Sunday, October 26, 2008

Corrections Deputy Diane Brown Steals Neighbors Maltese

A San Diego County corrections deputy is facing criminal charges after allegedly putting her neighbor's yappy Maltese in the trunk of her car and abandoning it about 20 miles from her Hemet home, authorities said.

Diane M. Brown, 42, was booked into a Riverside County jail Thursday and released on $5,000 bond. A court date has been set for Nov. 20.

Brown works as a corrections deputy at the Vista jail, sheriff's officials confirmed yesterday.

Brown's frustration with her neighbor's fluffy white dog, named Spike, began more than a year ago when she claimed the dog's barking was a nuisance, said Riverside County Animal Services spokesman John Welsh.

Brown took the dog's owner to court, but the judge threw out the case.

On Monday, it appears Brown took matters into her own hands.

Employees at the Cherry Valley Water District in Beaumont said they saw a woman take a dog out her trunk and dump it in front of the building, Welsh said. The woman returned about a minute later, apparently to remove the dog's collar.

Two surveillance cameras captured the incident, and one witness copied down the woman's license plate. The witnesses brought the unharmed dog to a veterinarian, who scanned the dog's microchip and called its owner.

Hemet police later booked Brown into jail on suspicion of being in possession of stolen property. Animal Services officials also are pursuing a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty for abandoning the dog, which is valued at $2,000, Welsh said.

UPDATE on Man Who Accuses Officers of Sodomizing Him

As a 24-year-old man who has accused the police of sodomizing him at a subway station in Brooklyn spent another day in the hospital on Saturday, a law enforcement official provided a fuller picture of the injuries the man sustained during the altercation.

The man, Michael Mineo, is attached to a tube draining fluid from his abdomen, one of his lawyers said. He was visited at the hospital by the Rev. Al Sharpton, who had spoken about Mr. Mineo’s allegations on his radio program earlier Saturday.

The police have denied Mr. Mineo’s account.

At Brooklyn Hospital Center, Mr. Mineo’s lawyers allowed a cameraman from NY1 to videotape their client in his room, and they later showed the recording to other reporters. Mr. Mineo, who works as a body-piercer, is seen in bed wearing a hospital gown. With his voice cracking, he says, “I feel violated.”

It is Mr. Mineo’s second stay in a hospital since his encounter with the police on Oct. 15, when, he said, a group of officers attacked him for no reason. During the attack, he said, one of them inserted a police radio antenna or a similar object into his rectum. He was admitted to Brookdale University Hospital and stayed for four days.

The police have said that officers spotted Mr. Mineo smoking marijuana and that he ran away when they approached. He scuffled with the police as he resisted arrest, but he was never sodomized, they said.

A law enforcement official said on Saturday that Mr. Mineo suffered a tear just above his rectum, a bruise to the side of his head, injuries to his side and an injury to the outside of his abdomen. But the official said Mr. Mineo did not suffer any internal injuries on the order of those inflicted in the attack on Abner Louima, the Haitian immigrant who was assaulted inside a station house in 1997 by police with a broken broomstick.

“Unless there is something that Brookdale missed,” the official said, there were no internal injuries that would indicate the penetration of his rectum by a foreign object. “I don’t know what his current diagnosis is, what he’s back in the hospital for. I don’t know if something else happened.”

Mr. Mineo’s lawyers have said the severity of his injuries supported his allegations. They pointed to hospital records from Brookdale that indicated he suffered from what one doctor described in a written account as an “anal assault.” One of the lawyers, Kevin L. Mosley, said that Mr. Mineo was admitted to the hospital a second time on Thursday night because he was in pain. “He had blood in his urine, and he couldn’t function anymore,” he said, adding that his client had “some sort of abscess in his abdomen,” and at one point was given morphine.

Neither Mr. Mineo’s lawyers, the police, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office nor the hospitals would provide any medical records for Mr. Mineo.

Five officers were involved in the encounter with Mr. Mineo at the Prospect Park station of the B and Q lines; none had any history of disciplinary problems. All the officers remain on regular duty.

A person familiar with the officers’ account of what happened said that one of them was Officer Alex Cruz. The person identified another officer involved as Officer Noel Jugraj.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing, said Officer Cruz’s name was on the summons given to Mr. Mineo on Oct. 15 for disorderly conduct.

Another law enforcement official said that investigators with a search warrant seized a retractable baton and a radio antenna from Officer Cruz’s locker. The two items had been sent for testing, which was not yet complete.

The police Internal Affairs Bureau and the Brooklyn district attorney’s office are investigating.

