Disney actor Stoney Westmoreland
charged in underage sex case
SALT LAKE CITY – Former Disney Channel actor Stoney Westmoreland has been charged with six felony counts after authorities said he tried to have sex with a 13-year-old boy.
Prosecutors say the 48-year-old Westmoreland was on the dating app Grindr when he found a profile that appeared to be an underage boy but was operated by a police detective in Salt Lake City, near where the show “Andi Mack” is filmed.
He also sent explicit photos, authorities said.
A message left with Westmoreland’s agent, Mitchell Stubbs, was not immediately returned.
Charging documents say Westmoreland was arrested Dec. 13 after he took a car to meet the boy so they could go back to his hotel room.
Charges filed Friday include attempted exploitation of a minor and enticing a minor.
Westmoreland has been dropped from his role as the grandfather of the teenage title character in the Disney show after his arrest.
Westmoreland’s other acting credits include “Scandal” and “Breaking Bad.”
Mercy High School sends out letter to parents amid former coach’s Child Abuse charges
BALTIMORE, MD – Mercy High School officials sent out a letter to parents following news of its former athletic coach being charged with child sexual abuse.
The statement says “we continue to be deeply upset as we learn additional information from media reports about our former part-time coach Ernest Jackson. The details of the charges against Mr. Jackson revealed in local news coverage early this evening are very disturbing to our entire community—our students, parents, faculty and staff, board, alumnae and friends.”
Officials say that Ernest Jackson was a part-time coach for indoor track, outdoor track and soccer. He coached at the school on a seasonal basis, beginning in November 2015 until last month. He is no longer a coach and he was reportedly banned from campus when the school learned of a report of abuse before Thanksgiving.
Jackson has reportedly been released on bail. School officials say “Student safety has been and always will be of paramount importance to us. I want you to know that in our hiring process we comply with all federal, state and local employment laws. All candidates for employment are interviewed, and their references are carefully checked. Candidates also undergo a fingerprint criminal background check through the FBI’s Criminal Justice Identification Services (C.J.I.S) Division.
The C.J.I.S. system provides automatic updates to the school if employees are subsequently charged with crimes flagged by the C.J.I.S system. The results of background checks are carefully reviewed. The school regularly provides safe environments training for child and youth protection to employees.
Our first responsibility is to the safety and privacy of our girls. We must balance transparency with student privacy, and I thank you for understanding and respecting this. In addition, because there is an ongoing criminal investigation that involves child sexual abuse, we are limited in what we can share, as we respect the legal process and must not interfere with an ongoing criminal case.”
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Baltimore Police’s Child Abuse Unit at 443-984-7378 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.
Maryland high school football players
accused of sexually assaulting
teammates with broom
DAMASCAS, MD – Four 15-year-old Maryland high school football players charged as adults with rape for sexually assaulting four teammates with a broom during a hazing incident have been released on bond.
The Damascus High School athletes, whom NBC News is not identifying, were each charged with one count of first-degree rape, three counts of attempted rape and one count of conspiracy to commit rape, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.
Each of the students was released Tuesday on $20,000 bond, according to court records. They are not allowed on the premises of Damascus High School, and they are not allowed to contact one another, McCarthy said.
A fifth teammate is accused of participating in at least one of the attacks and being charged as a juvenile but is also identified as one of four victims, charging documents show.
One of the alleged victims told police that the suspects held him down, pulled his pants down and poked his buttocks with a broomstick before “the broomstick was inserted into his anus a few inches,” prosecutors said.
Two of the victims said they were violently attacked, but were able to fight off the assailants before they “got the broom,” prosecutors said.
Another victim said a broomstick, which he described as a wooden handle with a “cut on the tip of it” said he was “stabbed” on the buttocks with the broomstick. When that victim tried to fight the attack, the suspects told him it was “tradition,” he told police.
When interviewed by investigators, one of the suspects said the broom “started from generations ago,” according to prosecutors, who said freshmen were the ones targeted.
Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said citing tradition is not a defense.
“I’m offended by the term hazing. It’s not hazing, these are crimes, and I would caution anyone to refer to this as hazing. These boys were victims of criminal acts,” McCarthy said. “They were not victims of hazing, they were victims of first-degree rapes.”
The alleged rapes and attempted rapes happened on Oct. 31, according to the court documents. Damascus High School’s principal reported the possible assaults to police on Nov. 1.
