Friday, April 25, 2014

Former Officer Donald Glunt Arrested for Child Porn

Detectives arrested a former Lynden police officer Friday as part of a child pornography investigation.

Detectives arrested 57-year-old Donald Glunt, who was taken into custody without incident.

According to investigators, Glunt had recently resigned his position with the Lynden Police Department.

Detectives said the investigation originated after officials with the Lynden Police Department discovered images on Glunt’s city-owned cellphone while conducting an internal administrative investigation.

On Wednesday, Lynden Police Department’s Chief Jack Foster asked the Washington State Patrol to conduct a criminal investigation.

Detectives reviewed digital evidence and interviewed Glunt, which led to his arrest.

According to investigators, Glunt was trading images with a 16-year-old girl in Texas. Authorities in Texas assisted detectives by interviewing the victim.

The incident remains as an ongoing investigation.

Glunt was booked into the Skagit County Jail on charges of dealing and possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and viewing of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Detective Stevie Billups Sentenced For Drug Crimes

Former Columbus Police Detective Stevie Billups, 48, of Columbus, was sentenced to serve 57 months in prison for crimes he committed through his involvement with a local drug dealer.

Carter M. Stewart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Kevin Cornelius, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office (FBI); Karen Huey, Director of Enforcement for the Ohio Casino Control Commission; and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs announced the sentence imposed today by Senior U.S. District Judge James L. Graham.

Judge Graham also fined Billups $10,000 and ordered him to serve three years of supervised release after he completes his prison sentence.

Billups pleaded guilty on November 22, 2013, to one count of attempted possession with intent to distribute heroin. According to a document the government filed with the court prior to today’s sentencing, in 2013 Billups provided armed protection for two transactions involving drugs while he was a Columbus Police officer.

Billups began his relationship with a drug dealer when Billups began laundering money for the drug dealer by cashing in chips which helped the drug dealer avoid transaction reporting requirements at the Hollywood Casino in Columbus.

According to court documents, Billups asked the drug dealer to “get him in the game.” Billups’ query led to the June 28th and July 17th drug stings by the FBI, whereby Billups protected the drug dealer in the pickup of purported drug money. He later provided protection for the drug dealer during a transaction which Billups believed involved the distribution of heroin. Billups provided protection during the second transaction while he was on duty, armed with his service weapon, and in a Columbus Division of Police unmarked detective vehicle. Billups received a total of $5,000 in exchange for providing protection to the drug dealer during these transactions.

“Public confidence in our police to ‘do the right thing’ is undermined with each case of police corruption,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Doug Squires told the court. “It is a police officer’s duty to uphold the law and protect the public....Billups’ intent to aid and further the problems that heroin has brought to our communities for his own profit indicates the serious nature of this offense.”

“Using a police officer’s badge and gun to commit crime is a particularly disturbing threat to the community,” stated SAC Kevin Cornelius. “This case highlights the fact that local, state, and federal agencies are working together to root out corruption and bring to justice those who betray the public’s trust.”

“Ohio Casino Control Commission and its gaming agents are committed to working with our federal and local law enforcement partners to investigate criminal activity occurring at the casinos,” said Karen Huey. “The Commission will not tolerate money laundering or drug dealing at any of Ohio’s casinos.”

U.S. Attorney Stewart praised the cooperative investigation by the Ohio Casino Control Commission and the FBI’s Central Ohio Public Corruption Task Force, which includes agents from the FBI and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI).

Mr. Stewart commended the Columbus Division of Police and Police Chief Kim Jacobs for the cooperation they provided during the course of this investigation and thanked the Homeland Security Investigations Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force for helping initiate this investigation. The Bulk Cash Smuggling Task Force includes agents with Homeland Security Investigations and detectives with the Columbus Police Department, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Stewart also acknowledged Assistant United States Attorneys Doug Squires and David DeVillers, who prosecuted the case.

