BuzzFeed News Reporter
A passenger aboard a recent flight helped police save two young children after she spotted the man in front of her texting about sexually abusing them, authorities said Thursday.
A Seattle-area preschool teacher was on a Southwest Airlines flight from Seattle to San Jose on Monday when she noticed the man sitting right in front of her texting disturbing messages about sexually molesting young children, police said.
Thanks to an enlarged font and big smartphone screen, she was able to read and take pictures of the disturbing text messages and alert the flight crew. Upon landing, an attendant notified a San Jose police officer working inside the terminal.
“It was in large font, and she sees certain words and starts contemplating there’s something bigger there,” San Jose sex-crimes Detective Nick Jourdenais told the Mercury News. “Then the conversation transitions to children. That’s the moment when she decided to preserve the evidence as best as she could.”
Investigators said that 50-year-old Gail Burnworth was carrying out Kellar's sexual requests on two children, ages 5 and 7, the newspaper reported. Police say the children have been identified as victims.
Burnworth was working as a babysitter, which is how she and Kellar had access to the children, police said, though they declined to comment on the children's relationship to the suspects and how the two adults knew each other.
Kellar was booked into the Santa Clara County jail on two felony counts of attempted child molestation and two felony counts of solicitation of a sex crime. He is being held without bail.
Burnworth is being held at Pierce County jail in Washington, for felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, rape of a child, and dealing in depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Police are calling the preschool teacher a hero.
“It’s kind of mind-blowing,” Jourdenais said. “She gets on a plane, a normal citizen minding her business. A couple of hours later, she’s intervening on quite possibly the most traumatic thing children can go through. This was life-altering for them.”
A Belleville man has been charged with two counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse of a 13-year-old child.
Police don’t believe there are any other victims, but they encourage parents to speak to their children if they have had any contact with Worth, and to contact police if they have any information. Worth has no other criminal charges in St. Clair County.
Worth’s bail was set at $75,000, but he was not booked in the St. Clair County Jail as of Thursday afternoon.
ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — A former Maryland elementary school teacher has been sentenced to 48 years behind bars after being convicted of child sexual abuse charges involving inappropriate touching of several students.
Vigna was teaching at Cloverly Elementary School in Silver Spring before his arrest in 2016. Five students reported that they had been touched inappropriately while sitting in his lap. Vigna taught third, fourth and fifth grade over a span of 20 years at the school.
Vigna testified during a weeklong trial that he never had intentional inappropriate contact with students.
A former pediatric emergency room doctor for Miami’s largest children’s hospital surrendered his medical license Friday after pleading guilty in September to charges of attempted felony child abuse in North Carolina.
In exchange for his guilty plea, the former emergency room physician at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and 50 hours of community service. He served no time in jail.
Ahhh! The privileged class!
Crockett, who lives in Coral Gables, could not be reached at home, and his attorney, Allen Grossman, declined to comment on Friday while his client’s case was taken up by the Florida Board of Medicine, which met in Miami.
A board-certified pediatrician, Crockett was fired from the former Miami Children’s Hospital in December 2014, after administrators first learned that he had been charged with a sexual offense and statutory rape.
Police in North Carolina were alerted to Crockett’s child abuse in August 2014, after receiving a call from Professionals Resource Network or PRN, a voluntary program for physicians and other healthcare professionals with substance abuse, psychiatric or physical illnesses that interfere with their ability to practice medicine safely.
According to investigative records, Crockett told a PRN counselor at the time that he had fondled a boy during a trip to North Carolina the prior month. Police then issued an arrest warrant for Crockett, who turned himself in.
At the time that PRN reported Crockett to police, he had been on a four-month leave of absence from the children’s hospital in Miami. Counseling between medical practitioners and PRN is typically confidential, except for mandated reporting of issues involving the abuse of vulnerable adults and children.
PRN sees about 900 doctors and other practitioners each year, with the majority of clients seeking help with substance abuse and combined substance abuse and psychiatric issues.
Nearly 100 lawsuits alleging sexual abuses over four decades were filed against the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts of America in Guam, beginning in 2016.
Ninety-six lawsuits named the Archdiocese of Agana as a defendant, while 52 lawsuits named the Boy Scouts of America as a codefendant for enabling the priests to continue their abuse, according to a Friday report from USA Today’s Pacific Daily News (PDF).
In April there were just 46 law suits in progress.
The allegations of sexual abuse span from 1955 to 1994, and involve an archbishop, 13 priest (one of whom was also a Boy Scout leader), and a janitor and a teacher from a Catholic school.
The population of Guam, a U.S. island territory, is 85 percent Catholic, with a total of 26 parishes on the island. The ongoing legal battle bears echoes of the Boston sex abuse scandal uncovered in 2002 by the Boston Globe, but Guam’s scandal goes deeper. Guam has a population of fewer than 163,000, with 59 lawsuits per 100,000 people in this case, compared to 12 lawsuits per 100,000 in the Boston scandal. The Catholic church’s influence in Guam goes far beyond the walls of the cathedrals, as certain priests allegedly wield political power rivaled only by the local military.
