Sunday, November 8, 2009

Stay Safe

Thanks to all who have visited this site, but I will no longer be posting any new information for a undetermined amount of time. I will however leave all information that is currently posted.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sgt. Chad Lakey Arrested for Sexual Battery on Child

An Osceola sheriff's sergeant arrested Friday on a domestic child-sex charge was moved Saturday to the Orange County Jail for his protection.

Chad Lakey, 33, who comes from a family of law officers, was arrested after a South Carolina woman told police he molested her daughter. The incident is said to have happened at Lakey's St. Cloud home in summer 2008. It was reported three weeks ago, St. Cloud Capt. Bret Dunn said.

Bail on the charge of domestic sexual battery of a child older than 12 is $2,500. Lakey, a former St. Cloud police detective, was placed on administrative leave while the Sheriff's Office conducts an internal investigation, department spokeswoman Twis Lizasuain said Saturday.

Lakey is married to St. Cloud police Sgt. Dhalyn Lakey, and his father, Jim Lakey, is a retired Kissimmee police sergeant who lost in the Republican primary for Osceola sheriff in 2004.

Miriam Gallegos & Angel Montoya Charged with Death of 3-year-old

A woman and her boyfriend pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and child abuse in the death of the woman's 3-year-old daughter, who was found in a trash bag.

Miriam Gallegos and Angel Ray Montoya entered their pleas Friday.

Prosecutors say Montoya killed the child while Gallegos was at work then the couple conspired to cover the crime by disposing of the body in a ravine in September 2007.

The couple told authorities the girl was missing.

Authorities say the child died of asphyxiation.

Montoya faces charges of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death, while Gallegos faces charges of accessory to a crime and child abuse resulting in death.

Marcus Cobbs Charged with Starving Toddler to Death

A former member of a religious cult backed out of a plea deal Friday and will face trial on charges that he and others starved a toddler to death because the boy refused to say "Amen" after meals.

Marcus A. Cobbs, 22, had agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge of accessory after the fact. But his attorney abruptly withdrew the plea after a dispute with prosecutors over the conditions of his release.

Cobbs will now face trial in January along with three other members of the now-defunct cult known as 1 Mind Ministries. All four face charges of murder and child abuse in the January 2007 death of 1-year-old Javon Thompson and could face life in prison if convicted.

Had Cobbs pleaded guilty, he would not have admitted any role in starving the child. But he did help the cult members cover up Javon's death, according to a statement of facts read in court to support his guilty plea.

He burned a mattress where the boy's body had lain for several days while the cult members prayed for his resurrection, according to the statement. He also measured Javon's body, washed it, wrapped it in a blanket and placed it inside a suitcase that he bought, the statement said.

The cult members drove to Philadelphia with the suitcase containing Javon's body, where they hid it in a shed behind a home, according to the statement and other court documents. The suitcase remained there for more than a year before police found it.

Javon's mother, Ria Ramkissoon, was part of the cult and pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death. She is expected to testify against the other members and remains jailed. At the time of her plea in March, she held out hope that Javon would be resurrected, and in an extraordinary arrangement, prosecutors agreed to withdraw her plea if that occurs.

Maureen Rowland, Cobbs' public defender, told the Associated Press she thought her client would receive a five-year suspended sentence and be released from jail immediately after pleading guilty.

"He was only taking it because he wanted to get out of jail," Rowland said. "If he was sitting in jail, it wouldn't be a good deal."

But prosecutors said they never agreed to his immediate release. Their tentative plan was for Cobbs to live with a relative out of state until after the trial of the other three cult members, said Joseph Sviatko, a spokesman for the state's attorney's office.

Attorneys did not bring up their disagreement about the conditions of Cobbs' release until after Baltimore Circuit Judge John Philip Miller accepted the guilty plea.

Clearly exasperated, Miller called the attorneys to the bench for a heated conference, after which Rowland announced that she was withdrawing the plea. Miller agreed to throw it out.

"You didn't have an agreement, it appears," the judge said.

Leon Surgeon Charged with Child Abuse

Along Clover Meadows Drive you find many families, many children. Babies (with supervision) to teenagers make the rounds Friday night, a number of them passing a home where a three-year-old was Wednesday when police say something happened to her, something criminal.

