Archive for October, 2019
October 30, 2019
Former Los Angeles Rabbi Menachem (Mendy) Weiss was sentenced on Sept. 9 to six years in New Jersey state prison for aggravated sexual assault, with no possibility of parole for three years.
Weiss, 47, pled guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault on a boy between January and June 1999, when he was living in Woodcliff Lake, N.J. As part of his sentencing, Weiss also must register as a sex offender, is subject to parole supervision for life, and is to have no contact with the victim or his family.
The married father of nine moved to Los Angeles not long after the assault. He was living in the Pico-Robertson area at the time of his arrest in March 2018, and had been working as a faculty member and director of the Israel Center at Milken Community Schools and as an associate rabbi at Nessah Congregation. Upon news of his arrest, both organizations immediately suspended him. Weiss also previously served as the executive director of Sephardic Tradition and Recreation, a Sephardic youth organization in the San Fernando Valley.
During the sentencing hearing, the victim read a statement describing the trauma he has lived with his entire adult life.
“Over the last 20 years, I have suffered tremendously,” he said in the statement, which was provided to the Journal by Jewish Community Watch, an organization dedicated to preventing the sexual abuse of children in the Orthodox community. “I have had severe depression. I acted out. I felt empty. I felt and continue to feel extreme shame. I had and still have difficulty with social relationships. I was confused about my sexuality. I had morbid, suicidal thoughts. A strong feeling of inadequacy and complete lack of confidence. Emptiness. Shame. Shy and introverted. Sexual dysfunction. Damaged goods. I abused drugs. I lost aspirations and dreams of accomplishing anything in life. I became closed and withdrawn.”
The Journal spoke with the victim by phone. He asked to be referred to by only his initials: M.A.
“I want people to know they can come forward and there is support and there is help and that you can get these people,” he said.
Meyer Seewald, founder and executive director of Jewish Community Watch, said in a statement, “It took superhuman courage for this victim to come forward.”
Seewald told the Journal Weiss could potentially have faced a longer sentence if he had chosen to go to trial. He added Jewish Community Watch took an active approach in supporting M.A. after Weiss’ arrest.
“We were supporting the victim. We were working with the police,” Seewald said. “We were involved.”
October 30, 2019
An Orlando pastor and radio host jailed on child sex-abuse charges has died by apparent suicide, according to an Orlando Sentinel report.
Rev. Bryan Fulwider, a 59-year-old former minister and a co-host of radio show Friends Talking Faith, had been arrested and was facing charges of repeated “sexual battery of a minor by a person in custodial authority.” The Winter Park Police Department says he was found in his Altamonte Springs home Sunday night by Altamonte Springs police.
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Fulwider had been out on bail since Oct. 17, and was facing life in prison if convicted. Police responded to his home just before midnight for a possible suicide call, where a person was pronounced dead at the scene. While the Altamonte police did not initially name Fulwider until a pending medical examiner’s evaluation was completed, the Winter Park police shared the information.
“We have been told that Mr. Fulwider has passed,” said Winter Park Police Criminal Investigations chief Pam Marcum.
In a controlled phone call recorded by police, Fulwider admitted to his accuser that she was a victim and he was a predator “in the eyes of the law.” Prosecutors had said the case against Fulwider is “extremely strong,” in part from that recorded evidence.
October 30, 2019
A priest has been jailed for attempting to meet a two-year-old boy he wanted to abuse, police have said.
Matthew Jolley, 32, admitted arranging or facilitating sexual activity with a child at Liverpool Crown Court and was jailed for more than three years.
Cheshire Police said Jolley was caught after he engaged in “sexualised” chats online with an undercover officer.
Liverpool Archdiocese said his crime had caused “deep shock and revulsion” within the Catholic community.
Jolley, of Rhona Drive, Great Sankey, Warrington, was also put on the sex offenders’ register for life.
The former Widnes-based cleric communicated on a number of social media platforms about his sexual interest in young children, police said.
