More than 20 arrested in Oklahoma City during nationwide sex trafficking bust
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
William Joseph Ellwood, 37, was found guilty Saturday evening of eight of the 12 charges brought against him.
The first three counts came back as not guilty, but hope for a full acquittal ended when the fourth count came back as guilty. When the fifth count also came back guilty as well, Ellwood’s family members began crying.
Allen Browning, Ellwood’s attorney, said he was heartbroken and planned to file post-trial motions.
“I disagree 100 percent with the verdict, except for the ones where he found him not guilty,” Browning said.
Ellwood was accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl multiple times over five years. The history came to light after the victim told her mother.
Ellwood maintained his innocence throughout the investigation. Browning argued in court that the victim made the accusations out of dislike for Ellwood and that many of the sexual encounters she described made no sense or were physically impossible.
Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey played a recording of a phone call the victim made to Ellwood with police present, pointing out that the defendant never denied the sex abuse when mentioned by the victim.
After the verdict was read, District Judge Bruce Pickett increased Ellwood’s bond from $50,000 to $250,000. Ellwood is being held at the Bonneville County Jail pending payment of the bond.
Sentencing was scheduled for 9 a.m. on Dec. 13.
Robert Scoble, a longtime fixture of the Silicon Valley punditocracy, has been publicly accused of sexual harassment and assault by multiple women.
"I know that apologies are not enough and that they don’t erase the wrongs of the past or the present," he continued. "The only thing I can do to really make a difference now is to prove, through my future behavior, and my willingness to listen, learn and change, that I want to become part of the solution going forward."
The revelations come months after many top Silicon Valley luminaries, including Chris Sacca of Lowercase Capital and Dave McClure of 500 Startups, among others, were named as abusers by The New York Times. As is the case in many industries that have been dominated by men for decades, inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment often goes underreported and unpunished.
Scoble's apology did not name any specific actions or victims. The Californian, who did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment on Saturday evening, began his Silicon Valley career as a blogger nearly two decades ago.
By 2003, Scoble took a job at Microsoft as a tech evangelist, and later worked at other tech and media firms, including Rackspace and Fast Company. In 2014, he publicly wrote about his own experience as a child victim of sexual abuse. More recently, Scoble was the company’s "entrepreneur-in-residence" at a company called Upload VR. Scoble, who in his Twitter profile calls himself an "authority on the future," also founded a consultancy called "Transformation Group" earlier this year.
In May 2017, Upload VR’s founders were sued over alleged sexual harassment and were accused of setting up a "kink room" at work. At the time, Scoble wrote publicly on Facebook that while he had attended company parties before, he was unaware of any behavior similar to what was alleged in the lawsuit, which has since settled. Months later, on September 11, Scoble wrote in general terms: "I must admit my own role in sexism in this industry and world. I am flawed, too, and am working to fix those flaws."
Then, on October 19, veteran journalist Quinn Norton described an incident with Scoble at a tech conference known as Foo Camp from the "early 2010s." Her Medium post has seemingly opened the floodgates against him.
In Norton's telling, after witnessing Scoble drunkenly make out with an inebriated woman who was not his wife, Norton wrote that she was awkwardly and briefly introduced to him.
"And then, without any more warning, Scoble was on me," she wrote. "I felt one hand on my breast and his arm reaching around and grabbing my butt. Scoble is considerably bigger than I am, and I realized quickly I wasn’t going to be able to push him away. Meanwhile, the people around just watched, in what I can only imagine was stunned shock. I got a hand free and used a palm strike to the base of his chin to knock him back. It worked, he flew back and struggled to get his feet under him. I watched his feet carefully for that moment. He was unbalanced from the alcohol and I realized if he reached for me again I could pull him forward, bounce his face off my knee, then drive it into the ground."
Since Norton's post, other women have come forward to say that they were touched inappropriately or propositioned by him in recent years.
