Friday, July 31, 2009

Up Date on Trooper Bobby Howard Jr Arrested for Theft

A Lafayette police officer is facing charges, accused of stealing farm equipment and selling it in Mexico.

We've learned he wasn't acting alone. In fact, the man who may have been his partner in crime is another former Lafayette city employee.

Wednesday, officials told us that Brad Sonnier, who is also allegedly involved in his theft ring, is a former Lafayette fireman. Sonnier was arrested for felony theft and conspiracy to commit felony theft.

We also found out that the Lafayette Police officer arrested Tuesday, Bobby Howard Junior, was a former state trooper who worked for state police years ago and resigned to go work for the city.

During a press conference Wednesday, authorities said tractors, bulldozers and bobcats worth hundreds of thousands of dollars were stolen from Acadiana. But the theft ring is believed to be a statewide operation.

Officials say this is by far one of the biggest investigations they've ever had to deal with involving farm equipment.

Authorities say Sonnier's arrest led to Howard's. While officials have not released their exact involvement in the thefts investigators tell us there was a lot of communication between the two during the 9 months investigation.

Meanwhile, more arrests are expected in this case. If you have any information on the thefts, state police are asking you to cal 337-262-3341. All calls will remain anonymous.
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Former Officer Arthur 'Perry' Gooch Arrested for Sexual Abuse

A former Athens Police officer was taken into custody Thursday by Limestone County Sheriff’s investigators on a warrant from Madison County charging him with sexual abuse, a local official said.

Limestone County Sheriff Mike Blakely said his office received a warrant to pick up Arthur “Perry” Gooch, 37, of Autumn Lane. County authorities transported Gooch to the Madison County line and released him to the custody of the Madison County Sheriff’s Department.

The warrant stemmed from a Madison County grand jury indictment, Blakely said.

Gooch was initially arrested in Huntsville on a charge related to a November 2007 incident when a woman, the wife of an acquaintance, accused Gooch of kissing her and running his hand up her skirt while they were near the dance floor of the club on the night of Nov. 3, 2007.

The case was dismissed by the Madison County District Attorney in February 2008.

In 2008, Gooch denied the accusation but resigned from the force Nov. 9, 2007, after serving as a patrol officer for about five years.

A call to the Madison County District Attorney’s office to determine why the case was reopened was not returned Friday.

Gooch was taken to Madison County Jail and was released on bond.

Former Officer James Oakley Accused of Fondling Woman's Breast

The investigation continues into a former Providence, Kentucky police officer accused of serious on-the-job misconduct.

James Oakley is accused of fondling a woman's breast and having oral sex with her while he was on-duty.

He appeared before a judge in Webster County earlier in the week on a first degree official misconduct charge.

Now Kentucky State Police are determining whether to press additional charges against the ex-cop.

His next court appearance is scheduled for late September.

Deputy George Anderson Bryan III Arrested for Breaking Wife's Jaw

A Lenoir County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested earlier this week on a charge of fracturing his wife’s jaw.

George Anderson Bryan III allegedly punched his wife, Jamie Bryan, in the mouth on July 7, “causing a broken jaw which required surgery at Lenoir Memorial Hospital, surgery which included a plate being placed in her chin and four metal screws being placed in the gum area,” court documents state.

George Bryan was charged with felony assault inflicting serious injury on Wednesday — one day after his wife called the sheriff’s office to make the allegation.

“It’s a sad day at the sheriff’s office anytime one of our own has been charged with a criminal offense,” Maj. Chris Hill of the sheriff’s office said. “With that being said, the public expects us to do our job regardless of the adverse condition.”

District Attorney for the Eighth Prosecutorial District Branny Vickory said he did not officially know why it took Jamie Bryan three weeks to report the allegation, but said the sheriff’s office followed procedure in notifying him of the case.

“The sheriff himself (W.E. ‘Billy’ Smith) found out about it and informed me immediately on Tuesday,” Vickory said, “He and I jointly requested the SBI to get involved in the investigation (on Tuesday).”

George Bryan resigned from the sheriff’s office later that day. He was arrested Wednesday, spent the night in jail and made his first appearance in district court Thursday. He was released following the hearing after posting $500 bond.

“I don’t have no comment and don’t call my phone back,” George Bryan said Thursday afternoon.

Hill said he could not discuss whether Bryan has been disciplined by the office before, but called him an excellent deputy.

Bryan, listed at the same Kinston address as his wife in court documents, is 30 years old and worked with the patrol division. He was a member of the Lenoir County Sheriff’s Office since 2004.

His probable cause hearing is set for Aug. 13.

Former Officer Jack Packett Accused of Raping Woman

A former Cincinnati police officer appeared in court this morning accused of raping a mentally disabled woman. 66-year old Jack Packett was arraigned on a rape charge.

According to court papers, Packett would have known about the alleged victim's mental disability. Court papers show he did admit to having sexual contact with her.

If Packett makes his $75,000 bond, he must wear an electronic monitoring bracelet.

His attorney said in court that Packett was a Cincinnati police officer for 26 years.

Trooper Jay Gruwell Charged with Sexually Abusing 5-year-old

A Wyoming Highway Patrol trooper has been charged with sexually abusing a child, according to documents released Wednesday by the Campbell County Attorney's Office.

The charges came after a 5-year-old girl alleged that Jay Gruwell made her touch his genitals, according to affidavit signed by a state agent.

The alleged abuse took place in May at a home in Gillette and the girl came forward shortly afterward, the document states. The affidavit indicates that Gruwell, who is stationed in Lusk, was off-duty at the time.

Gruwell, 54, did not respond to a message left Wednesday afternoon at a phone number listed for him in Lusk. He is charged with third-degree sexual abuse of a minor and faces up to 15 years behind bars if convicted.

In an interview with agents conducted four days after the allegations arose, he denied any wrongdoing. However, during a subsequent interview the same day, he said he remembered asking the girl if she wanted to touch him, authorities say.

Gruwell, who has been a trooper for 23 years, has been on administrative leave since May 20, said patrol administrator Col. Sam Powell.

Powell declined to comment on the allegations. He said Gruwell has an unblemished record with the patrol.

Gruwell is the second state trooper to face serious criminal allegations this year. Franklin Ryle Jr. pleaded guilty earlier this month to federal civil-rights charges in connection to an unlawful arrest he made as part of a scheme to kill a truck driver and stage a crash.

"I can certainly understand why people would be questioning certain things in the patrol of late," Powell said. "All I can do is reassure the people of Wyoming our selection process is solid. I would remind everyone, whether you are a police officer or not, that you are innocent until proven guilty."

Although the allegations against Gruwell date back two months, the Campbell County Attorney's Office could not acknowledge or discuss the case until Wednesday, after it was bound over to district court in Gillette. The office released Gruwell's charging document and a nine-page redacted affidavit signed by a special agent with the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.

According to that document, Gruwell was visiting a home in Gillette at the time the child made the allegations. One person, whose identity was blacked out in the affidavit, told investigators that Gruwell was in town to attend a graduation.

On the morning of the alleged incident, Gruwell went downstairs to check his e-mail. About an hour later, the child came upstairs and told someone that Gruwell had just made her look at his "privates."

The child made similar allegations to a forensic child interviewer, but in contrast to the earlier account, said Gruwell made her touch him.

In the affidavit, investigators indicate that someone else had reported a past incident where Gruwell exposed himself. Gruwell reportedly told the agents he couldn't recall anything like that happening.