He arranged to meet a man he did not realise was an undercover officer.
He drove to meet the man in Hale on 26 September and during the meeting, Jolley again discussed how he planned to abuse the child, police said.
Jolley was subsequently arrested on suspicion of child sex offences.
Following sentencing, Det Con Louise Murphy, of Cheshire’s On-line Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: “Jolley committed this terrible offence whilst holding a position of trust.
“Through his online communications it was clear to see that he was sexually attracted to young children and would do whatever he could in order to fulfil his own sexual gratification.”
October 26, 2019
DENVER, Oct 23 (Reuters) – At least 166 children have been sexually abused at the hands of 43 Roman Catholic priests in Colorado since 1950, an investigative report disclosed on Wednesday, far exceeding the scope of the scandal previously documented in the state.
The scathing 263-page report, presented by former U.S. Attorney Robert Troyer, accused the Archdiocese of Denver and the Dioceses of Pueblo and Colorado Springs of fostering a culture of secrecy that placed the reputations of offending clergy and church leaders over the welfare of children.
“This dynamic in the Colorado Dioceses was a severe impediment to the protection of children, and it is one (they) are not done addressing,” the independent report said.
Most of the abuse took place decades ago, although one case found to be “arguably still viable for prosecution” has been referred to authorities for further criminal investigation, the review said. The alleged offender was not identified.
In documenting the church’s failure to protect its youth from predators, the report cited the example of one now-deceased Denver-area priest, George Weibel, who investigators concluded had molested at least two girls under the guise of teaching them to swim or ice skate.
One victim reported the abuse to another priest, who failed to notify church superiors because he was good friends with Weibel, according to the report commissioned by the state attorney general’s office.
“He did not report it to Denver Archdiocese authorities, and he did not even record her (victim) report until years later. As a result, the Denver Archdiocese did not take any action against Weibel,” the report said.
The report’s release came eight months after the three dioceses agreed to open up their personnel files to Troyer’s team of investigators and set up a compensation fund for victims.
In a statement following the release of the report, Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila apologized to the victims, but said his words could not ease their suffering.
“I am sorry about this horrible history — but it is my promise to continue doing everything I can so it never happens again,” Aquila said.
October 26, 2019
BELMONT — Authorities in North Carolina say a pastor accused of sex crimes involving a 14-year-old has been arrested.
News outlets report 24-year-old Nicholas Adam Martin was taken into custody Sunday. Gaston County authorities said in a news release that he’s an associate pastor at North Belmont Church of God in Belmont.
Martin has been charged with four counts of indecent liberties with a minor, four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one count of felonious indecent exposure to a minor. The incidents reportedly took place between October 2018 and September 2019.
Martin is being held in the Gaston County jail on a $1 million bond. It’s unclear whether he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
October 26, 2019
Toronto police have arrested an associate priest in connection with a sexual exploitation investigation.
Investigators say that Jordan Wellington, 37, of Toronto was arrested following the alleged sexual exploitation of a 17-year-old girl.
Wellington has been charged with sexual exploitation and criminal harassment and repeated communication, police said.
According to police, Wellington is an associate priest at St. John’s Anglican Church-Willowdale, which is located near Yonge Street and Steeles Avenue.
Anyone with information related to this incident is being asked to contact police or to reach out anonymously through Crime Stoppers.
No further details have been released regarding the alleged incident.
October 25, 2019
On Wednesday, October 16th, 61 year old Timothy James Hallows was arrested and charged with eight counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second degree felony. Each of the charges carry the potential of up to 15 years in prison. In his initial court appearance on Thursday, he was ordered to be held without bail.
In August, Microsoft, owner of Skype, sent a tip into the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about “child sexual exploitation material” being distributed on their platform under the username “timhallows”.
Officers served an internet service provider with a search warrant to reveal the IP address associated with the reported account which traced back to the Kaysville residence of Hallows.