These women include Michelle Greer, who worked with Scoble at Rackspace—she told BuzzFeed News that he inappropriately touched her at a hotel bar in 2010. Sarah Seitz, a NASA analyst, also wrote on Friday that Scoble had approached her, wanting to have an affair, even after he had written publicly in January 2015 that he had become sober and was attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Sarah Kunst, the founder of Proday Media, tweeted publicly that she reported his improper behavior to the organizers of the Dent Conference. Also on Friday, three anonymous women told TechCrunch that Scoble had made unwanted advances towards them.
And the swamp begins to drain
As a result of his alleged actions, on Friday, Scoble was removed from the board of directors of the VR/AR Association, a trade group.
Scoble was reportedly going to release a Facebook Live video on the subject, but on Friday told Business Insider that he would postpone it after discussing his behavior with his wife, Maryam Ghaemmaghami Scoble.
"I appreciate you reaching out," she wrote to Ars on Saturday. "It’s a time for some personal reflection. I don’t have any public comments at the moment. Thank you!"
Meanwhile, Norton told Ars late Saturday night: "just fyi, Scoble has not reached out to me in any way."
UPDATE 5:39pm ET: Shel Israel, Scoble's longtime co-author and business partner, wrote publicly on Facebook on Sunday afternoon that Scoble had left their company, "Transformation Group."
"[Scoble's] decision is related to recent revelations that [he] engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior, which he has confirmed are for the most part true," Israel wrote.
"Further, he told me he is cancelling his public activities for the remainder of this year, while he focuses on dealing with his deep and troubling personal issues. He is now going to Alcoholic Anonymous and he will start seeing a psychiatrist as well. I hope this leads to him correcting his behavior in a way that is permanent."
OSWEGO – A Richland woman is facing felony sex abuse charges.
The arrest stems from incidents that occurred in the town of Richland between June and August 2017.
She allegedly subjected some individual less than 11 years of age to sexual contact.
Squadrito was arraigned by Hon. Judge Adkins in Scriba Town Court and remanded to the Oswego County Jail in lieu of $15,000/$30,000 bail.
She is to return to Town of Richland Court on Oct. 30.
A Hanceville man is jailed in Shelby County amid allegations he sexually abused a young child over a period of almost a year.
According to charging documents, the abuse happened between January 2009 through December 2010. No additional details were made available.
That's 2 years, btw.
Clingan is set to have a preliminary hearing on Nov. 9. He remains jailed with bond set at $15,000.
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Authorities say a New Jersey corrections officer has been charged with receiving images of child sexual abuse.
Federal prosecutors said Thursday that 37-year-old Stephen Salamak was arrested at his home in Lodi.
Salamak has been suspended with pay from his job as a corrections officer at East Jersey State Prison in Rahway.
Prosecutors say an undercover officer first made contact with Salamak after he posted on Craigslist that he was looking for women and moms “that are into Cheese Pizza,” a reference to child pornography.
After police executed a search warrant on his email, prosecutors say they found an email with five attachments showing nude images of young girls.
Prosecutors say he admitted his crime after a search of his home.
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
A Shreveport man is facing, even more, charges of alleged child sexual abuse after news of his arrest prompts more victims to speak out.
Investigators say that Minniear allegedly touched a 5-year-old juvenile in an inappropriate manner on multiple occasions back in 1981.
Investigators also found evidence that he allegedly touched another juvenile in an inappropriate manner on multiple occasions between 1994-1997.
On October 20, investigators added the most recent molestation charge.
He was also charged with sexual battery, previously.
Minniear is still being held at the Caddo Correctional Center on a $900,000 bond.
WASHINGTON — Authorities in Charles County, Maryland, say the investigation into a former school aide and track coach accused of sexually assaulting students has uncovered even more young victims.
Bell is accused of assaulting the students, who ranged in age from 11 to 17, and of recording some of those assaults on his cellphone over a nearly two-year period between May 2015 and June 2017. Some of the assaults took place on school grounds, according to the indictment. Fourteen victims have still not been identified, according to the latest indictment.
Bell also worked as a track coach at La Plata High School.