Two Broward County Sheriff’s Office Deputies Charged with Conspiracy in Connection with Rothstein Investigation

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations (IRS-CI); and Scott Israel, Sheriff, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), announce the filing of charges against David Benjamin, 48, of Boca Raton, and Jeff Alan Poole, 47, of Weston, for conspiring to commit crimes in connection with the operation of the former Fort Lauderdale law firm of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler P.A. (RRA).

In a criminal information filed earlier today, Benjamin was charged with conspiracy to commit extortion and to violate civil rights, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. In a separate criminal information also filed today, Poole was charged with conspiracy to violate civil rights, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 241. The charges allege that, during the relevant time period, both defendants were employed by the Broward Sheriff’s Office. Benjamin was a lieutenant and served as executive officer to then Sheriff Al Lamberti. Poole was a detective assigned to the Strategic Investigations Division.

The charging documents allege that both defendants agreed to utilize their respective positions within BSO unlawfully to further the interests of RRA, its chairman and CEO Scott W. Rothstein, and other persons associated with Rothstein. Specifically, the charging documents allege that Benjamin received approximately $185,000 in money and other things of value from Rothstein and RRA in return for providing his assistance when needed, including arranging with Poole to arrest the ex-wife of an attorney who was engaged in a child custody dispute with her, arranging to use force and threats of force against the boyfriend of an escort who was threatening to expose the illicit relationship that existed between the escort and one of the partners at RRA, and assisting Rothstein in loading cash and jewelry onto a private airplane that was used by Rothstein to flee to Morocco on October 27, 2009, as the Ponzi scheme being conducted through RRA was beginning to unravel.

U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “David Benjamin and Jeff Poole used their official positions as law enforcement officers to commit civil rights abuses to further the interests of Scott Rothstein and others associated with Rothstein. When law enforcement officers betray the trust of the people, it strikes at the very core of our democracy. The informations filed today charging Benjamin and Poole should serve as a reminder that no one is above the law. When law enforcement officers violate the public’s trust, they will be held accountable. Benjamin and Poole are the 19th and 20th accomplices, respectively, to be held accountable in Rothstein’s $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme.”

“When David Benjamin and Jeff Alan Poole began to use their official positions to further the illegal schemes of Rothstein and his cronies, they crossed a very bright line,” said William J. Maddalena, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami. “Their criminal misconduct undermined the public’s trust in law enforcement. As such, the FBI will continue to work with our partners to remove those law enforcement officers who violate the law. The FBI, in particular, would like to thank BSO for their close partnership investigating this matter.”

IRS-CI SAC José A. Gonzalez stated, “Law enforcement officers and individuals in positions of our citizens’ trust are held to an even higher standard than the general public. It’s a sad day when a lieutenant and a detective of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office who are sworn to uphold the law, allegedly misuse their positions by engaging in criminal acts. IRS-CI, together with its law enforcement partners, will continue to ensure that no one operates above the law and are held accountable for their actions.”

BSO Sheriff Scott Israel stated, “Every time a law enforcement officer is implicated in a crime, it’s a blow to our profession. This indictment tarnishes the image of honest, hard-working law enforcement officers everywhere. My immediate action after taking office was to suspend Deputy Poole and Lieutenant Benjamin based on an ongoing federal investigation. I applaud the diligence and professionalism displayed by our federal partners, and we will continue working closely with them to ensure justice is served.”

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, IRS-CI, and BSO. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lawrence D. LaVecchio, Paul F. Schwartz, and Jeffrey N. Kaplan.

Former Pedophile Officer Jerry Ballinger Will NOT go to Prison After Rape of Child

A former police officer and mentor gets probation—not prison—after pleading guilty to child sex crimes.

Last year, Augusta cop Jerry Ballinger was arrested and charged with having sex with a 14-year-old girl. He entered a plea agreement and will serve his punishment outside the walls of prison.

Some are calling and a slap on the wrist.

Ballinger pleaded guilty in February to one count of aggravated indecent liberties with a child. And just this week, KAKE’s I-Team was the only TV crew in Butler County when Ballinger was sentenced to five years probation.

When the I-Team heard that sentence, we dug deeper to find out what the average sentence is for first time sex offenders.

