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Posted: May 6, 2011
Updated: May 11, 2011
New Orleans police Officer Keyalah Bell, a key witness for the government in the high-stakes trial over the death of Henry Glover, was booked with leaving the scene of an accident while drunk. Bell was booked at the Orleans Parish jail at around 10 a.m. this morning and released around 10:30, according to Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman's office. Officer Garry Flot, an NOPD spokesman, said that around midnight last night, Bell, who was off-duty and driving a personal vehicle, was driving in the 5400 block of Tullis Drive. She struck a parked car with her vehicle and then traveled "a distance," Flot said. Eventually, Bell's car became disabled and stopped.
Police arrived at the scene. Bell (pictured above, center) was taken to the hospital initially, but then arrested for driving while intoxicated and hit and run, Flot said. Bell is currently on an unpaid suspension pending an investigation into the incident, Flot said. Bell, an 8-year veteran of the force who is assigned to the 4th District, in Algiers, helped prosecutors build a case that various other NOPD officers knew that Glover had been shot by police. His body was later burned by a police officer in a car on the Algiers levee.
Officer David Warren, who fired the fatal shot at Glover outside an Algiers strip mall, claimed he never knew whether his shot found its target. Bell was one of the first cops to respond to reports of the shooting on Sept. 2, 2005. She testified that she found a pool of blood near the shooting scene and heard complaints from the community that the blood was that of a citizen had been shot. Not much later, Bell testified, she saw a wounded man in a car at a nearby school where a group of cops from the SWAT team had set up camp. The car was later driven away by Officer Greg McRae and set afire.
Bell was also one of the first police officers to receive reports from a companion of Glover, as well as from Glover's family, that the man had been shot and gone missing on Sept. 2. Bell testified that she put the various pieces together, figuring out that Glover had been shot by police and was later brought to the nearby police compound by his companions. She said she also assumed that his body was the one burned in the car. Bell said she never brought the matter up with her supervisors because she did not want to become a "bull's eye" for retaliation from other cops who wanted the matter kept hush-hush.
Posted: 09/12/2011 07:39:53 AM PDT
Updated: 09/12/2011 09:06:46 AM PDT
SANTA CRUZ -- A Salinas firefighter arrested earlier this year on suspicions that he sexually molested a 7-year-old girl has accepted a plea bargain and will be sentenced to 5 years in prison. Andrew Scott Mclaughlin, 43, was arrested in May at his San Jose home by Watsonville police and members of the Santa Cruz Anti-Crime Team. At the time, Mclaughlin was a fire captain assigned to Salinas' downtown fire station. The 14-year veteran firefighter was charged with forcible lewd conduct and attempted rape. In court Friday morning, Mclaughlin waived his right to a jury trial and chose to take a plea bargain, but also protested his innocence and said he had no recollection of the incident.
Authorities have said Mclaughlin knew his victim, but declined to say how he knew her. The attempted rape occurred more than four years ago when Mclaughlin was living in Watsonville with his two children and then-wife, police said at the time of his arrest.
Mclaughlin's plea was what is known as an Alford plea, said his attorney. An Alford plea is a guilty plea in criminal court in which the defendant does not admit the act and asserts innocence, but admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If Mclaughlin had been convicted on both charges, he could have faced up to 17 years in prison. The plea was "appropriate but unusual," said Judge Ariadne Symons.
Mclaughlin was released on his own recognizance and will be officially sentenced on Nov. 18. Mclaughlin is on paid administrative leave from the Salinas Fire Department.
Posted: 05/06/2011 08:39:32 AM PDT
Updated: 05/06/2011 10:44:55 AM PDT
A veteran Salinas firefighter from San Jose posted $100,000 bail after being arrested by Watsonville police on suspicion of sexually molesting a 7-year-old girl about four years ago. Andrew Scott McLaughlin, 43, a fire captain assigned to Salinas' downtown fire station, was arrested on a warrant about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday outside his home in San Jose by Watsonville detectives and members of the Santa Cruz County Anti-Crime Team, police said.
On April 27, Wastonville police launched an child molestation investigation and gathered information for an arrest warrant, Watsonville police Sgt. Saul Gonzalez said in a statement. Officers took McLaughlin, who had been off the job a few weeks because of an injury, into custody without incident.
He was booked into Santa Cruz County Jail on a charge of engaging in a lewd and lascivious act with a minor under 14, Watsonville police Sgt. Saul Gonzalez said.
