вторник, 10 июня 2008 г.

Portales man arrested in child sex case

A Portales man has been arrested for criminal sexual communication with a child after chatting online in an illicit manner with an officer posing as a 13-year-girl, according to a press release from the Curry County Sheriff's Office.

Brandon Bennik, 21, is being held on $5,000 bond, the release said. The charge is a fourth-degree felony. He was arrested Friday.

According to the release, Bennik used a Web camera to expose himself and perform sexual acts for what he believed was a 13-year-old girl and the images were captured by law enforcement.

Curry County sought the assistance of the Roosevelt County Sheriff's Office in making the arrest. During the execution of a search warrant at Bennik's residence, law enforcement seized his computer, Web camera and also found narcotics and drug paraphernalia in his residence, the release said.

Charges related to the narcotics are pending, officials said.

Not guilty plea in child sex abuse case

He was there to help an autistic boy's family care for their son. Instead a Commack home attendant sexually abused the 5-year-old boy and his 7-year-old brother in their home, according to an indictment unsealed in Riverhead Tuesday.

Marc Pipitone, 31, pleaded not guilty before Suffolk County Court Judge Barbara Kahn on an 11-count indictment charging him with five counts of first-degree sexual abuse, two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, two counts of second-degree aggravated harassment and one count of first-degree harassment.

Pipitone, a licensed special education teacher who has worked as a substitute, was held on bail of $250,000 cash or $500,000 bond. The judge also issued orders of protection for the victims. His attorney, Kevin Kearon of Rockville Centre, said Pipitone "is devastated by these allegations."

"He is a responsible, caring and conscientious teacher," said Kearon, adding that Pipitone has never faced allegations of impropriety.

Prosecutors said Pipitone, who received his teaching license from New York State in 2005, has in the past worked for the Deer Park and Smithtown school districts.

According to prosecutor Dana Brown, Pipitone, a special education teacher for the Developmental Disabilities Institute, was hired to teach and care for the disabled boy, whose autism is so severe he doesn't speak.

He began going to the boy's home in the summer of 2007, and only went on Saturdays.

Seven months later, in February, he was fired by the boy's mother, for "overstepping his boundaries" in how he taught the younger boy, Brown said.

In the following months, Brown said, Pipitone harassed and stalked the family, sending e-mail messages in which he threatened the boys and their mother.

He was arrested by police on harassment and sex abuse charges earlier this month, and given a desk appearance ticket to return to court in June. The next day, after police confronted him about the allegations of sexual abuse, Pipitone returned to speak with them and made statements incriminating himself, Brown said.

The 7-year-old boy has since told his family that Pipitone molested him, Brown said.

Kearon said Pipitone denies making any admissions of guilt, and would fight the case at trial.

He said literature shows that young children are "susceptible to the power of suggestion. I am very convinced that that is exactly what happened here."

Man charged with rape of 11-year-old girl

A 28-year-old Union County man was charged Monday with raping an 11-year-old girl, police said.

The man, Margarito Solis-Agustin, of Wingate, was charged with first-degree offenses of rape of a child, sex offense with a child and kidnapping, according to the arrest report filed by the Union County Sheriff's Office. He also was charged with two counts of indecent liberties with a child, according to the Sheriff's Office.

The victim was a relative of Solis-Agustin, Sheriff's Capt. Mike Easley said.

Solis-Agustin, of Mexican citizenship, had an outstanding warrant from 2004 on a statutory rape charge, according to the report. He had been living in Wingate under an alias, Easley said.

Solis-Agustin is being held in Union County jail on $300,000 secured bond. His first court date is scheduled for June 4.

Man guilty in child-sex case

A Tucson man whose graffiti-spraying spree led to child-molestation charges is now facing multiple life sentences.

A Pima County jury convicted Monte McCarty, 45, of 18 of the 19 crimes prosecutors charged him with in February 2007.

One charge, sexual conduct with a minor under 12, carries a potential life sentence, with parole possible after 35 years. When compounded by the other charges, his minimum sentence is 141 years.

According to court testimony, a Tucson woman called police on Feb. 4, 2007, after finding someone had spray-painted two obscene messages to her 8-year-old daughter on the family's house and garage door.

After going to the house, detectives realized the messages were similar to a series of obscene messages spray-painted on walls near South Kolb and East Golf Links roads between Dec. 11, 2006, and Jan. 28, 2007.

They were also similar to obscene writings on small pieces of paper found in a wash in the same area.

The homeowner told jurors that, when asked whether she had had any workmen inside her house in recent months, she remembered McCarty had done some drywall work for her in July 2006.

Detectives learned McCarty lived near Golf Links and Kolb and drove a white Jeep Cherokee matching the description of one seen near the woman's home the morning the messages were found, according to court documents.

During a search of McCarty's home, detectives found sexually explicit photos of McCarty with four prepubescent girls, court documents indicate.

When the girls were interviewed, each one said she'd been sexually abused by McCarty, according to court documents.

Two of the girls are related to McCarty. The other two are friends of those girls.

McCarty was tried on one count of sexual conduct with a minor, four child-molestation charges and seven charges of exploitation of a minor.

In addition, he was also tried on two counts of furnishing obscene items to a minor, three criminal-damage-related counts, one count of indecent exposure and one count of sexual abuse of a minor.

The jury did not convict McCarty in a molestation incident that prosecutors said occurred in a swimming pool.

But the jury found him guilty of other incidents of abuse involving the same girl.

McCarty's attorney, Eric Larsen, said he intends to file an appeal alleging the police search of McCarty's home was illegal.

Pima County Superior Court Judge Frank Dawley is scheduled to sentence McCarty May 27.

Wider sex abuse probe `risks predator stigma'

ANY move to extend the Mullighan Commission's child sex abuse investigations into other Aboriginal communities in South Australia is set to face opposition from indigenous leaders.

