Monday, January 11, 2010

Correctional Deputy Steven Crews Charged with Sexual Battery on Child

Bradford County authorities on Sunday arrested a Baker County correctional deputy on allegations that he had sexually abused a girl. Investigators said the abuse might have started when the girl was about 10 years old and continued for as long as six years.

Steven Kyle Crews, 35, was charged with sexual battery on a child age 12 or younger and possession of a photograph or recording of a sex performance by a child. Crews was being held at the Bradford County Jail late Monday awaiting his first court appearance. Baker County Sheriff Joey Dobson on Monday morning fired Crews from his job at the Baker County Jail.

Bradford County Sheriff's Maj. Brad Smith said the case against Crews began Sunday when someone related to him and to the girl through marriages delivered a DVD to the Sheriff's Office. Smith said the DVD contained images of the child performing a sex act. The person who delivered the DVD helped identify Crews as the person who made it, probably a few years earlier, the Bradford County Sheriff's Office reported.

Deputies picked up Crews at his home, found other pornographic material there and took him to the Sheriff's Office in Starke, where he was questioned.

"He gave several admissions to performing various sexual acts with the juvenile," Smith said. "He also divulged information that some incidents may have occurred in Baker County, where he used to live, and in Virginia, so we anticipate that there may be additional charges."

Investigators also are trying to determine whether Crews might have been involved with other children. Concerns were raised that there might have been other victims because investigators were not able to determine if the child pornography alleged to have been in his possession was produced using children he knew or if he downloaded it from the Internet.

"He told us he knew what he was doing was wrong and that he considered suicide but that he never took any action in that regard," Smith said.

During a joint Baker County and Bradford County sheriff's news conference Monday afternoon, Dobson said Crews had begun working for his agency in May.

According to Florida Department of Corrections records, Crews resigned as a sergeant at New River Correctional Institution a few days before taking the similar job at the Baker County Jail.

He also previously had worked at Baker Correctional Institution.

The victim is with family members and has left the area, officials said.

Detentions Deputy Margarita Young Accused of Having Sex with Murderer

A Kern County Sheriff's Office detentions deputy is accused of having sex with an infamous murderer.

Deputy Margarita Young, an 11-year veteran of the department, was arrested Monday afternoon and booked into the central receiving facility. She was being held on $10,000 bail.

She allegedly had a consensual sexual relationship with Timothy Titus Rodriguez at the Lerdo Pre-Trial Facility. Rodriguez was sentenced to death last week for killing 90-year-old Thelma Long and beating her 59-year-old daughter, Cathryn Reeves, in 2007 over a dispute about the amount of money he was paid to do odd jobs around their house.

The investigation into Young's alleged actions began in November, the same month Rodriguez was convicted. Young has been on administrative leave since then.

Rodriguez has been transferred to San Quentin's death row.


Officer Brian Decker Fired for Punching Clerk

The former township police officer fired for allegedly punching a Wawa clerk in the face last month is free on $25,000 unsecured bail after being officially charged today with assault.

Brian Decker, 33, was released from an undisclosed treatment facility Saturday morning and was transported to Ridley District Court by a relative. At 8:54 a.m., accompanied by his attorney S. Stanton Miller, Decker was arraigned on misdemeanor charges of simple assault and terroristic threats, and harassment, a summary offense.

The charges were the result of an investigation conducted by detectives from the Delaware County District Attorney’s Special Prosecution Unit.

Magisterial District Judge Anthony D. Scanlon set bail and Decker was released to the unnamed relative pending a preliminary hearing before Scanlon Jan. 14 in Springfield District Court.

Decker was off-duty at 4:33 p.m. Dec. 15 when he allegedly assaulted Monique Bronson, an assistant manager at the Wawa Food Market at 213 Morton Ave. in Folsom. The former police officer allegedly became enraged when Bronson asked him for identification during a chewing tobacco purchase.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Decker refused to show identification or leave the store. Bronson told investigators she offered to go into the storeroom with Decker and another employee to discuss the situation. While there, Decker struck her in the head and face several times with a closed fist, the affidavit states. Bronson and a customer called 911.

