giovedì 23 febbraio 2017


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A martial arts instructor who fled to the Middle East nearly a quarter-century ago after he was accused of raping an 11-year-old student is now free on bond after federal authorities abruptly dismissed a passport fraud charge against him.
Just three days after mounting a case for the continued jailing of Jahangir John Shafighi on a charge of lying to renew his U.S. passport while on the lam, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bart Slabbekorn filed a motion to drop the charge.
The prosecutor said in his motion that further probing cast doubt on the government’s case. He did not elaborate.
“The United States continued its post-indictment investigation and review of the supporting facts and evidence and, based on newly discovered information, concludes the evidence is insufficient to proceed,” Slabbekorn said.
Shafighi, a 55-year-old civil engineer, was attending graduate school at the University of Tennessee and operating a martial arts school for children when, in 1992, he raped and fondled an 11-year-old student over an eight-month period.
He was indicted in 1994, arrested and posted a $30,000 bond. He then fled to Iran. He twice renewed his passport at American embassies in the Middle East. Shafighi was accused in the federal case of lying about whether he was a fugitive in a 2007 passport renewal application. His passport was renewed.
Last May, the U.S. Marshals Service arrested him in Atlanta as he disembarked from a plane from Mexico. It’s not clear how marshals knew he would be arriving in Atlanta.
The sole basis of the federal charge is a question on the passport renewal form and Shafighi’s answer to it. The question routinely appears in the document but renewal forms are updated on occasion. If the question was inadvertently left from the 2007 version, then Slabbekorn could not make a case of passport fraud. The law would require him to seek a dismissal.
That means Shafighi, who had been jailed in the federal case, is free under a $350,000 bond set by Knox County Criminal Court Judge Bob McGee at the urging of defense attorney Gregory P. Isaacs. Unlike in the federal system, the accused in state courts are entitled to bond, whether they can afford to post it or not, even if, like Shafighi, they were on the lam.
Knox County Assistant District Attorney General Joanie Stewart has fought to keep Shafighi locked up on the rape indictment pending trial, but Isaacs convinced McGee to use ankle monitoring and house arrest in addition to bond.
Shafighi has homes in Iran, Canada and the United Arab Emirates, runs a construction business in Toronto and heads up a non-profit in Iran on sustainable building practices. He posted the $350,000 bond, and Isaacs has said his wife is now renting a home in Knoxville awaiting the trial.
But U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton had refused — at Slabbekorn’s urging — to grant Shafighi freedom in the federal case. Slabbekorn argued Shafighi had no cause to stick around for trial either in the federal case or the rape indictment.
With the dismissal of the federal charges, Stewart is making another run at putting Shafighi behind bars to guarantee he will show up at trial in the rape case this time around. A hearing is set Tuesday.
Isaacs contends in a response that Stewart has no legal justification for asking McGee to boost or revoke Shafighi’s bond.
“Simply put, although the state does not like the fact that the United States dismissed a case against Mr. Shafighi for lack of evidence, this development does not give rise to any new facts or in any way justifies the punitive request to unlawfully deny John Shafighi bond,” Isaacs wrote.

Saul Nathan Barson, 29, of Lambertville, NJ, was arrested after he allegedly assaulted the child in a Bucks County park.

Two child sexual assaults occurred in a Bucks County park within the last month, police said Tuesday.

Two men were arrested for sexual assault of a minor in separate incidents in Pat Livezey Park in Solebury Township. Police don't know if the two suspects are in any way connected, said Township Detective Cpl. Jonathan M. Koretzky.
Koretzky could not say how many victims were involved, citing the "sensitive nature of the investigation," which is ongoing.

Nicholas David Fischer, 21, of Warrington, was arrested Friday on charges of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy in late January.
The child told police that he met Fischer on the app Grindr, where Fischer repeatedly asked to meet with the boy, who had said no. But on Jan. 28, they met at the park and Fischer performed oral sex on the boy. The victim and his mother reported the assault to police on Feb. 16.
In early February, Saul Nathan Barson, 29, of Lambertville, N.J., met a 13-year-old boy at the park. The boy got into Barson's parked truck, where Barson raped him. The victim and his parents reported the assault on Feb. 3, the day it occurred, according to the criminal complaint.
Barson, who is Princeton's animal control officer, told the child his name was Jake. His truck was registered with Animal Control & Investigative Services in Lambertville, police said.
The municipality of Princeton suspended Barson without pay, reported. 
In a statement on the arrests, Solebury Township police urged parents to "learn more about sexual exploitation via use of the internet."
Both men are held in the Bucks County prison; bail was set for Barson at $300,000  and Fischer at $150,000.

