Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Border Patrol Officer Joseph Giuliano Arrested for Child Rape

One of the top U.S. Border Patrol officials in Washington state has been arrested on child rape charges.

The Whatcom County sheriff's office said deputies arrested Joseph W. Giuliano, the deputy chief patrol agent at the agency's Blaine sector, on Thursday at his home.

The 55-year-old man had been charged Wednesday in Whatcom County Superior Court with raping a 14-year-old girl who was staying in his home. Prosecutors charged him with three counts of third-degree child rape.

Giuliano made an initial court appearance Thursday afternoon; bail was set at $50,000.

He was ordered to surrender his passport, have no contact with witnesses or the alleged victim and remain in Whatcom County unless he had court permission to leave. It was not immediately known if he was represented by a lawyer.

As deputy chief, Giuliano had been the public face of the agency as it expands its operations on the state's border with Canada. The Border Patrol has been criticized for operating sporadic checkpoints on several Washington state roads and ferry runs since the start of the year.

Giuliano often met with city and county councils and gave interviews to the media.

"U.S. Customs and Border Protection leadership has placed great emphasis on integrity and does not tolerate actions that would tarnish or diminish the reputation of our agency," Blaine Chief Patrol Agent John Bates said in a statement.

The agency will cooperate fully with any investigation, said Agent Michael Bermudez, spokesman for the Border Patrol's Blaine sector.

The Border Patrol is part of Customs and Border Protection.

Charging documents alleged Giuliano admitted to investigators having sex with the girl at least 24 times, beginning on a family trip to Arizona. At times, he told the girl it was wrong and feared he would get caught, the court documents said.

The girl moved into Giuliano's home after her parents separated in late February or early March. She was not part of the state's foster care system.

The sheriff's office learned of the alleged abuse this week when the girl told some Bellingham High School classmates, who called authorities, The Bellingham Herald reported. The alleged abuse had been going on since spring, the newspaper reported.

Giuliano is on "indefinite suspension" from the agency, Bermudez said.

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Former Officer Quietly Being charged with Crime

A former Christchurch police officer has appeared in court charged in a rare private prosecution stemming from an arrest she made.

The woman was granted name suppression when she appeared in the Christchurch District Court yesterday, Christchurch Court News reported.

Defence counsel assigned by the Police Association, Steve Hembrow, told Judge David Holderness that the woman had been a police officer at the time of the alleged incident, but had since resigned.

The judge granted the order for name suppression, saying there was no public interest in her name being published at this point.

The prosecution has been brought by a friend of a man the officer arrested at what began as a traffic stop. A dispute took place in a person's driveway.

The prosecution is seeking police disclosure of notebooks and records.

The judge said he had no jurisdiction to order a defendant to make documents available through discovery. The application will have to be made directly to the police.

The judge remanded the woman for a status hearing.

Special Operations Officers Given New Court Dates

One of the indicted former Special Operations Section cops had a court date Wednesday at the Cook County criminal courthouse. As usual, nothing happened.

Assistant State's Atty. David Navarro walked into Courtroom 404, compared calendars with Officer Frank Villareal's lawyer and then agreed on a next date—Nov. 25. That was it, and it's been like that for a year.

The SOS cases are bogged down because of an ongoing federal probe into the scandal. It remains unclear when Villareal and the other six officers will face trial at 26th and Cal on charges of home invasions and robberies.

This uncertainty has been nearly unbearable for a handful of cops formerly in the once-elite unit who were never charged with crimes but lost their badges because of some connection to the allegations.

Those who believe they did nothing wrong say their careers are slipping away while they languish in administrative limbo. It's unlikely the Police Department will let any of them return to the street while the criminal investigation continues.

"We were all just a bunch of good police officers who actually cared about the citizens of this city and fighting crime!" Greg Insley, a former SOS officer, wrote to me in an e-mail last week. "So I am sure that I will remain stripped for a couple more years until these court cases play out . . . and then I'll be reinstated as a patrolman in a district until I retire. . . . Everything I had as a police officer is gone."

Insley was listed as the arresting officer on a report falsifying a 2004 drug bust, but he insists his name was forged and he wasn't even there.

Insley is caught up in a complex mess that has little to do with whether he took part in misbehavior. Since summer 2007, the U.S. attorney has been investigating whether Chicago police brass engaged in a coverup to protect the SOS officers.