Bronson was treated at Riddle Memorial Hospital for a black eye and contusions.

Shortly after the incident, Bronson gave police a statement saying that Decker had threatened her, saying, “You better watch your back,” according to the affidavit. When she asked if he was threatening her, Decker allegedly replied, “Take it any way you want it. You will be out of here soon, you and your family better watch your back”

Bronson told investigators she had two previous run-ins with Decker when she asked for identification — one in June and another in late November/early December, according to the affidavit. Both times, she alleged, Decker yelled and became agitated when asked for identification.

Hours after the incident, Decker’s gun and badge were confiscated. The married father of two was fired from the force days later.

Ridley Police Capt. Charles Howley Decker’s alleged behavior would not be tolerated, adding that it was “a sad day for Ridley Township police.”

Howley added that Decker had some personal problems, but declined to elaborate.

Pierce County Corrections Officer Arrested for Pointing Weapon During Domestic Assault

A Pierce County corrections officer is expected to make his first appearance in court today after being arrested for allegedly pointing a gun at his domestic partner.

Puyallup police arrested the 48-year-old man Sunday night at his home in the western part of the city, Lt. Scott Engle said Monday. He was booked into the Puyallup city jail for investigation of second-degree domestic-violence assault, according to corrections records. That charge is a felony.

Pierce County Jail chief Martha Karr said the officer was placed on paid administrative leave Monday, which is routine when a corrections officer is accused of a crime.

Engle said a detective is assigned to the case.

Deputy prosecutor Grant Blinn, who supervises the special-assault unit, said a charging decision had not been made late Monday.

The News Tribune is not naming the officer because he’s not been charged.

Patrol officers were dispatched to the officer’s house about 10:15 p.m. to investigate a domestic-violence complaint after the officer’s 51-year-old partner called 911 to report he’d been threatened, Engle said. The lieutenant declined to release more details until the corrections officer appears in court.

The partner sought and received a temporary protection order against the officer Monday, according to Superior Court records.

The victim wrote in his petition that the officer “pulled a 9 mm Glock weapon on me. I am in harm’s way. I don’t feel protected.”

He went on to write that he has endured “15 years of violence, threats but never gun assault.”

The man did not say what motivated his partner to allegedly pull a gun on him.

Corrections Officer Michael Laveau Charged with DWI

A Carlton County corrections officer and former sheriff’s deputy was charged Monday in Carlton County Court in connection with a one-vehicle rollover near the Scanlon Park and Ride that injured his passenger last fall.

Cloquet resident Michael John Laveau, 29, faces charges of gross misdemeanor criminal vehicular operation, misdemeanor fourth degree driving while intoxicated and misdemeanor fourth degree driving while intoxicated - .08 or more within two hours.

The criminal complaint and summons was filed in Carlton County Court on Jan. 11 by an assistant Pine County attorney, who received the case after Carlton County Attorney Thomas Pertler cited conflict of interest concerns. It was unclear Monday when Laveau would make an initial appearance and whether he would appear in Carlton County Court or Pine County Court in the case.

According to court documents, at 1:25 a.m. Oct. 18, Laveau was driving a full-size Dodge pickup truck north on Highway 45 near the Scanlon Park and Ride by Interstate 35 when he swerved to miss “some type of animal,” that had run out in front of him. Laveau then lost control of the truck and it rolled, coming to a stop on the shoulder of the road on the driver’s side.

Laveau and passenger Kaira Lee Wedin, 28, were not reportedly wearing seat belts and she was thrown from the vehicle.

Wedin was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital with injuries to her neck and head. Officers reportedly smelled alcohol coming from Wedin and they observed lacerations and redness on her face and dried blood in her hair. She was treated and released. Officers at the scene also reported a strong odor of alcohol coming from Laveau and that his eyes were watery and glazed over.

