Angry judge revokes probation, sends former choirmaster to jail

Calling a former choirmaster at a Mays Chapel church “one of the most disgusting human beings I’ve ever had in my presence,” an angry District Court judge revoked his probation and sent him to jail for possession of child pornography — a move that is likely to be appealed to the Circuit Court.

“Sir, you are unworthy of a probation before judgment,” District Court Judge Bruce Lamdin said prior to revoking the probation of David Riley.

Riley was ordered to serve a year in jail and pay a $2,500 fine.

Those terms had been suspended by Lamdin as part of a probation before judgment sentence in July.

An obviously angry Lamdin said he called the violation of probation hearing because he was not receiving reports on Riley’s required counseling sessions and because of a four-page letter Riley wrote to parishioners of his former church, St. Stephen’s Traditional Episcopal Church in Mays Chapel.

It was a sentence that Lamdin said had haunted him.

“This is the only case in the last five years that I’ve second-guessed myself on,” Lamdin said.

In addition to his own self-doubt, Lamdin said neighbors and friends also had questioned him about Riley’s probation sentence.

“Sir, my intention at the beginning was to jail you,” Lamdin said. “Based on what I have before me, I made a mistake.”

Several times during the proceeding, Riley, who turned 60 the day before, attempted to interject himself into Lamdin’s comments. At one point, Riley appeared to chuckle — a sound that drew a rebuke from Lamdin. At other times, Riley merely tried to interrupt.

“I am not done,” Lamdin said. “This is not your class.”

In 2006, contractors hired to paint Riley’s Bare Hills home called police after finding photos, some depicting acts that Mix described as “sadomasochistic” on boys ages 10 to 18. Police confiscated computer equipment and nearly 8,000 photos stored in “chest-high stacks throughout upstairs rooms,” according to court records.

Riley was sentenced to probation before judgment July 31 after entering an Alford plea on a charge of possession of child pornography. An Alford plea recognizes that prosecutors have enough evidence to obtain a conviction, but is not an admission of guilt.

Under the terms of the probation, Riley was ordered to attend therapy sessions, and monthly reports were to be sent to Lamdin.

Lamdin said he had not received any reports and that it appeared that Riley did not attend counseling sessions in August. He described letters from the therapist, provided before the hearing, as “summaries” and not reports.

Lamdin also was angered by a four-page letter in which Riley downplayed the case against him and portrayed the judge as being part of an effort to make the case disappear through a light sentence.

Holding a copy of the letter marked up in yellow highlighter, Lamdin described the letter as “distortions of the truth and total lies.”

From the outset it was clear that Lamdin intended to revoke Riley’s probation. Still, Riley seemed shocked when Lamdin asked Thomas Tompsett, an assistant state’s attorney, if he had “anything to say before I send this man to jail.”

Riley, who was standing, then leaned forward, his palms flat on the table and his head down and could be heard saying, “Oh God.”

Later, Riley referred to his actions as “arrogant” and call himself a “jerk.” He tried to explain his actions, saying that it was not his intent to misrepresent his case or imply any impropriety on the part of Lamdin.

“I think of myself as an honest, honorable man,” Riley said.

Lamdin would have none of it.

“You are just like every other pedophile that has come before me,” Lamdin said.

Riley countered that he was not a pedophile. He said a comment he made in an earlier hearing about using the pictures for his own pleasure was misconstrued.

“My sexual experiences have not been in this area,” he said.

Not long after that, a bailiff handcuffed Riley’s hands behind his back and led him out of the courtroom.

A handful of parishioners from the church who attended the hearing seemed satisfied with the outcome.

“He’s guilty, he’s guilty,” said Marina Milliken, who said Riley was like a second father to her son when he was in the choir. “I didn’t see any remorse.”

Other church members gathered around a bench outside the courtroom, one woman visibly upset, and waited to look at a 2-inch stack of photos Lamdin ordered Riley to turn over.

Moments later, Tompsett ushered the group into a small room furnished with desk and a few chairs, and the door was closed.

Outside the courthouse, G. Warren Mix, Riley’s attorney, explained that an appeal is likely.

Riley has 30 days to file such an appeal. He also could ask Lamdin to reconsider the sentence, something Mix believed Lamdin was unlikely to be willing to do.

Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 7:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sudbury man faces child porn charges

A 65-year-old Sudbury was charged with possession of child pornography following an investigation by the Greater Sudbury Police and Toronto Police Service.

Police executed a search warrant at a home Thursday and seized a computer and several data storage devices.

Richard Brignolio, 65 was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography available.

The investigation was conducted by the Greater Sudbury Police’s cyber crime unit and Toronto Police’s child exploitation unit.

Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 7:43 pm  Comments (1)  

City man arrested for child pornography

A Sheboygan man was arrested Wednesday for possession of child pornography after selling his computer to another man without deleting the images, according to the Sheboygan Police Department.

The buyer reported the matter to police, who arrested the 29-year-old man after a two-week investigation, said Detective Joel Clark.