On October 3rd, investigators discovered that there were three additional complaints concerning the same user and files depicting “child sexual abuse.”
Officers served a search warrant to his residence on Wednesday the 16th, where they report that he admitted to distributing child pornography and admitted to owning more than 100 images. Investigators indicate that they located thousands of images at his home.
Hallows waived his Miranda right pertaining to self incrimination and willingly spoke to investigators.
It is reported that when investigators told Hallows that they believed he had engaged in sexual contact with children, “he stated, ‘Uh huh’, and shook his head in affirmation,” according to the affidavit.
“Hallows stated the children are not real, and provided several incidents of justification or rationalization for the conduct,” according to the probable cause statement.
“Hallows refused to take a polygraph examination with questions regarding hands-on sexual contact with young children,” according to the affidavit. “He further stated that he has done nothing regarding sexual contact with children long term.” Hallows is said to have gone on to explain that images he took while serving as Bishop for the Mormon church on camping trips could lead to a failed polygraph.
October 20, 2019
ELGIN, Ill. — A pastor in Elgin has been accused of sexually abusing a minor last year.
Elizandro Salazar-Montoya, 46, of Carpentersville, was arrested Thursday morning and charged with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse and criminal sexual assault.
Authorities believe he knew the victim, who was younger than 18, and held a position and trust and authority over the victim.
At the time, authorities said Salazar-Montoya served as a pastor at Iglesia Apostólica de Elgin (IAFCJ) church in the 37 block of Hopps Road. Prosectors said the abuse took place between Nov. 1 and Dec. 1 of last year.
The Kane County Child Advocacy Center investigated the case with assistance from the Elgin Police Department. The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information should call the Kane County Child Advocacy Center at 630- 208-5160.
He is being held on $300,000 bond and the pastor’s next court date is scheduled for Oct. 25.
October 25, 2019
As the most populous state in the country, California has had more than its fair share of infamous people, perhaps none more so than former Catholic priest Oliver O’Grady who sexually abused at least 25 children in the Diocese of Stockton during decades of working in California.
O’Grady himself was molested by a priest as a young boy and there were incidents of incest in his family in which he was both perpetrator and victim.
O’Grady’s infamy is not due solely to the number of children he harmed but also due to the fact that it involved Cardinal Roger Mahony and his tenure as the bishop of Stockton from 1980-85, just prior to transferring to Los Angeles.
As an LA Times reporter wrote in 2005, “In a chillingly frank account, a former Roman Catholic priest, promoted 20 years ago by Roger M. Mahony, recently described his decades-long career as a pedophile, including his sexual tastes and how he groomed his young victims for abuse.
In a 15-hour videotaped deposition in March, Oliver O’Grady described how his heart raced when one of the slim, playful boys he preferred toweled off after a swim. He also said he liked to lift little girls’ skirts and peek at their underpants.
Asked to demonstrate how he would lure one of his estimated 25 victims into his arms, the 59-year-old Irish native softened his voice, flashed an avuncular smile and looked directly into the video camera.
“Hi, Sally,” O’Grady improvised. “How are you doing? Come here. I want to give you a hug. You are a sweetheart. You know that. You are very special to me. I like you a lot.”
If his hug met no resistance, O’Grady testified, he would take the child’s compliance as “permission” to molest.
The deposition came in connection with lawsuits filed against the Stockton Diocese over alleged abuse by clergy. Mahony, who was bishop of Stockton from 1980 to 1985 before heading the Los Angeles Archdiocese, inherited O’Grady, who had admitted years earlier to molesting an 11-year-old girl. In 1984, police investigated a therapist’s report that O’Grady had molested a boy.”
The reporter described how there were times during the deposition, O’Grady seemed to be enjoying his performance. He showed no signs of remorse during the deposition or during his stint in prison.
