A Decade to Reflect!
Update: February 25, 2010
WORCESTER — Saying he treated his victim with “utter disrespect and particular cruelty,” a judge today sentenced Jason D. Briddon, a former part-time Rutland police officer, to 10 to 12 years in state prison for the rape and beating of a prostitute. Mr. Briddon, 37, of Westminster, was convicted of aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping and assault and battery last month after a jury trial in Worcester Superior Court. Sentencing was today. Judge Janet Kenton-Walker sentenced Mr. Briddon this afternoon to 10 to 12 years in prison on the aggravated charge and placed him on probation for 5 years, to begin upon his release from custody, on the assault and battery charge.
Over the objections of Assistant District Attorney Paula J. Frasso, who recommended a sentence of 25 to 30 years, Judge Kenton-Walker dismissed the aggravated kidnapping charge as duplicative of the aggravated rape charge. As conditions of probation, Mr. Briddon was ordered to receive sex offender treatment, register as a sex offender, remain drug- and alcohol-free, have no contact with the victim or her family, possess no weapons and submit to GPS monitoring. He was further ordered to undergo any substance abuse or mental health evaluations recommended by the probation department and receive any related treatment deemed appropriate.
Still pending against Mr. Briddon are unrelated charges arising from a 29-year-old Worcester woman's allegations that he raped and assaulted her May 1, 2007, after she accepted a ride home from him from a bar. A mistrial was declared in that case in March 2009 after a jury reported it was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
Update: February 24, 2010
Jason Briddon, part-time Rutland police officer was convicted of rape, kidnapping and assault is facing sentencing. After deliberating for more than 20 hours over four days, a Worcester Superior Court jury found 37-year-old Mr. Briddon guilty of one count each of aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping and assault and battery shortly after 2 p.m.
The jury of seven women and five men returned not guilty verdicts on six additional counts of aggravated rape, four other counts of assault and battery and one count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (shod foot).
Judge Janet Kenton-Walker postponed sentencing until Feb. 25. At the request of Assistant District Attorney Paula J. Frasso, Judge Kenton-Walker ordered that Mr. Briddon remain in custody without bail until then.
The 30-year-old victim testified during Mr. Briddon’s weeklong trial that he repeatedly raped and beat her and held her against her will on the morning of Oct. 9, 2008, after she agreed to engage in a sex act with him for money to support her crack cocaine addiction. She said the assaults and kidnapping occurred in the basement of a house at 178 Burncoat St. that Mr. Briddon said was owned by one of his friends.
Mr. Briddon, a married father of two who was also once an auxiliary police officer for the city of Worcester, admitted paying the woman for sex, but denied raping, beating or kidnapping her. He testified that the alleged victim became upset after he caught her smoking crack cocaine, broke her crack pipe and accused her of stealing his wallet.
The former officer attributed injuries suffered by the woman, which included bumps and bruises, to falls.
The victim was not in court when the verdicts were returned yesterday afternoon. Mr. Briddon’s wife, Wendy Briddon, rushed out of the courtroom after the verdicts were read, but before her husband was taken into custody by court officers.
Still pending against Mr. Briddon, a Westminster resident, are unrelated charges arising from a 29-year-old woman’s allegations that he raped and assaulted her on the morning of May 1, 2007, after she accepted his offer to drive her home from a bar.
A mistrial was declared in March after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on rape and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon charges stemming from those allegations.
March 14, 2009
On March 13, 2009 a judge declared a mistrial in the case of Jason D. Briddon, a part-time Rutland police officer charged with sexually assaulting a Worcester woman, after the jury twice reported it was deadlocked and unable to reach a unanimous verdict. The judge continued the case to March 23, 2009 for a hearing to discuss the possible scheduling of a second trial.
March 8, 2009
Rutland Police Officer Jason Briddon wept, crocodile style, when his wife took the witness stand March 6, 2009 during his rape trial in Worcester Superior Court. Mr. Briddon is alleged to have raped and beaten a prostitute while awaiting trial on an unrelated rape charge.
