Category Archives: Sexual Assault

Mistrial in Child Sexual Assault case against ex-Texas Rangers pitcher John Wetteland

 

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Former Texas Rangers pitcher John Wetteland appeared in a Denton County Court on Monday to respond to charges of three counts of aggravated assault against a child

Former Texas Rangers pitcher John Wetteland appeared in a Denton County Court on Monday to respond to charges

DENTON, TX  –  A Denton County judge on Friday declared a mistrial in the child sexual assault case against John Wetteland, a former Texas Rangers player who is accused of molesting a boy three times more than a decade ago.

The jury told the judge three times that it was split.  At one point, the judge said she heard loud arguing coming from the deliberation room.

Wetteland, who testified in his defense during the trial last week, faced three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child.  He played for the Rangers from 1997 to 2000, as well as for the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners, and is in the Rangers’ Hall of Fame.

At 4:40 p.m., the jury sent its third note to the judge.  It said it was deadlocked and some jurors were “unwilling to budge.”  The jurors asked how long they were expected to deliberate.  Some were concerned about child care.

Judge Lee Ann Breading had pressed the jury to keep trying to reach a verdict.  But after questioning the jury about 5 p.m., she declared a mistrial.

Wetteland, 56, faced 25 years to life in prison if convicted.  It was unclear Friday whether prosecutors would pursue a second trial.  Defense attorneys declined to comment.

Since Tuesday, jurors in 462nd District Court heard from the accuser, Wetteland and other witnesses.

According to authorities, Wetteland sexually assaulted the child three times between 2004 and 2006, starting when the child was 4 years old.  Wetteland pleaded not guilty and said the accuser’s account of sexual abuse is a lie.

According to the accuser’s mother, he first told her in 2016 — when he was 16 — that Wetteland raped him as a child.  She said she did not report the allegation to police.  In his testimony, the accuser said he did not want to report the abuse and wanted an apology from Wetteland, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle.

The accuser testified on Tuesday.  He said he looked up to Wetteland and wanted to please him.  The first time Wetteland sexually abused him, he said, he was confused.  The abuse impacted him deeply into his teenage years, he testified, causing incontinence, suicidal thoughts and self-harm.

When the boy was 18, his mother testified, she told him to write a letter about the abuse and planned to send it to people connected with Wetteland.

On Wednesday, Argyle school district’s former chief of police read the letter to the jury. The letter, which the accuser wrote in Google Docs, detailed allegations that Wetteland sexually assaulted him in a shower.

According to prosecutor Lindsey Sheguit, the document was saved on the Argygle school Google account, and the school district’s monitoring system flagged it.  Employees discovered the letter, the school district’s chief technology officer testified Wednesday, and reported it to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

On cross examination from Derek Adame, one of Wetteland’s defense attorneys, the technology officer testified that the district could not know who wrote the letter, only that it was written on the accuser’s account.  Adame and defense attorney Caroline Simone argue the abuse allegations are not true and were possibly fabricated by a man named Chris.  Chris is not biologically related to the accuser but lived with him when the accuser was a teenager.

Three members of the Wetteland family testified that they also believe Chris instructed the accuser to write the letter, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported.  They described Chris as aggressive and jealous of Wetteland.

A grand jury indicted Wetteland, who lives in Trophy Club, in 2019. Bartonville police have said DFPS contacted the department about the case on Jan. 9, 2019.

WHEN RACE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE SAFETY OF SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN

The Great Divide
9 takeaways from Boston’s investigation into Mission Hill School; DA reviewing

SUFFOLK COUNTY, MA  –  A blistering investigation released this week revealed institutional failures that endangered children for years at Boston’s Mission Hill K-8 School, including overlooked reports of sexual abuse and bullying.

Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden on Thursday said his office is reviewing the report for “any crimes or incidents where mandatory reporting of sexual assault allegations did or did not occur.”

The report spurred Superintendent Brenda Cassellius to take the extraordinary step of recommending the school’s closure at the end of the academic year in June.  The Boston School Committee will vote on the closure May 5.

