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Entries in Sexual Assault (73)

Saturday
Mar232013

Exclusive: Steubenville Teens on Tape Describe Night of Sexual Assault

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(STEUBENVILLE, Ohio) -- In videotaped police interviews from the Steubenville, Ohio, rape case that the public has not seen, police spoke to many of the teenage partiers who witnessed the 16-year-old victim getting more and more intoxicated.

“I could tell that she was gradually getting more drunk and worse throughout the night,” said Farrah Marcino, 16. “Just, like, that she couldn’t, like, she didn’t walk.”

“She was a mess,” said Anthony Craig, 18. “She wasn’t responding. ”

The question many are asking now may be: Why did Craig and others stand by and watch the victim being sexually assaulted rather than call for help? And why did they spread the assault around town, turning it into a social media event?

Craig told detectives that he took two pictures at the home where the assault occurred. Those photos were deleted and never recovered, but police did find two nude photos of the victim on high school football player Trent Mays’ cell phone.

On the night of the crime, tweets were posted and a YouTube video was made joking about it. An Instagram photo of Mays, 17, and fellow football player Ma’lik Richmond, 16, carrying the seemingly unconscious body of the victim was also uploaded.

Mays and Richmond were convicted of rape on Sunday for penetrating the victim with their fingers and sentenced to at least one year in a juvenile detention center.

“She was passed out,” Craig told detectives. “That’s when they picked her up, and they carried her out of the house.”

“She wanted to go with Trent. Like, we just kept trying to tell her: ‘You don’t want to do this. You don’t want to go with them,’” Marcino said. “I just let her do what she want[ed], which I understand was wrong.”

Investigators want to know how so many honor students, athletes and all-American kids could just stand by and let it all happen.

“Think about the number of students that witnessed this, that saw this,” said Denice Evans, a documentarian. “What about the ones that didn’t text or tweet, but that were there watching. … If you’re drinking alcohol – a lot of teens are drinking alcohol – they have just entered the phase where decision-making is completely gone out the window. There’s no deciding right or wrong in a moment.”

Evans said there was no impulse control when an adolescent brain was mixed with alcohol, social media and power.

Days before the guilty verdict was delivered, Richmond shared with ABC News, exclusively, his mindset that night.

“I realize that I did, I was doing wrong by drinking and partying, you know, after dark,” he said. “But I really did not, I didn’t rape anybody. I didn’t witness a rape going on. And if I would have thought that somebody was being raped or anything like that, I would have stopped it.

“I really just think that everybody was just, had a few drinks in them and they wasn’t really thinking,” he said. “I think everybody was just out of their minds, see.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct232012

Florida's 'Superthief' Charged with Sexual Attacks from 1970s

Broward County Sheriff's Office(NEW YORK) -- A Florida convict known as the "Superthief" has been arrested and charged with two armed sexual assaults from the 1970s, and authorities are investigating whether he could be a serial rapist that has eluded authorities for decades.

John Arthur MacLean, 65, was arrested on Friday after being linked to multiple sexual batteries by DNA.

In April 2010, the Boca Raton Police Department Cold Case detectives began investigating unsolved crimes, including a number of unsolved sexual battery cases.  A case of two sisters who were sexually assaulted "piqued the interest of the detectives," police wrote in a news release.

DNA evidence lead them to MacLean, but authorities were informed that there was a four-year statute of limitations for armed sexual batteries that occurred before July 1, 1976, and the attack on the sisters had taken place in February of that year.  There is no statute of limitations on Florida rapes after that date.

But determined investigators began to discover that there were several more possible crimes that had striking similarities.