A man has been jailed for nine years today after admitting raping and sexually assaulting a Doncaster teenager, resulting in her becoming pregnant with his child.

Glen Sambrook, 43, formerly of Conisbrough, Doncaster, appeared at Sheffield Crown Court today and pleaded guilty to 11 offences including two counts of rape, one count of sexual assault, six counts of sexual activity with a child, and two counts of paying for sexual services of a child.
He was sentenced to nine years in prison and given a restraining order.
Police began their investigation into Sambrook in September 2015 after the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, came forward to report that Sambrook had raped and sexually abused her over a 13-month period.
Although Sambrook has accepted responsibility for his awful crimes, this does not detract from the significant impact this abuse has had on his victim.
He manipulated and exploited his teenage victim, forcing her to commit sexual acts against her will.
I am pleased he is now behind bars and I hope his victim, who has been remarkably brave throughout our investigation, is reassured knowing her abuser is in prison and can no longer harm her.

Doncaster rapist jailed for nine years 21 February 2017

CONCORD, NH — This week’s District of New Hampshire - New Hampshire Joint Fugitive Task Force Fugitive of the Week is a child rapist who is wanted for a parole violation, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. Jerry S. Roberts Jr., 33, is wanted by the state parole board on an alleged violation after being convicted of two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault in 2008 of a victim under the age of 16.
Roberts 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weighs around 160 lbs., and has brown hair and brown eyes. He has numerous tattoos on his neck, chest, stomach, arms, shoulders, legs, and left hand. He also has scars on his upper lip, chest, and right arm.
The warrant for his arrest was issued on Jan. 10, 2017.
“Roberts is on parole as part his sentence for a 2008 conviction for aggravated felonious sexual assault on a victim under the age of 16,” according to Deputy Jeffrey White of the U.S. Marshals Service. “Additionally, Roberts has a 2004 conviction for sexual assault.”
According to in June 2007, Roberts sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl while he was facing felony domestic abuse charges in Laconia. At the time, his wife alleged that he threw her toddler to the floor causing injuries. Roberts also allegedly grabbed his wife and threw her into a parked vehicle. At the time, she was more than seven months pregnant.
"I never once hit her or my son," he reportedly told the judge at a court hearing at the time. "I'm a good father."
Roberts’ whereabouts are currently unknown but he has ties to the Lebanon area, according to White.
According to, when Roberts was sentenced to four to 10 years, he was also given a suspended sentence of one to two years for related conduct. After being arrested while in the state’s halfway house in April 2013, officials moved to impose the suspended sentence. After serving the sentence, Roberts petitioned to be released but officials moved to dismiss the request because he had not completed his sex offender treatment program. The superior court, however, denied the dismissal motion and ordered Roberts released. Officials petitioned the state Supreme Court which reversed the lower court ruling that Roberts be released.
If you know of the whereabouts or have observed a person that resembles ROBERTS, please contact the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force at 603-225-1632 or local police.

Henry Arnaldo Padilla-Amaya, wanted by Raleigh and Cary police on child-rape and other charges dating as far back as 2005, was returned to Wake County early Wednesday after being arrested in Mississippi, where a computer check during a January traffic stop alerted authorities to North Carolina arrest warrants that police obtained in 2013.
The warrants, which the two agencies obtained on March 26 and 27, 2013, accuse Padilla-Amaya, 32, of two counts of first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sex offense with a child and five counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.
Raleigh police listed one victim. Cary police listed three.
The rape charges – one in each community – apply when a child is under 13. The sexual-offense charges – one in each place – also use that criterion. An indecent liberties charge applies if the victim is under 16.
According to the warrants, the case in Raleigh involved rape, sex-offense and and two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child who was 7 years old.
Raleigh detectives wrote that incidents began in mid-June 2005 and continued through the end of September 2010. The child knew Padilla-Amaya beforehand, police spokesman Laura Hourigan said.
In the Cary cases, the warrants accuse Padilla-Amaya of rape, sex offense and taking indecent liberties through 2009 and 2010 with a child who was 11 and 12 years old during that time. They also list an indecent-liberties charge involving a child who was 7 to 9 years old during 2011 and 2012 and the same charge for a child who was 7 and 8 years old during 2012.
When Padilla-Amaya was booked into the Wake County Detention Center, where he was held on $1 million bail, he was listed as living in Mississippi, although with no specific address.
Raleigh police had listed him in their warrants as living at 4708 River Creek Run at the time. Cary police listed him as living at 104 Walnut St.
Capt. Randall Rhyne, head of investigations for Cary police, said detectives were told that Padilla-Amaya was stopped for a traffic infraction in Rankin County, Miss., is late January. When police made a computer inquiry, the Wake County charges were listed.
Records showed that Padilla-Amaya waived extradition on Feb. 14, Rhyne said. Officials from North Carolina went to Mississippi to bring him back.

