Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sgt Mark Fitzpatrick Arraigned on Sexual Assault Charge


A Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant has been arraigned on charges of sexually assaulting a woman and inappropriately searching two others in separate incidents while on duty.

Mark Fitzpatrick pleaded not guilty to four felony counts and one misdemeanor Friday in Superior Court.

Prosecutors say Fitzpatrick threatened one woman with arrest or deportation while he sexually assaulted her during a traffic stop.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore says investigators began a criminal investigation immediately after getting a report of the alleged misconduct last year.

Whitmore says Fitzpatrick was assigned to a desk job at the Compton station then was suspended without pay after the charges were filed.
More information:,0,3979260.story

Time Line in Case Against Ex-Cop Drew Peterson

Prosecutors claimed Friday that Drew Peterson tried to hire someone in 2003 to kill his third wife, Kathleen Savio, for $25,000. Authorities say he is also a suspect in the disappearance of his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. A brief synopsis of what has happened in the case:


--March 1, 2004: Kathleen Savio found dead in a bathtub. Her death is originally ruled an accidental drowning.


--Oct. 29, 2007: Stacy Peterson reported missing, a day after she fails to show up at a relative's home.

--Nov. 9, 2007: Illinois State Police declare Drew Peterson a suspect in his wife's disappearance; they also say they've formally launched an investigation into the 2004 drowning death of Kathleen Savio, saying it does not appear to be an accident as originally determined.

--Nov. 9, 2007: Judge signs an order to exhume Savio's body.

--Nov. 12, 2007: Drew Peterson resigns from the Bolingbrook Police Department, where he's been an officer for 29 years.

--Nov. 13, 2007: Savio's body is exhumed and an autopsy is conducted.

--Nov. 16, 2007: Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden conducts autopsy on Savio's remains at the request of her family; says it looks like she was murdered.


--Jan. 24, 2008: Will County state's attorney's office acknowledges publicly for the first time that a grand jury has been convened to investigate Stacy Peterson's disappearance and Savio's death.

--Feb. 21, 2008: Will County state's attorney announces that Savio's death officially declared a homicide.

--May 21, 2008: Peterson turns himself in to police on a weapons charge unrelated to the disappearance of his wife. He was released from custody after an adult son posts a 10 percent bond.

--November 2008: Peterson meets with divorce attorney.

--November 20, 2008: Gun charges dropped against Peterson after Will County prosecutors refuse to hand over internal documents leading to their decision to arrest him.

--May 7, 2009: Murder indictment issued for Peterson; Peterson arrested during traffic stop.

--May 22, 2009: Judge refuses to reduce Peterson's $20 million bail after prosecutors claim Peterson tried to pay somebody $25,000 in 2003 to kill Savio.
Other Information:,drew-peterson-savio-murder-offer-money-052209.article

Trooper Ariel Valentin Arrested for Rape

Palm Springs Police charged a Florida Highway Patrol trooper with raping a woman who'd just been in a minor accident. Following his arrest, Ariel Valentin resigned his position. This is not the first time the trooper has been investigated for inappropriate conduct.

The arrest report says two women "tapped each other" with their cars on Lake Worth Road. As the two women were leaving the scene, Trooper Valentin pulled up. The report says Valentin told one woman to go, but followed the other to her home nearby.

There the arrest report says Valentin told the woman that he needed to search her, and "suggested that they go into her residence." The woman told officers she thought that was "weird," but was worried because her registration had expired. Inside the apartment, the report says Valentin and the woman had sex. The woman said she was "scared of going to jail."

Police say while Trooper Valentin initially denied involvement, he later admitted to having sex with the woman, saying it was consensual. The police report says Valentin acknowledged he believed the victim was emotionally unstable.

Highway Patrol documents we obtained show two years ago after a traffic stop, Valentin asked a woman if he could go to her house and measure her in a bathing suit. He got a written reprimand.
More Information:

Reserve Officer Richard Carr Arrested for Rape

A Columbus reserve police officer was fired Wednesday after he was arrested in Oktibbeha County on statutory rape charges.