A jury late Friday, March 6, 2009 began deliberations in the case of the part-time Rutland police officer charged with raping a 29-year-old Worcester woman, who testified that she accepted his offer to drive her home from a bar May 1, 2007. Instead, she told the jury, Mr. Briddon drove her to a building in the Elm Street area and raped her while she passed out.
The woman was interviewed two months after the alleged sexual assault and before Mr. Briddon (pictured left) was identified and arrested. She didn’t know Mr. Briddon’s name, only that he told her he was a cop. “I didn’t feel like I had a chance,” she said in 2007. “If he was a cop, who would believe my word against his?”
Worcester police and a grand jury believed her. The grand jury indicted Mr. Briddon in January 2008. While awaiting trial, in October 2008, he allegedly picked up a hooker and took her to a friend’s home on Burncoat Street. The woman would tell police that, after they completed their consensual arrangement, Mr. Briddon held her against her will for more than two hours, beating and raping her. He was arrested outside the house after the woman ran to a nearby home to seek help. Her face was badly bruised and swollen when police arrived.
Jeffrey Cujdik, et. al.
March 6, 2009
During a 2007 police raid at Lady Gonzalez's Kensington home, a male officer directed Gonzalez into a small back room, where he sexually assaulted her under the guise of searching her for drugs and weapons, according to a civil lawsuit filed March 5, 2009. The lawsuit alleges that a Philadelphia cop groped Ms. Gonzalez while other officers stomped around on the second floor. Filed in federal court, the lawsuit claims that an officer named "Tom" pushed down her jeans, exposing the crack of her buttocks, then lifted her shirt and bra, forcibly touching and rubbing her breasts. She feared he'd rape her, the lawsuit claims.
The suit names Officer Jeffrey Cujdik and eight other cops, including two with the first name "Thomas," who participated in the raid at Gonzalez's house on Thayer Street, near Jasper. The suit seeks more than $600,000 in damages and attorneys fees. It is the first civil lawsuit filed in the wake of a series of questions regarding Cujdik's relationship with his longtime informant, Ventura Martinez.
Police Informant Ventura Martinez alleged that [Officer] Cujdik sometimes lied on search-warrant applications to gain access to suspected drug homes. The allegations prompted federal and local authorities to form a task force to investigate. Investigators with the FBI, the police Internal Affairs Bureau and the District Attorney's Office are scrutinizing hundreds of criminal cases involving Cujdik and the officers he worked with on the Narcotics Field Unit. (See, Oakland, CA Police Department, III.)
One of the cases under the microscope is that of Gonzalez's husband, Albert Nunez, who was the target of the raid in which Gonzalez says she was groped. Nunez was charged with drug dealing after Cujdik said that he found 47 packets of cocaine in a teddy bear inside the couple's home during the raid. The case is pending. In an application for a search warrant, Officer Robert McDonnell said that he watched Martinez, known as confidential informant "#103," buy a packet of cocaine from Nunez as the two men stood on the front porch. Martinez, however, told the Daily News that he never bought drugs from Nunez. (See, Oakland, CA Police Department, III.)
On February 25, 2009, Philadelphia's police union rose to defend Officer Jeffrey Cujdik, denouncing the Philadelphia Daily News for taking the word of a confidential informant against a man they said is an "honest cop" with an exemplary 12-year record in undercover drug work. C.J. Note: These are the same officers who took the Informant's word to have search & arrest warrants issued. This informant's word was so good to the police department, people went to jail. Now that this informant is making allegations against the police, his word is no longer trustworthy.
