Lt. Col. Joseph “Jay” Morse, a top Army sexual assault prosecutor, has been suspended after being charged with sexual assault.
Morse was in charge of supervising almost two dozen special victims prosecutors, responsible for ferreting out cases of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and crimes against children in the Army. Now a lawyer who used to work for him has come forward with the claim that Morse groped her and tried to kiss her in a hotel room at a conference in 2011.
Morse was head of the Trial Counsel Assistance Program at Fort Belvoir, Va., training Army prosecutors worldwide, and acted as the lead prosecutor in the Robert Bales case — the staff sergeant who pleaded guilty to mass murder of 16 Afghan civilians in 2012.
“We can confirm that this matter is currently under investigation and that the individual in question has been suspended from duties pending the outcome of the investigation,” an Army official told Stars and Stripes, speaking under condition on anonymity. “Given that this is still an open case, we are precluded from providing any additional information at this point.”
At a time when investigations of sexual assault are at an all-time high, Nancy Parrish, president of Protect Our Defenders, said that Morse’s case is yet another example of why the sexual assault “status quo” needs an overhaul.
"If true, this case is yet another disheartening example of the hollow pledges of ‘zero tolerance’ we have heard for more than 20 years,” Parrish wrote in an email. “When the military has those at top of the chain who are in charge of fighting sexual assault accused of sexual misconduct at a conference on sexual assault it should be clear to every level headed human being [that] the status quo must be changed."
588 soldiers were recently disqualified from “positions of trust” at the end of a year-long investigation into sexual assault in the Army. An Associated Press investigation found that the military frequently reduced strong cases to lesser charges and that suspects were unlikely to serve time, even if convicted of misconduct.
The Military Justice Improvement Act, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and aimed at shifting the responsibility of prosecuting soldiers charged with serious criminal charges to military trial lawyers outside the chain of command, failed to pass Thursday in the Senate.
Don’t feed the bears—or birds, or raccoons, or any other wild animal. Mary Musselman, an 81-year-old woman from Florida, can’t seem to listen to the law or a judge when it comes to caring too much for wildlife. Musselman is back behind bars as a repeat bear-feeding offender.
Musselman was first apprehended in fall 2013 for feeding black bears, as well as foxes and raccoons, out of her Sebring backyard. She faced similar accusations in late January, as well as charges of threatening and assaulting an officer.
After a week in county jail a judge eventually granted Musselman $7,000 bond, and the jumpsuited elderly woman was able to leave on the judge’s stern orders that she not resume her old habits.
"Miss Musselman," the judge said. "If I enter a court order, are you going to follow it now?"
"I certainly will," Musselman responded.
The judge warned Musselman that she would have to have a mental health evaluation if he deemed it necessary, and she complied. The woman’s husband and attorney had brought up the possibility of mental illness.
The judge also ordered two unannounced visits to Musselman’s home each week. During one of those recent visits, wildlife officials found three feeding stations in her backyard.
She is now being held on four counts of conditional release violation— two without bond.
"It is a sad thing. She just cares for animals," her husband William told FOX 13. "She would feed animals before she would feed herself."
But according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, feeding bears represents a serious threat to locals.
"Feeding bears results in bears losing their fear of people," said Gary Morse, an FWC spokesperson.
Musselman will remain in custody until mental health professionals give her a complete evaluation.
According to Fox 13, the 5-foot-tall former gym teacher has been kept company in jail by some of her former students, who are in for unrelated reasons.
Abie Kyle Ikhinmwin, a criminal justice student at the University of Texas at San Antonio, can now say from experience that the system is in need of reform. The 25-year-old was unjustly arrested and brutally treated by police at a bus stop—and captured it all on video.
Recently, Ikhinmwin was waiting at the bus stop with her bike on her way to the grocery store, filming a San Antonio Police Department speed trap she admired to share with her friends, when a cop told her she was a traffic hazard, KENS 5 news reports. The officer told her she had to move her bike from the driveway leading into a shopping center.
The student complied and moved inside the curb with her bike. But the cop continued to harass her while she filmed on her cell phone.
“What’s the traffic violation? I’m 12 inches from the curb. Am I not 12 inches within the curb?” Ikhinmwin asks.
“No m’aam. It’s not the curb,” the office responds.
“OK. What is it?”
“Let me see some ID, please. Let me see some ID.”
