OLYMPIA – A man was reportedly caught arranging to have sex with a minor.
Travis P. Green, a 30-year-old Moses Lake resident, is charged in Thurston County Superior Court with:
Two counts of attempted rape of a child in the first degree
Attempted rape of a child in the second degree
Commercial sex abuse of a minor
Bail was set at $200,000 and he is in custody in the Thurston County Jail.
Green allegedly responded to an ad for an “incest family” posted by Washington State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force, according to court records. He reportedly began sending text messages to detectives posing as the mother of a 13-year-old boy, an 11-year-old girl and a 6-year-old girl.
He allegedly offered $100 to have intercourse with the girls, and described several sex acts he wanted the children to perform.
Green reportedly drove from Moses Lake to Tumwater (Olympia) on Sept. 26, according to court records. The detectives had Green purchase a drink in a store while he was under surveillance, before directing him to an address where he was arrested.
When he was interviewed, the defendant allegedly admitted to molesting other children, and being a sexual predator.
The Olympian reports Green was the 23rd person caught in the Washington State Patrol’s child sex abuse sting operation.
SOUTH BEND, Wash. — A former Ocean Park man who sexually abused a child has been found guilty of 18 separate felony charges.
When John Keone Lopaka Aylward, 46, is sentenced on Oct. 7, he faces the possibility of life in prison, according to Pacific County Prosecutor Mark McClain.
Through his investigation, Deputy Sean Eastham learned that Aylward had been showing sexually explicit images to the younger child. While executing a search warrant on the home, deputies discovered a memory card hidden in a hutch in the family’s living room that contained numerous pornographic images of children, including recordings of Aylward having intercourse with the girl. Deputies also found firearms, which Aylward, a convicted felon, was not allowed to possess. Aylward denied abusing the child at first, but eventually confessed to Eastham, and blamed the abuse “on his meth use and being tempted by Satan,” according to a probable cause statement.
Aylward, who allegedly ran an illegal, unlicensed tattoo business out of his home, was charged with first-degree incest, first-degree rape of a child, sexual exploitation of a child and possession of child pornography.
Aylward decided to waive his right to a jury trial, electing instead to have Superior Court Judge Michael Sullivan decide the case.
Sullivan listened to two days of testimony in September from the victim, forensic experts, police and others, and reviewed the video evidence, before returning guilty verdicts on six counts of first-degree rape of a child, six counts of first-degree incest, three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, dealing in depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and one count each of dealing in child pornography, possessing child pornography, and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
McClain said securing testimony and documentation from experts can be challenging in a rural community, but is extremely important for prosecuting child-abuse cases.
“These are awful, gut-wrenching trials, not only because of the subject matter, but also because children do not often tell their story clearly. That is why the interviews and investigation make or break these cases,” McClain said. Currently, there is no local facility to perform the required physical examinations and forensic interviews. In this case, McClain said, he was able to arrange for the victim to undergo both examinations in Lewis County on the same day. However, in the past, local kids have often had to travel to Grays Harbor for the interview, and then make a second trip to Olympia for the examination.
“This was very difficult for these kids, especially for those living on the peninsula,” McClain said. However, he noted that the situation is improving, saying the prosecutor’s office has been working with the local nonprofit crime and abuse victims advocacy group Crisis Support Network to establish a local Children’s Advocacy Center. McClain said the Pacific County Department of Health recently became involved in the effort, and the Advocacy Center is close to becoming a reality.
McClain praised the deputies and forensic experts for building a strong case against Aylward, and said special recognition should go to the girl who was courageous enough to report the crimes, and the Crisis Support Network, who worked with the victim and made her comfortable enough to tell her story.
Ramiro Limon; Fernando Limon (Courtesy: Wilson County Sheriff's Office)
WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Two brothers have been arrested and indicted on multiple child sex abuse charges following an investigation by the Wilson County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the United States Marshal’s Task Force.
Fernando Limon, 23, and Ramiro Limon, 28, each face four counts of rape of a child.
Both were arrested in Antioch, Tennessee on September 20.
Detectives said the case was especially egregious because it involved children “considerably younger” than the 13-year-old age limit sentencing guidelines involving adults charged with sex crimes involving children.
Both men are being held at the Wilson County jail under $150,000 bond. They also have a hold placed against them by federal immigration officials because they are Mexican nationals and not citizens of the United States.
If convicted, the suspects face up to 25 years in prison on each count of child rape involving a child less than 13 years of age. They could also be deported without the ability to re-enter the United States without Federal prosecution.
The state rested its case Wednesday afternoon in the trial of a Little Rock man accused of sexual misconduct with a 6-year-old Bowie County girl in 2013.
Strodney Deron Davis, 21, faces two to 20 years in prison if convicted of indecency with a child by sexual contact involving a relative who turned 10 in July and who was 6 in June 2013. The girl answered questions from Bowie County Assistant District Attorney Kate Carter.
