Monday, December 15, 2008

Former County Jailer & Husband Tortured their 12-year-old Son

Oconee County authorities arrested a Bogart couple they say tortured their 12-year-old son, meting out horrific punishment that that included handcuffing him in a closet, shooting him with a pellet gun and pepper-spraying him.

The abuse was "systemic" and happened regularly before the family moved from Athens to Bogart two weeks ago, according to Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry.

Sheriff's deputies arrested the child's mother - a 35-year-old jailer with the Walton County Sheriff's Office - and his 37-year-old stepfather Thursday afternoon, hours after the boy's younger brother told a teacher about the abuse, Berry said Friday.

"This is a very serious case, and as soon as it was brought to our attention we put all available investigative effort into it," Berry said. "Unfortunately, I've seen a lot of horrible things done to children, and this is just as bad, if not worse."

The parents were each charged with first-degree cruelty to children and were held without bail at the Oconee County Jail.

The Banner-Herald is withholding their names to protect the identity of the victim and his brother.

The Department of Family and Children Services took custody of both boys Thursday, the sheriff said.

Though the victim had attended school in both Clarke and Oconee counties, no one noticed the abuse because the boy's clothes covered his injuries, Berry said.

Berry didn't know why the boy never told anyone about the abuse, he said, but it's not uncommon for an abused child to fear retribution if he tells.

The victim's 6-year-old brother told a teacher at his Oconee County school Thursday morning.

"Whatever motivated this case coming to light, I am extremely happy about it," the sheriff said.

The younger boy might have felt more comfortable telling a teacher at a new school or worried that his parents would hurt his brother worse, Berry said.

School officials notified the Oconee County Sheriff's Office about the allegations, and deputies arrested the victim's mother and stepfather at their home shortly after 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Berry said.

Investigators examined the boy and found him covered with marks similar to the wounds a person would have if he was shot with plastic pellets, the sheriff said.

The boy's abusers handcuffed him to a coat rack in a closet then shot him, according to Berry, who said the victim's body was covered with pellet marks, including on his genitals.

He was confined in the closet with the door shut for "significant periods of time," Berry said, and restrained in other parts of the house with ligatures that the sheriff would not describe.

Some of the abuse happened while the boy and his family lived in an extended-stay hotel on Macon Highway, Berry said, but Athens-Clarke police had not joined the investigation as of Friday afternoon.

Berry didn't know how long the family lived in Athens. They moved to Georgia from Florida, and investigators found they lived in Loganville in June 2006, he said.

The victim's mother worked as a Walton County jailer for about five months, Berry said.

Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Saturday, December 13, 2008

Former Officer Victor Munn Charged with Hiding Girlfriend

Two people arrested in Effingham county this afternoon - one a former Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police officer. The former officer is charged with hindering law enforcement in the apprehension of a criminal - and authorities say more charges could be forthcoming. The Effingham County Sheriff's Office had gotten a tip that a woman wanted on contempt of court warrants in Chatham county was staying in a home in a new subdivision off highway 275.

The Federal Marshalls were called and authorities went to the home in search of Catherine Hickling - they say former Metro Police officer Victor Munn met them at the door.

According to the Effingham County Sheriff - Munn told authorities that Hickling - who is his girlfriend - was not in the home...but a search found her hiding in the attic. Both were taken into custody. The Sheriff says, "You would think that he would be man enough to say - yes, she's here and we're gonna do the right thing - but for whatever reason - he chose the other path and denied it and so he's got a 17 year career that's basically shot down the drain."

Munn is now being held in the Effingham county jail on a charge of hindering the apprehension of a criminal. He had been suspended from metro police back in June due to an investigation of some dealings he was being implicated in with Hickling who is a convicted felon. He resigned from the force on November 28th. Hickling had been supposed to report to jail on November 4th to begin serving a three year sentence for fraud, but never showed up. She has now been transferred to the Chatham County jail.

More Information:

Trooper Jose Perez Charged with Assaulting Minors


A Connecticut state trooper was arrested Monday night and charged with assaulting two minors.

East Hartford police said Jose Perez was arrested at about 7 p.m. and charged with four counts each of fourth-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor.

The incidents, they claim, occurred over a one-year period.

The officer's neighbors said they're shocked by the allegations. One woman even called him the nicest guy on their street.

Perez was released on bond and is slated to appear in court Jan. 5.

The warrant for his arrest has been sealed by the court.

Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance said Perez is separating from his state police unit.

Officer Patrick Pogan Pleads Not Guilty to Knocking Down Bicyclist

A city police officer seen in a YouTube video knocking down a bicyclist taking part in a mass bike ride pled not guilty this afternoon to felony and assault charges stemming from the incident.

Officer Patrick Pogan, 23, surrendered at the Manhattan district attorney's office this morning.

He was then arraigned on a misdemeanor assault charge and a felony charge of filing a false report. If convicted, he could face jail time.

He was released without bail.

The charges stem from a video posted back in July, which shows bicyclist Christopher Long being knocked down in Times Square by the officer.

Long was riding with the group Critical Mass when the incident occurred. Critics of the group say participants in those demonstrations often ignore stop lights and instructions by police to send a message about their right to use the streets.

Long was charged with blocking traffic, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and assault, but a judge dismissed those charges in September.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly called the "situation sad and disappointing."

"It's certainly sad and disappointing to see any officer indicted, but especially one who had only been out of the police academy for three weeks," said Kelly.

Pogan was stripped of his badge and gun and assigned to desk duty after the incident.

More Information:

Retired Sergeant Jairo Franco Arrested for Being "Rainbow Maniac" Killer

A retired state police sergeant has been arrested in Brazil in connection with the murders of 13 gay men in Sao Paulo.

Jairo Francisco Franco was taken in for questioning on Wednesday night and is thought to have acted alone.

All the men bar one were shot to death, the other was beaten, in a park known as a cruising ground.

He denies the charges.

A witness said the former police officer, who works as a private security guard, was a regular visitor to the park.

"We have a credible witness who says he saw Franco pump 12 bullets into a black gay man inside the park," police inspector Paulo Fortunato told AP.

"We are convinced he is the rainbow maniac we have been looking for."

Police have dubbed the serial killer the Rainbow Maniac, a reference to the multi-coloured Pride flag, an international symbol of the gay community.

The first body was found in July 2007 and the most recent in August this year.

All the victims were aged between 20 and 50.

One died from blows to the head - the other 12 had been shot.

In May the world's largest gay pride parade took place in Sao Paulo when five million people attended.