Salinas Fire Chief Jesse Piñon said McLaughlin would be placed on paid administrative leave and the department would conduct an internal investigation. "We are shocked and saddened, definitely," the fire chief said who was informed of McLaughlin's arrest Wednesday. The arrest came after a weeklong investigation that began when the girl's family contacted authorities, Gonzalez said.
He said McLaughlin knew the girl but did not elaborate on the relationship. McLaughlin spoke to investigators, but Piñon wouldn't say what he told them. His arrest was made at a single-family home in the 4000 block of Twyla Lane, police said. McLaughlin recently married, Gonzalez said.
The Santa Cruz County District Attorney's Office had not yet filed charges after receiving the police reports Thursday. McLaughlin, who posted bail Wednesday, was due to appear in court May 9, 2011.
He was promoted to a fire captain in February 2006 and was a former president of the Salinas firefighters union.
Published: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 at 9:23 a.m.
CA — Authorities say a former Rainsville and Fort Payne, Ala. police officer was sentenced in California on 17 counts of felony child molestation. Sacramento County District Attorney Jan Scully says 47-year-old Mark Joseph Hawes was found guilty on May 17 of acts including lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14, oral sex with a child 10 years or younger, unlawful sexual intercourse and sodomy. He was sentenced to 34 years and eight months in California prison. Scully says Hawes was molesting two girls for more than eight years.
May 12, 2011
May 11, 2011
Just as his alleged victim, the 13-year-old daughter of his ex-girlfriend, was sworn in to testify, former New Orleans police officer Christopher Buckley pleaded guilty this morning to raping the girl. Buckley, 39, was arrested in October 2008 after the girl told her story to her mother, also an officer with the NOPD. The Times-Picayune is not naming the woman because of her relationship with the victim. The victim, now 15, had been sworn in and was preparing to take the witness stand when Buckley decided to take a plea. In all, he pleaded guilty to seven counts of forcible rape.
After his arrest, police revealed that Buckley (pictured left) had been the subject of two earlier, internal investigations stemming from complaints of inappropriate behavior with girls, neither of which led to charges. Buckley, a 10-year veteran of the department, resigned immediately after his arrest.
The girl's mother testified Tuesday that she found her daughter on the floor of a bedroom closet, in fear. "I asked him a question ... Did he rape my daughter? 'Did you touch my daughter?' " testified the woman, whom we are not naming because of her relationship with the alleged victim. "He just was, 'I didn't do it.' ... He said, 'What I'm supposed to do? Do I need to get a lawyer?' I told him, 'For what? You're telling me you didn't do anything.'"
A grand jury indicted Buckley in December 2008 for both the alleged rape of the girl and that of a woman in 2003. One of the charges to which Buckley pleaded this morning involved the second case. Buckley's attorney suggested Tuesday that the girl, who he said was sexually active, conjured a rape story to save face.
But a hospital nurse who conducted a rape exam at Children's Hospital testified that the girl suffered "acute" tearing that suggested sexual assault, as well as scratches to her right hip. Also, prosecution witnesses said Tuesday that the victim had told them Buckley that insisted she take "a test" to show whether she was sexually active. That test, according to prosecutor Payal Patel, turned out to be rape.
"We're taught that they're there to protect and serve. We respect them. Well, ladies and gentlemen, that's exactly what Christopher Buckley was banking on," Patel said. "She trusted Christopher Buckley, looked at him like a father." Patel said Tuesday the state would present DNA evidence linking Buckley to the crime today, through a towel that has tested positive for Buckley's semen and other evidence. She said fingernail scrapings tested positive for a mix of the girl's DNA and Buckley's. "She tried to resist him," Patel said.
Buckley could face life in prison. He remains jailed in lieu of $2.8 million bond, jail records show.
NYPD RAPE TRIAL! Deliberations!
May 19, 2011
Jury deliberations continue today in the trial of two city police officers charged with rape are underway. Jurors yesterday asked for a transcript of a tape in which Officer Kenneth Moreno admits he wore a condom after repeatedly denying he had sex with the woman. The tape is a key piece of the prosecution's evidence against Moreno and his partner, Officer Franklin Mata. Their accuser secretly recorded the conversation outside Moreno's station house. The defense calls the tape a setup.
Prosecutors say Moreno took advantage of the drunk 27-year-old in her East Village apartment in 2008 while Mata stood lookout. The defense argues Moreno did not have sex with the woman and that Mata was asleep on the couch.