Ikhinmwin refuses to show the police her identification. The officer then says he is going to arrest Ikhinmwin.
“You can’t just arrest me for sitting at a bus stop,” Ikhinmwin says.
“I don’t want to hurt you,” the officer responds. “M’aam, you’re going to go to jail, that’s what's going to happen. You’re already going to jail.”
“OK. I’m recording this. Keep talking.”
Ikhinmwin says she suffered severe bruises during the scuffle to put her in the squad car—where she was eventually dragged by her hair.
Four hours after being taken into custody, officers pinned Ikhinmwin with the charge of failure to identify to a police officer.
“I think there was somebody there that certainly seemed to be failing to obey the police officer's orders," said SAPD Sgt. Javier Salazar in response to Ikhinmwin’s claims that she suffered what she called a “Nigerian nightmare.”
But Ikhinmwin recalled the incident in no uncertain terms.
“I’ve never been so dehumanized in my life,” she told KENS 5.
Ikhinmwin’s bike, books and computer were confiscated. The officer threatened that if Ikhinmwin pressed charges she wouldn’t get her belongings back. The student is pressing charges regardless.
Sources: KENS 5
Austin Smith Clem, an Alabama man convicted of rape, will serve no jail time and will only be punished with probation, a state appeals court decided Friday.
Clem, 25, was found guilty in September of raping his neighbor, Courtney Andrews, twice when she was 14 and once when she was 18. He was sentenced to 20 years for first-degree rape and 10-years for second-degree rape in November, but because of the way the sentences were split he was only required to serve two years of community corrections and six years of probation. He must also register as a sex offender.
In the resentencing, the same judge, Jimmy Woodroof, again handed Clem jail time—but only to be served if he violates five years of probation. Clem will serve 35 years if he violates his probation, which states that he can’t leave Alabama or drink alcohol, among other provisions, he will serve up to 35 years in jail.
Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones is pushing for Clem to be incarcerated and sought the appeal on the grounds that the first sentence was too lenient.
"After consultation with the victim's family, we are in the process of examining our legal options," Jones told Mother Jones.
Jones first got Clem’s probation time upped from three years to five. But he and the victim want to see him behind bars.
The victim decided to come forth with her identity in order to speak out against her attacker. She and her family have expressed their shock and frustration with Clem’s light sentencing. Andrews says she fears for her and her family’s safety while Clem is still walking free.
Five San Francisco police officers and one ex-cop are facing charges of criminal conspiracy for entering residential hotel rooms with a master key and stealing belongings from residents.
The scandal broke Thursday when the indictments were unsealed. Arshad Razzak, 41, Richard Yick, 36, and Raul Eric Elias, 44, officers at the Southern Police Station, have been accused of conspiring to threaten and intimidate residents whose room they entered without a warrant or any other legal justification. Razzak and Yick also face charges of falsifying incident reports, according to federal prosecutors, the San Francisco Gate reports.
Vargas and two other officers, Sgt. Ian Furminger, 47, Officer Edmond Robles, 46, have also been charged with “multiple criminal conspiracies.” The officers stole valuables like a $500 Apple gift card, money, marijuana and other drugs, and more from their suspects.
A 2011 probe launched by the FBI and San Francisco police revealed that the three officers had stolen and dealt the marijuana, leading to the discovery of just how far the conspiracy against the hotel residents went.
The officers have all been suspended without pay, except for Vargas, who was fired in 2012. They were all longtime veterans of the force.
When the allegations came to light, San Francisco Police Officers Association President Martin Halloran urged the public to refrain from judging the officers until their cases had been heard.
"These indictments are apparently based on the questionable testimony of unreliable informant witnesses," Halloran said in a statement. "It is important to remember that the accused officers will have their day in court."
But San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr said at a news conference that the situation doesn’t “get any worse than this,” and promised that the department would seek “immediate termination” of any officer found guilty of crimes.
"This is not only a betrayal of the public's trust," he said, "but also a betrayal of all the men and women of the San Francisco Police Department who work hard every day to do what they can to keep San Francisco safe."
Sources: San Francisco Gate
A North Carolina Central University college student spent a month in jail for calling the police to report a crime. Next time, he says, he will know better than to do the right thing.
Lewis James Little, 20, was with friends last June when they found the dead body of 25-year-old Michael Lee lying in the middle of the street.