It is unclear when the federal investigation will conclude, but it is certain that the Cook County prosecution of the seven officers won't go forward until the feds make a move.

The news last week that Supt. Jody Weis was putting a version of SOS back together, albeit with a different name, prompted Insley's e-mail. Weis noted in his plans that former SOS officers would have first crack at joining the new Mobile Strike Force—but only if they weren't "subject to any serious disciplinary matters."

It was just one more reminder to cops such as Insley that they'll have a cloud hanging over their heads for the foreseeable future.

Seminole Officer Charged with Sexually Assaulting Daughter

A Seminole Police officer charged with trying to have sex with his 17-year-old daughter has been fired, a tribal spokesman said today.

The 46-year-old man, who the SunSentinel is not identifying to protect the girl's privacy, had been a member of the Seminole Police Department since December 2006.

"He has been terminated as a result of the arrest," Seminole Tribe spokesman Gary Bitner said.

According to a Sunrise arrest report, the man's mother walked in on him in the kitchen of their Sunrise home Thursday afternoon and saw him grabbing parts of the girl's body.

Both the suspect and the daughter were fully clothed.

The man's mother "started to make a lot of noise and [the suspect] continued touching [his daughter] as if there was no one else in the room," the report said.

The suspect's mother phoned her other son, a Pembroke Pines police officer. He called Sunrise police.

When police interviewed the girl, she told them her father had been giving her Ambien sleeping pills over the past several years and that "after she falls asleep, she doesn't know what happens," the report said.

The girl was examined by a nurse and sent to live with her uncle.

The man was charged with five counts of using or allowing a child to engage in sex, two counts of sexual battery of a victim between 12 and 18 by a custodian, two counts of sex offense against a child over 12 and one count of lewd and lascivious exhibition.

He is being held on $25,000 bail for each of the charges except the last one, for which he's being held on $3,500. The total bail comes to $228,500.

According to public records, the suspect was a police officer in Miami Springs from January to August 2004, then in Golden Beach from July 2005 to December 2006.

He has no prior arrests in Florida, according to state records.

Former Officer Armando Duenez Fails to Appear for Court

A former police officer who failed to appear for arraignment on firearms charges has been indictment for failing to appear as ordered, United States Attorney Don DeGabrielle announced today. The indictment was returned on Tuesday.

Armando Duenez, 26, formerly employed as a police officer with the Rio Hondo City Police Department was charged by criminal complaint on July 9 for allegedly making materially false statements to obtain firearms and unlawfully selling firearms without a license. He was arrested.

On July 10, he was ordered released on a $30,000 unsecured bond with the condition he appear as ordered at any future court proceedings. On August 5, a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment charging Duenez and Ramon Martinez, 37, also formerly employed as a police officer with the Palm Valley Police Department with conspiring to and selling firearms without a license and for making materially false statements to acquire firearms.

Both Duenez and Martinez were ordered by the court to appear for arraignment on the charges on August 14. Duenez failed to appear for the scheduled hearing and a bench warrant has issued for his arrest.

The federal charge of failing to appear as required by conditions of release carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Anyone having information regarding the whereabouts of Duenez is asked to contact the U.S. Marshals Service at (956) 548-2519 or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives at (956) 687-5207.

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Officer Matthew Travis Arrested for DUI

State Police say a Mount Zion police officer was caught drinking and driving... and he's still on the force.

27 year old Matthew Travis is facing DUI charges.

Police stopped him at a red light last week in Decatur, where they determined he'd been drinking.

Travis has been with the police department for two years.

The Mount Zion Police Department says they'll wait and see what's proven in court before deciding on repercussions for Travis.

Officer Mark Lewis Accused of Stealing Tires from Police Cruiser

A police officer accused of stealing tires from city police cruisers and installing them on his own car has resigned in lieu of being charged with a felony.

Mark Lewis, 40, could lose his police certification, said police Lt. William Glennon.

Lewis, who resigned June 6, has since repaid Sunrise $411 for the tires. He could not be reached for comment.

He became a Sunrise officer in 2004.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will review Lewis' case later this month.

Lewis initially denied taking the tires, the report said. When investigators told Lewis each tire has a number that shows the year it was made, Lewis admitted to stealing the tires.