The two officers each face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
May 9, 2011
NEW YORK (WCJB) – New York City police officer Kenneth Moreno took the stand during his own trial Monday and told jurors he didn’t have sex with an intoxicated woman who has accused him of raping her after being called to help her get home. He did, however, admit to making a fake 911 call to police that evening to return to woman’s apartment, media sources reported. The officers helped the drunken woman to her apartment and then returned three times within hours. The woman said she passed out but awoke to being raped. Somber but forthcoming, Moreno took the stand as the key defense witness:
“Did you commit rape, Officer Moreno?” asked his lawyer.
“No,” Moreno said frankly.
“Did you have sex with (the woman)?”
“No,” said Moreno, who has been an officer for 17 years.
As media sources report, Moreno’s version of what took place with the woman was stunning.
(Moreno, pictured left, Mata, pictured right)“She told me to come over to the bed. I said ‘I’m good where I’m at.’ She only had a pink bra on. She came over to me and asked me if I liked her. She tried to kiss me, but I smelled the alcohol. I said ‘you don’t like me.’ She got upset. I kissed her forehead. She took my hand and put it on her stomach and turned so my hand was on her lower back. She started moving her buttocks around my groin area. It was getting crazy,” Moreno testified.
An issue in this trial has been whether the woman was too drunk to say no and whether the cops should have called an ambulance instead of taking her to her apartment, the place of the alleged rape.
“I asked her what was going on. The cab driver said she was drunk. She heard what he said. She said, ‘I’m not drunk. I’m just sick,’” Moreno testified.
His lawyer then asked, “Did she respond to your questions?”
Moreno answered: “Yes she did. I told her, if you can’t stand on your own [I was going to have to call an ambulance]. She said she did not want to go to the hospital. ‘Then you’re going to have to stand up.’ She got up.”
Officer Moreno tried to show that his time with the woman was friendly. But he stunned many in the courtroom when he said he tried to comfort the intoxicated, vomiting woman with, “We talked about music. I even sang to her. I sang Bon Jovi’s ‘Living On A Prayer.’”
Video News Report
A.M. Trial Cross-Examination:
NEW YORK (WCJB) — Assistant District Attorney Coleen Balbert picked up where she left off Friday, aggressively cross-examining NYPD officer Franklin Mata about his partner’s alleged rape of a young, drunk, fashion executive inside her apartment in December 2008. When asked if he could recall anything that was said between the woman and his partner, Officer Kenneth Moreno, Mata testified she told Moreno: “No, she doesnt have a boyfriend,” and later, “I don’t want an ambulance.”
Balbert: “Was it flirty?”
Mata: “She was touching his arm. She was laughing. Giggling. It seemed flirty to me.”
Balbert then went after the cops’ characters, trying to get Mata to admit that he and Moreno intentionally lied to their superior officers by lying on a patrol log about their whereabouts during a lunch break and later placing a fake 911 call to buy them more time inside the apartment.
Balbert: “For that hour, you were not in the precinct stationhouse, were you?”
Mata: “No, we were not.”
Instead, surveillance video shows the officers returning the woman’s Village apartment yet again.
Mata testified that shortly after, his partner went into the bathroom to assist the woman as she tried to vomit.
Mata said about ten minutes later, while he was in the living room sitting on the couch, drowsy, the woman led Officer Moreno out of the bathroom, and into the bedroom where, prosecutors said, he raped the 29-year-old on her bed.
This is where the cross examination turned contentious, because Mata testified that’s exactly when he fell asleep for the next thirty minutes.
Balbert: “So you don’t know whether she was passed out?”
Mata: “I don’t know.”
Balbert: “You said in direct examination Ken did not commit any crimes. But isn’t it true you were asleep and didn’t know what was happening in that bedroom?”
Mata: “I know Ken. Ken wouldn’t do something like that.”
Balbert: “But he would commit a crime like making a false 911 call.”
Mata: “I didn’t know it was fake.”
Mata said he awoke when Moreno nudged him and said they were leaving. He didn’t ask his partner anything about what had happened, he said.
Mata and Moreno have been suspended until a Police Department review after their trial. If convicted, each could face up to 25 years in prison.
