Friday, April 17, 2009

Capt. Willard Oliphant Investigated for Unauthorized Use of Database

A Pennsylvania State Police supervisor fined by the feds last year for wiretapping a subordinate is again under scrutiny for allegedly ordering underlings to investigate the boss of the Secret Service's Scranton branch.

Capt. Willard Oliphant, who heads the internal-affairs division for the state police, allegedly demanded that a trooper investigate Bill Slavoski, resident agent-in-charge of the Secret Service in Scranton, after learning that Slavoski had checked Oliphant's vehicle registration on a law-enforcement-records database.

When the trooper's 14-month probe ended, Slavoski's access to the database was put on probationary status for a year, according to a complaint Slavoski filed March 31 with the state police. Probation is the first step in barring him from the system, according to the complaint, which the Daily News obtained this week.

Slavoski declined to comment yesterday, but his attorney, Don Bailey, said he plans to lodge a federal civil-rights lawsuit on Slavoski's behalf next week.

The action against Slavoski is part of a pattern of state police bigwigs' ordering improper investigations to camouflage their own devilish doings or to bully enemies, Bailey charged.

"It was an unlawful action; they don't have the jurisdiction or authority to audit him," Bailey said. "The Pennsylvania State Police is a place of favor-mongering, cliques and buddies, and they use the IAD [internal-affairs division] as a bludgeon. The Pennsylvania State Police needs to be thoroughly investigated from top to bottom by an objective third party."

Cpl. Linette Quinn, a state police spokeswoman, said she couldn't comment on internal complaints and investigations. Oliphant couldn't be reached for comment.

The saga started, Slavoski wrote in an appeal of his probation, when an acquaintance told him he felt that he was being followed. The man was a small-town detective out on disability who worried that his stalker was a vengeful convict, Slavoski wrote.

The detective got the stalker's license-plate number and asked Slavoski to run it in a database that authorities routinely use to check driver records, vehicle registration and such details, Slavoski wrote.

The database showed that the car was registered to Oliphant; Slavoski later learned that Oliphant's son investigated workers' compensation claims for an insurance company and borrowed his father's car for surveillance trips, Slavoski wrote.

Slavoski contends that his database query was lawful.

The complaint comes a year after a federal jury found Oliphant and another supervisor guilty of secretly recording a 2003 phone conversation with a trooper who was on medical leave.

The trooper claimed that his bosses taped the call to trap him into admitting he wasn't hurt and to discourage his workers' compensation claim. Although the jury ordered $501,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, Oliphant wasn't criminally charged with violating the wiretap law.

Officer Leo Liston Charged with Stealing Money


A St. Louis police officer has resigned after being indicted on charges of stealing money.

Leo Liston was indicted Thursday on a federal charge of stealing more than $5,000 in police funds last year. He was the third city officer to be charged in connection to the missing funds.

Police spokeswoman Erica Van Ross said Liston resigned from the department earlier this week. It was not immediately clear from electronic court records who his lawyer is.

Two other officers, Bobby Lee Garrett and Vincent Carr, were indicted in December and accused of planting evidence, stealing money and dealing drugs. Garrett has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Carr pleaded guilty in February.

The indictment says Liston, Garrett and "others" stole the money on June 11, 2008.


Deputy Leanno Martinez Charged with Beating Girlfriend

A San Diego County sheriff's deputy has been charged with five felonies and a misdemeanor linked to the alleged beating of his girlfriend after a raucous party at his home in San Ysidro.

Deputy Leanno Martinez, 32, is set for a readiness conference May 12 in Superior Court and a preliminary hearing June 4. He was arrested April 5 and released on bail this week. He has pleaded not guilty.

The charges include battery, false imprisonment, making a criminal threat, assault with intent to inflict great bodily harm, and inflicting injury. Martinez had been assigned to the Imperial Beach station.

Trooper Jonathan Williams Arrested for Indecent Behavior with Juvenile

The Louisiana State Police had to arrest one of their own Friday.

