Monday, August 04, 2008

Boone Officer Charged with Sexual Exploitation of a Minor

During an investigation by the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department, a former Boone Police officer was arrested and charged with six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

According to the State Bureau of Investigation, 34-year-old Marvin Eric Tart of 113A West Virginia Street, Boone, was arrested on Friday. The S.B.I. charged Tart with six counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

Noel Talley of the North Carolina Department of Justice said the charges stemmed from child pornography possession.

Talley also explained the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department was involved because they are part of the North Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce. The organization is headed up by the S.B.I., and according to Talley, they investigate online crimes against children, which includes solicitation of minors or child pornography.

The Boone Police reported that Tart resigned from the department on Thursday. Since Tart’s resignation, he receives no salary from the Town of Boone.

Although personnel regulations restricted him from making many comments regarding Tart, Boone Police Chief, Bill Post, said he requested assistance from the S.B.I. after learning about possible criminal activity in Boone. Post explained, “When we found there were potential criminal offenses that occurred in Boone, I requested the S.B.I. to come in and work that case.”

Tart had been a member of the Boone Police Department since 1999.

Former Officer Charged with Rape

A former Baltimore police officer has been arrested on charges that he forcibly raped a 16-year-old girl last year while on the force, officials announced yesterday.

Rohan Mays, 27, of the 800 block of Rose Haven Road near White Marsh was indicted Friday by a city grand jury on a charge of second-degree rape.

The charge means no weapons are alleged to have been used in the crime.

The rape is alleged to have occurred between June and July last year. Baltimore police spokesman Donny Moses confirmed yesterday that Mays was on the force during that time.

Mays resigned from the Police Department last month, prosecutors said.

The former officer is being held without bail until a hearing is set. Burns declined to say where Mays is jailed.

In January, a Baltimore officer, William D. Welch of Timonium, was accused of having sex with a 16-year-old girl inside a station house. In that case, prosecutors dropped a second-degree rape charge in exchange for Welch's no-contest plea to misconduct in office. Under that plea, he did not admit guilt but conceded that the state had enough evidence to convict him.

Welch resigned from the force.

DetectiveThomas Sadler Accused of Fondling Prostitute While on Duty

A sheriff's detective who is accused of forcibly fondling a prostitute while on duty was named in 2003 lawsuit alleging similar behavior with a woman he pulled over in Santee, according to court records.

Thomas J. Sadler, 47, a 20-year veteran of the county Sheriff's Department, was arrested by San Diego sex-crimes detectives Thursday afternoon at the Santee home he shares with his wife.

“Obviously, it's very disturbing to all law enforcement,” San Diego police acting Assistant Chief Jim Collins said in a news conference yesterday. “Especially when he's on duty with his police car and showing his badge and weapon.”

El Cajon attorney Eric Hart, who represented the woman in 2003, said he's upset that Sadler remained on the street after the sexual-battery lawsuit five years ago. The case was settled out of court in 2004, and the terms are confidential.

“We spent a lot of time with internal affairs before we filed the lawsuit,” Hart said yesterday. “Our only goal was to see justice served, and they completely blew us off. We suspected someone else would be a victim.”

Undersheriff Bill Gore said yesterday that he could not discuss prior personnel issues and had not reviewed the lawsuit, which named Sadler and the county.

In the most recent case, Sadler, who is assigned to the Lemon Grove station, was on duty and driving his assigned, unmarked Ford Taurus at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 6 when he pulled up alongside a prostitute sitting on a bus bench on El Cajon Boulevard in North Park, according to an arrest warrant.

He identified himself as a “sheriff's officer” and ordered the woman to get into his car. He drove her to Camino Del Rio South in Mission Valley, next to Dave & Buster's restaurant, and parked. Police said he fondled the woman's genitals, then pulled up her bra and groped her breasts.

At least three witnesses saw the incident and called 911 to report a kidnapping in progress, Collins said.

When the woman was finally released, she tried to take a picture of the car's license plate, but Sadler took the phone and disabled it, according to the arrest warrant.

The woman called San Diego police six days later to say she had spotted Sadler and had written down the plate number of his car.

Police went to the Lemon Grove station to question him, but he refused to give a statement, the warrant said.

The next day, the woman and two witnesses identified Sadler in a photo lineup.