Clark found child pornography images on the man’s old computer as well as his current computer, which police seized after obtaining a search warrant, a police press release said.

The images were of children from 5 to 12 years old, Clark said.

The man spent Thursday in jail and will remain there awaiting charges, which due to the holiday will be filed Monday at the earliest, police said.

Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 7:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

Army Captain jailed for downloading 1,200 images of child pornography ‘because he was bored’

An army captain has been jailed after downloading 1,200 images of child pornography because he was “bored”.

Iraq War veteran Gary Michael Smith, 30, admitted ten specimen charges of making an indecent photograph of a child before a court martial in Osnabr¸ck, Germany.

He was jailed for two years by the five-strong panel, ordered to be dismissed with disgrace and told he would be forbidden from ever working with children.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark Dakers, prosecuting, told the court how Smith – based in Paderborn, Germany, with the 1st Battalion, The Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment –downloaded the material while temporarily attached to the regiment’s TA battalion in Canterbury, Kent.

He described how the crime was discovered “completely by chance” in November 2005 when a fellow officer used Smith’s password-protected computer to access the Internet.

Listed under favourites, he found the shocking images.

Some 171 were rated level four on the Copine scale, used to categorise the severity of pornographic pictures of children.

On the scale, level one is described as erotic posing and level five as being the most sexually explicit.

When interviewed, Smith, who has been awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal as well as the Iraq Medal and the Nato Medal during his 12 years’ service, claimed he had been viewing adult porn sites.

But he admitted his guilt when confronted with the results of the forensic computer analysis, which had taken almost two years.

Defence counsel Chris Hill claimed Smith’s actions had been the result of “morbid curiosity” and that, after being transferred to the TA unit in 2004, found himself “with no activity, very little to do”.

He said: “He’s not a paedophile, but did – as many people do when they are bored or in their darker moments – start cruising the Internet and sought out those sites.

“Smith finds it hard to understand how he could behave in such a way.

“He has effectively destroyed a very promising career as an Army officer and this causes him great pain. It is all through his own fault.”

Judge Advocate Michael Elsom said: “The effect of these offences cannot be over-emphasised – those who suffer the most are the children who are abused.”

Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 7:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Some of the children in the images were only babies

Some of the children in the images were only babies


Spanish police have detained 40 people on charges of corrupting minors and owning child pornography in 22 provinces, officials said Thursday in the northern city of Pamplona.

The arrests were made in four phases, the latest of which took place from November 13 to 16. Seven other people also face charges in the case.

The detainees were believed to have exchanged pornographic images over the internet and mobile phones.

Some were suspected of distributing photographs of their own children.

Some of the detainees were considered “dangerous,” because they had talked about looking for children in their messages, police said.

Some of the children in the images were only babies.

The network extended as far as Argentina and Colombia.

Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 7:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sex offender will finally know his fate

Raymond Stewart Stonechild committed his crime in 2001, was convicted in 2004, and will finally be sentenced in 2008.

His long-running case took a giant step towards a conclusion Thursday when the judge heard closing arguments on whether or not Stonechild should be designated a dangerous offender (DO).

While the Crown is arguing the 49-year-old should receive an indefinite prison term, Stonechild told the court he has the potential to be a contributing member of his community.

“I know it’s possible for me to do good,” he said, adding he’s ready to seek help to deal with his problems. “I just have to humble myself and ask for it.”

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Catherine Dawson said she’ll need some time to review the considerable amount of evidence — which spanned hearing dates over the course of several months this year through several adjournments — before she delivers her verdict. The hearing met with several delays after Stonechild ran into trouble finding lawyers and witnesses.

The date for Dawson’s decision will be fixed next month. If she sides with the Crown and designates Stonechild a DO, he would receive a indeterminate sentence, meaning he would be in prison or on parole for life. He could seek parole initially after seven years, and every two years thereafter. According to the federal government, as of last year, only 18 of the country’s 351 DOs have received parole.

The defence is urging Dawson to consider instead a long-term offender designation, meaning Stonechild could be sentenced to a fixed prison term followed by community supervision for up to 10 years.

Stonechild has been held on the charge before the court since February 2004 when a jury convicted him of sexual assault for beating and groping a young pregnant woman. The offence occurred on June 27, 2001 in a Regina backyard.

It was his fourth conviction for a sex-related crime, adding to a record that includes several convictions for violent offences. That history sparked the Crown’s application.

“Not to make light of the circumstances that got me here — for that I’m ashamed of,” Stonechild told the judge. “I’m ashamed of where I let myself go — again.”

In his closing arguments, Crown prosecutor Roger DeCorby said Stonechild has refused treatment in the past. Twice he served his full prison sentences rather than getting early release because he remained untreated.

“This is an individual who has really had everything offered to him . . . and the bottom line is it made no difference,” said DeCorby.

Even after the 2001 sexual assault, Stonechild racked up two more convictions — for assault and assault causing bodily harm.