The allegations against Cujdik became public Feb. 9, 2009 when the local News reported on the Philadelphia police's internal investigation of Cujdik and interviewed Cujdik's former paid informant, Ventura Martinez, 47. Cujdik was under investigation two months before the local News reports began. The probe was triggered last year after a defense lawyer told the court that Cujdik and Martinez had falsified information in a warrant. This same defense lawyer presented photos showing Martinez leaving a house in Kensington that is owned by Cujdik and rented to Sonia Durecout, the mother of two of Martinez's children. Martinez said that he paid Cujdik at least $20,000 in rent money that he had earned as an informant working with Cujdik. The Police Department pays informants to make drug buys and for tips leading to gun and drug arrests.
When Officer Jeffrey Cujdik learned that one of his informants, Tiffany Gorham, was arrested on robbery and aggravated-assault charges last year, he provided cash to bail her out of jail, Gorham's mother has told the Daily News. "He stopped here and dropped the money off," Michele "Mickey" Gorham, 51, said.
Under police rules, however, officers must maintain a strictly professional relationship with informants. Like the alleged house rental, providing cash to bail out an informant would "cross the line," said a high-ranking police source. "That would not be ethical," the source said.
These allegations, if true, raise more questions about Cujdik's relationship with his informants. In Late January 2009, police officials removed Cujdik from all police duty. He was ordered to surrender his service weapon and assigned desk work.
March 5, 2009
The Highway Patrol is investigating after a former Buffalo police officer was charged with rape. Former Buffalo police officer Jonathan Parmalee, who's 25, is charged with 1 count each of forcible rape and statutory rape, for having sex with two 16-year-old girls. Both incidents allegedly happened before he was hired to work for the department. Court documents show one of the girls says Parmalee gave her alcohol, then forced her to have sex in his home.
The other girl said she had consensual sex with Parmalee in his home. He was 22 at the time. The act with the second victim occurred between February and May 2008. In that case, Parmalee is alleged to have given a 16-year-old alcohol before raping her. Both incidents occurred at Parmalee's home in Buffalo, the charging papers said.
Parmalee (pictured left) is being held in the Polk County jail to protect him from inmates he may have investigated. Felony forcible rape is punishable by life imprisonment or a term of five to 30 years.
March 29, 2009
Video: Warrant: Custodian Claims Lt. Assaulted Her (The arrest warrant of a police lieutenant that a woman claims sexually assaulted her is released.)
AVON, Conn. -- The arrest warrant of a police lieutenant that a woman claims sexually assaulted her was released Thursday. The woman said actions leading up to the harassment claim included hugs and an occasional request for her to sit on the lieutenant's lap -- which she said she occasionally did --but that the lieutenant became increasingly sexual and aggressive toward her. Lt. Ronald Welch, 38, was arrested on assault charges in early March after a female custodian reported that he touched her breast while they were working. Welch was employed as the Avon Police Department's public information officer at the time.
"Out of nowhere, Ron grabbed lightly (not suction grab) and fondled my left breast," the woman claims in the arrest warrant. "I did not have enough time to react to his action. It was a quick motion."
The woman said in the warrant that there was a pattern of this type of behavior. She reported that Welch pulled out her shirt, blatantly looked at her cleavage and rearranged her clothing to see what type of panties she was wearing.
The investigating officer also received information from other Avon employees who described unsolicited, sexually suggestive conduct by Welch, according to the arrest warrant. Those employees' descriptions of Welch's actions aren't considered criminal behavior, but are similar to those described by the woman who reported him. Welch, who's been on leave since the allegation was made in January, wouldn't comment on the case.
Avon Police Chief Mark Rinaldo said there are two people assigned to the internal investigation. He said they're now interviewing employees, but he didn't indicate if those employees were limited to the police department. Town manager Philip Schenk refused to comment on the issue.
March 4, 2009
AVON, Conn. - AVON, Connecticut Police police say a member of the police department has been arrested and charged with sexual assault. Lt. Ron Welch was arrested at about 10:30 a.m. on March 4, 2009 on a charge of fourth degree sexual assault steming from an incident about a month ago. The charges allege that he sexually assaulted a cleaning woman at the Police Department.
