Combs' computer revealed three images of girls between the ages of 9 and 13.

Combs also said he is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota and that he worked summers at a volunteer at a residential co-ed youth camp in Mukwonago, according to the complaint.

According to a statement from the Department of Justice, Combs was interviewed as part of an ongoing child exploitation investigation by law enforcement agencies in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Mount Pleasant, S.C.