A Stevensville man was found guilty of three charges in his second trial for sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in 2013.
An eight-woman, four-man jury spent eight hours in deliberation before finding James Morris Colburn, 43, guilty of sexual intercourse without consent and two counts of sexual assault Friday.
The verdict followed a three full days of testimony.
“We are pleased that the jury was able to work through this emotional and difficult case,” said Ravalli County Attorney Bill Fulbright. “Both girls testified. It was difficult for them. It was hard on the kids and hard on the adults. The topic is one that is upsetting to listen to for the jurors.”
Colburn was originally found guilty on the charges in 2014 and sentenced to 100 years in the Montana State Prison, with 25 years.
The Montana Supreme Court sent the case back to district court in February after it determined that District Judge James Haynes had erred when he didn’t allow a defense expert to testify that she believed a counselor had asked leading questions of one of the girls.
Colburn’s attempt to use an expert witness critical of the techniques used during the forensic interview was excluded by Haynes in the first trial. The judge determined the witness was not trained in the interview protocol used during the forensic interview.
The Supreme Court ruled that Haynes’ decision to focus strictly on the protocol used in the interview was too narrow and that he had abused his discretion in excluding the testimony.
Two more young girls forced to relive their abuse and give testimony twice because a judge or counsel made a stupid decision. Good grief!
The original charges were filed in 2013 after the mother of an 11-year-old girl reported that Colburn had repeatedly sexually assaulted her daughter when she visited his apartment.
After the first sexual assault trial was completed, Colburn was convicted of attempted possession of child pornography. He remained in prison as a result of that case while he awaited a new trial.
In the child pornography case, Colburn was convicted of attempting to obtain child pornography because the search terms “pre-teen pornography” and others were found on his computer following his arrest on the sexual assault charges.
During the course of this week’s trial, the Montana Supreme Court affirmed Colburn’s conviction in the child pornography case, Fulbright said.
Arthur Kramer Elementary School
BY STEPHEN YOUNG, Dallas Observer
Wednesday morning, the Dallas Police Department arrested a Dallas ISD teacher for the "continuous sexual abuse of a child," a first-degree felony. Jorge Ruiz, 53, is currently being held at Lew Sterrett jail. His bail is $100,000.
Ruiz has been placed on administrative leave from his job teaching pre-kindergarten at Kramer Elementary.
According to DPD, a teenage girl came forward three days ago and accused Ruiz of sexually abusing her eight years ago when she was a student at Kramer. This week, another young woman came forward to make similar accusations against Ruiz, who was charged with the additional crime of indecency of a child with contact, a second-degree felony.
Last October, Ruiz, who has no prior arrest record according to DPD, was highlighted by KERA in a feature about bilingual pre-K education.
Jorge Ruiz, a pre-K teacher at Arthur Kramer Elementary in Dallas ISD, faces challenges when he starts the school year.
“When they come, the first day of school, there’s a silent period for most of them,” Ruiz says. “So they’re very shy. They are not very sure of what they’re going to say and they don’t have the vocabulary to say what they want to say.”
To get them past that hurdle, Ruiz has his pre-K bilingual students learn six new words every day.
At school recently, Ruiz told his students to raise their hands if they could complete a sentence about the photo of a bear he was holding up.
He called on 4-year-old Jimena. "El oso es café," she says in Spanish. (The bear is brown.)
“Ohhh, I like that. Me gusto mucho,” he responds.
DPD Assistant Chief Christina Smith said that the DPD believes that Ruiz could have had more than two victims during his more than 10 years teaching at the school.
"Currently there are possible additional victims that have come forward and been scheduled for interviews," Smith said.
A Sparks man was sentenced to life in prison for sexually abusing a child over the span of 15 years, a report from the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office said.
Jose Concepcion Moreno-Padilla, 51, was sentenced Tuesday on one count of sexual assault and one count of lewdness with a child under the age of 14.
The case against Moreno-Padilla began on May 12, 2016 when the Sparks Police Department responded to a report of a missing 18-year-old girl who had not returned home from school, the report said. After locating the girl, police questioned her about not returning home and found that she was a victim of sexual abuse.
Sparks detectives started investigating the case and learned that the victim had been sexually abused since she was about 5 years old by a male relative, the report said. The relative was identified as Moreno-Padilla.
When interviewed, Moreno-Padilla admitted to sexually abusing the victim, the report said. Moreno-Padilla was arrested.
At sentencing, prosecutor Nicole Hicks commended the bravery by the victim for the day she reported the years of abuse, the report said. Hicks argued that Moreno-Padilla committed the ultimate betrayal to the victim and caused her harm, pain and suffering. In a letter to the judge, the victim said the abuse dramatically affected her physically, mentally and emotionally and changed the way she felt about herself, the report said.
According to the report, a multi-disciplinary team coordinated through the Washoe County Child Advocacy Center investigated the case against Moreno-Padilla. The team included members from the Sparks Police Department Detectives Division, the Washoe County Child Abuse Response and Evaluation team, Washoe County Social Services and the Washoe County District Attorney’s Office.
A former Albuquerque Public Schools teacher accused of inappropriately touching a student and serious sex crimes with a female teenager close to him faces decades in prison.
Now, years after an alleged incident in Kenneth Jehle's Taft Middle School classroom, KOB spoke exclusively with the student.
"He slipped his hand, like under right there and dropped the lip gloss in my lap," Madison Fields said, describing Jehle touching her groin.
Fields is 16 years old now. She was just 13 years old when she said Jehle touched her inappropriately in the classroom as he was trying to give her a lip gloss as a gift.
Fields and her family sued APS because they allege that the school district kept Jehle in their schools even after years of complaints about him. APS paid Fields $750,000 in a settlement.
“I don’t care how much money. I don’t care how much therapy. It took something from her and that’s not fair," said Nicole Fields, Madison’s mom.
Now the criminal case against Jehle is finally moving forward. He was indicted last month. He faces even more serious charges related to allegations from another alleged victim who knew him.
There ought to be more charges against those who were in position to stop him years ago and didn't.