“It gave me a gut feeling, like I was sick to my stomach,” says Trudy Murray in front of her townhome. She was one of the people who saw police and paramedics pile on to her street then into a house across the street from hers.

“After awhile, they brought this, this body out,” Murray recalls, “She was kind of limpy-looking, and I thought, ‘Oh, my God.’”

“She had a face mask on, like she was trying to be resuscitated from whatever, you know, the situation was,” adds another neighbor.

The situation, as Chesapeake officers tell it, is this: Leon Surgeon was taking care of the three-year-old while her mom was at work. Paramedics wound up taking her to the hospital for what looked like severe head trauma. The extent of her injuries was so bad, she was transferred from Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center to Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters where she was in critical condition late Friday.

Surgeon, who has a (different) child with the three-year-old’s mother, now faces two charges, including felony child abuse.

“It does happen. I see it. I read it,” Murray notes. “It’s just sad, sad what happens to all these children. They’re being abused, and nobody cares.”

“I don’t know what a three-year-old child could do so bad to make someone actually try to hurt them like that,” a neighbor says. “Evidently, this gentleman has a problem with children or with hisself, or life in general.”

13News went to the home out of which neighbors watched emergency workers bring the three-year-old. Someone who answered the door said she knows Surgeon, but wouldn’t say what her connection to him is, and she denied knowing his relationship to the mother of the three-year-old. She went on to say she believed Surgeon was “somewhere else” when the girl was in trouble Wednesday. Pressed for more information, she closed the door and said, “I’m not talking to you.”

“Go after him. Get him,” Murray says. “If anybody does that to a small child, they belong not even on the street, not even any place near children.”

Edward Kestler Arrested for Trying to Meet Minor

A 29-year-old Bluffton man was arrested earlier this week after driving about three hours in the hope of having sex with an underage girl he met on the Internet, according to investigators.

Edward Joseph Kestler of Baywood Drive was arrested Monday by the Lexington County Sheriff's Department and charged with one count of criminal solicitation of a minor and one count of attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

Investigators say Kestler solicited sex from an undercover Lexington County Sheriff's deputy who posed an as underage girl on the Internet. The deputy was undergoing Internet predator training from S.C. Attorney General Henry McMaster's office, according to a news release Friday from the office.

The Lexington County Sheriff's department is part of McMaster's 50-agency Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Kestler arranged to meet the girl at a predetermined location in Lexington County and was arrested by Lexington County Sheriff's deputies and officers from the Town of Chapin Police Department. Police searched Kestler's vehicle and recovered a laptop computer and a removable drive as evidence, according to authorities.

The age of the girl Kestler believed he was meeting was redacted by police from arrest warrants. He was charged with second-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor, which the state defines as sexual battery against someone between 11 and 14 years old.

Kestler was released Wednesday from the Lexington County Detention Center on $50,000 bond, according to the Lexington County Sheriff's Department.

He faces 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted. The attorney general's office will prosecute Kestler's case.

An April 2007 arrest for assault and battery is Kestler's only prior arrest in Beaufort County, according to the county's online jail log.

Kestler's arrest was the 178th for the task force, which was created in April 2004 to develop a network of state and local agencies to investigate and prosecute Internet child sexual exploitation.

"We know that we have put a dent in this problem just by the sheer number of arrests we've made," said Mark Plowden, spokesman for the attorney general's office. "But we know that for every one that we catch, there are hundreds out there. There is never any loss of perverts on the Internet looking for children. It's a tremendous problem."

More Information:

Samantha Abernathy Pleads Guilty to Child Abuse

A 21-year-old woman who was wanted for missing her sentencing hearing on a felony child abuse charge is back behind bars.

Officers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety arrested Abernathy in Mesa about 10:40 a.m. Thursday, and she was being held Friday in the Maricopa County Fourth Avenue Jail, according to jail records.

Samantha Abernathy, who left her two sons, ages 1 and 3, home alone about 2 a.m. June 14, pleaded guilty to one count of felony child abuse on Sept. 11 in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Abernathy was free on bail, and when she did not show up for her sentencing on Oct. 23, a warrant was issued for her arrest. Abernathy had not been checking in with the court and was not cooperating with Pre-Trial Services, the agency that keeps tabs on people who are free on bail, according to court records.