Montgomery County Public School District Superintendent Jack Smith said in a statement that the district is cooperating with police and providing support for Damascus High School students.
“Our thoughts are with the students, staff and all who have been affected,” Smith said.
North Texas Daycare Worker Charged
With Child Abuse
HASLET, TX (CBSDFW.COM) – A North Texas daycare worker faces a felony child abuse charge for a violent assault caught on video.
Those who run the Little Country Daycare and Preschool in Haslet are not talking about the arrest of employee, Tracy Ludwig.
They did say they were cooperating with authorities but could not comment any further.
The alleged abuse came to light when a 4-year-old’s mother demanded to see security video because no one could explain how he got serious facial injuries.
In the video an adult straddles a small boy on the floor and repeatedly slaps and pinches him.
Kindsie Andreason, the child’s mother, obtained the video of her son being assaulted inside the Little County Daycare and Preschool.
It was recorded on November 6 when he came home with welts and bruises that she was told were caused by him acting up.
Authorities investigated and arrested Ludwig for felony child abuse.
Andreason says she can only wonder if her son was assaulted more than once in his two years at the school before she removed him.
“Whenever we were watching the video outrage just went over me, I mean just to see your son being beat by a teacher that you pay to care for your kid while you’re at work. It makes me sick,” said Andreason.
Andreason says she likely would’ve never known about the abuse if not for a teacher who alerted her.
She believes the daycare management tried to conceal what happened and that’s why she posted the video on social media and plans to sue the daycare.
This is not the first complaint about inappropriate discipline at Little Country Daycare and Preschool. The CBS 11 I-Team found the center was issued four violations earlier this year. Two of the violations were even considered “high risk.”
The violations stem from an incident in May when an employee force-fed a child, according to an inspection report provided by Texas Health and Human Services.
The report states after the child vomited, the employee yelled for the child to leave the room, then tossed a towel to the child to clean up the mess.
While staff informed the child’s parents about the incident, Little Country did not tell the state. The lack of oversight resulted in a third violation.
A fourth violation was issued over missing paperwork.
State inspectors gave the daycare a week and a half to fix the issues.
A second report acknowledges Little Country complied with changes. Administrators acknowledged that children can’t be forced to eat and employees interacted with kids in a “positive manner,” according to an inspection report.
In Texas, licensed childcare facilities must be inspected at least once a year by The Department of Health and Human Services.
Information about these centers is posted online.
If centers face violations, they must also face more inspections.
Since 2015, Little Country has faced nine inspections.
A state database indicates the daycare was issued three violations in 2015 over record-keeping issues.
Petoskey man facing sexual assault,
Child Abuse charges
PETOSKEY, MI – A Petoskey area man is facing multiple felony charges in connection with allegations that he sexually and physically abused two young children, respectively.
Jacob John Weld, 29, of Petoskey was arrested last week on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. The charge is a felony which carries a maximum penalty of up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. He was arrested on the afternoon of Oct. 10 on the charge.
At the time of his arrest on the sexual assault charges he was out of jail on bond following an Oct. 1 arrest on a charge of third-degree child abuse. That charge is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison.
According to a Michigan State Police affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, the sexual assault charges stem from allegations that Weld sexually assaulted a young child at a home in Emmet County on at least two occasions in August and September of this year. Police said the child came forward with the allegation on Oct. 8. Police further said in the affidavit that when they interviewed Weld, he admitted to the actions with the child leading to the sexual assault charges.
In the child abuse case, Weld is accused of causing injury to a different young child.
In that case, Emmet County Sheriff’s Office deputies said in an affidavit of probable cause that the case was initially referred to police from a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services representative who was investigating a child abuse complaint. In the affidavit, police said the alleged abuse happened on or around Sept. 23. Police said an adult noticed bruising on the back of the child’s leg on Sept. 29. Police said the child reported having been spanked with a belt by Weld.
Police said when they interviewed Weld he said he “probably used a belt to spank (the child).”
Weld was originally released from jail on Oct. 1 after posting a $50,000 surety bond. But he now remains lodged in the Emmet County Jail in connection with the sexual assault case, for which a new bond has been set at $2 million.
Weld is slated to face preliminary examinations in both cases on Oct. 24 in 90th District Court.