Police said an investigation into the complaint against Lt. Ronald Welch, 38, was conducted in coordination with the state's attorney's office for Hartford Superior Court. Police Chief Mark Rinaldo says he has begun an internal investigation that is expected to take several weeks to complete. Welch has been released on bond.
See Related Misconduct (by Lt. Welch):
Avon Police Officers Scolded For Anti-Obama Email
by Christine Stuart | December 23, 2008 1:16 PM
The original email titled “Who Does He Stand For?” purports to present select excerpts from two books written by Obama that appeared to show he disliked white people and would ally himself with Muslims against U.S. interests. Lt. Ron Welch received the email from an acquaintance outside the police department and forwarded it to 12 individuals in the police department.
Back in 1993, a Black Avon police officer filed a discrimination lawsuit against the town alleging that some Avon police officers target blacks and Hispanics for motor vehicle stops.
C.J. Note: There you have it, A racist rapist! (We'll bet you can't say "racist rapist" three times in rapid succession.
Update: May 21, 2009 -
Two former Creston police officers convicted for their roles in the rape of a country club bartender were each sentenced Wednesday to 25 years in prison. A jury of nine women and three men in Sioux City found James Christensen, the city's former police chief, and John Sickels, the former assistant chief, guilty in March of second-degree sexual abuse. Prosecutors contended that Sickels, 39, raped the woman at the Crestmoor Country Club on April 18, 2008, after the club had closed. Prosecutors alleged that Christensen, 41, stroked the woman's hair and tried to quiet her during the incident. The men were told Wednesday they must serve a minimum of 14 years each before they are eligible for release, and their names will be on the state sex offender registry for the rest of their lives. Both defendants read statements before the sentences were handed down, but neither apologized to the victim.
Sickels criticized the trial as unfair and said "the system failed me." Christensen told the packed courtroom, which included 30 or more members of the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, that he was sorry his relatives and friends "had to endure this." The men have 30 days to appeal. Both will stay in jail without bond during the appeal process. "Justice was not served here today," Sickels' mother, Janet Jackson, said after the hearing. "I'm proud of him and what he's done for the community. This was a setup from day one. You have two police officers with impeccable records, and one night of drinking that led to consensual sex. "She lied and she lied on the stand." Corrupt Justice does not name rape victims without their permission.
"We are pleased to see a measure of justice brought for a survivor who experienced sexual violence at the hands of someone who was supposed to protect her," the coalition's Catherine Fribley said. "It's difficult to report people who are in prominent and important positions."
A statement read on behalf of the 45-year-old victim by Candis Lockard, victim-witness coordinator with the Iowa attorney general's office, said she feels that she "sticks out like an elephant" in Creston and lives in fear of confrontation and retaliation. The woman said she is unemployed, in therapy, and takes medication to deal with the trauma. The statement said she feels as if the ordeal has resulted in a "life sentence" of pain. The officers' arrests in June sent shock waves through Creston, a southwest Iowa town of about 8,000. Christensen and Sickels were fired after they were charged. The trial was moved from Union County to Woodbury County to ensure fairness.
The verdict capped an eight-day trial that was often contentious. Four hours of closing arguments became so heated that Judge Arthur Gamble twice sent jurors out of the courtroom so he could referee disagreements among the attorneys. Sickels' lawyer charged that prosecutors deliberately tried to mislead jurors about which side was responsible to prove Sickels' guilt. Defense lawyers also raised questions during the trial about the accuser's statements, her reported drunken memory lapses in the past, and the tactics used by state investigators. Prosecutors cited conflicting statements from Sickels and Christensen about the incident, their admitted request that night for oral sex, and the woman's unwavering story. Sickels initially denied that he had sex with the woman, then twice changed his story when questioned by a state agent. Both men argued in court papers that prosecutors misstated facts and denied them a fair trial.