Abernathy was being held on $5,000 bond, and is scheduled to appear for a hearing on Nov. 5, according to jail records.

Under terms of the plea deal, Abernathy will be on probation for 16 years and spend up to a year in a county jail if the court chooses probation. The court also could send her to state prison for up to 18 months, according to state sentencing laws.

Neighbors called police about 7 a.m. to report that the children were wandering around the apartment complex at University Drive and Gilbert Road in Mesa.

When police arrived at the apartment, they discovered it in filthy conditions and the boys hungry. One of the children reached for dog food as police were investigating, according to police.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Robert Edmunds Jr Arrested for Sexual Conduct with Minor

Warren County Sheriffs arrested a Thurman man early Thursday morning after conducting an investigation into his alleged sexual relationship with a child that occurred for several years.

Robert B. Edmunds, Jr., 37, was arrested when sheriffs pulled his car off exit 15 of the Northway at 4:20 Thursday morning, according to a statement released by sheriffs on Thursday evening.

It was reported that Edmunds was in possession of a rifle and suicidal after he found out about the investigation into his conduct that began on Wednesday.

Police say Edmunds was charged with first degree sexual conduct against a child, arraigned in Glens Falls City Court and remanded to Warren County Jail on $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond.

Edmunds will return to court on November 17.

Gang Rape Suspects in Court

Security was unusually tight Thursday as four young men made their first court appearance in last weekend's gang rape at Richmond High School, a crime that brought anguish to students and leaders in the city and sent shock waves throughout the nation.

Later Thursday, police arrested a sixth suspect in the case. A fifth suspect was arrested earlier but has not been charged.

Three defendants, all of them juveniles charged as adults, were wearing bulletproof vests when they were led into Superior Court by a corps of Contra Costa County sheriff's deputies. The three - one of whom had a black eye - looked morose and said nothing as relatives wept in the gallery.

Only one, 15-year-old Cody Ray Smith of San Pablo, entered a plea - not guilty - during the brief arraignment in Richmond.

All four were ordered by Judge Peter Berger to come back to court Thursday for more proceedings in the rape of a 15-year-old Richmond High girl, who was attacked after she left the school's homecoming dance Saturday night.

Authorities say the defendants are among as many as 10 young men who raped the girl over two hours in a courtyard on the campus, while others watched and took photos with cell phones.

Richmond police arrested a sixth suspect, Jose Carlos Montano, 18, Thursday afternoon near his San Pablo home. Montano was booked on felony charges of rape, rape in concert with force, and penetration with a foreign object. His bail was set at $1.3 million.

Litany of charges
Smith and two other defendants, Marcelles James Peter, 17, of Pinole and Ari Abdallah Morales, 16, of San Pablo, are juveniles being charged as adults. They all face felony counts of rape in concert, otherwise known as gang rape, and penetration with a foreign object. Morales also is charged with felony robbery for allegedly stealing the girl's jewelry.

The boys are being held at juvenile hall in Martinez on no bail.

The fourth suspect, 19-year-old Manuel Ortega of Richmond, is charged with rape in concert, robbery and assault causing great bodily injury. He is being held on $1.2 million bail.

All four face potential sentences of life in prison if convicted.

The hearings began at 9:50 a.m., when the three boys were walked into court by an uncharacteristically large contingent of five deputies. The defendants' hands were shackled to their waists, and their chests bulged from the bulletproof vests.

Court officials said the vests were needed because of the potential for vigilante violence.

"This crime was extremely callous and brutal," said Deputy District Attorney Dara Cashman. "We've been getting expressions of outrage from all over the country."

Morales' left eye was blackened, as if he had recently been hit.

Relatives tearful
Peter's cousin Monquasha Peter of Richmond burst into tears upon seeing him, and her mother, Monica Peter, dabbed her eyes.

Peter's family accused prosecutors of having racial motives. Peter is the only black suspect named in the case. Smith is white, and the other suspects are Latino.

Peter "didn't have anything to do with this," his aunt said. "He said everyone was just walking past, and he just kept moving when he saw something was going on.

"He's a good kid with no criminal record who likes to play soccer," she said. "I am going to prove his innocence.

"My nephew is scared," she added. "He is the one they've arrested who is black, and if they give my nephew a life sentence, I will sue Richmond. There is no way in hell I will see my nephew blamed in this because he is black."

