Thursday, October 29, 2009

Former Teacher John Hoffman Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Student

A former northeast Nebraska teacher convicted of sexually assaulting a student has been sentenced to 18 to 25 years in prison.

John Hoffman was sentenced Tuesday in Knox County District Court. He had earlier pleaded no contest to a charge of sexual assault of a child.

Authorities say the 30-year-old Hoffman had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student. Hoffman was a teacher for the Bloomfield Community Schools at the time.

Hoffman was arrested in April after authorities searched his home and found evidence supporting the teenager's accusations.

Information from: KNEN-FM,

Bobby Holloway Arrested for Sexually Abusing Child

Authorities arrested an Albertville man for allegedly sexually abusing a child.

Albertville police arrested Bobby Lee Holloway, 55, Lazy Creek Circle, at 11:47 a.m. Monday and charged him with sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12, said APD spokesman Sgt. Jamie Smith.

Holloway was transferred to the Marshall County Jail under a $20,000 bond, Smith said.

“Holloway was taken into custody on the charge after a lengthy investigation by Chief Detective J.T. Cartee,” Smith said, citing the police report. “The investigation has also uncovered more past incidents, which are also under investigation at this time.”

Smith said the charge is for one victim.

“However, we are still investigating some other possibilities with other victims,” he said.

William Hooker Sentenced to 20 Years for Possessing Child Porn

A Salt Lake City man was ordered to spend almost 20 years in prison for possessing child pornography.

U.S. District Judge Dale Kimball sentenced William Seth Hooker on Tuesday to 235 months behind bars. Hooker had admitted he possessed depictions of children engaged in sexual activity.

Hooker, 47, has prior convictions for child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of a minor and rape of a child for crimes that occurred in 1997. He currently is serving a 150-month federal sentence for a 2007 armed bank robbery.

Kimball ordered that 120 months of the pornography term run concurrently with the bank robbery sentence and 115 months run consecutively to it. In addition, he placed Hooker on 10 years of supervised release after he gets out of prison.

Bradley Preston Found Guilty of Sexual Abuse on 8-Month-Old

A Hancock County jury found a Storm Lake man guilty of second-degree sexual abuse and incest last week in Hancock County District Court.

Bradley Gene Preston, 27, formerly of Britt, was charged in July 2007 with the sexual assault of his eight month-old child. His trial, which took five days, concluded on Oct. 20.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the office of Hancock County Attorney Karen Salic, police were called on June 12 to 114 1st Ave. SW in Britt. Preston told police he was carrying his daughter down the stairs when he slipped on a camera on the steps. He said he thought he might have squeezed her hard enough that it caused her to have a hard bowel movement.

The child was taken to Hancock County Memorial Hospital, but was later moved to Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines for two days of evaluation.

Doctors found perianal bruising on the child and noted blood in her stool. They determined the child's injuries were not consistent with Preston's story.

Preston was the only adult present at the time of the injury, the complaint said.

Preston was free on bond until his court date. He is now being held in the Hancock County Jail pending sentencing, according to Salic.

Judge Stephen Carroll has ordered a pre-sentence investigation. A sentencing date has not been set.

Second-degree sexual abuse is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Incest is a Class D felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Polygamist Raymond Jessop Arrested for Sexually Assaulting Teen

A 38-year-old man from a polygamist sect sexually assaulted a teenager less than half his age at the Yearning For Zion Ranch, a prosecutor charged Wednesday to open the first criminal trial since the ranch was raided.

An attorney for defendant Raymond Jessop disputed the allegation, telling jurors there is no evidence Jessop sexually assaulted the girl in Schleicher County. The location is critical, since prosecutors must prove they have the jurisdiction to prosecute the alleged crimes.

Jessop was one of 12 members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints charged after authorities raided the ranch last year and swept 439 children into foster care. The children were later returned to their parents after an appellate court intervened, but documents and DNA seized during the raid resulted in criminal indictments on charges ranging from failure to report child abuse to sexual assault and bigamy.

All the men will be tried separately.

Both sides presented opening statements Wednesday evening in Jessop's case after 12 jurors — seven men and five women — were culled from a pool of 300, the largest ever called in this tiny county 200 miles northwest of San Antonio.

Assistant Attorney General Eric Nichols said Jessop was 33 when he had sex a 16-year-old girl, who later gave birth to a daughter. Under Texas law, generally, no one under 17 can consent to sex with adult. Nichols did not discuss the relationship between the two in his opening statement, but prosecutors have said in court documents the teen is one of Jessop's nine wives. Jessop has also been indicted on a bigamy charge that will be tried later.

"You will see evidence that establishes that this offense — the offense of sexual assault of (the teen) — occurred just down the road from this courthouse at the YFZ Ranch," Nichols told jurors.

Defense attorney Mark Stevens said prosecutors would not be able to show evidence of a crime occurring in Texas, and he urged jurors not to be distracted by the alleged polygamy or the religious beliefs Jessop and the church. Broadcast images of women from the church wearing prairie dresses and distinctive braids were impossible to ignore during the weeklong raid in April 2008.

"We don't try people because of their hairstyles or their clothes. We don't try people because of their religious practices," Stevens said. "We try people based on evidence, facts and proof."

Testimony in the case is scheduled to begin Thursday. Nichols had previously said the trial would take about two weeks. Prosecutors have prepared to call dozens of witnesses, including law enforcement officials, child welfare workers and church members.

The FLDS is a breakaway sect that is not recognized by the Mormon church. It has historically been based along the Arizona-Utah border, but church members bought a 1,700-acre ranch outside Eldorado about six years ago and began building log cabin-style homes and a four-story limestone temple that is visible from the highway that run's through the town of about 2,000 people.

Sect Leader Warren Jeffs was arrested in 2006 and convicted as an accomplice to rape in Utah for arranging an underage marriage there. He awaits trial on similar charges in Arizona before he can be tried for sexual assault of a child and bigamy in Texas.

Fearing possible prosecution for underage marriages, Jeffs allegedly advised Jessop not to take the 16 year old to the hospital even though she was struggling for days in child labor. One of Jeffs' daughters allegedly married Jessop at age 15 and is the focus of the separate bigamy indictment.

The Mormon church, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, renounced polygamy more than a century ago.