In 1993 he was convicted on four counts of “lewd and lascivious acts” on two minors, the brothers Joseph and James Howard, and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. O’Grady repeatedly molested the Howards between 1978 and 1991, from age three to 13. Court documents show church officials knew that O’Grady had abused children as early as 1976 and 1984 but had done nothing. Police had been informed of earlier charges and had declined to file charges. Bishop Roger Mahony sent O’Grady to a psychiatrist for an evaluation and the second opinion said the counseling was satisfactory; the second opinion did not recommend he be removed from ministry, nor established a diagnosis of pedophilia.”. In 1998 a civil jury ordered the Catholic Diocese of Stockton to pay $30 million in damages to the brothers. A judge later reduced the amount to $7 million. O’Grady was paroled from prison in 2000 after serving seven years, and went to Ireland after being deported from the United States.
The 2006 film Deliver Us From Evil, documents O’Grady’s abuse. O’Grady said he wanted the film to serve as the “most honest confession of his life.”
In December 2010 he was arrested in Dublin, Ireland for possession of child pornography. The victims were as young as two years old. Authorities discovered child pornography photos and videos on O’Grady’s laptop, on an external hard drive, and on a USB key. Judge Patrick McMahon remanded O’Grady on continuing bail to appear again on January 28. As part of his bail conditions O’Grady was required to sign on twice daily at Dublin’s Harcourt Terrace Garda station, and surrendered his passport. In January 2012, O’Grady was sentenced to three years in prison in Ireland for possession of child pornography.
It is hard to imagine that the Diocese of Stockton and Cardinal Roger Mahony knew all about O’Grady’s pedophilic behavior and remained complicit in his crimes for decades. That makes them criminals as well.
Oliver O’Grady is not an isolated case in California either. There are over 400 Catholic priests who’ve been credibly accused of sexual abuse. If the survey is expanded beyond the Catholic Church, the situation is even grimmer. Take for instance, the present case at the University of Southern California with George Tyndall and his serial abuse of young female college students.
October 18, 2019
A church warden who murdered a retired lecturer by spiking his food and drinks with poison has been jailed for life.
Benjamin Field, 28, was found guilty last year of killing Peter Farquhar, 69, from Maids Moreton, Buckinghamshire in a sadistic plot to inherit his house and money.
Field was sentenced life imprisonment with a minimum term of 36 years at Oxford Crown Court on Friday by Mr Justice Sweeney.
Prosecutors described Field as a psychopath who posed an “ongoing danger to society” until he was eventually caught.
He admitted to frequently giving Mr Farquhar drugs and spiking his whisky in the hopes that his death would look like an accident.
After Field began targeting Mr Farquhar’s neighbour Ann Moore-Martin, 83, in a similar scheme by writing messages on her mirrors purporting to be from God.
Field admitted starting sexual relationships with both pensioners in an effort to get them to change their wills and accepted he had “psychologically manipulated” them.
He initially denied any involvement in Mr Farquhar’s death in 2015 and Miss Moore-Martin’s death from natural causes in May 2017.
Field denied murdering Mr Farquhar and said he could have died from taking his usual dose of flurazepam and drinking whisky but was convicted by the jury.
The Baptist minister’s son pleaded guilty to defrauding Miss Moore-Martin of £4,000 to buy a car and £27,000 for a dialysis machine.
Field had undergone a “betrothal” ceremony with gay Mr Farquhar while also having a string of girlfriends, and was in a sexual relationship with Miss Moore-Martin, who was 57 years his senior.
Prosecutors said Field had a “profound fascination in controlling and manipulating and humiliating and killing” and alleged he had plotted his crimes with his friend, failed magician Martyn Smith, 32.
He had also drawn up a “100 clients” list, including his parents, grandparents and brother, which the prosecution said were future targets.
October 18, 2019
Isn’t religion wonderful?
IsnA Texas man is accused of killing his girlfriend and baby daughter with a pocket knife, saying God told him to do it.
