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mercoledì 26 aprile 2017


HAMPTON BAYS, NY — A man extradited back to the United States after sexually abusing a girl, 6, in Hamptons Bays, was a defrocked priest, according to Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota.
Augusto Cortez pleaded not guilty Monday at his arraignment before Judge Barbara Kahn in Riverhead, Spota said.
Cortez, 53, pleaded not guilty to the three charges in the indictment: first degree criminal sexual act, first degree sexual abuse, and endangering the welfare of a child, Spota said.
The court remanded the defendant without bail and set a return date of May 15; a temporary order of protection was issued for the victim, Spota said.
Cortez is a registered sex offender who was convicted of forcible touching in Brooklyn in 2009, Spota said.
Spota said the crimes occurred in June of 2014 and Cortez was indicted by a grand jury in October of that year, Spota said.
Cortez was extradited and arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport Saturday, police said.
The Southampton Town Police Department's detective division arrested Cortez at JFK and charged him with first degree sexual abuse of a child, a felony, first degree criminal sexual act, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, police said.
Cortez, charged with sexually abusing the child back in 2014, fled the United States to South America after realizing he was a target of the investigation, police said.
He headed to several South American countries and was finally located in Guatemala by Interpol, police said.
With the assistance of the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force, Cortez was extradited back to the United States following his indictment by Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota's office, police said.
Southampton Town Police's detective division worked hand in hand with the U.S. Marshals NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force and The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office to bring the three-year case to a successful conclusion, police said.

A ​former church ​pastor recently convicted of molesting a six-year-old girl was sentenced to seven years in prison Monday, the Queens District Attorney announced.
James Love was found guilty of sexually assaulting the young child, who was a ward at his wife’s Woodlawn day care, earlier this month.
Love, the former pastor of New Mount Zion Baptist Church in Harlem, sexually assaulted t​​he little girl numerous times over the period of a year from June 2015 to June 2016, prosecutors said.
The now-seven-year-old bravely testified against Love during the ten-day trial.
The 46-year-old ​fallen man of God must also register as a sex offender.
“The victim’s mother dropped off the youngster at a trusted babysitter’s home, she had every expectation that her daughter would be cared for and protected,” Queens DA Richard Brown said in a statement. “Instead the husband of the sitter took advantage of the girl’s proximity and repeatedly violated her for his own sexual gratification.”
Defense attorney Todd Spodek called his client’s conviction “a perfect example of the uphill battle victims of false allegations of sexual abuse face at trial, and ultimately at sentencing.”
Spodek added that he and Love were in the process of reviewing appellate options.

A former high school coach and youth minister who was arrested on suspicion of child sexual abuse in March now faces additional charges after more alleged victims have come forward.
Charlie Hamrick, 54, of Pensacola, was arrested for molesting children over a span of two decades while in various positions of power. The latest charges filed Monday brought five more charges against Hamrick — three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and two counts of unlicensed practice of medicine.
The new charges were filed when additional victims came forward after Hamrick’s initial arrest, according to a news release from State Attorney Bill Eddins and Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan.
Hamrick already faces two counts of lewd and lascivious molestation, one count of giving obscene material to a minor, one count of organized fraud and six counts of sexual battery on a child under the age of 12.
Hamrick’s attorney Kim Skievaski said in a recent statement that his client denies the claims and will fight the charges.
Sheriff's Office investigator Dawn Janes said earlier this month that victims told police that during Hamrick's time at Tate High School, he gave unlicensed physicals, which included a genital examination.
Escambia County School District Superintendent Malcolm Thomas has previously said the district completed a background check on Hamrick before he was hired and the check came back clean.
Thomas has said Hamrick only had contact with football players and was not around the facility during school hours.
Hamrick worked as a supplemental football coach for Tate High, as a volunteer at Harvest Christian Center and as a youth minister at Pine Forest United Methodist Church.
Two of the first victims who came forward said Hamrick molested them at his home after he invited them to fish and ride four-wheelers at his property, according to police.
The third victim in the initial round of charges claimed to have been molested under similar circumstances in 1997 when playing at Hamrick's home with his children, who were roughly the same age.