Ortega's hearing immediately followed the boys'. His hands were cuffed behind his back, but he wore no bulletproof vest and had just one deputy minding him.

Two female relatives of Ortega began to cry as he walked in. They declined to comment afterward, other than to say they didn't think he was guilty.

Court records show that in July, Ortega was arrested in San Pablo on misdemeanor charges of possessing a deadly weapon - a dagger - and spraying graffiti on a house and breaking its windows. The case is pending.

A fifth suspect, 21-year-old Salvador Rodriguez of Richmond, has been arrested but has not been charged.

School troubled
Counseling and discussion sessions were held Thursday at Richmond High to let students vent their despair over the crime and the damage they feel it has done to their community's reputation. They and city leaders plan more gatherings in the coming days.

Authorities say the attack on the girl began when a boy who knew her, possibly Smith, called her over to a group in the courtyard as she was walking by to meet her father after leaving the dance.

Smith is a student at Richmond High, and Ortega dropped out in 2007 after his junior year. Around the same time, Morales transferred from Richmond High to a continuation school, authorities say.

The girl joined the young men in drinking hard liquor but refused to have sex with them, authorities say, and then the group attacked her.

Morales' attorney, Ernie Castillo of Oakland, said his client has no convictions on his record.

"This is a horrible tragedy," Castillo said of the gang rape. "It's hard to understand how something like this could happen at an American high school."

Helping rape victim
Richmond High School is accepting cards and donations for the victim and her family. They can be mailed to the school at 1250 23rd St., Richmond, CA 94804-1011. Make checks out to the Richmond High Student Fund, with "For sex assault victim" written in the memo line.

Brian & Hollie Beston Arrested for Raping 4-Year-Old

A Kent man and his estranged wife filmed themselves raping a 4-year-old girl and traded Web images of the abuse with a man facing child-molestation charges in Southern California, King County prosecutors allege.

Brian Beston, 36, and Hollie Beston, 31, of Burien, were arrested by Seattle police last week after the FBI learned of the couple from the child-molestation suspect in San Diego, according to the charges filed Wednesday in King County Superior Court.

The Bestons have each been charged with first-degree child rape, first-degree child molestation, sexual exploitation of a minor and depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. They are being held at the King County Jail on $500,000 each.

King County prosecutors say the unlikely tipster is a 38-year-old man, who San Diego authorities say is facing 42 years in prison for years of abusing a boy he was mentoring. The man, Richard Hockaday, reported the Bestons' alleged abuse "as part of his therapy," according to King County charging papers.

The San Diego man told federal investigators that he met the Bestons on Craigslist. Hockaday advertised himself as a single mother looking for parents in Seattle and San Diego with whom to carry out some sort of "fantasy," charging papers said.

Eventually Hockaday started talking to the couple about traveling to Seattle to have sex with the girl, charging papers said. Hockaday said that he watched Beston, who police say is 6 feet tall and 360 pounds, have sex with the small girl over a Webcam, according to court documents.

Hockaday said he received 40 to 50 pornographic images from the Bestons during the three months they were in contact, charging papers said.

After communicating with the Bestons for several weeks, Hockaday was arrested by San Diego police for investigation of sex crimes there. He's accused of sexually abusing a boy he was mentoring between 2003 and 2007, and the victim contacted police earlier this year to report the abuse, said George Modlin, a deputy district attorney in San Diego.

Hockaday is charged with nine felony counts.

Seattle police searched the Bestons' homes in Kent and Burien last Friday and confiscated computers, cameras, flash drives, cellphones and other electronics, court papers said.

Police believe the Bestons abused the girl for several months, charging papers said. Investigators spoke with Brian Beston and believe that he had sexual contact with the girl once or twice each week between June and late September or early October, charging papers said.

Hollie Beston is also accused of operating the camera and sending the images via a cellphone and the Internet. On her MySpace page, the woman describes herself as "a mommy" and a "proud parent."

Neither Brian nor Hollie Beston has a felony record, Senior Deputy Prosecutor Zachary Wagnild said. The Bestons will appear in court for arraignment on Nov. 10.

The child was taken into custody by state Child Protective Services. Investigators do not believe any other children were abused, said Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson.

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.