Laveau was taken by ambulance to Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet where he was also treated for non-life threatening injuries and a blood alcohol test was administered. Laveau’s blood alcohol concentration was found to be .12 more than an hour after the accident, according to a toxicology report from the State Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. Minnesota law states the legal limit for driving while intoxicated is .08.

Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake said Laveau has been a Carlton County Sheriff’s Office employee since June 2004. Although hired as a corrections officer, Laveau is a licensed deputy and was on patrol for the county from March 2006 until July 2008 while another deputy was on military deployment, she said.

After taking sick leave due to injuries, Lake said in November that Laveau has been back to work in the jail.

Corrections Officer Byron Lee Thornton Charged with Molesting Child

A correctional officer from Santa Rosa County is accused of molesting a child. Byron Lee Thornton has been charged with lewd and lascivious acts involving a victim under the age of 12.

He was booked into the Escambia County jail Friday. Thornton was last employed at the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution.

If convicted, Thornton could face life in prison.


Judge Refuses to Reduce Bond for Former Officer Marcus Jackson

A Mecklenburg judge today again refused to reduce the bond keeping former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Marucs Jackson behind bars.

Jackson, 25, has been held under a $423,000 bond since his Dec. 30 arrest on charges he sexually assaulted at least three women during recent traffic stops.

The ex-cop's attorney told Judge Hugh Lewis that Jackson couldn't afford to pay such a high amount, nor did he know anyone who could help him make bail.

Some of Jackson's alleged victims were in court today to oppose bond reduction. One woman said she experienced nightmares as a result of the alleged attack, and the arrest of her boyfriend when he tried to stop Jackson.

Jackson's friends and relatives were also in court, describing him as a good friend and protector.

At least five women have come forward and accused Jackson of assault. Detectives said Friday they were still checking out additional reports from alleged victims.
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Officer Sean Heyenga Arrested for Choking His Wife

An Omaha police officer is arrested for choking his wife in front of his 12-year-old son.

Sean Heyenga waived his preliminary hearing Monday.

Police reports say a drunk Heyenga strangled his wife Nicole until she became unconscious. When she came to, she reportedly ran to neighbors to call 9-1-1. Reports also say he attacked her so fiercely he left marks on her neck.

The incident allegedly happened in December at their home near 63rd and Blondo. Court documents say Heyenga has been violent with her before, but she has been afraid to come forward and tell police because he's an officer.

Heyenga is on administrative leave with the Omaha Police Department.

Former Officer Monte Montalvo Sentenced to One Year in Prison

A U.S. District judge sentenced a fired Buffalo police officer to one year in prison today for his conviction on unlawful possession of a firearm while subject to an order of protection involving his former spouse.

Monte R. Montalvo, 39, of Cheektowaga, also is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in state court for his guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of attempting to commit a criminal sexual act involving sodomy.

That reduced charge stemmed from allegations that he tried to molest a 19-year-old college student on Dec. 2, 2007. He was fired a year ago from the police department.

Federal Judge William M. Skretny sentenced Montalvo today.

Under federal statutes, law enforcement personnel cannot possess a weapon outside of their work shift if they are subject to a court order involving a domestic situation, authorities explained.

Meanwhile, State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski is scheduled to sentence Montalvo on the state charge. Montalvo's plea in that case forced him to register with the state as a convicted sex offender.

Michalski could sentence Montalvo to up to a year in jail.

Montalvo, a decorated former police officer, has been living on a state disability pension due to knee injuries suffered on the job.

The investigation into the weapons charge involved local FBI and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents, with assistance from city police.

Former Officer Mark McCombs Sentenced for Stealing SWAT Weapons

A former suburban Cleveland police officer convicted of stealing machine guns, night-vision goggles and a silencer has been sentenced to 18 months in prison and now faces more time behind bars.

Parma police officer Mark McCombs apologized in Cuyhaoga County Common Pleas court before the sentencing for tampering with evidence and theft in office.

McCombs is awaiting sentencing in federal court where he faces at least 41 months in prison for having two machine guns and a silencer that were stolen from the police department's SWAT team.

McCombs was a member of the SWAT unit until he was fired in 2007.