Posted: 05/02/2011 04:06:22 PM EDT
Updated: 05/06/2011 03:27:11 AM PDT
HARTFORD, CT — Granby Police Captain David L. Bourque, 50, of West Suffield, was arrested on April 26 on a federal criminal complaint charging him with possession of child pornography, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release. The criminal complaint alleges that, on two occasions in March 2011, a Connecticut State Police trooper assigned to the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit, acting in an undercover capacity, logged into a publicly-available Internet file-sharing program and downloaded several images of suspected child pornography from an account maintained by Bourque.
On April 11, 2011, members of the Connecticut State Police were given consent to search Bourque’s office and work computers at the Granby Police Department. The search of Bourque’s office revealed a laptop and other computer components, including an external hard drive, that were personally owned by Bourque. These items, most of which were encrypted, were seized pursuant to a state search warrant. The Connecticut State Police also executed a state search warrant at Bourque’s residence. Preliminary analysis of one of Bourque’s encrypted hard drives has revealed thousands of images and videos of child pornography.
Bourque surrendered to law enforcement and appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Thomas P. Smith in Hartford on Tuesday, April 26. After signing a $150,000 non-surety bond, which was co-signed by his wife, Bourque was directed by Smith to return to a hospital where he has recently been receiving medical care. Following his health care treatment, Bourque will be subject to several conditions of release, including that he receive mental health counseling, have no Internet access, have no unsupervised contact with children under the age of 18 without first receiving permission from the U.S. Probation Office, and that he not hold any position of authority or guidance over children or youth groups involving children who are under the age of 18. Bourque also must not loiter around schools, playgrounds, arcades, or any other places where children under 18 congregate.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that a complaint is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, according to the press release. If convicted of the charge of possession of child pornography, Bourque faces a maximum prison term of 10 years and a fine up to $250,000.
This case is being investigated by the Connecticut State Police Computer Crimes Unit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Connecticut Computer Crimes Task Force, which includes federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ray Miller. U.S. Attorney Fein said this prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood Initiative, aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. To report cases of child exploitation, visit www.cybertipline.com.
Norton PD Rape!
May 6, 2011
NORTON -- The preliminary hearing for the Norton police officer who was arrested on two counts of rape has been continued until May 27.
Ryan L. Zweygardt, 27, had been scheduled to appear in court today, but the hearing was continued, according to the Norton County attorney's office.
Zweygardt was arrested in late April in connection with an incident that was reported to authorities April 11.
Published 4/22/2011, 10:59 AM; Updated: 04/23/2011 04:37:26 PM PDT
NORTON, Kansas -- A Norton police officer was arrested Thursday on two counts of alleged rape, according to a press release from the Norton County attorney's office. Ryan L. Zweygardt, 27, was scheduled to make his first appearance in Norton County District Court today. A preliminary hearing tentatively has been scheduled for May 6, 2011. Bond was set at $500,000.
County Attorney Doug Sebelius said this morning the alleged incident was reported to law enforcement April 11, 2011. "Shortly after that, the police chief had placed (Zweygardt) on suspension," Sebelius said. He was unsure if Zweygardt's status with the department had changed since his arrest. He has been with the Norton police for less than a year.
The Norton County sheriff's department and Kansas Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation. Sebelius said Zweygardt was not on duty when the alleged incidents occurred. They were brought to law enforcement's attention by the victim, an adult female, and by her seeking medical attention, Sebelius said.
Zweygardt is being held in Graham County jail, due to renovations taking place in the Norton County Sheriff's department.
Rapist-N-Blue! William Fox!
Updated: Sunday, 01 May 2011, 3:26 PM PDT
Published : Saturday, 30 Apr 2011, 9:50 PM EDT
On March 21, Pennsylvania State Police arrested 65-year-old William Fox on 21 charges of sexual misconduct, including rape and other offenses for allegedly abusing juvenile boys he adopted. According to the criminal complaint, the abuse took place from 1996 to 2009. Pennsylvania prosecutors reached out to the Brevard State Attorney's office last week because of allegations of possible sexual abuse when Fox lived in Brevard. "If a victim reaches out to us, we would connect him with the appropriate law enforcement agency," said Julia Lynch, who heads the sex crimes unit at the Brevard State Attorney's Office.
(On March 21, Pennsylvania State Police arrested 65-year-old William Fox on 21 charges of sexual misconduct, including rape and other offenses for allegedly abusing juvenile boys he adopted. According to the criminal complaint, the abuse took place from 1996 to 2009.)