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — An underage girl who was coerced into sex by an Air Force colonel is now suing the perpetrator for "grooming" and "brainwashing" her.

Andrew Green, 50, of Jamesville, N.Y. pleaded guilty to third-degree rape last October and was sentenced in January to 6 months in jail and a decade on probation for having sex with the 15-year-old victim in 2015.

Green admitted to a felony because the girl was under the age of consent. At sentencing, the girl described being so distraught over the encounter that she nearly drowned after drinking herself into a stupor.

Green was reassigned from his post at the Rome Air Force Research Laboratory and later retired.

The lawsuit accuses Green of grooming the victim: "Defendant intentionally began to 'groom' the (victim) by spending a lot of individual time alone with her, speaking with her about various issues and generally gaining her trust from his position as an authority figure in the community."

After that, he had sex with her at least twice, the lawsuit states. (Green had been charged with three counts of rape, but admitted to only one as part of his plea deal.)

The lawsuit also accuses Green of brainwashing: using manipulation to convince the victim it was OK to have sex with him.

The ordeal will force the victim to undergo years of counseling and medical treatments, the lawsuit states. It will also diminish her enjoyment of life forever, it states.

The victim described anxiety attacks and depression, among other issues, after the rape. She had to leave school due to the rumors going around about her.

Since she nearly died, the victim said things had gotten a little better. "More people have spoken to me," she said at Green's sentencing in January. "They're still rude, but at least they speak to me. There are new rumors, and people still talk about old ones."

The family's lawyer, Timothy DeMore, did not return a call seeking comment.

But the victim's mother made it very clear at sentencing how she felt about what happened: "He chose to prey upon my little girl for his own sick purposes." Later, she added: "This has tainted things that are supposed to be beautiful and special between two people."

The lawsuit asks for a jury trial to determine whether Green owes the victim money. 

WHEELING, W.Va. — A Wheeling man has admitted to raping a teenage girl.

Jarvis Smith pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault Tuesday morning. He now faces 2-10 years in prison.

In December 2016, prosecutors say Smith met up with a 15-year-old girl at a gas station and offered the runaway a ride. Instead of taking her to Wheeling Island as she requested, he took her to a truck stop and raped her. He then dropped her off. She went to the hospital and police were called the next day.

Officers tracked the man down from the victim’s description of Smith and his dented truck.

“This was a stranger sexual assault, not from this area, but the deputies were able to find who this person was and bring justice," said Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Turak.

Prosecutors commended the Ohio County Sheriff's Department for the investigation. Smith was questioned by detectives and he had several different versions of the incident, but did admit to parts of the crime.

“It's always difficult when you sit down with someone to talk about such a heinous crime like a sexual assault, but we were very fortunate that we had enough evidence to perform a successful interview with Mr. Smith,” said Sgt. Rod Vaught, Ohio County Sheriff’s Department.

The victim not in court on Tuesday. Prosecutors say they agreed to drop two of the charges, kidnapping and sexual assault, if Smith admitted to the other two sexual assault charges pertaining to the same crime.

“We are always happy to spare a victim from testifying in a sexual assault case,” Turak said. “These are traumatic in nature and proceeding to a trial resurrects the pain and anguish.

Smith will have to register as a sex offender. He will be sentenced in March but is free on bond.

BROOKVILLE (EYT) A DuBois man recently pleaded guilty to one count of child rape in the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas for an incident that happened in Brockway.
According to online court documents, on Feb. 1, 38-year-old Douglas Edward Bloom Jr. of DuBois entered a guilty plea to one count of rape of a child, a first-degree felony.
As part of the plea agreement, the following charges were dismissed:
– Rape of Child, Felony 1 (four counts)
– Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse of a Person Less Than 16 Years Age, Felony 1 (five counts)
– Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse with a Child, Felony 1 (five counts)
– Corruption Of Minors – Defendant Age 18 or Above, Felony 3 (five counts)
– Indecent Assault of a Person Less than 13 Years of Age, Misdemeanor 1 (five counts)
He remains lodged in Jefferson County Jail on $75,000 monetary bail.
A sentencing date has not been set.
Details of the Case:
According to a criminal complaint, Trooper Carol Strishock, of state police at DuBois, interviewed a witness around 9:10 p.m. on June 12, 2016.
The witness stated that Bloom “told him that he saw (the victim) naked and ‘they did it.’” (The witness) told Bloom that he was going to tell (the victim’s) mother.
He then “got up to leave, and Bloom grabbed him and said he was going to punch him. He got away and got as far as the mud room when Bloom blocked the door.”
The witness and Bloom argued again, and Bloom repeated to the witness that he had sex with the victim. A known woman who was standing on the back porch of the house overheard the conversation.
Around 9:30 p.m. on June 12, Strishock interviewed (the known woman) who said she could hear the arguing and squatted down, so Bloom could not see her. She said that she overheard Bloom telling (a known man) that he had sex with (the victim), the complaint states.
Around 9:45 p.m. on June 12, Strishock entered the master bedroom of the residence where the incident occurred. She observed several used baby wipes in the trash can, which were confiscated and placed into evidence, the complaint indicates.
Around 5 p.m. on June 14, Bloom was interviewed at PSP DuBois. He was read his Miranda Warnings and agreed to speak to Strishock without an attorney. “At first, Bloom denied having any type of sexual contact with (the victim). When advised there was physical evidence, he admitted to having anal sex with (the victim) approximately five times over the past couple of months,” the complaint continues.
Bloom stated he knew the victim was only 12 years old, according to the complaint.