The new indictment lists 22 counts of sex abuse of a minor, which carries a 25-year sentence for each instance. The indictment also includes 19 counts of second-degree sex offense related to force and 19 counts related to the age of the victim, which each carry a 20-year maximum penalty. Bell was also indicted on 97 counts of filming child pornography — more than double the number Bell faced in the previous indictment.
Bell’s trial date has been set for Jan. 8, 2018. Charles County State’s Attorney’s Tony Covington has said he intends to seek a life sentence if Bell is convicted on the most serious charges.
In the months since Bell was arrested in June, authorities have cited the painstaking process of combing through Bell’s digital devices for more evidence, and the number of alleged victims has continued to grow.
Bell was removed form his position at the middle school in December 2016 after authorities began investigating inappropriate texts he reportedly sent to a student. But it took Maryland State Police several months to clear through a backlog at its computer forensics lab before the evidence of the assaults was discovered on Bell’s cellphones and he was arrested, authorities have said.
Between the time Bell’s digital devices were seized by police in December 2016 and the time he was arrested in June 2017, Bell is accused of sexually exploiting three children and soliciting a fourth, according to a WTOP analysis of court documents.
In a phone interview with WTOP, Covington praised the work of forensics investigators and said their work was able to pinpoint dates when the alleged assaults took place. But he said staffing and resources at all levels have not kept up with the workload.
“The resources have not kept up with the technology in order to fight crime, so that’s something that needs to be addressed.,” Covington said.
The state’s attorney’s office said the investigation remains ongoing and the Charles County Sheriff’s Office is still trying to identify victims.
“I really urge parents to talk to their kids, because they’re probably not going to come forward voluntarily,” Covington said. “You need to engage them and make sure that they don’t have anything do to with this case or anything else for that matter. We just don’t know if anybody who may have been impacted by this. We don’t know if everybody has come forward. There’s just no way to know.”
A total of 82 counts were outlined in the indictment, which claims the 45-year-old father of three molested two family members who are not his children for nearly a decade.
A family source says his victims were 12 and 13 when the abuse began. That source tells News 12 that the alleged sexual assaults systematically took place in McAteer's home while his wife was sleeping and in his unmarked NYPD patrol car, while he worked for a sex crimes unit in Manhattan and its Internal Bureau of Investigations.
McAteer was originally brought up on charges by one victim in Greenwood Lake back in August and is out on $75,000 bail. A grand jury indicted McAteer on dozens of new charges last week after the second victim reportedly came forward.
News 12 reached out to the NYPD and the Orange County District Attorney's Office, but both declined to comment.
McAteer is set to be arraigned on Wednesday.
District Judge Joel Tingey sentenced an Idaho Falls man with a history of sex abuse to seven to 25 years in prison for paying a minor for sex.
Ammon was charged after an investigation into the victim, who was posting on Craigslist. The victim admitted having sex with Ammon for money. The victim, whose case is sealed because she is a minor, was charged with prostitution.
Ammon responded to the victim’s post in February, and she sent him several sexually explicit photos and a video. Ammon paid her $45 that same month to perform a sex act.
The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office used the victim’s phone to pose as her through text and tell Ammon she was 15. Ammon said he was told she was 18 and asked her to bring a friend. Ammon was arrested after investigators used the victim’s phone to lure him to an Idaho Falls restaurant.
As part of a plea agreement, two other charges of prostitution and enticing a child under 16 through the internet were dismissed.
John Thomas, Ammon’s defense attorney, said his client thought the victim was 18, and did not realize the seriousness of his crimes at the time. Thomas said his client should be given a chance at a rider program.
“It’s hard to look at the court and say, ‘Hey, this isn’t that bad,’ but I think the court needs to review this case,” Thomas said. “He did something wrong, but there is some mitigation there.”
Bonneville County Chief Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey said Ammon had already been on a rider program after he was sentenced for sexual battery of a minor in 2008.
“He’s getting treatment, he’s on supervision, and he still goes out and does these things,” Dewey said.