“This is the stuff of nightmares,” Mayor Michelle Wu said Thursday on GBH News, pledging accountability in BPS.

Many parents have continued to defend the school.

Here are nine key takeaways from the report:

1.  The school ‘systematically failed to protect students’ from sexual abuse, investigators found

The 189-page report by the law firm Hinckley Allen was sparked by complaints from parents that Mission Hill officials were ignoring their concerns about bullying, and separately, allegations by five families that one student had repeatedly sexually abused their children.

Investigators found the school “systematically failed to protect students” from sexual abuse by neglecting to document, investigate, or address allegations.  The school’s lacking response to sexual abuse allegations went far beyond a case in which BPS in August agreed to pay a $650,000 settlement to five Mission Hill families who said their six young children were repeatedly sexually abused by the same student and administrators failed to adequately act.

Investigators blamed much of the school’s problems on a former administrator they labeled “MH Admin 3.”  That administrator’s tenure coincided with Ayla Gavins, who served as principal for 12 years until summer 2019.  She did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The report details witnesses’ accounts of the principal’s response to the case of the student identified in court records as “A.J.,” who was accused in the families’ lawsuit of inappropriately touching fellow students and digitally penetrating one from 2014 to 2016.  Gavins told parents who complained they should “pull their kids out” and that A.J. “had a right to be” there, the report says.  A staffer recalled employees also voiced concerns that the student would be criminalized because he was Black, the report says.

The investigation found Mission Hill failed to complete official incident reports for at least 20 incidents of sexual misconduct allegations against A.J. and at least another 40 incidents of sexually inappropriate behaviors involving the school’s other students from 2013 to 2021.

The report says the failure to document sexual conduct was “an intentional by-product” of Gavins’s efforts to protect students of color.

2.  A ‘persistent and well-documented bullying problem’

Investigators concluded Mission Hill had a “persistent and well-documented bullying problem” that ballooned due to the school’s “hands-off attitude” which “taught students to protect themselves by being abusive.”

Mission Hill School’s failure to implement standard disciplinary procedures led to a rise in bullying that was “largely unaddressed” by Gavins, according to the report.  Investigators wrote that Gavins often paid “lip service” to handling serious bullying incidents.

Parents told investigators that Gavins avoided giving direct answers to safety questions and accused white parents of being racist or hostile when they advocated for their child’s safety.

3.  Special education failures

The school also failed to properly provide special education services due to its philosophy that “each child is special and learns at their own pace,” investigators found, leading to students’ learning challenges going unaddressed.

The report found that students with disabilities — who make up one-third of the school were likely failed in many ways, including the school’s practice of removing disruptive children for “what was effectively babysitting in another room.”

4.  BPS was aware of Mission Hill’s problems for years

Over the six years before the investigation, BPS received multiple complaints from parents and investigated several internally.  In 2015, BPS hired attorney Joseph Coffey to investigate allegations.  Coffey found Gavins failed to provide specialized instruction by special education teachers, allowed improper restraints of children, created a culture of intimidation, and asked staff to “misrepresent” the school’s English as a Second Language services, the report says.

From 2014 to 2017, the report says, BPS received numerous complaints reporting sexual misconduct at the school.  Coffey’s 2015 report cited concerns by a staff member who reported incidents involving A.J. in a staff meeting and recommended the student be evaluated, but Gavins allegedly refused due to concerns about Black boys being “over diagnosed” with disabilities.

In August, a parent told Cassellius that six employees in the superintendent’s office failed to act despite knowing that the school inadequately responded to reports of abuse, assaults, and bullying.

5.  Three key e-mail accounts deleted during investigation

The report suggested some school employees put their self-interests before that of children, including by using a separate e-mail server and deleting at least three key employee e-mail accounts while the school was under investigation.

6.  Cultural problems cited

Investigators said they found a “cult-like” climate at the academically struggling school, which espoused its philosophy as the unique “Mission Hill Way,” and an intolerance of dissent that ostracized employees and parents who voiced concerns.