In the attack on the sisters, the suspect entered a home where the 14-year-old and 18-year-old siblings were living.  He was armed with a revolver and brought a form of lubricant with him, police said.  He threatened the girls, told them not to scream and sexually assaulted them.  One of the girls was wearing a robe at the time of the attack and police used it collect DNA evidence.  An analysis of the DNA matched it to MacLean, according to authorities

Authorities found two similar cases, one from October 1976 and one from February 1977, that were very similar.  They both involved a suspect entering a house through a kitchen, intimidating the victim with a weapon, using a form of lubricant on the women and sexually assaulting them.

DNA evidence connected MacLean to both cases this year, authorities said.  Both victims met with detectives to confirm the details of the attacks and MacLean was arrested on Friday and charged with two counts of armed sexual battery.  He is now a person of interest in a series of rapes from the 1970s.

"Throughout the 1970s, there was a common modus operandi in numerous sexual battery cases in the tri-county area," police said.  "It was suspected there was a serial rapist committing these crimes, which were being investigated by several different law enforcement agencies.  MacLean has become a person of interest in these cases."

Even though the first case with the two sisters was past the statute of limitations, authorities could still use it as evidence in a trial, according to Florida's Williams Rule.

MacLean wrote a book called Secrets of a Superthief while he was serving time for a 1979 burglary conviction.  After his release, he moved to Arizona and was arrested for armed burglary and sexual exploitation of a minor, in addition to other crimes.

Police did not know if MacLean had retained an attorney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct082012

Former NFL Cheerleader, Teacher Avoids Jail Time for Student Affair

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Sarah Jones, a former high school English teacher in Kentucky who pleaded guilty to having sex with a 17-year-old student, will not go to jail or have to register as a sex offender, according to the terms of a plea deal entered Monday.

Jones, 26, who is an ex-Cincinnati Bengals cheerleader, pleaded guilty to custodial interference and sexual misconduct, in place of more serious charges that could have sent her to prison for years.

"We are ecstatic about this plea agreement," Jones' attorney, Eric Deters, told ABC News. "It's a great deal for Sarah. She can go on with her life."

Central to the case were text messages between Jones and her victim but, Deters said, prosecutors would have had an uphill battle proving when and where the sex took place.

The former teacher walked out of court hand-in-hand with the victim, who is now 18. The pair would not comment on the plea deal or their relationship, ABC News' Cincinnati affiliate, WCPO-TV, reported.

Jones was indicted in March on charges of first-degree sexual abuse and unlawful use of electronic means to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited acts. Police say the charges stem from an investigation that began in November at Dixie Heights High School in Edgewood, Ky.

The former freshman English teacher stepped down from her position at the school in November after the investigation began, citing "personal reasons."

A federal charge was also handed down against Jones' mother, Cheryl Jones, for allegedly tampering with physical evidence in her daughter's case. The elder Jones also accepted a plea deal Monday and was given two years of conditional discharge and will have to pay court costs.

Copryright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug082012

Houston Massage Therapist Indicted for Alleged Sexual Assault

Montgomery County Sheriff's Office(HOUSTON) -- After two Texas women accused him of sexual assault, Cody Wayne Lewis, a massage therapist at a popular spa chain, has been indicted.

The company, Massage Envy, now says that the spa he worked for did not follow a policy that could have prevented the second incident.

Lewis, 40, was an employee of a Massage Envy franchise in Magnolia, Texas when Kellie Armstrong -- a mother of two -- accused him of sexual assault in May 2011.

"He had started massaging the inner part of my thigh. Most massage therapists don't do that," Armstrong told ABC's Houston affiliate KTRK. "But then he crossed that line."

Armstrong filed a police report and complained to the store manager, but Lewis was never indicted.

Almost a year later, in January 2012, Lewis was accused by a second woman, this time at a Massage Envy franchise in nearby Spring, Texas. Lewis was arrested and indicted in July.

Armstrong told KTRK that the second incident could have been avoided.

"It happened to another woman," Armstrong said. "This did not have to happen and so it's just relief he's been caught, but at the same time anger that he was allowed to and that he was at another Massage Envy."

