Monday, June 01, 2009

Corporal Darrin Opaitz Accused of Sexually Assaulting Two Women

A Lubbock Police officer has been accused of sexually assaulting two Lubbock area women.

We have obtained a partial copy of the Texas Rangers investigation report through an open records. It names Lubbock Police Corporal Darrin Opaitz as the suspect. Lubbock Police say he's still on paid administrative leave.

According to the Texas Rangers investigation report, the first assault occurred on November, 26th, 2008, presumed to have been committed by a person employed as a Lubbock Police Department officer.

According to the documents, a Lubbock Police detective and Texas Ranger assisted in interviewing the first victim. She's identified in the files as "Cindy", which is not her real name. The papers say "Cindy" was reluctant to provide investigators with the name of the perpetrator. She claimed to have no memory of the events leading up to her injuries and sexual assault.

Back in December detectives called "Cindy" to discuss the status of the investigation. According to the documents the victim stated, "She did not wish to pursue criminal charges in this investigation." She also declined to make a statement and refused to divulge the name of the suspect.

At that point the file was closed by investigators. But on March 6th, 2009 the case was reopened by detectives after they met with "Cindy" at Covenant Hospital and obtained a recorded statement from her.

On March 26th, investigators met with a second victim who claimed to have been sexually assaulted by Darrin Opaitz. The assault reportedly occurred back in July 2008.

Lubbock Police tell us they can't comment on a Texas Rangers investigation and by law they can't comment on a possible internal affairs investigation either.

Opaitz is not charged with a crime. It's possible that he could be charged or cleared at the conclusion of the Texas Rangers investigation.

Officer Jason Neal Charged with Fraud

An Alexandria Police officer was arrested Monday and charged with fraud.

Jason Neal, who has been on sick leave with the department for several months, was charged with public payroll fraud.

Police Chief Daren Coutee said the investigation into Neal began over the weekend and remains active.

Neal was on sick leave from the department and drawing payment from the city but was working a second job, Coutee said.

Neal turned himself in and was arrested without incident. He was released from the Rapides Parish Jail on Monday.

Coutee said Neal had been with the department a short time as he'd had several military deployments since he began.

Former Officer James Formato, Officer Dino Vitalo & Others Arrested for Armed Robberies

A reputed mob boss, a police officer and five other men were charged Thursday in a sweeping racketeering indictment that alleges eight years of armed robberies, burglaries, jewel thefts and arson based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Michael "The Large Guy" Sarno, 51, of Westchester allegedly masterminded much of the group's illegal activity, including a February 2003 pipe-bomb explosion that wrecked the storefront offices of a company distributing video poker machines.

Prosecutors say the bombing was a message from organized crime to stop intruding on its $13-million-a-year video poker gambling business.

Sarno, 51, went to prison in the early 1990s as a member of an organized crime family based in the western suburbs headed by Ernest Rocco Infelice.

Federal agents searched Sarno's home last July and also raided the headquarters and various hangouts of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club. An alliance has developed between the violence-prone club and the Chicago mob, prosecutors say.

Sarno's attorney, Terence P. Gillespie, did not return a message for comment. But he said in a previous interview with The Associated Press that Sarno was not a mob member and was "a legitimate businessman."

Two men arrested the day of the July 2008 searches and later indicted, Mark Polchan, 41, an acknowledged member of the Outlaws, and Samuel Volpendesto, 85, were also charged in the fresh indictment. They are accused of setting off the bomb that demolished C&S Coin Operated Amusements of Berwyn, a video poker device distributor.

At the time, a video poker distributing company controlled by members and associates of the Chicago mob had a grip on the market for the devices, experts say.

Video poker devices are legal in Illinois if they are not used for gambling, but bartenders often pay winners under the table in many places and experts say the mob frequently takes a healthy cut of what the machines take in.

Gov. Pat Quinn is deciding whether to sign a bill to make video poker gambling legal to finance public works — something good government forces deplore. They say the machines are addictive and some breadwinners have gambled away their paychecks.

Also charged in the indictment:

—James Formato, 42, a former Berwyn police officer accused of serving as a courier for stolen money, taking part in an attempted robbery and other crimes.

—Mark Hay, 52, described as taking part in the robbery of jewelry stores.

—Anthony Volpendesto, 46, son of Samuel Volpendesto, who also is alleged to have taken part in robbing jewelry stores.

—Dino Vitalo, 40, a Cicero police officer since 1991, accused of searching law enforcement data bases and using the information to tip off criminals and searching for electronic surveillance equipment around a jewelry store operated by Polchan. Cicero officials on Thursday placed Vitalo on administrative leave.

Prosecutors are asking the court to force the defendants if convicted to forfeit $1.8 million — a possible measure of the amount taken in the robberies.