Sadler was charged Thursday with sexual battery by restraint, assault and battery by an officer and false imprisonment. He was released on $250,000 bail.

Collins said part of the reason the investigation took so long was because Sadler was a peace officer. “Obviously, when a law enforcement officer is involved, we make sure we have pretty good information to make the charges,” he said.

Sadler has been placed on unpaid leave pending the outcome of the case.

An arraignment is scheduled for Thursday in San Diego Superior Court.

“We're all saddened,” Gore said. “But we take it very seriously because of the need to have the public's confidence.”

Nicole Bowman, 34, said yesterday that the incident was eerily similar to an encounter she had with Sadler in 2002.

In a federal lawsuit, she claimed Sadler pulled her over in a dark Vons parking lot on Mission Gorge Road after she left a Santee bar about 11:30 p.m. June 29, 2002

She had not been drinking, Bowman said, but only stopped at the bar to take care of details for her birthday party to be held there the following day.

Sadler found a friend's methamphetamine pipe in her car and then said he'd have to search her. He put her in the patrol car and drove deeper into the parking lot behind some bushes, the lawsuit states.

Outside the vehicle, he pulled up her halter top and bra, exposing her breasts, and shined his flashlight on her chest, the lawsuit said. Having been told that Bowman wasn't wearing underwear, he then pulled out her waistband and shined the flashlight down the front and back of her pants, according to the lawsuit.

The incident ended, Bowman said, when he drove her back to her car and wished her a happy birthday.

“I was shaking,” Bowman recalled. “I didn't understand what his intent was.”

Sadler denied the allegations in court records.

Bowman filed a complaint with the sheriff's internal affairs investigators, where it became her word against his.

“How do I report a cop to a cop and expect anything other than what I got out of it? They thumbed their nose at me,” Bowman said.

Officers Indicted on Charges of Aggravated Assault

Two local law enforcement officers were indicted last week on charges stemming from an incident involving firearms that occurred at a party at one of their homes, authorities said Saturday.

Metro Police officer Michael Rocha, 25, was charged with felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly threatened a person with a weapon during a party at his home on April 13, authorities said.

Harris County Precinct 6 Reserve Deputy Enrique Torres, 24, who also is a former Metro employee, was charged with discharging his duty weapon, a misdemeanor, at the same party, authorities said.

Rocha, who has been a patrol officer for Metro for two years, was discharged about six weeks ago after an administrative investigation into the incident took place, said Metro Police Chief Tom Lambert.

Rocha does not have a previous record of misconduct with the department, Lambert added.

"We have very high expectations and standards for our employees," Lambert said.

Torres was fired by Metro Police after he was involved in an incident for which the details are unknown about a year ago, Lambert said.

Harris County Precinct 6 spokesman Danny Perez said Torres has been with the constable's office since March and was released from duty following the indictment.

"Anytime this happens with an officer it's disappointing because it's a reflection on our department, " Perez said.

UPDATE: Caldwell Officer free on Bond


A Caldwell Police sergeant charged with sexual battery was in a Canyon County court today.

Dennis Schat, 38, posted a $100,000 bond and was released from jail.

He is accused of fondling a 17-year-old girl in May while off duty.

Schat is not allowed to have contact with his victim or any other minors under 18.

The case is being handled by the Ada County Prosecutor's Office due to a possible conflict of interest in Canyon County.

Officer Accused of Knowingly Making False Statements


Another officer in the Hunterdon County Sheriff's Department has been accused of misconduct by the state, according to authorities.

Investigator John A. Falat Jr., 36, of Bayonne was charged Tuesday, July 29, with "knowingly making false statements" by "providing false, inaccurate, or incomplete answers" to questions on his employment application with the Hunterdon County Sheriff's Office, according to a summons complaint acquired from the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office.

Prosecutor's Office Deputy Chief Dan Hurley said Falat was released on his own recognizance after his arrest.

"We are not commenting on the matter," Hurley said.

"We are in the dark on it," said Undersheriff Michael Russo, who noted that he was authorized to speak on behalf of Sheriff Deborah Trout. "We honored a subpoena from the prosecutor's office."

Russo said the sheriff's office had reviewed Falat's records, and that the summons was "a complete surprise" to them.

"We have no idea what it's about, he's still on the job," Russo said. "The sheriff stands behind investigator Falat."