29-year-old Jonathan Williams of West Monroe was arrested at Troop F for warrants out of Rapides Parish a two felony counts of indecent behavior with a juvenile.

Williams allegedly began to exchange emails with a State Police investigator who was posing online as a juvenile and he allegedly emailed inappropriate pictures of himself and solicited similar photos from the investigator who posed as a juvenile.

Williams was a probationary officer assigned to Troop F in Monroe and was a recent graduate of the State Police Academy.

He has since been terminated.

Williams has been booked into the Ouachita Parish jail, but is being transported to Rapides Parish where the charges will be filed.

The investigation is continuing and other charges will likely be filed in the coming days, according to State Troopers.


Former Deputy David Brady Accused of Stealing Gas


A Manatee sheriff's deputy resigned Wednesday after an internal investigation concluded he stole about 500 gallons of county fuel and then lied about the theft while under oath.

Former deputy David Brady, a canine handler, resigned after nearly 10 years at the Manatee Sheriff's Office, where his attorney says he maintained a "stellar" record and is being punished harshly as an example.

A criminal investigation began after a sheriff's sergeant reported seeing Brady fuel his personal vehicle March 13 at the Manatee County fuel site.

The investigation revealed a "clear pattern of unusual and suspicious fuel consumption" from January 2008 to March 2009, according to the sheriff's Internal Affairs report released Thursday.

Brady's 2008 fuel records showed he used an average of 930 more gallons of fuel than two other K-9 deputies who drive the same type of vehicle with about the same mileage.

The total fuel unaccounted for was determined to be nearly 500 gallons.

Authorities said Brady initially admitted fueling his personal truck with county gas once because he did not have money to buy gas.

Two weeks later, Brady reportedly confessed that he had illegally siphoned county gas three or four times but not to the extent suggested by records.

An internal investigation concluded March 30 sustained two counts of conduct unbecoming a deputy. The theft case has been forwarded to the state attorney's office.

Charlie Britt, Brady's attorney, said Brady took a "small fraction" of what the Sheriff's Office estimated, and he believes the inspectors chose certain deputies to illustrate their point to the extreme.

Brady may lose his license with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Britt said. "I just feel it's truly unfortunate that a career of good deeds is kicked out to the curb for one screwup," he said.

Former Officer Nicholas Valastro Pleads Guilty to Stealing

Three days after his 28th birthday, Nicholas Valastro admitted in Orange County Court Thursday that he threw away his law-enforcement career over some parts for a truck.

The former Montgomery town police officer pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of official misconduct, admitting that while he was on duty Oct. 28, he acted as a lookout while Montgomery Officer Clifford Barber III and then-Assistant Maybrook Fire Chief Bryan Dunn tried to steal panels for the bed of a Chevy Avalanche from Midway Auto Sales on Route 17K in Montgomery.

"I was aware they were going to attempt to steal property," Valastro told Judge Jeffrey G. Berry. "I did nothing about it."

Valastro became the third person, and the second cop, to plead guilty to playing a role in what prosecutors have described in court papers as a series of massive thefts orchestrated by Barber, who's been suspended from the town police department since he was arrested in early November.

Valastro resigned last month, after he was implicated during court proceedings.

Barber, Dunn and Kevin Burchell were all accused of taking part in a conspiracy to loot two Orange County Wal-Mart stores of up to $1 million dollars worth of merchandise, some of which was sold on eBay. Dunn and Burchell have both pleaded guilty, and Burchell's arrest cost him his job as a Tuxedo Park police officer.

No one was charged in connection with the incident that Valastro described.

Dunn and Burchell are awaiting sentencing.

Valastro will be sentenced on June 24. In return for his guilty plea, he faces a maximum of six months in jail and five years' probation. His lawyer, Ben Greenwald, said that Valastro won't be able to work again in law enforcement.