In Kansas, it's is up to eight years behind bars and the convict will be placed on the state’s sex offender registry for the rest of their life.

Here’s what Judge David Ricke told the 44-year-old former cop in court:

“Ballinger falls into a category of offender who present a problem and concern for society,” he said, “and therefore must be watched closely the rest of his life and supervised.”

Ballinger worked in law enforcement for more that 20 years. He met his 14-year-old victim at the Augusta public safety office when she was volunteering as a junior firefighter.

The girl, a middle school student at the time, testified during a preliminary hearing that the cop befriended her. She said he took her out to the country several times and the two had sexual intercourse last year.

The victim’s father said he is furious with the probation sentence. He said what happened to his little girl will scar her for the rest of her life.

Assistant Butler County Attorney Cheryl Pierce prosecuted the case. She said that based on the fact that he’s 44-years-old and was a cop at the time, and the victim was a 14-year-old girl, Ballinger should be in prison based on that fact alone.

Butler County Attorney Darrin Divinney told the KAKE I-Team he entered the plea deal with Ballinger, saying, “Some cases have overwhelming evidence. This one had only circumstantial evidence. Given that fact, there was a far greater risk of acquittal.”

Divinney told the court he did not join in the defense request of just probation, but he also didn’t actively oppose the request.

Judge Ricke ruled that Ballinger would be better served for treatment on probation instead of behind bars, based on a doctor’s report.

“... The strength of doctor Steffan's evaluation report, which indicated that defendant was a low risk to reoffend, that the defendant was amenable to treatment, and that he had a favorable prognosis for treatment, and that he was favorable candidate for probation."

For many in the community, the sentence was a big disappointment.

Four Paris Officers Arrested for Rape

French media report four police officers are in custody in connection with the alleged rape of a Canadian woman at the Paris police headquarters.

Published reports say the 34-year-old Toronto woman is the daughter of a Canadian police officer and may herself be a police officer too.

The reports allege the woman met with the officers, who are part of an anti-gang squad, at an Irish pub Tuesday night and went with them to the unit’s headquarters.

They cite sources saying she left distraught the next morning and told another officer that she had been raped.

They say three of the officers are accused of being directly involved in the assault, while the other allegedly spoke to the woman after it happened.

The case is being handled by the country’s police watchdog and it’s reported DNA tests are being conducted.

The officers have reportedly denied the allegations.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve vowed today to take “all the necessary measures” if the allegations turn out to be true.

Correctional Officer Patrick Harris Arrested for Theft

Patrick Harris, 36, of LaGrange, was arrested Wednesday around 6:30 p.m. at the Troup County Landfill in the 100 block of Parmer Road on theft charges. Harris is a correctional officer at the Troup County Correctional Institute

According to reports, a witness saw Harris driving a truck and pulling a trailer into the property after the gate was secured, which he had keys to.

Deputies arrested Harris as he was leaving the landfill. Several items of scrap metal were found in his trailer.

Harris will be charged with theft by taking, criminal trespassing and violation of oath of office. Additional charges are pending.

Officers David Ayotte & John Melanson Accused of Excessive Force

Investigators have uncovered allegations that two Bellingham, Mass., police officers using excessive force falsely arrested a woman.

The troubling events leading up to the arrest were all caught on camera. Team 5 Investigates' Kathy Curran obtained the exclusive video showing exactly what happened.

Holly Graham, 29, struggled with the two police officers moments before she was placed under arrest in October 2012.

Watch video of encounter with police

The events leading up to her arrest were recorded by Graham on her iPhone which show her questioning the officers as they were leaving her apartment.  Graham told Team 5 she wanted to know why they showed up at her apartment, knocked down her door and searched her home without a warrant.

According to the police report, Officer David Ayotte and Officer John Melanson were looking for Graham's friend who was wanted by police on an outstanding warrant.  Graham claims police told her they were responding to a complaint for loud music.

"Where's the warrant at? You came for loud music, right? That's what you came for? What's that? Loud music?" the video records Graham shouting as she followed both officers down stairs.

A short struggle then ensued in the stairway when the phone was dropped and the video shows Graham on the ground with Ayotte on top of her.