New Yorkers of a certain age might remember Fox, a NYPD officer who rocketed to fame in 1981 when he rescued a teenager threatening to commit suicide and then adopted him. The teenager's name was Michael Buchanan. He was in despair when he threatened to jump from the roof of a flophouse in south Manhattan. Newspaper reports from the time portray a dramatic incident and the adulation that followed. "Jump, jump," the crowds below shouted, according to a media reports at the time. Fox, who was 36, arrived at the scene and started a long conversation with the 17-year-old. The teen told him about his life. Fox told him he could live with him in Staten Island and then grabbed him.
•» 1978: William Fox is alleged to have sexually abused Frank Spinelli, an 11-year-old boy Boy Scout at the time.
•» 1981: Fox, then a 36-year-old New York Police Department officer, convinces Michael Buchanan, a 17-year-old boy, not to jump from a Manhattan building. He then becomes the boy's legal guardian.
•» 1983: Fox co-authors a book called "The Cop and the Kid" about the Buchanan experience.
•» 1990: Fox moves to Palm Bay. He has four adopted boys living with him, according to a neighbor.
Mid-1990s: Fox leaves Florida to go live in Pennsylvania.
•» 2008: Three decades after the alleged abuse, Spinelli talks to NYPD, leading to an investigation by Pennsylvania State Police.
•» March 21, 2011: Fox is arrested in Liberty, Pa., and charged with sex crimes against his adopted children.
"I committed the ultimate sin for a policeman -- I took my job home with me," Fox told the media about the adoption. The story made national headlines. CBS wanted to make a two-hour television movie. Women wrote letters proposing marriage. Fox won a national father of the year award and co-wrote a book, "The Cop and the Kid." But he soon parted ways with the juvenile, according to reports, and Buchanan subsequently got into more trouble.
More than two decades later in 2008, a Manhattan doctor who says he was sexually abused in 1978 by Fox when the officer was a Scoutmaster, did a Google search. Frank Spinelli was outraged when he found out about the adoption. "At that point, I called Mr. Fox. He told me he had adopted 15 boys," he said. "Some were mentally challenged, three were living with him." The doctor talked to NYPD and two wiretapped conversations followed. "I was confronting him. He said he did not remember. . . . I asked for an apology," Spinelli said. At one point in the conversation, Fox reportedly told Spinelli: "If what you say is true, I am sorry."
In his telling, when Spinelli refused Fox's sexual advances, he would be punished. He was not allowed to ride in the front seat, Fox made fun of him in front of other boys and denied him ice cream. Because the alleged sexual assaults on Spinelli happened more than two decades ago, the statute of limitations in the state of New York has expired. But NYPD contacted police in Pennsylvania, where Fox had lived since the mid-90s, leading to a two-year investigation and his arrest in March.
Spinelli said he has been in touch with others allegedly sexually abused by Fox. He said one, now a 32-year-old man, lived in Palm Bay with the retired policeman before they moved back to Pennsylvania. Trooper Todd Wagaman of the Pennsylvania State Police said the three victims who complained about sexual abuse by Fox are young men. "They were living with him . . . they are foster kids or from troubled homes or were special-need kids," he said. "I do not know if it gets any worse than that." The charging documents allege an array of sex-related charges, from oral intercourse to forced sexual intercourse. Fox's attorney declined comment.
Updated: Monday, 09 May 2011, 1:09 PM PDT
Published: 04 May 2011
Demetrie Dixon, the Houston police officer accused of forcing hookers to give him blow jobs on duty, got a six-year sentence for rape yesterday. Dixon will have to serve at least half of his sentence before being eligible for parole. Dixon had his defenders after he was charged last June -- "Demetrie is a good man and would never do anything of the sorts," one commenter to our original piece said -- but jurors convicted him of forcing a prostitute to go down on him without paying.
An Internal Affairs investigator went undercover and found evidence the allegations were true. Eventually Dixon faced four felony counts of sexual assault. Dixon still faces an identical charge involving a second woman. His defense attorney said after one such incident Dixon went to an ATM to withdraw money to pay the woman, but prosecutors said it was "hush money," the media reported. Dixon, 26, had been on the force for about 18 months before a tipster alerted HPD to his activities.