WESTBROOK (WGME) --A gymnastics coach is behind bars, accused of having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl.
Jeremy Link, 43, made his initial court appearance on Monday afternoon. He's charged with one count of sexual abuse of a minor, a Class C felony.
Prosecutors said Link had been hired to coach the girl in gymnastics and tumbling. They said the victim's father went looking for her on Saturday, April 22, and found her at the Elite All Stars Cheer and Dance gym in Westbrook, where Link was an instructor.
"According to the father, the lights were off, it was dark, and he sees his daughter in close proximity to the defendant, who had his pants down," said the prosecutor.
Prosecutors said the girl's father called police and she told investigators she was in a romantic and sexual relationship with Link. According to prosecutors, Link claims he was changing clothes and used poor judgement doing so in front of the girl.
"This defendant was hired to coach this young lady, so there's a position of authority and a position of trust," said the prosecutor.
"He's in rough shape right now," said Link's defense attorney, Gary Prolman.
Prolman said there's no video footage or eyewitness account of the alleged crime.
CBS 13 found the Elite All Stars gym locked and dark, but reached out to the owner, who would only say Link is no longer employed there.
Parents of athletes didnt want to speak on camera, but called the allegations scary and shocking. They said Link has always been a great coach.
Link is being held on $15,000 cash bail or $100,000 surety. Prolman said he could be released sometime on Tuesday, and would be living with his parents.
A Carter Lake man pleaded guilty to a charge of sexual abuse and was immediately sentenced to a decade in prison.
Matthew Eischeid, 32, was initially charged with several felonies, including assault with intent to commit sexual abuse and lascivious acts with a child.
In court, Eischeid was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He must also register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and have no contact with the victim for five years. His other charges were dismissed as part of his plea agreement.
According to Carter Lake police, authorities were contacted on March 13 by a young girl at Project Harmony in Omaha regarding a sexual assault report.
The victim, who is younger than 18, told her mother that she had been raped, police said. The girl said that at Eischeid had abused her on several occasions.
Reports stated Eischeid admitted to a police officer that he had abused the girl and had tried to make her touch him.

The Columbia County District Attorney’s Office has refiled charges against a Portage man accused of the incestuous assault of a girl in 2012.
Adam T. Walsh, 32, was accused of raping an 8-year-old girl between 2012 and 2014, charged with repeated sexual assault of a child and incest in February 2015.
Walsh was arrested and held in Columbia County Jail on $25,000 cash bond, though bond was subsequently lowered to $10,000 in May 2015, then to $5,000 on Sept. 12, 2016. In the meantime, Walsh was also charged with felony battery by prisoners, strangulation, intimidation of a victim and bail jumping, accused of attacking an inmate.
According to court documents, an inmate told a Columbia County Sheriff’s Office deputy that Walsh had bragged that he was a “drug kingpin,” though it did get out with what Walsh was being charged and the inmate had told others about it. That inmate was then lured to a cell that was out of the view of guards, where he was attacked and choked by Walsh, saying, “I told you not to say anything.”
In that case, during a March 11, 2015, bond hearing, Walsh was ordered to be held on a $5,000 signature bond.
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On Sept. 23, 2016, Walsh posted $5,000 cash bond and was released.
The case proceeded, scheduled for a jury trial from April 3 to 5. On March 23, in a telephone conference, Assistant District Attorney Clifford Burdon moved to have the case dismissed without prejudice, granted by Dodge County Judge Joseph Sciascia, who had overseen proceedings.
“We had witness issues as the trial approached and the defense did not agree with postponing,” said Burdon. “It seemed best to dismiss and refile once we had all our ducks in a row.”
On Tuesday the District Attorney’s Office brought new charges, with a criminal complaint identical to the earlier case, though with additional felony counts of causing a child to view or listen to sexual activity and causing mental harm to a child, together adding a potential 18 years to Walsh’s sentence if convicted. The potential sentences of the first two counts carry up to 60 years in prison for repeated sexual assault and 40 years for incest.
As a bond hearing is still pending, no trial or future hearing dates have been placed on the court calendar for Walsh’s new case, however he is due in court for a May 18 return hearing in the battery case. 