They have not determined how Mr. Mineo was injured. Investigators who announced a hot line number on Friday were seeking witnesses and hoping that test results to the baton and the radio antenna would offer some answers. The account provided by Mr. Mineo’s lawyers could not be independently corroborated, but some investigators have not dismissed some portions of the lawyers’ story.

On Saturday, Mr. Mosley and another lawyer representing Mr. Mineo, Stephen C. Jackson, spoke on Mr. Sharpton’s radio show before the three men visited Mr. Mineo at Brooklyn Hospital Center. Mr. Sharpton called for a fair, independent investigation.

“I do not know what happened,” Mr. Sharpton said. “But I know that we cannot allow police to be the only investigative body, and find that their findings should go unquestioned and unexamined.”

After visiting Mr. Mineo, Mr. Sharpton said Mr. Mineo’s account was “very compelling,” adding, “I find it hard to understand how someone could inflict that kind of pain on themselves.”

A law enforcement official said Mr. Mineo had filed two complaints with the Civilian Complaint Review Board in the past year. In one, Mr. Mineo said that he was stopped by police officers, and in the other he said that a friend was stopped, the official said.

Mr. Mineo’s lawyer, Mr. Mosley, said that too much attention was being paid to his client’s past, which includes at least five arrests. “These police officers didn’t have his rap sheet when they tackled him,” he said.

Both the police and Mr. Mineo’s lawyers said they had spoken to witnesses who confirmed their respective versions of events.

Two law enforcement officials said the entire incident was witnessed by people in the subway station or visible on transit authority video cameras. But one of the officials said the view of witnesses was obstructed at some crucial points.

Mr. Jackson said he had spoken to three witnesses and that one of them — a colleague of Mr. Mineo’s who was with him shortly after his confrontation with the police — saw blood on Mr. Mineo’s pants and on his hands, and saw Mr. Mineo smear the blood on the window of a police car.

A law enforcement official said Saturday that investigators had no evidence supporting Mr. Jackson’s account. Investigators examined the patrol car that was at the scene and found no evidence that there was blood on it, the official said. The car was still dirty, and it did not appear to be washed.

The police have said witnesses told investigators that they did not see Mr. Mineo being sodomized. A person familiar with the investigation said that those witnesses included a token booth clerk and his 12-year-old son, who was visiting him. The two have provided police internal affairs officers with an account of what they saw and heard.

In an interview at his Brooklyn home, the boy, who said he had spoken with the police, said he was standing outside the token booth when he saw Mr. Mineo run down the stairs with two officers in pursuit. The boy said that Mr. Mineo’s pants were falling off as he was running.

Mr. Mineo first hopped the turnstile and the officers did the same, but there was no train at the station so Mr. Mineo left the platform through the same turnstiles, the boy said.

The boy said a third officer was waiting on other side of the turnstiles and tackled Mr. Mineo. At that point, the boy said, he was about eight feet away. A person familiar with the investigation confirmed that these were details the boy had provided investigators.

“It was a little scary,” the boy said.

The boy’s father refused to speak to a reporter at his workplace on Saturday and to another reporter when he went home.

Former Officer Robert J Pavlovich Found Guilty of Corruption of Minors, Sexual Assault


A former small-town police officer accused of molesting or propositioning more than a dozen teenage girls while on duty was convicted of several sex offenses.

A jury deliberated for about 10 hours Saturday before finding Robert J. Pavlovich Jr. guilty of charges including corruption of minors, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault and bribery in official matters.

Pavlovich, 40, of Camp Hill, denied the charges during the three-day trial. Asked on the witness stand whether he had sex with any of the accusers, touched them improperly or asked them to sneak out of their homes, the former Marysville officer replied, "Absolutely not."

Pavlovich said, however, that he did ask three teenage girls to meet him late at night at locations in Marysville as part of an investigation into drug activity and underage drinking. No one was arrested based on information he received from them, he said.

Several women testified during the trial that, when they were 13 or 14, Pavlovich tried to convince them to sneak out of their homes and meet him. They said they believed he intended to have sex with them.

Others testified that Pavlovich had fondled them, and one woman who has been diagnosed with a mental disability testified that she was pressured to perform oral sex on Pavlovich when she was 19.

The allegations date back to 2000, the year Pavlovich was hired. He was suspended from the force in March 2007 and later fired.

Pavlovich remained free on $250,000 bail. No sentencing date has been set.

Jonelle H. Eshbach, a senior state deputy attorney general who prosecuted the case, said she was satisfied with the verdict. Defense lawyer P. Richard Wagner and the Pavlovich family did not comment.

The victims and their families were not at the courthouse in New Bloomfield when the verdict was announced after 10 p.m. Saturday.

Marysville, a borough of about 2,400 people, is just northwest of Harrisburg.


Information from: The Patriot-News,