Dewey also pointed out Ammon continued to negotiate for sex after being informed the victim was a minor.
Ammon apologized to the court, and said he regretted his crimes. “I have no right to ask for forgiveness or leniency in this matter,” Ammon said.
Under Idaho law an adult can be charged for sex with a minor even if they are unaware of the victim’s age. Tingey said it wasn’t the first time he’d seen a case like this. “Every once in a while you get a case like this where the minor, to an extent, is the aggressor,” Tingey said.
The judge said he understood Ammon was not the only one responsible, but as the adult the onus was still on him. Additionally, he said the fact Ammon was on parole for a similar offense when he was arrested took a rider program off the table.
“We’re here to protect minors, regardless of the poor decisions they make,” Tingey said.
In addition to prison time, Ammon was fined $1,000 for each count, $1,250 to pay for a polygraph test and psycho-sexual evaluation, and $1,000 in compensation for the victim. He was sentenced to seven to 10 years for the child sexual exploitation charge to be served concurrently.
Another woman has come forward with allegations of physical, sexual, and verbal abuse she received from R. Kelly in a Rolling Stone report published Monday. But where most previous accounts involve young women who were teenagers or in their early 20s at the time they began relationships with the singer, this one comes from Kitti Jones, a former Dallas radio DJ who is also a divorced mother of one.
As soon as she moved in with him, Jones says, Kelly began to control virtually every aspect of her life. She was required to call him “daddy.” He demanded that she wear baggy sweatpants whenever she left the building and text frequent updates not only on her whereabouts, but also minor requests like going to the bathroom.
She said the first instance of physical abuse occurred within a month of her moving to Chicago. She confronted him about the video at the center of his child-pornography trial: She claimed he said “B—h, don’t you ever f—ing accuse me of something like that,” and kicked her and slapped her in the face. She says he physically abused her approximately 10 times in the first year and more frequently in the following year. She also said his behavior would abruptly become affectionate — for instance, when he was on tour “he treated me like a princess,” and incorporated her into a bawdy performance during his concerts.
By 2013, she said he began to force her to have sex with other women, and in one instance urinated on two women while Jones and another woman were having sex with him.
“He videotapes everything that he does, and sometimes he’ll just make you watch what he’s done to other girls or girls that he had be together,” she said. “He would masturbate to that and then have you give him oral sex while he’s watching what he did with somebody else on his iPad.”
She said she contemplated suicide but ultimately managed to escape in September 2013 by saying she needed to return to Dallas to help her son, who had been living in Europe with his father, find a new school. She met with Kelly again two months later, on the premise of receiving some possessions she’d left behind, and said he assaulted her on his tour bus.
Despite the large number of similar allegations against Kelly over the past 20-plus years, the singer has never been convicted of any related crime. Presented with a list of Jones’ allegations, a rep for Kelly said: “Mr. Kelly is aware of the repeated and now evolving claims of [Jones]. It is unfortunate that Ms. Jones, after public statements to the contrary, is now attempting to portray a relationship history with Mr. Kelly as anything other than consensual involvement between two adults. As stated previously, Mr. Kelly does not control the decision-making or force the actions of any other human being, including Ms. Jones, by her own admission. Any claim of wrongdoing of any kind or of mistreatment of any woman by him is false, ill-motived and defamatory.”
BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) – Bettendorf Police arrested 58-year-old Gregg Thurston on Friday morning after he was confronted by the father of the child he’s accused of assaulting. The incident happened on the west side of Bettendorf near I-74 and south of Spruce Hills Drive. KWQC is not releasing the address of the incident to protect the identity of the victim.
She told police she left and began walking home when Thurston began following her. She said she was scared and started running home, and Thurston began chasing her. That’s when the girl’s father saw her running towards the house and confronted Thurston.
Thurston admitted to police to inappropriately touching the child and knowing she was in elementary school. In July, Thurston was involuntarily appointed two guardians.
He faces charges of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, indecent contact with a child and violation of a no-contact order. Thurston posted bond.