Reserve officer Richard Carr, 45, was “relieved of his duties as a police officer” Wednesday after Oktibbeha County officials notified the Columbus Police Department the officer had been arrested on the sex charges.

As of Thursday, police had released no details of the charges, as the investigation was ongoing and was being handled by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

As of Thursday afternoon, no bond had been set and Carr remained in the Oktibbeha County Jail awaiting his initial court appearance.

Columbus Police Chief Joseph St. John this morning noted the investigation was turned over to MBI as soon as he was notified of the charges.

“As quickly as we could, he was placed under arrest, and he is terminated immediately,” St. John added. “Even though he was reserves, he’s one of us, and any time we have, not even probable cause, but reasonable suspicion, we turn it over to another agency.

“Really right now, the rest of it is really in (MBI’s) hands.”

City Settles Third Brutality Lawsuit This Year


The city has agreed to pay a city man $48,750 to settle his federal civil rights lawsuit alleging that a Worcester police sergeant unjustly punched him in the head and struck him with a baton while he was on his knees being arrested for trespassing on railroad tracks.

The police brutality lawsuit brought by Raymond E. Dennison, who alleged that he was beaten by Sgt. Ronald F. LaPointe in June 2003, had been set to go to trial in U.S. District Court in Worcester on June 1.

The $48,750 settlement, which will be paid by the city with taxpayer money, comes less than two months after the city paid $30,000 to settle a police brutality lawsuit filed by an Upton man.

So far this year, the city has settled three police brutality lawsuits at a total cost of $107,750, according to city records. Last year, the city paid $320,000 in public money to settle five police brutality lawsuits.

“As we’ve said in the past, it’s a business decision between myself, the law department and the city administration,” Police Chief Gary J. Gemme said of the settlements. “When we settled this case, there’s no admission of wrongdoing by the officers.”

The department’s Bureau of Professional Standards, formerly called Internal Affairs, cleared Sgt. LaPointe of any wrongdoing in its investigation, Chief Gemme said.

“It was difficult, rocky terrain with steel railroad tracks and a lot of brush overgrowth, and this individual was combative, and, as a result, there was force used that was reasonable to effect the arrest, and there were some injuries,” Chief Gemme said.

Mr. Dennison’s lawyer, Hector E. Pineiro, declined to comment on the alleged beating or the settlement other than to say, “My client is satisfied that the case has been resolved.”

In court papers, Mr. Dennison alleged that he was on his knees with his hands behind his back to be arrested when an agitated Sgt. LaPointe punched him in the left ear twice. When Mr. Dennison complained and demanded the officer’s badge number, Sgt. LaPointe allegedly took a swing at the man with his collapsible baton.

Mr. Dennison alleged that he suffered a broken finger trying to ward off a baton strike aimed at his head and shoulder area.

In his version of events, Sgt. LaPointe alleged that Mr. Dennison was uncooperative and had been reaching toward his waistband in an apparent attempt to grab something, possibly a weapon, according to a pretrial memorandum filed with the court by city lawyer Janet J. McGuiggan.

“While lying in a prone position on the ground, Dennison again reached for his waistband. Still fearful for his safety, LaPointe struck Dennison in the muscle of the upper right arm with his service baton in an effort to prevent Dennison from possibly pulling a weapon from his waistband and to handcuff him,” Ms. McGuiggan wrote.

The city did not dispute that Mr. Dennison was treated for a fractured third metacarpal — a broken finger on his right hand — and for a perforated eardrum at UMass Memorial Medical Center after he was released from custody. The city noted that Mr. Dennison was drunk at the time of the incident with a blood alcohol level of .14 percent, according to court records.

“Plaintiff’s medical records reveal that his eardrum healed in approximately one month and the finger fracture healed as well,” Ms. McGuiggan wrote in her motion.