DuBois Man Pleads Guilty to Child Rape February 21, 2017 Gant Team 

A Lynchburg man was found guilty Tuesday on charges of rape and child sex assault that authorities said took place with a teenage girl almost three years ago.
Marvin Earl Phillips, 56, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors that avoided a jury trial in Lynchburg Circuit Court. There was no sentencing deal, and he faces five years to life in prison for the convictions on the rape charge alone.
Phillips entered Alford pleas, maintaining innocence while acknowledging the state has enough evidence to convict, on the charges of rape and aggravated sexual battery of a child age 13 to 17, court records show.
In return, the commonwealth’s attorney’s office agreed to drop a third felony charge of attempted rape.
According to Jessie Dumond, assistant commonwealth’s attorney, the 14-year-old victim reported abuse by Phillips to her grandmother and aunt in July 2014. He was her mother’s boyfriend and had been living with them for about 10 years, Dumond said.
The victim said abuse had started when she was 6 years old and that about a month before she reported to her relatives, Phillips entered her bedroom and touched, then raped her. He also entered her room two weeks later, but she stopped his attempt to come toward her, according to Dumond.
Lynchburg police obtained a search warrant for the address at 1000 Cabell St. to look for DNA evidence, which they found using an alternate light source, she said.
That evidence, as well as swabs from the alleged victim and Phillips, also were sent to the Department of Forensic Science for testing, she said. A department scientist would have testified had the trial gone forward, the prosecutor said.
Phillips’ lawyer could not be reached for comment on the plea agreement.
Sentencing in the case is scheduled for April 19.

City man found guilty in child sex assault, rape case Christopher Cole Feb 22 2017

PITTSFIELD — A Southfield man facing child rape and animal cruelty charges remains held on high bail based on concerns that he is a flight risk.

Rafael Lopez-Espinoza, 41, is accused of assaulting a girl, now 11, over approximately two years beginning in 2014. He has been held on $35,000 bail since his arraignment last week.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Rachael Eramo argued to keep high bail on Tuesday because Lopez-Espinoza is a Mexican citizen with close family ties to that country and because of the seriousness of the accusations and the potential penalties.

Eramo characterized the case against Lopez-Espinoza as strong and said the potential for him to flee the country was of "great concern," to the state.

Defense attorney Lori Levinson said her client was "shocked and appalled" by the allegations and "adamantly and vehemently" denies them.

She submitted affidavits in support of Lopez-Espinoza from a family member and people who have employed him and said, they too, were shocked by the charges.

Levinson said she's spoken to people who know her client and who said they've never seen Lopez-Espinoza exhibit any of the behaviors of which he's accused and never noted any discomfort or awkwardness from the alleged victim in the case when around him.

Eramo said the assaults took place when the child was in Lopez-Espinoza's care while her mother was unavailable.

She said Lopez-Espinoza threatened to harm her mother and sister if she reported the abuse, Eramo said.

Lopez-Espinoza also hit and kicked the child's dog when it tried to intervene in one of the assaults, she said.

The child reportedly disclosed the abuses in December, because she didn't want to keep secrets anymore, Eramo said.

She said biological evidence was collected via a search warrant and is being subjected to DNA testing.

Levinson suggested a cash bail of no more $3,500, noting her client and his family were of limited financial means and wouldn't be able to afford any more than that on top of the retainer they've already paid her for her services.

She also said results of DNA testing may take some time to complete and if those results exonerate her client, the time he spent held on bail would be time he could never get back.

High bail for man charged with child rape, animal crueltyBob Dunn

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