7.  Retaliation concerns

Parents said staffers who raised concerns were fired or pressured to leave.  Several parents told investigators that the school fired an employee because the employee filed a “51A” report to the Department of Children and Families against A.J. in November 2014, which the parents felt disobeyed Gavins’s “view of keeping matters in-house,” the report says.

Although the employee reported leaving for other reasons, the employee also described being pushed out by Gavins and enduring a “pattern of hostility by [Gavins] and long-term teachers,” the report says.

8.  Academic failings

Investigators concluded that Mission Hill failed to provide rigorous academic instruction in math, writing, literacy, and science.

The school focused on literacy for marginalized students, but often didn’t recognize that students from all backgrounds struggled, investigators wrote.

9.  Gender-nonconforming students bullied

Investigators found the school fostered a culture that “allowed increased bias and discrimination” toward transgender and gender-nonconforming students.  One parent told investigators the school “allowed a culture” where transgender students were beaten up in the bathroom.  Investigators wrote they found evidence Gavins “showed an unwillingness” to address concerns raised about these students.

The Great Divide is an investigative team that explores educational inequality in Boston and statewideSign up to receive our newsletter, and send ideas and tips to thegreatdivide@globe.com.

TN Nurse Has License Suspended Five Years

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Tessa Proffitt, of Jonesborough, was found guilty on six counts.

Nurse convicted for sharing information
on child rape has license suspended

JOHNSON CITY, TN  –  A former Johnson City Medical Center nurse who was a sexual assault examiner has had her license suspended for five years, 18 months after she was found guilty of unlawful disclosure of confidential child sex abuse information.

Tessa Proffitt, of Jonesborough, was found guilty on six counts in November 2018 after she was discovered to have communicated with the mother of a child rape suspect about the case.  William David Blevins was convicted in the case of rape of a child who was 10 years old at the time of the offenses.

During its investigation into Blevins, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) discovered Proffitt was communicating with Alicia May, a registered nurse who is Blevins’ mother, according to a Tennessee Board of Nursing agreed order.

Proffitt, as a sexual assault nurse examiner, had performed a rape examination on Blevins’ victim and collected evidence for a rape kit.

A Washington County grand jury initially charged Proffitt with two counts of tampering with evidence and one count of criminal conspiracy to tamper with evidence in addition to the unlawful disclosure charges.

WOMAN INDICTED FOR REVEALING INFO, TAMPERING IN CHILD SEX ABUSE CASE

She was sentenced to 11 months 29 days probation, ordered to perform 60 hours of community service and fined $250.

During the suspension of her nursing license, Proffitt is ordered to obtain 15 hours of Tennessee Board of Nursing-approved ethics training and 15 hours regarding HIPAA/confidentiality.

She must also pay two separate $1,000 fines and take and pass the Ethics and Boundaries Assessment Exam.

Blevins, of Johnson City, was charged in November 2019 with violating the sex offender registry.

JOHNSON CITY MAN CHARGED WITH
VIOLATING SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY

Justice For A Child

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Justice is standing in front of a Judge and Jury and being judged for crimes committed.

Last night I came across a picture…

I didn’t remember the name, but I remembered that he walked out a free man.

I have a file just for people like him… he wasn’t there.

Finally I went to the site media folder…

* I am only publishing as little as possible of this case

On October 23, 2015, Cole County Missouri Judge Patricia Joyce sided with the defense, saying Aaron Fisher’s constitutional right to a speedy trial had been violated.  He was freed from jail on Monday, October 26, 2015 and the case was dismissed.

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Aaron Michael Fisher in 2009.

On October 28, 2015 I published:

A WORLD AGAINST INNOCENCE: AARON FISHER RELEASED

The Miller County, MO man, Aaron Michael Fisher, who admitted to raping his five-month-old daughter was released from jail after his trial was dismissed, and disappeared into the night.

I want to say THANK YOU!!!! to Miller County Prosecuting Attorney Ben Winfrey for not giving up on this case.

Rep. Miller Investigating Release Of Aaron Fisher

B.A.C.A. Outraged Over Joyce Ruling

Appeals Court Will Not Reconsider Rape, Sodomy Case Against Aaron Fisher
December 21, 2016

Will Justice Be Served This Time? Aaron Fisher Headed To Trial For Assault On Infant Daughter
February 24, 2017

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Aaron Michael Fisher in 2018.