Falat did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

In addition to Falat, sheriff's investigator Gregory Ezekian Jr., 32, also has been accused of making false statements on his employment application for the department.

Officer Accused of Threaten


An arrest warrant will be issued next week for a College of the Mainland police officer accused of retaliating against a college employee, Galveston County District Attorney Kurt Sistrunk said.

On Wednesday, a grand jury issued a true bill in the case against officer Kent Dowdy, meaning the grand jurors found sufficient evidence for Dowdy to be charged and prosecuted.

Dowdy could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon, and Sistrunk declined to discuss details of the case.

State law defines retaliation as a felony that occurs when someone harms or threatens another person who is a public servant, witness, prospective witness or informant.

Dowdy is accused of retaliating against Jennifer Johnson, 34, an employee in the college’s human resources department.

A Texas City Police Department report shows Johnson went to the police department July 18 to complain about threats, and the case was referred to College of the Mainland police.

College officials declined to discuss details of the case but said they were cooperating with the district attorney’s office. College spokesman Jim Higgins said the case is unrelated to an ongoing investigation and lawsuit over the college’s Center for the Advancement of Process Technology.

Officer Accused of Drunk Driving Has History of Speeding Tickets

A city police officer accused of driving drunk and crashing into three parked vehicles Wednesday night has a history of speeding tickets and refusing to take a blood alcohol test amid suspicion of driving while impaired.

Officer Paul V. Khoury, 44, of Brockton also refused to take a blood alcohol test after the most recent incident and will lose his license for a year. He was off-duty at the time of the 10:45 p.m. Wednesday accident.

Khoury had slurred speech, and a police sergeant at the crash scene detected a “slight odor of alcohol” on his breath after the crash on Rockland Street, according to papers filed in Brockton District Court.

Khoury pleaded innocent at his arraignment Thursday to charges of operating under the influence, a second offense, and failure to use care while driving. He was freed on personal recognizance. The case was continued to Aug. 11.

Khoury, who became a police officer in July 1997, was taken after the crash to Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center, where he refused a blood alcohol test, according to court papers.

As a result, his driver’s license has been suspended for one year for refusing to take the test.

In 1990, Khoury lost his license for 120 days for refusing to take the blood-alcohol test, according to the state Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Khoury went through a DWI alcohol program in Yarmouth in 1984. Both cases occurred before Khoury became a police officer.

Khoury’s driving record also includes speeding tickets in 1990, 1991 and 1984 in Bourne, Brockton and Yarmouth, a surchargable accident in 2001 in Easton and failure to display his license plate in 1991, according to Registry records.

A surchargable accident means his auto insurance premium was raised for a period of time.

Police Chief William Conlon said Khoury will be working inside the station and will not be on the street while the case is pending.

Conlon said Khoury, who normally works the day shift in dispatch, was off-duty and driving his personal vehicle at the time.

In the crash, one parked vehicle was pushed through a fence, while another was spun around on the street, witnesses to the aftermath said.

“Everything was a mess,” said Paula Gebrayel, whose son’s vehicle was struck. “It looked like a war zone.”

She said the impact knocked the wheels off cars and left her son’s vehicle totaled.

She said her son, Michael, had just parked his Jeep on the street and was walking into a friend’s yard when the crash occurred.

“A minute earlier, he would have been in his car,” she said.

She said she was stunned by the damage to the vehicles.

“I couldn’t imagine how anybody could have made it through that,” she said.

Khoury told officers he was driving north on Rockland Street and hit his gas pedal by mistake, causing him to lose control of his vehicle, according to papers filed in court.

He said he had “only” two beers about two hours before the crash, the court papers noted.

Khoury was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries and then arrested, the chief said. Khoury was bailed from the hospital.

“We had probable cause to make an arrest,” Conlon said.

The chief declined to say what the probable cause was.

Officer Ben Jones III Facing Fraud Charges

A Tutwiler police officer is facing felony false pretense and fraud charges in Quitman County on an insurance claim for a fire investigators say never occurred at a residence where they say he never resided.

Ben Jones III, 39, of Marks was arraigned Thursday morning before Judge Charles Webster on the two-count indictment, according to a news release from the attorney general’s office.

According to the indictment, Jones reported to Allstate Insurance Co. he had suffered a loss of personal property following an April 30 fire at a residence he rented in Marks.

