Friday, October 2, 2009

Harold Whittle Arrested for Child Molestation

Maricopa County sheriff's detectives said they believe there may be more victims after a Queen Creek man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of molesting two girls, ages 3 and 6.

Harold Whittle, 61, was booked on two counts of child molestation. He is being held without bond at the Fourth Avenue Jail.

Detectives said the investigation began Monday when the suspected molestations were reported.

As the probe widened, another victim living out of state came forward with similar allegations.

Detectives said Whittle, who is a grandfather of 16, was arrested in Utah in 2005 on charges of lascivious acts against a child living next door.

"This is the worst act against an innocent child a person can make," said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. "I don't care if he's a millionaire or if he has a private jet, he belongs in jail," says Arpaio.

Sheriff's investigators said there could be more potential victims. People with information about Whittle are urged to contact the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office at 602-876-1011.

Howard Dotson Jr Arrested on 96 Counts of Sexual Abuse

A 60-year-old Grand Junction man was held Friday on a $260,000 bond following his arrest on 96 counts related to rape and sexual assault on children.

Howard Dotson Jr. was arrested Monday by the Colorado State Patrol on suspicion of drunken driving, driving without a valid license, criminal impersonation and child abuse.

The child sex assault allegations are contained in a 12-year-old warrant issued in Boone County, W.V.

According to a grand jury indictment issued in 1997 in West Virginia, Dotson was charged with 56 counts of rape, 21 counts of first-degree sexual assault, and 20 counts of third-degree sexual assault.

The alleged crimes involved four female victims and the alleged assaults go back as far as the early 1970s. One of the victims was under age 10 when the alleged assaults began and continued into her adulthood, according to the indictment.

Paul Bess Charged with Aggravated Sexual Battery

A Suffolk teacher's assistant is accused of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old child.

Police say Paul Andrew Bess, 59, turned himself following his indicment on charges of aggravated sexual battery and indecent liberties with a child.

Bess is alleged to have sexually assaulted the child at Nansemond Parkway Elementary School in June.

Bess is on admininstrative leave from his job there, according to officials.

He was hired by Suffolk Schools in August 2006 and a "successful background check was completed. He has since had exemplary evaluations,” according to spokeswoman Bethanne Bradshaw.

Bess is being held in Western Tidewater Regional Jail with no bond.

In a letter to parents Monday, principal Keith Hubbard said the Department of Social Services had conducted an investigation into this alleged incident in August and determined that the charges were unfounded.

He also made sure parents knew counselors are available if needed.


October 5, 2009

Dear Parents & Guardians:

Student safety is a top priority in Suffolk Public Schools, and we want to keep families informed of situations as soon as we are able.

As you may be aware from media coverage, a teacher assistant here, Paul Bess, has been charged with aggravated sexual battery. The alleged incident was reported by a student to have happened in June during school hours. Because of the arrest, Bess has been placed on administrative leave until the allegations are resolved through the judicial system. At the time he was hired in August 2006, a successful background check was completed, and he has since had exemplary evaluations.

In August, the Department of Social Services conducted an investigation into this alleged incident and determined that the charges were unfounded.

I know as a parent such an allegation is troubling. The school works diligently to provide a quality education for all children, and to maintain a safe learning environment where students can trust the adults responsible for their care. In light of this incident, you might find an opportunity to talk with your child about these sensitive issues. If you feel your child would benefit from talking to a guidance counselor now or in the future, please call the school at 923-4167 and share your concerns.

Thank you for your concern and your efforts to keep Nansemond Parkway Elementary School a safe school.


Keith Hubbard


Nansemond Parkway Elementary School

Charlene Stites Pleads No Contest to Sexual Assault of Child

Charlene Stites likely will be heading to jail when she is sentenced in December after pleading "no contest" Thursday to repeated sexual assault of a child.

Stites, 43, of Manitowoc, also pleaded no contest to two of the three counts of felony bail jumping with which she was charged. The third count was dismissed, though she acknowledged responsibility for that count and it may be considered during sentencing.

The county will complete a pre-sentence investigation and a psychological evaluation of Stites in preparation for the Dec. 22 sentencing hearing.

As part of Stites' plea agreement, Assistant District Attorney Jerilyn Dietz said she will recommend no more than five years' imprisonment for the repeated sexual assault of a child charge, followed by six to seven years' probation for the bail jumping felonies.

Stites is one of six in her family to be charged with a sex-related felony stemming from a police investigation earlier this year.

Her husband, Michael Stites, was sentenced earlier this month to 45 years in prison, which includes 20 years in Brown County after revocation of the probation he was on following a 1999 sexual assault of the then-14-year-old babysitter of his children, and 25 years in Manitowoc County after being convicted of sexually assaulting two more young female victims.

Judge Darryl Deets, reading the criminal complaint, indicated on Thursday that Charlene Stites took part in some of the sexual assaults committed by her husband, Michael Stites. The no-contest plea means she admits to having engaged in sexual contact with a now-17-year-old girl at least three times in 2008.

She also is convicted of writing letters to Michael Stites while he was in jail. Part of her bail agreement was that she not contact any known sex offender, which included Michael Stites.

Her attorney, Charles Wingrove, indicated during the hearing that Charlene Stites agreed to the maximum probation sentence for the felony bail jumping convictions because of the nature of the sexual assault charge.

"These are very serious charges, deeply disturbing," Wingrove said.

The sexual assault charge carries a maximum 25 years' initial imprisonment and 15 years' extended supervision, but Dietz said she will recommend no more than five years in jail.