"I called the police – when none of the other guys were even thinking about it – trying to do the right thing, and it pretty much started from there," Lewis told WRAL.
What started was what Lewis describes as a “dream.” In just twenty minutes, Lewis was handcuffed and carted off to jail on $1.42 million bond and charged with burglary, kidnapping, and other crimes. A home near the scene had been broken into, and it seems that Lewis vaguely matched the description of the suspect.
"You can assume a lot just from looking at my face and dreads. I was in basketball shorts and flip flops," Little said. "Something like that happening to them – I can kind of understand that maybe they would jump to conclusions."
A witness in the home that had been burgled identified Little as one of the perpetrators—a conclusion that wasn’t supported by other statements to police.
So Little sat in jail.
"You can do good your whole life and like that, [you're in jail under] a million-dollar bond," he said. "It was kind of like a dream. I kept waking up, like, 'I can't believe I'm in here.' I kind of felt defeated."
Finally, on July 15, Little was told “sorry” and allowed to leave. But his mug shots are still online for all to see.
"I feel ashamed about it, because I don't want to be known as that," he said. "It's up there, and there's no taking it back."
While Little realizes he “suffered” from doing the right thing, he says he’s moving on with his life.
"Holding onto the anger every day doesn't get you anywhere, so most definitely, I'm mad, but I still have other stuff going on," Lewis said. "So, I have to balance that, and keep moving forward."
Four California police officers were arrested for taking part in a scheme to impound and sell or give away cars belonging to poor immigrants.
“The police are taking our property. They are taking our cars. They take our money. And we can do nothing about that,” said Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo of what King City residents had told him.
The King City officers, including the recently retired police chief and the acting chief, were arrested along with two other officers on unrelated charges—a third of the city’s police force.
The small agricultural town in Central California is home to many Hispanic immigrants. The police force plotted to impound and tow the cars of poor residents, then sell them or give them for free to other officers when the owners couldn’t pay to get them back.
After months of probing, the investigation revealed that the officers had used the same towing company in most cases to target poor Hispanic residents with few English skills. The officers collected more than 200 vehicles, according to a combined investigation by the Monterey County sheriff’s office, the FBI, the Salinas Police Department and the district attorney’s bureau of investigation.
City residents have been reporting police corruption for almost four years.
Sgt. Bobby Javier Carrillo, Acting Chief Bruce Edward Miller, former Chief Dominic David Baldiviez and Mario Alonso Mottu Sr. have been charged with bribery, accepting a bribe, or embezzlement. Carrillo was indicated as the ringleader, keeping one in every 10 to 15 cars that he impounded.
"There has been a significant breakdown in the internal leadership of the King City Police Department," said Flippo. "It also appears to me that some officers have dishonored their badge."
Miller told KSBW as he left the prison after posting bail that the arrest had taken him completely by surprise.
"My reputation is soiled," he said. "There's no coming back from this, even if I'm found innocent. People are always going to look poorly upon me.”
Pinellas County Deputy Joel De Los Reyes Resigns After Hitting Teen Inmate For Leaving TV On (Video)
Pinellas County fired its fifth deputy in six months recently after he was busted hitting a 15-year-old inmate and then lying about why he did it.
The Tampa Bay Times reports that Joel De Los Reyes, 51, struck the teen for “mouthing off,” according to Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. Adrian Nenu, another deputy, was suspended for failing to report De Los Reyes’ actions.
"I'm sorry it happened," Gualtieri said. "I'm sorry our people did something like this."
Gualtieri said that Nenu probably thought it was the other deputy’s “obligation” to report what had happened.
Initially, De Los Reyes told investigators that he had used a “guiding” touch on the juvenile, who was not complying with orders.
"It's a work of fiction and it didn't happen," Gualtieri said simply. "To think you're going to get away with it is just crazy and stupid."
“The report in Nenu's part was one complete tap dance,” he added.
In realty, the deputy and Steven Valentin, a teen charged as an adult for federal robbery, got into an argument about whether to keep the TV on.
The video reveals how the exchange escalates as De Los Reyes gets angrier. The deputy walks Valentin out of his cell, then knees him and strikes him with his elbow as they reach the door, where Nenu is standing.
"You can see where he just loses it," Gualtieri said, watching the surveillance video of the Aug. 31 confrontation.