An indigenous community leader from the state's southwest coast said it would be wrong to do so and would effectively brand all Aboriginal communities as ``being sexual predators''.

Kokatha Mula elder Bronwyn Coleman Sleep expressed her opposition to further investigations on the eve of commissioner Ted Mullighan's report on child sex abuse on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands being tabled in the South Australian parliament.

The Rann Government is likely to release the report publicly today. Cases of abuse similar to those uncovered in the Northern Territory are expected to be revealed, and the commissioner has already called for a wider investigation.

Ms Coleman Sleep, from Ceduna, said the Government should carefully consider any such recommendation. ``If it incorporates all communities, then we're all tarred with the same brush,'' she said in Adelaide.

``It's not right throughout Australia in Aboriginal communities, so why target, why brand allAboriginal communities as being sexual predators of young children.''

APY leaders have said that corruption and misappropriation of government funding ``run by non-Anangu business or political interests'' underlie a culture ofbullying and intimidation thathas led to dysfunctional communities. In a submission, they said the path to greater safety for women and children on the lands was through stricter governance, accountability and transparency.

The APY executive board wants all entities on the lands -- communities, stores, arts centres -- to be incorporated under the APY Land Rights Act under which it operates, a move that would then impose strict governance and accounting provisions.

They have also called for: all employees of the entities to be subject to the APY Act's code of conduct and subject to the Public Offences provisions of the Crimes Act; police and working-with-children checks to be mandatory for all employees; and a registrar on the lands with the power to seize records and property.

Extension of child sex abuse probe `risks predator stigma'

ANY move to extend the Mullighan Commission's child sex abuse investigations into other Aboriginal communities in South Australia is set to face opposition from indigenous leaders.

An indigenous community leader from the state's southwest coast said it would be wrong to do so and would effectively brand all Aboriginal communities as ``being sexual predators''.

Kokatha Mula elder Bronwyn Coleman Sleep expressed her opposition to further investigations on the eve of commissioner Ted Mullighan's report on child sex abuse on the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara lands being tabled in South Australian parliament.

The Rann Government is likely to release the report publicly today.

Cases of abuse similar to those uncovered by the Little Children are Sacred report in the Northern Territory are expected to be revealed, and the commissioner has already called for a wider investigation.

Ms Coleman Sleep, from Ceduna, said the Government should carefully consider any such recommendation.

``If it incorporates all communities, then we're all tarred with the same brush,'' she said in Adelaide yesterday. ``It's lumping us all into the same basket saying that we're all doing this. It's not right throughout Australia in Aboriginal communities, so why target, why brand all Aboriginal communities as being sexual predators of young children.''

APY leaders have said that corruption and misappropriation of government funding ``run by non-Anangu business or political interests'' underlie a culture of bullying and intimidation that has led to dysfunctional communities. In a submission, they said the path to greater safety for women and children on the lands was through stricter governance, accountability and transparency.

The APY executive board wants all entities on the lands -- communities, stores, arts centres -- to be incorporated under the APY Land Rights Act under which it operates, a move that would then impose strict governance and accounting provisions.

They have also called for: all employees of the entities to be subject to the APY Act's code of conduct and subject to the Public Offences provisions of the Crimes Act; police and working-with-children checks to be mandatory for all employees; and a registrar on the lands with the power to seize records and property.

These ``tools'' would provide a ``more accountable, transparent and safer community'', the submission said.

Child sex-disease infections fall after federal intervention

THE federal intervention in the Northern Territory has led to a decline in new notifications of sexually transmitted infections among children.

The Northern Territory Government's latest surveillance update on sexual health and blood-borne viruses revealed that 62 children aged under 14 were diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections in the Territory in the first six months of the intervention. Three of the children diagnosed with chlamydia between July and December last year were under the age of 10.

The figures also showed that total diagnoses of chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis declined in the second half of last year, compared with the first half, following the intervention. The Territory's rates of sexual disease among both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal population still soar above the rest of the nation.

Between January and June last year, five children under 10 were diagnosed with chlamydia, compared with three diagnoses of children under 10 between June and December.

Rates of gonorrhoea also declined, with 40 diagnoses of children aged between 10 and 14 between January and June, compared with 27 diagnoses in the latter half of last year.

However, the report revealed that total new notifications of chlamydia and syphilis were higher overall last year. In contrast, new notifications of gonorrhea last year had declined by 8.2per cent compared with the previous year.

The latest figures showed that of the 932 new chlamydia notifications in the Territory in the first six months of the intervention, 20 of the cases were diagnosed in children under 14. Seventeen of those cases were among children aged between 10 and 14.

Two children aged between 10 and 14 were diagnosed with syphilis in the same period, the report revealed. There were 27 new notifications of gonorrhea among children aged between 10 and 14, and 12 cases of the STI trichomoniasis. One case of trichomoniasis was diagnosed in a child under the age of10.

The Alice Springs district -- which takes in remote central Australian communities first targeted under the emergency intervention -- had overwhelmingly high notifications of STIs, particularly gonorrhea and syphilis, between July and December last year.

The latest figures follow earlier data, released in December last year.

Diagnoses of STIs in the Aboriginal population was massively higher than for other ethnic groups, the surveillance report said.

The rate of notification of gonorrhea among Aboriginal people in the Territory was 51.7 times the national rate.

Among the non-Aboriginal population, the rate of gonorrhea notification last year in the Territory was twice the national average. Among the cases of syphilis diagnosed last year, 90per cent of new diagnoses occurred in the Aboriginal population, whose rate of syphilis infection was 26.9 times the non-Aboriginal rate.

Chlamydia was the most commonly diagnosed sexually transmitted infection in the Territory.