But Gamble ruled Tuesday that the prosecutors broke no rules and that the evidence was fairly presented. It wasn't just a "he said, she said" case, Gamble wrote, and the conviction was supported by ample evidence that included Sickels' admission that he had sex with the woman. "Given the physical evidence at the crime scene and the admissions of the defendants, the state's case was strong," according to Gamble's ruling. "The complainant's testimony was credible. Her statements to the DCI, her deposition testimony and her trial testimony were consistent on her central allegation of sexual abuse. The testimony of the defendants was neither consistent nor credible."
Update: March 13, 2009 - A jury deciding the fate of two former Creston police officers reached their verdict at the Woodbury County Courthouse on March 12, 2009. John Sickels was found guilty of sexual abuse in the second-degree. Jamie Christensen was found guilty of sexual abuse in the second-degree. A Sentencing date will be set at a later date, which is expected to set in 15 days or less.
March 4, 2009
Sioux City, Iowa. - Following a nearly two month investigation, the chief of police of a southwest Iowa town and his assistant were charged today with sexually assaulting a female bartender.
Creston's former police chief sat face-to-face with a country-club bartender last year and grinned while his assistant chief raped her, prosecutors alleged Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009. James Christensen (pictured left), the former chief, then patted the 44-year-old woman's head and told her to "shush" as she begged the men to stop, Assistant Iowa Attorney General Becky Goettsch said. As the men left, Goettsch said, Christensen told the bartender: "This didn't happen." The second-degree sexual abuse trial of Christensen and his assistant chief, John Sickels, began Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 with conflicting accounts of what happened at the Crestmoor Country Club in April.
Defense lawyers said Sickels (pictured left) and his accuser had both drunk heavily that night and had consensual sex. The accuser also gave inconsistent statements to authorities and her boyfriend, Sickels' lawyer, Richard McConville, charged. Christensen's lawyer, Paul Scott, said the veteran law enforcement officer and father of two has "for eight months been living under the cloud of being accused of something he did not do." "There is not one single thread of evidence, other than the testimony of" the accuser, Scott said. "No sign of force, no vaginal tearing, no bruising, no report of any rape for a week." Christensen, 41, and Sickels, 39, surrendered to state authorities in July 2008 and were booked in the Polk County Jail on $25,000 bond each. Both men are charged with second-degree sex abuse, which is punishable by up to 25 years in prison. The case has rocked their south-central Iowa hometown.
The trial was moved to Sioux City because of intense media coverage. The accuser, a divorced mother of three, lived in Creston with her boyfriend and has planned to become an elementary school teacher, lawyers said. She is expected to testify today. Corrupt Justice does not identify alleged sexual assault victims who have not been previously or publicly identified.
According to prosecutors: Christensen and Sickels arrived at the Crestmoor Country Club in Creston before 10 p.m. on April 17, 2008 and started drinking. Neither was in uniform. Sometime after 1 a.m., after the club had emptied, Sickels asked the bartender for oral sex. When she refused, both men walked around the bar to block her. Christensen stayed near her while Sickels left to lock the front door.
Authorities have refused to say whether alcohol or drugs were involved in the alleged rape. State crime agents interviewed both men on May 6, 2008. Sickels denied contact with the woman but later admitted that he touched and kissed her and penetrated her vagina with his finger. Pressed further, he acknowledged that he had sex with the woman but described it as consensual. Christensen also denied contact with the woman but later acknowledged that he had touched her hand, heard her protests and saw Sickels assault her.
C.J. Question: Why did Christensen and Sickels initially lie to investigators?
C.J. Review: As set forth above, "Christensen's lawyer, Paul Scott, [stated:] 'the veteran law enforcement officer and father of two has "for eight months been living under the cloud of being accused of something he did not do." "There is not one single thread of evidence, other than the testimony of" the accuser, Scott said. "No sign of force, no vaginal tearing, no bruising, no report of any rape for a week."'"
See: Cops that Seuxally Offend - Part XI: West Linn (Oregon) Police Chief Terry Timeus; and Lake Oswego (Oregon) Police Chief Dan Duncan covered up rape of woman by on-duty Sheriff Deputy Darryl Wrisley.
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