A spokesman for the Arizona-based Massage Envy said that the Texas franchise did not correctly implement a companywide policy of internally documenting sexual assault incidents like Armstrong's.

"As a franchise company, Massage Envy has a national policy for its independently owned franchise clinics to document such incidents to protect its members, guests and other franchise owners," Paula Stapley, a spokesperson for Massage Envy Franchising, LLC, told ABC News in a statement. "In this situation, the policy was not implemented correctly."

"We have a zero tolerance policy on inappropriate behavior and are fully cooperating with authorities," she said.

Armstrong has filed suit against Lewis and the Massage Envy franchise in Magnolia, Texas for damages, according to court documents.

Lewis's lawyer, Douglas Atkinson, told KTRK that it is "unfortunate" that "when there's a civil lawsuit of this nature that there's going to be a financial motivation for an individual."

Massage Envy employees also must pass a background check, but because Lewis was never charged in the first case, he passed and was later hired by a second franchise.

Lewis is expected in court again on Aug. 16.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug022012

Activists Demand Open Hearing on Air Force Sexual Assaults

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Ken Wright(WASHINGTON) -- Survivors of sexual assault in the military delivered a petition with more than 10,000 signatures to Congress Thursday demanding an open hearing on the sexual abuse scandal at Lackland Air Force base just minutes before the House Armed Services Committee began a closed-door briefing on Lackland.

More than 30 female trainees say they were raped or sexually assaulted by their instructors at Lackland, the Air Force recruiting center in San Antonio, Texas. Twelve different instructors are under investigation for their conduct, including Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, who was convicted of rape and sexual assault and sentenced to 20 years in prison on July 20.

Thursday morning, the House Armed Services Committee held a closed door briefing with Air Force Secretary Michael Donley about the ongoing investigations into the sexual assaults at Lackland Air Force Base. Right before it started, the sexual assault survivors, including the whistleblower who exposed the Navy's Tailhook scandal in 1991, delivered their petition demanding an open hearing to the office of Committee Chairman Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon, R.-Calif.

One of the victims, Air Force veteran Jennifer Norris, said she had been scared to speak up because she was afraid she would "lose her career." "And eventually I did," said Norris. "I was labeled a troublemaker. In a sense I was fired for being raped."

Tailhook whistleblower Paula Coughlin-Puopolo started the online petition demanding an open hearing last month. Coughlin-Puopolo was a Navy lieutenant in 1991 when she says she was forced to run a gauntlet and assaulted at the Tailhook conference, a meeting of a naval aviators group at the Las Vegas Hilton. According to a Defense Department report, three women and seven men alleged they had been harassed or assaulted during the conference.

Coughlin-Puopolo said Thursday she had joined other assault victims with hopes of discovering the "scope of the problem."

"With these signatures and the support of all of the military it's a possibility that we can actually discover the scope of the problem, turn the lights on to a culture the military does not want to see the problem; and that's why this petition is very specific to asking for an open door hearing," said Coughlin-Puopolo.

In addition to the 10,000-plus signatures, 78 members of Congress have also called on Rep. McKeon to open a Lackland hearing. That Thursday's proceedings were closed came as a surprise to at least one member of the House. "It's a closed briefing?" asked Rep. Allen West, R.-Fla., who was trying to bring two guests. "I did not know that."

According to a press release from Protect Our Defenders, an advocacy group for survivors of sexual assault in the military, last year there were an estimated 19,000 military rapes and sexual assaults, but only 3,200 victims reported the attacks and out of those only 191 cases resulted in court martial conviction.

In a statement by the Armed Services Committee, Rep. McKeon and Ranking Member Rep. Adam Smith, D.-Wash., stated they understood the concerns the closed briefing had generated, but are "committed to making sure that sexual offenders are prosecuted and victim's rights are protected."

"In sensitive cases such as these, open hearings can jeopardize ongoing prosecutions and investigations. This is another step in our long-standing oversight of this issue. It is by no means the final step," the statement read.