Last Attempt At Justice Prevails: Aaron
Fisher Sentenced To 15 Years For Assaulting
His Infant Daughter

LACLEDE COUNTY, MO – The notorious case against Aaron Fisher has finally come to an end.

On Friday, January 19, 2018 at the Laclede County Courthouse, Fisher pleaded guilty to 1st degree Assault and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Was this justice for the crimes Aaron Michael Fisher committed?  To be totally honest, I believe nothing short of public hanging on the town square will stop crimes like this and most particularly the taking of innocent lives, which I believe is the only definition of a hate crime.

I want everyone to know that there is more to this Child’s Justice, this Child and her sibling was adopted by a very good set of Parents.
Robert StrongBow

The List Keeps Getting Longer

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Spacey will be arraigned at Nantucket District Court on January 7 .

Actor Kevin Spacey to be charged with
sexual assault

Oscar-winning US actor Kevin Spacey is facing a felony charge for alleged sexual assault of a teenager in a restaurant in 2016, prosecutors said on Monday.

Kevin Spacey scandal: A complete list of the 15 accusers

Spacey will be arraigned at Nantucket District Court on January 7 on a charge of indecent assault and battery, according to the district attorney of Cape and Islands, Massachusetts.

Prosecutors did not name the alleged victim of the July 2016 incident but former Boston-based television news anchor Heather Unruh told a news conference last year that police were investigating a complaint by her son against the “House of Cards” and “American Beauty” star.

Unruh told reporters the 59-year-old had sexually assaulted her son on the holiday island of Nantucket after plying him with alcohol late at night in a bar in July 2016.

Unruh described her son at the time as a “star-struck, straight” 18-year-old.

“Kevin Spacey bought him drink after drink after drink, and when my son was drunk, Spacey made his move and sexually assaulted him,” Unruh told the news conference in Boston.

“Spacey stuck his hand inside my son’s pants and grabbed his genitals,” Unruh said. Her intoxicated son, whom she did not name, panicked and froze.

When Spacey left briefly to use the bathroom, he allegedly fled to his grandmother’s house, where he is said to have told his sister what had happened.

Spacey was considered one of the finest actors of his generation.  His career has nose-dived following allegations of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen men in the United States and Britain.

The first public report of alleged abuse by him came from actor Anthony Rapp, who claimed that Spacey sexually abused him when Rapp was 14, in 1986.

Bizarre video

Spacey apologised to Rapp, claiming not to remember the incident, but remained silent as accusations against him mushroomed.

As a result, Netflix dropped Spacey from its political thriller series “House of Cards,” and he was dumped from his scenes in Ridley Scott’s film “All the Money in the World.”

Spacey is one of the most high-profile figures in the torrent of allegations that have brought down male power players from the worlds of politics, finance, entertainment and journalism, in the wake of accusations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein 14 months ago.

As the arraignment was announced, a bizarre video was shared by Spacey’s Twitter account of the actor apparently addressing his sacking by Netflix — while in character as President Frank Underwood from “House of Cards.”

“Oh sure, they may have tried to separate us, but what we have is too strong, too powerful.  After all, we shared everything, you and I,” Spacey says in Underwood’s signature southern drawl, in the video entitled titled, “Let Me Be Frank.”

“I told you my deepest, darkest secrets. I showed you exactly what people are capable of.  I shocked you with my honestly, but mostly I challenged you and made you think.  And you trusted me, even though you knew you shouldn’t.  So we’re not done, no matter what anyone says.  And besides, I know what you want.  You want me back.”

The three-minute vignette marks Spacey’s first public performance since the allegations against him came to light.

“Of course, some believed everything and have been just waiting with baited breath to hear me confess it all.  They’re just dying to have me declare that everything said is true and that I got what I deserved,” he goes on.

“Only you and I both know it’s never that simple, not in politics and not in life,” he says — apparently an allusion to the allegations against both the actor and his Machiavellian character on the show.