He was fired after being accused of forcing a woman to have sex in a patrol car. A jury later found him not guilty of rape, kidnapping and gross sexual imposition.
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Sgt. Jay Malispina Charged with Stealing from His Mother

Salinas police Sgt. Jay Malispina will be arraigned this afternoon on felony elder financial abuse charges.

Salinas police detective Lalo Villegas confirmed this morning that Malispina is on paid administrative leave, and that he is charged with theft from an elderly person.

Prosecutors filed the charges Dec. 29 with an order for Malispina to appear today for arraignment. According to the Monterey County Superior Court Web site, the case was investigated by Salinas police.

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Wrong Man Shot by Officer

A police involved shooting is under investigation after an officer wounded a man who turned out to be uninvolved in the crime in question.

"This was a very unfortunate incident," Suffolk County Police Chief Dominic Varrone said.

Police announced the surprising turn of events on Monday afternoon.

The suspect shot by an officer wasn't a suspect at all -- just the wrong guy, in the wrong place, at the wrong time.

The shooting happened just three miles away from a Huntington Station Taco Bell, a mere minutes after three masked men robbed it at gunpoint and took off in a car.

The alert had just gone out over the radio when the 14-year old veteran cop found himself at a red light behind a car carrying three people.

"He commanded them to keep their hands up and commanded the person in the back seat to show his hands," Det. Lt. Gerard Pelkofsky said.

But police say the driver got out of the car and confronted the cop as the backseat passenger suddenly put his hands between his knees. The officer shot him right through the car window.

"It was clearly an emotionally charged situation. The officer clearly felt these may have been involved in the robbery," Varrone said.

The 31-year-old man was shot in the abdomen. The man was transported to Huntington Hospital where he was admitted and listed in stable condition.

Turned out the men in the car were unarmed and had nothing to do with the taco bell robbery.

The three violent men who did are still on the run.

Detectives worked that crime scene for hours on Monday, making impressions of tire tracks and footprints near the scene.

The names of the officer and the wounded man have not been released.

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More Problems for Former Officer Jerry Saldivar

There's been another twist in the story of the former Madera sheriff's deputy who had been accused of sexually molesting his own wife.

Months ago, former deputy Jerry Saldivar's wife accused him of sexually assaulting her.

But the Fresno County District Attorney's office eventually dropped the charges against Saldivar, after his wife allegedly smashed her way into the house where he was staying and assaulted him.

She was then charged with assault and residential burglary, allegations that could have put her behind bars for 18 months.

Now, she has agreed to plead no contest to lesser charges.

And instead of jail, she faces probation, and she'll have to attend anger management classes.

Jerry Saldivar no longer works for the Madera sheriff's department.


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Officer Joe Zepeda Pleads Not Guilty to Drunk Driving

An off-duty police officer accused of DWI in White Plains, New York, pleaded not guilty to drunken driving in connection with a New Year's Eve accident.

The accident occurred around 5AM Dec 31 when Officer Joe Zepeda was traveling on I-287 near Exit 6 in White Plains. He collided with a tractor trailer. A passenger in the officer's car suffered a broken ankle. The truck driver was taken to a local medical center for treatment of neck and back pain. Zepeda suffered minor injuries that did not require treatment.

The 37-year-old officer refused a blood sample following the wreck. He entered a not guilty plea to the DWI charge, but a separate hearing will be held to determine the consequence of his blood test refusal. This is not a criminal hearing. It is what is called an administrative hearing, taking place at a DMV and carrying only civil punishments.

Zepeda has been suspended without pay from a job he held since 2007. He will appear in court on the charge on Jan. 26. The main reason for public attention to this issue is the fact four police officers total have been arrested for drunk driving related charges in just a few weeks in Westchester County.

The arrests come within a few months of now infamous New York police officer DWI charges involving deaths. In one case, Officer Andrew Kelley is charged with taking the life of a young woman as she left a wedding in Brooklyn. In that incident, Kelly's passengers, including another police officer, fled the scene. This incident drew national press.
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