"An investigation by our Insurance Integrity Enforcement Bureau determined that a fire did occur at that residence on April 23, 2008, but that Jones did not rent or otherwise reside or keep personal belongings at that address," said Attorney General Jim Hood said in the news release.

Jones is free on a $5,000 written bond. If convicted of felony false pretense, he faces up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. If convicted of insurance fraud, he faces up to three years of imprisonment and a fine of $5,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater.

UPDATE: Officer Accused of Fondling Teen is Out of Jail


A Caldwell Police sergeant accused of sexually abusing a teenager appeared in court Friday morning.

Dennis Schat, 38, was arraigned in a Canyon County courtroom.

Caldwell Police Chief Chris Allgood says Schat is accused of fondling the teen and he was not on duty at the time of the attack. The chief also says his staff took the news hard and felt both sorrow and anger.

Schat is on paid administrative leave.

The indictment allegest the abuse happened back in April. Because Schat posted his $100,000 bond he's not out of jail.

Deputy Accused of Sexual Assault Attempts Suicide

A San Diego County sheriff's deputy facing five felony charges for an alleged on-duty sexual assault on a prostitute on El Cajon Boulevard tried to commit suicide according to Sheriff's Department officials.

Authorities say Thomas J. Sadler, 47, was being treated at a hospital following the suicide attempt Friday.

The deputy was arrested at his Santee home Thursday afternoon on five felony charges and released hours later after posting $250,000 bail, authorities said.

Sheriff's officials said he tried to kill himself Friday afternoon, but they declined to provide details.

Sadler, a 20-year veteran of the department who works as a detective out of the Lemon Grove station, was placed on unpaid leave after his arrest.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges that include sexual battery by restraint, assault and battery by an officer, and false imprisonment.

San Diego police said Sadler forced an admitted prostitute into his unmarked Ford Taurus while on duty the morning of Feb. 6 and drove her to a parking lot in Mission Valley.

He then forcibly groped her until three witnesses intervened and she escaped, said San Diego police acting Assistant Chief Jim Collins.

Officer Arrested While Trying to Smuggle Firearms into Mexico


A Soledad police officer and a Presidio of Monterey police officer were arrested Friday while trying to smuggle firearms into Mexico, police said.

Police said Mexican police arrested Presidio of Monterey Sgt. Jorge Matos and the Soledad officer as they tried to enter Mexico with several firearms and ammunition. Matos is a former employee of the Soledad Police Department.

Inspectors said they recovered 5,000 rounds of ammunition, tactical training equipment and two laptop computers.

Soledad Police Chief Richard Cox said officials from the Department of Homeland Security notified his office of the arrest on Friday.

Cox said an internal audit of the Soledad Police Department armory did not show any weapons missing. The Presidio of Monterey's police department also said it had no weapons unaccounted for.

Matos was fired during his probationary period after three AR-15 rifles disappeared from his home and could not be found.

The identity of the Soledad police officer was not released.

The two men will spend a minimum of 60 to 90 days in a Mexican prison before being brought before a judge.

If convicted, they could face a minimum of 15 years in a Mexican prison.

Off Duty Officer Accused of Punching other Officer


An off-duty police officer from Connecticut spent Thursday night in the Warren County Correctional Facility after sheriff’s officers said he punched an off-duty peace officer in the head.

Leonard E. Alterio, 43, of Monroe Conn., a 11-year-officer with the Bridgeport Police Department, is facing charges of resisting arrest, a misdemeanor; and second degree harassment, a violation. No assault charges were lodged.

Undersheriff Robert Swan said that Alterio was observed by an off-duty Lake George village peace officer, who Swan did not identify, on Canada St., near Sheppard Park around 1 a.m. Friday.

Swan said the peace officer noticed the man had some minor facial injuries and appeared to be highly intoxicated. When the peace officer asked Alterio if he was alright, Swan said Alterio punched the officer in the head, an act allegedly witnessed by an on-duty peace officer who was nearby on Canada St. Swan said Alterio fought with both officers until he was subdued.

According to court records, the two peace officers were Ronald Rock Jr. and Jason Quinones.

Assistance was requested from the Warren County Sheriff’s office which responded and assisted the peace officers. They also charged Alterio with resisting arrest, Swan said. Alterio was held overnight in the county jail until he was arraigned Friday morning in Lake George Court. He was released on bail to appear in court at a later date. 8-1-08