“He called it the handshake,” the girl testified about a night in her family’s Wake Village, Texas, home while Davis was visiting from June 23, 2013, to June 28, 2013.
The girl said Davis told her to keep the handshake a secret and that he engaged in sexual misconduct with her in a hotel bathroom in Little Rock, Ark., where Davis lives, during the same month. Bowie County First Assistant Public Defender questioned the girl about differences and inconsistencies in answers she gave during a forensic interview at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Texarkana in July 2013 and during her testimony.
While some details differed, the allegation concerning a handshake remained the same. The girl told forensic interviewer Melanie Halbrook in 2013 that she had gotten out of bed to get a tissue because her nose was bleeding. On the stand Wednesday, the girl said she was getting a tissue because her nose was stuffy.
Halbrook testified that the girl did not appear to have been coached when she met with her in 2013 and that the descriptions she gave of Davis’ alleged conduct seemed genuine.
The girl’s father testified that his daughter came to him in July 2013 and disclosed the alleged abuse. The father and his wife, the girl’s mother, went to Wake Village police immediately, they testified. Officer Christy Whisenhunt, who currently works for Texas A&M police, testified she was a Wake Village detective when the girl’s family reported the allegations against Davis. Whisenhunt said she arranged to interview Davis but he did not show for the July 22 meeting and did not reschedule. Whisenhunt agreed under questioning from Williams that Davis has the right not to answer questions.
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Kathy Lach testified the girl described sexual misconduct by Davis to her several days after her parents went to the authorities. Lach said the nature of the abuse alleged would have not left evidence, such as DNA, even if the girl had been examined within hours of such contact.
First Assistant District Attorney Michael Shepherd rested the case for the state Wednesday afternoon. Williams called four witnesses for the defense before 202nd District Judge Leon Pesek Jr. adjourned the trial for an evening recess.
The witnesses Williams called include Davis’ uncle, Davis’ brother, and two women who described themselves as close friends of Davis’ mother who have known him for substantial periods of his life. All of the defense witnesses described Davis as a well-mannered person who behaves appropriately around children.
The trial is expected to continue Thursday morning with more testimony from defense witnesses. Once both sides have closed their cases, the jury of four men and eight women will hear closing arguments before beginning deliberations.
If convicted, Davis faces two to 20 years in prison. He is currently free on a $40,000 bond.
A Prince George’s County school-bus aide has been charged with multiple counts of child abuse and sexual abuse in connection with incidents involving two young students with special needs.
Michael Paul Patopie, 38, of Capitol Heights, is accused of inappropriately touching a 4- and 5-year-old while working on a bus that serves special-needs children, according to charging documents filed in Prince George's County District Court.
Patopie was arrested Tuesday morning, according to county police.
The woman who drove the bus reported two incidents to authorities that occurred on Nov. 19 and May 31, saying she occasionally saw Patopie kiss the 5-year-old child, documents state. The student’s mother said her child reported inappropriate touching, police allege in court papers.
The 4-year-old’s great-aunt said she noticed that the child’s pants were “open multiple times when getting off the bus,” charging documents state.
Video footage from the bus captured on Nov. 19 shows Patopie sitting next to the 4-year-old, according to court documents. Although his hand is out of view, the video shows Patopie touching the child, the records state. After the child is dropped off, Patopie touches the 5-year-old in a similar manner, puts the child on his lap and kisses the child’s forehead, police allege.
Kevin M. Maxwell, chief executive for Prince George’s County Public Schools, said in a statement Tuesday that he is seeking to fire Patopie immediately, given his arrest.
“I am horrified by the nature of these crimes, sickened and angry that this individual may have preyed upon our students,” Maxwell said in the statement. “We will cooperate fully with our law enforcement partners to ensure that he is held accountable. Our focus remains on providing all children with a quality education in a safe learning environment.”
The bus aide and a supervisor were placed on administrative leave during the first week of school in August after Maxwell learned of the allegations, school officials have earlier said.
John Erzen, a spokesman for the Prince George’s County State’s Attorney’s Office, said the case is under investigation and prosecutors would file more charges if there is evidence of additional victims.
“Certainly anytime that children are victims, it tears at our hearts,” Erzen said.
The father of a 4-year-old who thinks his child was molested but was not one of the victims who Patopie was charged with abusing told The Washington Post this month that it was “unacceptable” that school officials did not inform the family of the November incident until August. On Tuesday, he said he was glad to hear of the charges but continued to question the process.
“I just thank God they finally locked him up,” he said.
Patopie is being held on a $300,000 bond and is scheduled for a bail review Wednesday, prosecutors said. When reached by phone, Patopie’s mother declined to comment, and online court records do not list an attorney for him.
The charges against the bus aide follow a string of child-abuse allegations in Prince George’s public schools.
In February, elementary school volunteer Deonte Carraway was indicted on 270 counts of child pornography and related charges after allegedly recording children as young as 9 performing sex acts both on and off campus. Cases against him are pending.