On Saturday night, Cody Edmund Dixon was arrested at a Motor Inn in Baird. Dixon had two outstanding warrants of arrest for possession of marijuana but as officers took him into custody, the 34-year-old claimed someone was chasing him, trying to kill him and that God had told him to kill his girlfriend and their child, Chief Deputy Rick Jowers of the Callahan County Sheriff’s Office tells PEOPLE.
Minutes later, authorities received a call that a rancher had discovered a woman’s body in the middle of a country road between Baird and Putnam. Ten yards away, the body of a baby was found over a fence.
The bodies were identified as Dixon’s girlfriend Alia Rae Hutchinson, 22, and their 9-month-old daughter, Aria Ellen Dixon. Authorities believe Aria’s body was thrown over the fence onto the rancher’s property 45 minutes to an hour before it was found.
Dixon used a pocket knife to stab Hutchinson and Aria after the couple got into a fight. The couple had been living with Dixon’s sister in Baird but were reportedly going through a hard time.
“He moved to his mother’s house and then to his sister’s house and it wasn’t going well,” Jowers told KTXS.
According to her Facebook page, Hutchinson graduated from high school in Wisconsin in 2015. A friend told the AP she had moved to Texas to be with Dixon a couple of months ago.
“She was a really sweet girl,” Sadie Wilson-Ziegler said. “She was so excited to have a baby with him. She loved being a mom. That poor girl…she deserved so much better.”
Jowers says investigators believe the family was on their way back to Wisconsin when Dixon allegedly attacked the pair. He has been charged with two counts of capital murder, escape, assault on a peace officer and possession of a controlled substance.
Dixon’s bond was set at $1.8 million. Attorney information was not available Thursday.
October 16, 2019
An Anglican priest in Fresno has been arrested and charged with sexual misconduct involving at least three adult parishioners. And police fear there could be dozens more victims.
Jesus Antonio Castaneda Serna, 51, was taken into custody on Sunday after an investigation by Fresno police detectives. Serna, who headed the Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe church in Fresno, is alleged to have convinced frightened followers that they had sinned or were cursed and that the only cure was to be rubbed with a “sacred oil” and be masturbated by him.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Serna told his victims that this was a special ritual he learned while in India and that their semen needed to be examined before they could be healed.
Dyer said many of Serna’s victims were undocumented immigrants, a fact that the priest is alleged to have exploited.
“Serna preyed on the undocumented because he knew they would be reluctant to talk to the police,” Dyer said.
Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp and Dyer urged the other victims to come forward, saying that they don’t need to be afraid. If they are undcoumented, they can apply for a U visa that is granted to victims of mental or physical abuse and who are willing to cooperate with police.
Anyone who believes they are a victim may call the Fresno Police Department at 559-621-7000.
Serna was booked into Fresno County Jail on Sunday and posted bond on Monday.
Smittcamp said Serna has been charged with multiple counts of sexual battery, battery and attempted sexual battery. So far, detectives have taken statements from three victims, ages 54, 45 and 43, and there are at least 19 others who told church officials they, too, are victims. At least one of those victims is female.
Smittcamp said Serna faces up to 11 years in jail if he’s found guilty on all counts. That could change if more victims come forward.
Dyer said Serna was a former Catholic priest in Yakima, Washington, from 1997 to 2006.
The Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin said Serna joined the diocese in 2008 but had been relieved of his pastoral and priestly ministry in October 2017 after Bishop Eric Menees received credible information that Serna had committed sexual misconduct. Serna was officially stripped of his duties on Nov. 24, 2017.
In a news release, the diocese said it forwarded information about Serna to Fresno police Authorities at Monday’s news conference did not disclose a timeframe for the alleged misconduct that resulted in Serna’s arrest.
After he left the diocese, Serna moved on to start his own church, Holy Spirit church at 4277 N. West Ave. in Fresno.
Dyer said authorities believe they’ve identified 22 potential victims but there may be hundreds more victims.