De Los Reyes then told a lieutenant that there had been “horseplay,” while Nenu stood by silently. De Los Reyes, a 7-year veteran, blamed his anger management issues and resigned under investigation. Nenu, who has been on the force for 25 years, was suspended for seven days.
While the jail Pinellas County Jail houses a large population of 3,000 inmates and 750 deputies, five fired deputies in six months does not reflect well on the county. Another deputy, Elizabeth Kretzer, was forced to leave in June when she hit a female inmate on the head when the inmate flipped her off. Another, Deputy Paul Martin, asked a 17-year-old sexual battery victim if she was “into girls too.”
Ed. Note: See the video below if the first one does not work.
Documentary 'Kids For Cash' Features Evil Judge Mark Ciavarella, Who Sent Thousands of Kids to Prison For Fake Crimes
Judge Mark A. Ciavarella, a real-life adjudicator who made over $2 million sending kids to prison, is the villain of a new documentary. In “Kids for Cash,” three teenagers from Luzerne County, Pa., are subjected to months of inhumane treatment at a for-profit detention center for tiny crimes, or no crimes at all.
Hillary Transue, 14, was brought before the judge for making a fake MySpace page making fun of her vice principal. Justin Bodnar, 12, cursed at a friend’s mother. Ed Kenzakoski, 17, didn’t do anything. Those are the three main subjects of the film — but Ciavarella sent 3,000 youngsters to juvenile prison.
“I felt like I had been thrown into some surreal sort of nightmare,” said Transue, a model student sent to prison for making a joke. “All I wanted to know was how this could be fair and why the judge would do such a thing.”
Ciavarella had been a popular judge in Luzerne County since 1995, known for being tough on teen crime. Seeing the need for a new juvenile detention facility to replace the county's run-down one, Ciavarella perhaps started out with good intentions — until another judge, Michael Conahan, arranged to pay him 10 percent of construction costs, or $2.2 million, for a for-profit detention center.
Innocuously named PA Child Care, the filthy, cockroach-invested jail was stuffed full of young people who had committed to most minor infractions — or none at all. In Kenzakoski’s case, the boy’s father, along with two police officer cronies, planted a marijuana pipe in his car, hoping to scare his son into shaping up. Kenzakoski struggled with attention deficit disorder and started drinking at 14.
But to his father’s shock, Ciavarells sentenced Kenzakoski to time at PA Child Care. That began the teenager on a spiral of depression, anger, and more convictions — ending with his suicide in 2010.
Found guilty of financial crimes for accepting $2.2 million in finder’s fees to feed the squalid for-profit juvenile detention center, 2,480 of Ciavarella’s convictions have sinced been reversed.
Sentenced in 2009, Ciavarella is now spending 28 years in jail for his own crimes.
A deeply disturbed Louisiana man was found not guilty of decapitating his 7-year-old son by reason of insanity.
In August 2011, Jeremiah Wright, 30 years old at the time, killed his son by cutting off his head, which he then left on the driveway of the family’s Thibodaux, La. home. The rest of the boy’s body parts he put in trash bags.
His son, Jori Loritte, suffered from cerebral palsy and was severely disabled.
Wright was taken into custody on first-degree murder charges. While he could have faced death, District Judge John LeBlanc found Friday that the suspect was mentally unwell.
Wright allegedly thought his son was a CPR dummy, in addition to hearing voices and believing he was part of a government conspiracy.
"Wright was very matter-of-fact as he calmly explained that he thought for years that Jori was not his son," says a police report. "Wright said that he recently saw the way the dummy looked at him and there were signs and little things the dummy did to him that let him know that Jori was not his son, but a dummy."
He confessed to killing his son, telling the police that he put the head in plain view so the boy’s mother, Jesslyn Loritte, would “feel stupid” when she saw it, according to True Crime Report.
Wright and Jesslyn Loritte had an unstable relationship for 10 years, fighting over their son since he was born. Wright had previously said that the boy was suffering and she should “end it all,” the boy's mother wrote in her petition. Wright was unemployed and the couple fought often, including the night before the murder. Jesslyn Loritte was at the point of leaving him, she said.
Wright has previous drug, burglary, and contempt charges.
The case was shocking even for seasoned police officers.
"As a father of a child with special needs, personally I was taking a step back but immediately, those 20-plus years of law enforcement said, these guys, we've got to do a professional job and we're going to do a professional job," Police Chief Scott Silveri told WVUE.
The murder was the first in Thibodaux since 2008.