Meanwhile, on the Senate side of the Hill, Sen. John Cornyn, R.-Texas, has removed the "hold" he had on the nomination of Gen. Mark Welsh to be Chief of Staff of the Air Force after meeting with him Thursday.

Cornyn had previously blocked Gen. Welsh, saying his hold would "remain until I feel the Air Force is adequately addressing the unacceptable situation at Lackland and taking corrective steps to reform their training program to prevent this from happening again."

Following Thursday's meeting, Sen. Cornyn said, "It's clear Gen. Welsh shares my grave concerns over the situation at Lackland. Gen. Welsh demonstrated a genuine resolve to improve Air Force-wide policies to prevent a recurrence of the grossly unacceptable conduct that took place at Lackland."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jul112012

Lackland Sexual Assaults: Tailhook Whistle-Blower Petitions for Hearings

U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Ken Wright(WASHINGTON) -- Paula Coughlin-Puopolo, the whistle-blower in Tailhook, one of the military’s largest sexual assault scandals, unveiled a petition Wednesday calling on the House Armed Services Committee to investigate the unfolding military sex scandal at Lackland Air Force base.

Twelve male drill instructors have come under scrutiny for sexual misconduct with female Air Force members during training at Lackland in San Antonio, Texas, where all incoming airmen and airwomen attend boot camp.

“Unfortunately, our military leadership has made no changes that stop this predatory criminal behavior. The epidemic of criminal sexual assault and rape within our armed services has only gotten worse,” Coughlin-Puopolo wrote in her petition.

“How much longer and how many more of our brave men and women in uniform need to be raped or sexually assaulted before our elected officials do something to end the crisis? Congress should open an investigation immediately, and then put an end to the ‘systemic issues’ of military rape and sexual assault by legislating fundamental reform.”

The Air Force investigation has identified 31 female victims of sexual assault incidents that date back to 2009 at Lackland. The Air Force, which first learned of the incidents last fall when a female Air Force member stepped forward with an allegation of sexual misconduct, is surveying all the airmen who trained at Lackland in the past one or two years. That means 35,000 to 70,000 airmen will be asked if they were aware of incidents of sexual misconduct at the base while they were trainees.

Coughlin-Puopolo, who launched the petition with Protect our Defenders, an organization that aims to aid survivors of sexual assault in the military, was the whistle-blower in the 1991 Tailhook scandal during which 87 servicewomen, including Coughlin-Puopolo, were allegedly sexually assaulted at the Tailhook convention of naval aviators in Las Vegas.

Coughlin-Puopolo, who was serving as an admiral’s aide at the time of the assault, went public with her story in 1992, detailing her assault in interviews with the Washington Post and ABC News’ World News Tonight With Peter Jennings. Secretary of the Navy Lawrence Garrett was forced to resign over the handling of the investigations.

In June, Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., asked the House Armed Services committee to hold a hearing into the sexual misconduct investigations at Lackland. Last week, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, told the San Antonio Express News that it was “certainly appropriate” to conduct a hearing on the matter.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun292012

Air Force Says Dozens of Recruits Were Victims of Sexual Assault

U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Marleah Miller(WASHINGTON) -- An ongoing Air Force investigation has identified at least 31 female recruits who were allegedly victims of sexual misconduct, including rape by a dozen male drill instructors, since 2009 at the service's largest boot camp training facility at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

Six of the instructors face criminal charges including rape, aggravated sexual assault, adultery, and engaging in improper sexual relationships with female trainees.  One of those trainers is charged with having had improper conduct with 10 female recruits. Another who pleaded guilty to a charge of an improper relationship later admitted to prosecutors that he had been involved with 10 female recruits.

The Air Force said there are ongoing investigations of alleged sexual misconduct by six other military training instructors at the base.  Lackland employs about 500 military instructors at the base.  More than 35,000 of the Air Force's incoming airmen go through their initial training there -- 22 percent of them are women.