DEPTFORD TWP. -- A registered sex offender repeatedly assaulted a child in his care over a 14-month period and the abuse included use of whips and a neck tie as forms of sexual punishment, according to criminal complaints.
Gabriel Torres, 42, and girlfriend Mary B. Giannone, 51, a pediatric medical assistant, share an address on Concord Avenue in Deptford and both are accused of assaulting the girl when she was under the age of 13.
Authorities have not said how they are related to the victim, but both are described in the complaint as having responsibility for the care of the victim.
Torres, who is registered as a sex offender in North Carolina, is charged with aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child between October 2015 and December 2016.
Giannone is charged with sexual assault by contact and endangering the welfare of a child on Oct. 14, 2015.
In addition to repeated sexual assaults by Torres, the victim told authorities that she viewed child pornography on Torres' cellphone.
She also told investigators that Giannone "committed an act of sexual contact upon her while they played spin the bottle at the defendant's residence," according to the criminal complaint.
Torres, who formerly lived in North Carolina, was required to register as a sex offender following his 2010 conviction in Tennessee on a charge of sexual exploitation of a minor.
In 2006, a Tennessee rental business found more than 400 child pornography images on a computer Torres had rented, according to a TV news report. He fled before police could arrest him and remained on the loose until 2009 when he was found living in North Carolina.
Torres was sentenced to six years in prison, but was released in May 2014. His North Carolina sex offender registry page indicates that he now lives in New Jersey.
Torres was working as a driver for a ceiling business at the time of his latest arrest, according to the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.
Giannone worked as a medical assistant for Advocare Marlton Pediatrics for about a year, but was terminated in February for performance reasons, according to Chuck McQueary, chief operating officer for Advocare.
Her firing was unrelated to these allegations, he said, but since learning of the charges, the company has sent out an email to employees asking them to report any odd behavior they may have witnessed involving Giannone. That information would then be reported to police, McQueary said.
Torres and Giannone remain jailed in Salem County Correctional Facility.
ROCKAWAY TWP. -- A Rockaway Township police officer was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting two teenage girls, authorities said.
Officer Wilfredo Guzman, 40, of Rockaway Township, is being held in the Morris County jail, according to a joint statement from Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp and Rockaway Township Police Chief Martin McParland Jr.
The two second-degree sexual assault charges against Guzman stem from his involvement with two teenage girls in 2014 and 2015. One girl was between the ages of 16 and 17 and the other was 15, authorities said.
Guzman provided both girls with alcohol and prescription medication and "engaged in acts of sexual penetration," Knapp and McParland said.
In addition to sexual assault, Guzman is charged with two counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.
Guzman has been a police officer in Rockaway Township since 2003, prosecutor's office spokesman Fred Snowflack said.
He is paid $111,980 annually, according to public records.
BENNINGTON — A convicted sex offender who faces new charges that he abused underage girls is being held without bail.

The 33-year-old man committed multiple offenses on four teenage girls over a span of three years, which according to court documents include sexual assault and photographing them without their knowledge.

Titus Theron Peters, of Bennington, pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court Bennington Criminal Division on Monday to single felony counts of repeated aggravated sexual assault on a child, second degree unlawful restraint, and lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, as well as two felony counts of lewd and lascivious conduct. Peters also pleaded not guilty to three misdemeanor counts of voyeurism.

Judge William D. Cohen ordered Peters to be held without bail. He is detained at the Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility in Rutland. 

If convicted of the charge of repeated aggravated sexual assault on a minor, Peters faces a maximum life sentence and minimum 25 years in jail. The charge carries a habitual offender enhancement, as Peters has been convicted of three felonies. He was convicted on two counts of lewd and lascivious conduct in December 2009 and on a charge of escape in December 2012.

The latest charges stem from a report made earlier this month that Peters had been inappropriately touching a 12-year-old girl that he knew, according to an affidavit by Bennington Police Lt. Larry Cole. Peters, who was under the supervision of the Department of Corrections, was taken into custody by probation officers on April 8.

The abuse is alleged to have taken place in Bennington between 2014 and earlier this month. The other victims are 14, 15, and 17-years-old and were also known by Peters. In interviews with police, they described instances in which Peters touched them inappropriately and exposed his genitals to them.

In a supplemental affidavit, Cole wrote that police obtained warrants to search Peters' computer and two cell phones. On the cell phones, police found images taken of one of the girls while she was in a bathroom, as well as still images of a video taken of one of the girls. The affidavit also describes internet search history that indicate Peters was viewing pornography involving underage girls. A search of the laptop had not been completed.

Sex offender held on new abuse charges Ed Damon

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