Many of the instances of sexual abuse alleged in these lawsuits previously went unreported, as the defendants allegedly used their positions as figures of spiritual and political authority to prey on vulnerable children. Those allegedly abused said the piety of the local population and the threat of retribution from their local church authorities discouraged them from telling anyone.
“I thought about it a million times, but I was scared to tell them, especially my mom,” a man identified as R.B. told the PDF. “She’s a die-hard Catholic. If I tell her a priest did that to me, I don’t think she would believe me.”
Joelle Casteix, regional director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said alleged victims of abuse in Guam were silenced by threats of alienation from their community, loss of jobs, and threats against their family members. Casteix first traveled to Guam in 2009 after one of the priests’ alleged victims called her.
“I was told outright that victims were scared that they would be shunned from their families, kicked out of the church, lose their jobs, or that by speaking out against the church or Apuron, they would threaten the financial security of their loved ones,” Casteix said. “No one wanted to be seen with me, not even the tipster who initially called me. I was told that the church was the most powerful entity on the island, outside of the military.”
Four former altar boys accused Apuron of sexual abuse. Apuron has also come under fire for his alleged mismanagement of church funds and real estate. No one came forward against Apuron until 2016, when the Guam legislature retroactively lifted the statute of limitations in cases of child sexual abuse.
The potential repercussions of crossing Apuron were allegedly astronomical before his suspension by Francis, according to Casteix.
“Messing with Apuron was worse than messing with God,” Casteix said.
Benjamin Cruz, Guam Legislature Speaker and former Guam Supreme Court justice, said that characterization of Apuron was accurate.
“He, as archbishop, had immense power,” Cruz said.
The Vatican is trying Apuron in a rare canonical trial. Apuron could be dismissed from the clergy as a result of the trial. An advocate for abuse victims, Dominican priest Tom Doyle said the Vatican’s trying of Apuron is “very, very rare, and the reason it’s rare is because the Vatican or the popes have protected the bishops. They consider them to be the most important part of the church, so they protect them, no matter what they’ve done.”
Fifty-five of the lawsuits named Father Louis Brouillard, who was also a scoutmaster, as an alleged abuser, to which Brouillard has admitted abusing at least 20 boys. In one instance, a victim identified as S.A.F. alleged in his lawsuit that Brouillard told him in 1975 “If you tell anyone, no one will believe you because I am a priest.”
The Catholic Church still pays Brouillard a $550 monthly stipend, according to USA Today.
DOVER, Del.- A Dover man will spend 10 years behind bars after pleading guilty to first-degree sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust, endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree child abuse.
After entering his plea in Superior Court, a judge sentenced Jones to a decade in prison, followed by one year of either work release or home confinement, then three years of probation. Jones must also register as a Tier III (high-risk) sex offender.
A 21-year-old man is charged with sexually abusing a child, his second arrest on similar charges in just two years.
Sanders' warrant said the incident happened in June, but did not provide additional details.
Shelby County prosecutors requested, and were granted, a $200,000 bond for Sanders because he was arrested in 2015 on an unrelated charged of sex abuse of a child under the age of 12, records show. In that case, his bond was at some point revoked because he was arrested on drug charges.
After serving 245 days, Sanders pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of harassment in the 2015 child sex abuse case. He was released from custody on Nov. 21, 2016.
If convicted, Sanders faces a minimum of 10 years in prison with no possibility of probation or parole. "Given the nature of the charged offenses, the probability of conviction, and the likely sentence faced, the defendant poses a danger to the public at large and to himself and also poses a risk of nonappearance should the bond not be set as requested,'' prosecutors wrote.
A Scottsboro man was arrested Thursday on several sex charges involving a child.
Lt. Erik Dohring said Scottsboro police made the arrest after receiving a report of sexual abuse of a child less than 12.
“After a thorough investigation, detectives were able to obtain warrants for an arrest,” said Dohring.
Eric Raoul Emery, 45, was arrested in the 400 block of Taylor Street. Emery has been charged with rape first degree (victim under 12), sodomy first degree, two counts of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 and two counts of enticing a child for immoral purposes.
Emery was placed in the Scottsboro City Jail, and then later transferred to the Jackson County Jail. As of Friday morning, he remained in jail on a $120,000 bond.
WILKES-BARRE — A Hazle Township man is facing sexual abuse and corruption of minors charges for allegedly performing sex acts on a teen girl, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Friday.
Orr was arrested by state police Thursday on more than 32 criminal counts, including 24 felonies. He posted $100,000 bail Friday, records show.
In a statement, Shapiro said those who abuse children will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“We work tirelessly to identify and remove child predators from our streets and our communities,” Shapiro said. “We have a zero tolerance policy for the sexual abuse of children.”
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 16 before Magisterial District Judge James M. Dixon.
Court records show Orr has no prior criminal record in Luzerne County.