Lt. Gen. Edward Rice Jr., commander of Air Education and Training Command, told Pentagon reporters on Thursday that nine of the instructors were from the same squadron, the 331st Training Squadron, at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.  The squadron's commander was relieved of command earlier this month for what Rice called "an unacceptable level of misconduct" within the unit.

The Air Force first became aware of the incidents last summer when a female recruit stepped forward with allegations that she had been assaulted.  Later in the fall, three drill instructors made additional allegations of further misconduct by their peers within the 331st Training Squadron.

"We are leaving no stone unturned," Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., the Air Force's commander of training and education, said Thursday.  "I am being as aggressive as I can."

To that end, Rice said that the Air Force is casting a wide net and is sending surveys to all of the airmen who've gone through training at Lackland over the past one or two years.  That means 35,000 to 70,000 airmen will be receiving surveys asking if they were aware of incidents of sexual misconduct that may have occurred at the base while they were trainees.

Earlier this week, the Air Force announced that a major general had been tasked with determining if there were systemic issues at other training centers that could indicate a pattern of sexual misconduct.

Rice said that most of the misconduct occurred during basic training at Lackland, although there were some instances where instructors had engaged in improper sexual relations with recruits after they had moved on to other technical training programs at the base.

He said indications are that the sexual misconduct may have been limited to only the 331st training squadron and not the other eight training squadrons at the base.

"In my assessment to this point, it is not an issue of an endemic problem throughout basic military training," Rice said.  "It is more localized, and we are doing a very intensive investigation on that squadron to find out what exactly happened and why."

Rice said he would await the results of the ongoing reviews before determining what corrective measures should be instituted, including potentially the hiring of more female drill instructors or having only female instructors handle female recruits.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun122012

Police Delay Charging Man Who Beat Alleged Sexual Predator to Death

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(SHINER, Texas) -- A Texas man who allegedly caught an acquaintance sexually abusing his 4-year-old daughter last Saturday beat the man until he was mortally wounded, but police are holding off on charging him with a crime.

Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon said the identities of the father and the man he killed won't be revealed pending notification of the slain person's kin.

According to Harmon, the father had people over to his home during the weekend.  At one point, the family went outside to tend horses while his daughter remained inside the house.

When the father returned, Harmon said he discovered a casual acquaintance known for his horse-grooming abilities allegedly assaulting the little girl.

The father told police he began punching the alleged assailant in the head to get him to stop.  Harmon said he was remorseful about what happened, indicating the father had never meant to kill the man.

As for whether the father will face murder or manslaughter charges, Harmon told reporters, "You have a right to defend your daughter.  He acted in defense of a third person.  Once the investigation is completed we will submit it to the district attorney who then submits it to the grand jury, who will decide if they will indict him."

Meanwhile, the girl was brought to a local hospital for treatment.  The sheriff said she's "okay besides the obvious mental trauma."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr302012

Las Vegas Massacre Suspect Sexually Assaulted 3 People, Cops Say

Thinkstock/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- Las Vegas cops are trying to determine what triggered a "savage" murder spree that included the sexual assault of two women and a child.

Bryan Clay, 22, was arrested over the weekend in connection with the deaths of Ignacia "Yarida" Martinez and her 10-year-old daughter. The mother and daughter were sexually assaulted before being bludgeoned to death in their Las Vegas home on April 15 or 16, police said.

The victims' husband and father, Arturo Martinez, was also bludgeoned and remains in critical condition.

"We believe this was a stranger, a random savage act," Lt. Ray Steiber of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police's homicide division said at a news conference. "I've been doing this 24 years and this is the case you hope you never see."

Officials discovered the deaths April 16 after the young girl's 9-year-old brother told school officials that his mother and sister were dead at home.

The child who reported the deaths and his 4-year-old brother were removed safely from the home.