Updated: Sunday, 01 May 2011, 1:47 PM PDT
Published : Friday, 29 Apr 2011, 9:00 PM CDT
HOUSTON, TX - A Houston Police officer could be going to prison for a very long time. It was last year when 26-year-old Demetrie Dixon (pictured above, center) was arrested for sexually assaulting at least 2 prostitutes near West 34th Street in northwest Houston. Dixon, a 2-year veteran of the Houston Police Department, used his authority to detain and sexually assault the hookers, investigators said. Friday morning, a Harris County jury returned a guilty verdict on 2 counts of Sexual Assault against the rookie cop.
Prosecutors paraded a string of street walkers into the court to tell how they were victimized by Dixon. One woman, who we're not identifying, told jurors in the punishment phase, "I know I'm a prostitute but I didn't deserve that." That woman said Dixon forced her to strip nude and told her to spread. Another woman, who said she no longer works the streets, testified, "I was forced to perform oral sex on him. I didn't ask for this. He did this to me."
Dixon's attorney said they could not comment until after sentencing which is likely to take place Monday. Dixon faces 2 to 20 years for the convictions.
Published 04/22/2011 - 2:40 p.m. CST; Updated: 04/22/2011 04:46:26 PM PDT
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Matthew McMullen, a 27-year-old police officer working for the Department of the Defense, pled guilty Wednesday to traveling interstate to engage in illicit sexual conduct and enticing a minor, announced U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr., James W. McJunkin, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, and Cathy L. Lanier, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).
McMullen (pictured left) of California, Md., entered the guilty plea in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The Honorable Gladys Kessler is to sentence him July 12, 2011. McMullen faces a maximum sentence of 30 years of imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Under federal sentencing guidelines, he faces a likely sentencing range of 46 to 57 months in prison.
According to the government’s evidence, on February 4, 2011, an undercover officer with the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force entered a social network site. The defendant contacted the undercover officer and they subsequently began communicating that day by e-mail. During their conversation, McMullen expressed interest in having sexual contact with an underaged child. The defendant traveled from Maryland to a pre-arranged meeting place in Washington, D.C. When he arrived at the meeting place, he was arrested.
This case was brought as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Childhood initiative and investigated by the FBI’s Child Exploitation Task Force, which includes members of the FBI’s Washington Field Office and MPD. In February 2006, the Attorney General created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from online exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorney’s Offices, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as identify and rescue victims.
In announcing the guilty plea, U.S. Attorney Machen, Assistant Director McJunkin and Chief Lanier praised the MPD detectives and special agents of the FBI Child Exploitation Task Force. They also commended Assistant U.S. Attorney Julieanne Himelstein, who is prosecuting the case.
Lavander E. Barkley!
QUINCY, Fla. — After more than two hours of deliberations Thursday, jurors found a former Gretna reserve police officer guilty of sexual battery by a law-enforcement officer. Family members of Lavander E. Barkley, arrested in September 2010, held hands and cried as the verdict was read.
A woman said that Barkley, 39, baited her to the Gretna Police Station after he discovered she had a suspended driver's license during a traffic stop. When she arrived at the station, Barkley coerced her into having sex in exchange for letting her go, she said.
"I'm shocked," said Barkley's cousin, Tanesha Hall, outside the Gadsden County Judicial Complex. "I know it was wrong because he was on the job, but I don't think it was rape.
"We're his family. We're behind him," Hall added. "I'm hopeful for the appeal process though." The second day of the trial consisted of Barkley's testimony and closing arguments.
At the stand, Barkley began to sob as he described his remorse for what happened the night of Sept. 4, 2010, after he pulled the woman over in a routine traffic stop.
"I've done wrong that night. I broke my marriage vows, the law of God, but I didn't rape nobody," he said. "I would never do that to somebody."
Barkley's defense attorney contended that the woman met Barkley at the station after the traffic stop and voluntarily had sex with him. Barkley admitted that he did ask the woman for oral sex, but she refused and instead agreed to have intercourse with him. He denied physically restraining her. "What we have here is a fake slip-and-fall," Barkley's attorney said. "(She's) trying to get money."
Assistant State Attorney Richard Combs countered that Barkley was on duty and had the authority to arrest her; thus he was in control of the situation.
"You weren't just two people talking," Combs said. "You were a police officer."
Barkley, who was released on bail before the trial, was remanded to the Gadsden County Jail by Circuit Judge Jonathan Sjostrom. His sentencing will follow a Florida Department of Corrections pre-sentencing investigation and was set for June 9 at 1:30 p.m.
Movie Intermission! Lock-Up: Inside Wabash!