“You have someone with a history, which says he’s not going to change,” DeCorby contended.

But defence lawyer Kim Stinson argued a DO designation should be reserved for the “worst of the worst.” While Stonechild has rejected some programming in the past because it lacked a component of native spirituality, the programs have evolved and so has Stonechild. He said there is a reasonable prospect Stonechild, who often commits his crimes under the influence of drugs or alcohol, can be treated.

“There’s been a lot of warehousing of this man for a long time,” he added.

DeCorby rejected that characterization, adding “this is not a forever sentence. It’s an indefinite sentence,” subject to periodic review.

Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 4:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

Amarillo subdivision bans sex offenders

A subdivision in northwest Amarillo has implemented deed restrictions barring convicted sex offenders from owning or living in any new homes.

G.R. Chapman Limited Partnership said the restriction will apply to future development within The Woodlands. The 550 existing homes are not affected.

“We want to try to have a community that is safe all the way around,” developer Justin Chapman said.

The deeds for new homes will stipulate that a homeowner cannot sell the home if the buyer or a future inhabitant is a sex offender. Violators will be required to sell the home and move.

Kent Canada, an attorney for the developer, said the homeowners association will conduct periodic checks of the Texas Department of Public Safety online database of registered sex offenders. The group will be empowered to take legal action against violators, he said.

Federal law prohibits discrimination based on factors including race, religion, gender and age. But court challenges to similar sex offender bans have been unsuccessful, Canada said.

“Obviously, it is a property rights issue, and the developer certainly has a right to place that restriction on their property,” said Randy Jeffers, an Amarillo real estate broker and president of the Texas Association of Realtors. “It’s a position that the Texas Association of Realtors certainly wouldn’t oppose.”

Greg Lines, legal chair for the High Plains Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, said the sex offender ban could unfairly lump a wide range of offenders together. He cited an example of a man who was required to register as a sex offender because of a streaking incident.

The Lubbock subdivision of Milwaukee Ridge has a similar ban on sex offenders. Developer John Sellers said reaction has been positive.

“Before closing, we run a background check on the people that will be living in the house,” Sellers said. “If we find out that whoever’s going to be living there has a prior sex offense conviction, they’re not allowed to live in the house. If everything checks out, they’re welcome to move in.”

Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 4:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

N. Hollywood Man Being Investigated for 2 Cases of Child Molestation


A North Hollywood man being investigated in a two-county child molestation case was taken into custody today after a Vista Superior Court judge doubled his bail to $500,000.

In San Diego County, 32-year-old Hubert Haraszewski is charged with lewd acts on a child under 14 with substantial sexual contact, child molestation with a prior conviction, and possession of child pornography.

Haraszewski was free on bond when he arrived for today’s court appearance, but Judge Aaron Katz ordered him into custody when the prosecution added the lewd acts count against him. The substantial sexual contact allegation could lead to a life prison term if he’s convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Patricia Lavermicocca alleges the defendant befriended a 12-year-old Costa Mesa boy by convincing the victim that he was 19 years old, not in his 30s.

The two communicated over the Internet and visited mountain bike parks in Orange County, Lavermicocca said.

Haraszewski was arraigned Nov. 1 on the San Diego County charges, which stem from alleged inappropriate physical contact that occurred during a trip to San Onofre State beach, the prosecutor said.

The defendant also is under investigation in Orange County for possible molestations involving the youngster in that jurisdiction, where there could be more alleged victims, Lavermicocca said.

She she she doesn’t believe there are additional alleged victims in San Diego County.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13.

Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 7:10 am  Leave a Comment  

N. Hollywood Man Being Investigated for 2 Cases of Child Molestation


A North Hollywood man being investigated in a two-county child molestation case was taken into custody today after a Vista Superior Court judge doubled his bail to $500,000.

In San Diego County, 32-year-old Hubert Haraszewski is charged with lewd acts on a child under 14 with substantial sexual contact, child molestation with a prior conviction, and possession of child pornography.

Haraszewski was free on bond when he arrived for today’s court appearance, but Judge Aaron Katz ordered him into custody when the prosecution added the lewd acts count against him. The substantial sexual contact allegation could lead to a life prison term if he’s convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Patricia Lavermicocca alleges the defendant befriended a 12-year-old Costa Mesa boy by convincing the victim that he was 19 years old, not in his 30s.

The two communicated over the Internet and visited mountain bike parks in Orange County, Lavermicocca said.

Haraszewski was arraigned Nov. 1 on the San Diego County charges, which stem from alleged inappropriate physical contact that occurred during a trip to San Onofre State beach, the prosecutor said.

The defendant also is under investigation in Orange County for possible molestations involving the youngster in that jurisdiction, where there could be more alleged victims, Lavermicocca said.

She she she doesn’t believe there are additional alleged victims in San Diego County.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Dec. 13.

Published in: on November 23, 2007 at 7:10 am  Leave a Comment