More recently, federal authorities revoked a $6.4 million grant from the county after finding corporal punishment and humiliation of children in the district’s Head Start preschool program.
Last week, police said they were investigating a separate allegation of physical abuse on a school bus of an adult student who attends a special-needs school in Mitchellville. The incident occurred the morning of Sept. 1, outside the C. Elizabeth Rieg Regional School.
Marc Freeman Contact Reporter Sun Sentinel
A Palm Beach County jury on Wednesday began hearing testimony in the case of a man on trial for the second time on four charges of sexually abusing a girl in Boynton Beach between 2004 and 2007.
Leonard Cuminotto, 49, was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to 55 years in prison. But a state appellate court later awarded him a new trial after ruling his lawyer was unfairly denied extra time to prepare a defense.
After attempts in recent years to serve as his own attorney because of a stated distrust of the criminal justice system, Cuminotto is now represented by court-appointed attorney Jacob Noble.
In his opening statement to the jury, Noble said prosecutors have no evidence of any abuse and are relying solely on lies by the accuser. "These are nothing but false accusations," Noble said, adding the accuser's statements have had inconsistencies. "This is an ugly, ugly case."
Cuminotto last year told a judge that his "rights have been conspired against since the beginning of this case," and he should be set free.
Instead, Cuminotto has remained in custody still facing two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation; lewd or lascivious exhibition; and sexual activity with a child between 12 and 17 years old. The alleged incidents include masturbating in front of the girl and touching her breasts.
A former stay-at-home dad, Cuminotto once rejected a plea offer of four years in prison. The allegations surfaced in 2008 when Boynton Beach Police received a complaint from a caller in Michigan, claiming Cuminotto molested a 12- or 13-year-old girl over several months in 2007.
Later, prosecutors amended the charges to accuse the defendant of abusing the girl over a five-year period beginning in 2002.
The Sun Sentinel is not identifying the accuser because of the nature of the allegations.
On Wednesday, the accuser, now 22, testified she was sexually abused by Cuminotto since age 11 when she was in the fifth grade and Cuminotto asked her to touch his genitalia. She also said she suffered pain after forced vaginal penetration during one incident.
"I always tried to fight him off," she said. "He would always win."
The accuser said she delayed reporting the abuse because she had been too intimidated by Cuminotto and concerned about his threats to commit suicide. The accuser also testified during Cuminotto's first trial, when he was convicted of four charges and acquitted of three others.
The defense then did not put on any evidence. But for the retrial, Noble says he will be calling witnesses.
Since the first trial, Cuminotto has argued the claims have been contradicted by two medical exam reports. One, from a Michigan physician, indicates there were no physical signs of sexual abuse, the defendant said.
But prosecutors Brianna Coakley and Justin Hoover have countered that the reports don't absolve Cuminotto of blame.
"He told her if she ever told anyone about these things he would kill himself," Coakley told the jury Wednesday.
The evidence, over the defense's objection, includes a recorded phone call between the accuser and Cuminotto prior to his arrest.
On the call, Cuminotto cried and apologized, said he didn't want to hurt the child, and talked about turning himself in to authorities. But nothing specific about the alleged abuse is cited on the call, which also was played for the jury at the first trial.
Circuit Judge John Kastrenakes is now presiding over the case, which has been assigned to different judges since its inception. He said the trial should conclude by the end of the week.
A former priest who once served as an altar boy coordinator at St. Brendan’s Church in Dorchester was arraigned Wednesday on charges of rape and assault related to incidents from the 1980s and 1990s.
Walsh was indicted earlier this month on two counts of rape of a child and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child. Clerk Magistrate Anne Kaczmarek ordered him to wear a GPS monitor, remain in Massachusetts and surrender his passport while the case was pending.
In 2006, Massachusetts legislation was passed that eliminated the statute of limitations in child sexual abuse cases. In such cases, prosecutors are required to come forward with "objective, corroborative evidence" of the abuse if it occurred more than 27 years earlier, the DA's office said.
Walsh also resided outside of Massachusetts for extended periods of time between the alleged abuse and the indictment, which stopped "the proverbial clock" on the statute of limitations, according to the DA's office.
The victim, now in his late 30s, came forward to law enforcement earlier this year, officials said.
“Changes in the statute of limitations law for child sexual abuse cases help us, but it means nothing without the bravery of abuse survivors who overcome their fear and shame to disclose trauma,” Conley said in a statement. “Survivors, young or old, should know that they can always count on us to help, support, and speak for them.”
Walsh allegedly took the victim and other children out to eat and to the movies. The alleged abuse took place in Walsh's car, home and office, according to the DA's office.
Assistant District Attorney Ashley Polin of the Child Protection Unit told the court that Walsh was ordained as a priest but relieved of those duties in 2002 after being accused of abuse that took place while he was assigned to the St. Francis de Sales Church in Charlestown.
Those allegations are not related to the current Suffolk County indictment, the DA's office said.