Barber's lawyer, Stewart Rosenwasser, said Thursday that he's still discussing a possible plea bargain with prosecutors, who are seeking a sentence of 31/3 to 10 years in state prison. Judge Robert Freehill has indicated he'd sentence Barber to 11/3 to four years. Barber faces seven felony charges.

Barber is due back in court on April 29. That's the same day that Dunn, his admitted co-conspirator, will be sentenced for grand larceny and conspiracy.

Detective Monica Geddry Arrested for Drunk Driving

A Reno police detective was arrested early today on drunken driving charges -- marking the second DUI investigation for the department in the last two months.

Detective Monica Geddry, 42, was arrested by officers with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department about 1 a.m. near McCarran Boulevard and Talbot Lane in South Reno, said Deputy Brooke Keast, spokeswoman for the department.

Geddry was charged with making an improper turn, failure to drive within marked lanes and driving under the influence, Keast said. She is scheduled to appear in Reno Justice Court on May 1.

Reno Police Deputy Chief Jim Johns said he could not comment on the case because it was a “personnel matter,” but said, that “as a matter of policy, we will conduct an administrative review and investigation” into the charges before making a decision about how it should be handled.

Geddry will continue to work as a detective during the review, he said.

In 2002, Geddry was a Reno traffic officer who organized a program called ALIVE -- Actively Learning About Intoxication and Vehicle Education -- a Reno police program run with a $14,000 federal grant that taught local high school students about the dangers of driving drunk.

Geddry was the second Reno police officer arrested for DUI in the past two months.

In February, Reno patrol officer Chad Johnston was investigated for possible DUI after he was found passed out in his vehicle at the Silver Legacy parking garage. The Washoe County District Attorney’s office is still investigating that case for possible charges.

Officer Gary Sutton Jr Arrested for Watching Girls in Dressing Room


An FBI police officer is under arrest and a warrant has been issued for the arrest of another officer, after the pair allegedly used a security camera to watch girls in a dressing room, during a charity prom dress event, court documents say.

Gary Sutton Jr., 40 of New Milton, is charged with criminal invasion of privacy and being a party to a crime.

Both charges are misdemeanors.

An arrest warrant has been issued for a second officer on the same charges.

Sutton turned himself into authorities and was arraigned Friday morning in Marion County Magistrate Court.

He was released on $6,000 bond.

There is no word on when the second officer will be arrested.

If convicted, the men would face a year in jail and a $5,000 fine, according to the statute.

On Saturday, April 4, Hospice Care Corporation held "The Cinderella Project" at the Middletown Mall in White Hall.

The event offered prom dresses, shoes and jewelry at affordable prices and raised money for Hospice Care.

Hundreds of people attended the event.

Temporary dressing rooms were set up for the event.

The dressing rooms did not have ceilings.

Sutton and the other officer were on duty at the FBI's satellite control room at the mall during the event, investigators say.

The camera in question was in scanning mode when it began recording on Saturday morning, court documents say.

At 8:26 a.m., the camera stopped above the dressing area, according to the criminal complaint for Sutton.

At 9:34 a.m., after a young woman entered the dressing area, the camera zoomed in and remained zoomed in until 11:00 a.m.

During that time period, several young woman entered the room and undressed.

One young woman was seen topless, investigators say.

Investigators with the Marion County Sheriff's Department say the two officers were the only ones in the FBI control room at the time of the incident and the only ones who could control the camera.

It is important to note that the men in question are FBI police officers, not FBI agents.

All of the agencies involved have had an overwhelming response to this case and have set up a hot line.

Anyone with more information or questions is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Officials at the FBI's CJIS Center in Clarksburg have declined to comment on the situation or the status of the officers.

The FBI has deferred all comment to the Office of the Inspector General in Washington, D.C.

A spokesperson with the Inspector General's office has confirmed that the agency is investigating the incident.

Neither the Marion County Sheriff's Department or the Marion County Prosecutor's Office have issued a statement on the case.

A spokeswoman with Hospice Care says the organization is aware of the matter, but has deferred any questions to the Marion County Prosecutor's Office.