Since then, authorities have been working through a forensics "nightmare" in a house where police said there was blood in every room.

Clay was a person of interest in the family massacre, but police arrested him on Friday on an outstanding felony child abuse warrant. By Saturday, he was re-booked and charged for the double homicide of the family and a separate sexual assault of a 50-year-old woman in a nearby neighborhood.

While police say they are still piecing together the timeline of events, they believe that Clay sexually assaulted the 50-year-old woman on April 15. He allegedly approached her and then "forced her into a nearby desert area and violently sexually assaulted her and fled on foot," according to a news release.

The next day, the 9-year-old reported the deaths of his family members to school officials.

"We're talking about a 50-year-old woman who was attacked, brutally attacked, and she was sexually assaulted," Steiber said. "We're talking about a family who was in their home and unbeknownst to them, a savage intruder enters that home and attacks three people."

DNA evidence connected Clay to both crimes, police said. He is being held without bail at the Clark County Detention Center.

"They believe that this was a stranger, no way connected to the family or with the other victim," Officer Laura Meltzer told ABC News Monday. "He is in custody and will not be getting back out."

Clay has been charged with four criminal counts for the attack on the 50-year-old woman and seven counts for the attack on the Martinez family.

The four counts for the attack on the woman are attempted murder, sexual assault, kidnap with intent to commit a felony and robbery.

The seven counts for the attack on the family are two counts of murder with a deadly weapon, sexual assault with a deadly weapon, two counts of sexual assault on a victim under the age of 14, attempted murder with a deadly weapon and burglary.

"Just because there has been an arrest, it does not mean that this is over. It's far from over," Meltzer said. "There's still a lot of investigating to do and a lot of analysis of evidence and information to be constructed."

Police have not said what Clay's motive could have been.

"This was a very dangerous person that, through countless hours of investigation and good police work, was taken into custody," Meltzer said.

Clay is scheduled to make his first court appearance later this week.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr062012

Calif. Teacher in Relationship with Student Arrested for Sexual Assault

ABC News(MODESTO, Calif.) -- A high school teacher who left his family to date a former student was arrested Friday on charges of sexually assaulting a different student years ago.

James Hooker, 41, was arrested in Modesto, Calif., after police discovered he had an alleged sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student in 1998. Hooker has been under investigation for his involvement with 18-year-old Jordan Powers, his former business class student, with whom he appeared on national TV programs last month to profess his love.

Hooker was charged with one count of oral copulation with a minor and is in jail, according to a statement from Modesto police. Hooker allegedly befriended the victim while teaching at Enochs High School, and developed a romantic relationship with the student. Hooker then allegedly sexually assaulted the then-17-year-old girl.

Hooker and Powers spoke publicly about their relationship in March, days after Hooker quit his job as a teacher at Enochs in order to move into an apartment with Powers the same day. Hooker left his wife and children, including a 17-year-old daughter who attends Enoch High School, in order to date Powers.

"[He's] my best friend. I mean, he's more than just a lover," Powers has said of Hooker.

The couple has said that their relationship evolved over time and did not become romantic until Powers turned 18.

Powers has stopped taking classes at the school, but still plans to graduate this spring through independent study.

Detectives initially began to investigate Hooker after Powers' mother reported an alleged inappropriate relationship between them, citing phone records showing long, late-night phone calls and more than 8,000 text messages between the couple, which began before her daughter turned 18.

Tammie Powers has been an outspoken critic of the relationship, waging a Facebook campaign against Hooker and appearing on national TV to condemn his actions.

"He shouldn't be with kids," she said. "I'd like to see him arrested. I'd like to get information from when she was a minor and have him arrested."

Hooker, however, has repeatedly said his relationship with Powers is legitimate.

"Love will overcome everything, " Hooker told a therapist, who spoke to ABC News. "I love my children. I love Jordan. I think that you're making judgment calls. And I think that we'll prove you wrong."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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