"Can you tell me what was happening at that point?" asked Team 5 Investigates' Curran.

"He had pushed my head into my stairs which split my lip and he was pushing my head against the stairs," said Graham.

Ayotte then accused her of threatening him with a fork as Melanson stood nearby.

"You got a fork in your hand, you come after me?" asked Ayotte.

"I'm not coming after you. I did not come after you," said Graham.

"Who the (expletive) do you think you are?" asked Ayotte.

"I did not come after you," reiterated Graham.

"You're going to jail now, (expletive)," said Ayotte.

According to the police report, Ayotte wrote he felt threatened and at a disadvantage. He said during the skirmish the fork struck the side of his head leaving abrasions.

"You never threatened with a fork?" asked Curran.

"Never," answered Graham.

"Why did you have a fork in your hand," asked Curran.

"I was cooking dinner, I didn't realize I had the fork in my hand," said Graham.

The officers threatened to use chemical spray on her twice. Graham was arrested and charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and assault and battery on a police officer. Prosecutors later dismissed all of the charges.

"Had she not had the videotape, she might have ended up being convicted because it would have been her word against the word of two police officers," said attorney Howard Friedman, who is representing Graham.

Friedman has filed a lawsuit in federal court against officers Ayotte and Melanson alleging they violated Graham's civil rights by illegally entering her apartment, falsely arresting her and using excessive force.

Ayotte declined Team 5's requests for an interview.

"We'd like to ask you some questions about the incident with Holly Graham," said Curran.

"I have no comment, I'm sorry," said Ayotte.

"You think this was a case of excessive force?" asked Curran.

"I have no comment," said Ayotte.

His attorney, Kareem Morgan, told Team 5 Investigates Ayotte believes his actions were justified and he did what was necessary to defend himself.

Melanson never got back to Team 5 Investigates despite repeated requests for comment.

"I look at police a whole other way now. You know, I don't look at them as protectors or public servants. I fear them and you shouldn't fear the people who are supposed to help you," said Graham.

Bellingham Police Chief Gerry Daigle told Team 5 Investigates his department did not conduct an internal investigation because he believes his officers' actions were justified.

This wasn't the first time the police officers involved had contact with Graham. At the time of this incident, Graham had faced charges in several different cases but was never convicted.

Corrections Officer Jose Maria-Macias Arrested for Sexual Abuse of Minor

A 23-year-old former corrections officer at the Buckeye prison has been booked into Maricopa County Jail for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said sexually explicit text messages were found on the 15-year-old's phone on April 21, and on April 24, witnesses called police to report what they believed to be sexual exploitation of a minor.

Investigators interviewed the victim who said it began on April 5 with text messages and led to sexual abuse.

Search warrants were served at the home of Jose Maria-Macias, 23, and detectives found evidence supporting the allegations, Crump said.

Maria-Macias was arrested at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis and faces five counts of sexual conduct with a minor, one count of sexual abuse of a minor, one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of luring a minor for sexual exploitation.

Arizona Department of Corrections spokesman Bill Lamoreaux said Maria-Macias was hired on Dec. 16, 2013 and assigned to ASPC-Lewis on Feb. 1 after graduating from the academy.

Lamoreaux said Maria-Macias resigned from the department at the time of his arrest.

Sgt. Corey Tolbert Charged with Assaulting Wife

A police officer has been charged with assault after his Texas trooper wife allegedly was hit by a pickup truck pulling a trailer at their home.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials say Cuero police Sgt. Corey Tolbert was charged Friday with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon causing serious bodily injury/family violence.

Jail records for DeWitt and Lavaca counties show Tolbert, whose bond was set at $200,000, was no longer in custody Monday.

Texas Rangers helped investigate the April 17 incident when Trooper Elizabeth Tolbert allegedly was struck. KAVU-TV reports the trailer rolled over her legs. The Victoria Advocate reports the trooper spent several days hospitalized.

Jailers had no attorney information for Corey Tolbert, who's on paid administrative leave.

Cuero police and DPS officials didn't immediately return messages Monday.