Teacher charged with 24 sex crimes after posting TikToks of students, school says
A former Tennessee elementary school teacher is facing two dozen child sex charges including rape after police say she posted inappropriate videos of students to TikTok.
Taylor Cruze, 23, was indicted last week by a grand jury in Smyrna as a result of a police investigation in connection to the felony crimes, Rutherford County Schools spokesperson James Evans told USA TODAY.
Evans said that prior to her arrest last month, Cruze was a first-year fifth-grade teacher at John Colemon Elementary School in Smyrna, about 25 miles southeast of Nashville.
She was suspended without pay May 2, Evans said, and resigned from her job May 22.
Evans did not provide additional details about the case to USA TODAY, including what the TikTok videos contained or when they were posted.
On Aug. 3, court records show, officials issued a warrant for Cruze’s arrest and the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office arrested her Aug. 10.
Cruze is charged with multiple counts of exploitation of a minor under 13 by electronic means, exploitation of a minor by electronic means and especially aggravated sex exploitation of a minor. She also faces charges of solicitation of a minor – rape of a child, and sexual battery by an authority figure.
Court documents show that at the time of her arrest, Cruze lived in Murfreesboro, about 14 miles south of the elementary school.
On Wednesday, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Lisa Marchesoni told USA TODAY her current address was listed in Knoxville.
A jail spokesperson told USA TODAY Wednesday that Cruze posted a $100,000 bond the same day she was arrested.
Court records show she is due in court on Sept. 28 for a plea hearing.
Evans said the school district is “fully cooperating with law enforcement” as the investigation continues.
MILWAUKEE, WI – Tragedy strikes on Mother’s Day. A 19-year-old Navy sailor was killed in West Allis Sunday morning, May 8. Phoenix Castanon is usually the first sibling to tell his mom “Happy Mother’s Day.” This year he didn’t get a chance to call her.
He was shot to death near 84th and Rogers around 2:40 a.m.
“He had a heart of gold, he was a protector,” Tiata Nez-Dunklin said. She is Castanon’s mother.
Protecting was what he was doing the night he was murdered.
West Allis police say Castanon was hanging out with a few friends. One of the women was harassed by a man in a car while she was walking down 84th Street. She was scared and ran to the car Castanon was sitting in at the time. He got out and approached the man. The two exchanged words. The man pulled out a gun and shot Castanon.
“I’m proud of him, that’s how we raised him, defend the weak. He’s my hero.”
Fiancée of slain Arizona sailor held him as he died.
Castanon is originally from Arizona. He was stationed in Great Lakes, Illinois. Castanon was at the end of his training to become a Gunner’s Mate. That goal was ripped away.
‘I’m mad at the world for being the way it is,” Nez-Dunklin said.
West Allis police say the shooter is still out there. Anyone with helpful information should call police at 414-302-8019
The New York Times Misses the Point:
Not Preventing Children from Being
Sexually Victimized Would be the Real
Misservice to Society
At Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.), we are extremely proud to play a small part in helping to protect our society’s largest silent political constituency—the children.
A just published New York Times magazine piece raised the issue of whether one law enforcement program trying to address the problem of child exploitation, Operation “Net Nanny” in Washington State, is the right approach to apprehending would-be child sexual predators.
The Times’ reporting questions whether hundreds of perpetrators, particularly some young men in their 20s, who have been identified, arrested, and successfully prosecuted for taking part in online “Net Nanny” sting operations, are being unfairly targeted and too harshly punished.
Following our mission to help protect children from sexual exploitation, our organization has become a strong supporter of Operation “Net Nanny,” a preventative-minded child protection initiative the New York Times acknowledges has a 95% conviction rate in hundreds of cases that have gone to trial. O.U.R. is proud to back this effort and others that help prevent children from being sexually victimized in the first place.
The select cases highlighted by the New York Times (out of hundreds) were largely those of young men in their 20s with no prior criminal records. The Times chose to only mention in passing that “some caught in stings are violent predators.” This included 60-year-old Curtis Pouncy, whom the Times noted has “a history of brutal sex crimes” that “included raping a 13-year-old girl he picked up from a bus station as well as a 19-year-old at knife point.” Pouncy was arrested in a Washington State “Net Nanny” operation while on supervised release in early 2019. He is now serving life in prison.
One of the hundreds of cases the Times did not highlight was that of Bryan Earle Glant, 24, of Seattle. Glant, a well-resourced young man, was tried, convicted, and sentenced to nine years in prison on two counts of attempted first-degree rape of a child. Emails and text messages contained in his court record show Glant arranging through online communication to meet “Hannah,” a police officer posing as a mother, to engage in sex acts with her two daughters, ages 6 and 11. Glant did not just discuss doing something online. His messages were not the mere unguided explorations of a young man. No. He acted, showing up at the agreed location with lubricant in his pocket.
Imagine if police and their Net Nanny operation were not on the other side of the door that day. How would the lives of those 6- and 11-year-old children have been different?
At his trial and on appeal, Glant unsuccessfully tried to argue that O.U.R.’s support of the “Net Nanny” program was “outrageous government conduct.” We were pleased that the court rightfully dismissed those claims. We are also pleased the court reaffirmed our lawful ability and efforts to provide tools and resources to help law enforcement agencies get those who chose to prey on our children off our streets.
The New York Times led readers to believe that there were “no victims” in “Net Nanny” cases. This is not factual. “Net Nanny” cases did result in the rescuing of actual victims. While the “Net Nanny” arrests of perpetrators did not involve physical contact with a child, in several cases victims of those arrested came forward or the Washington State Police found evidence where the predators did sexually abuse a minor. The majority of victims who came forward in “Net Nanny” cases were under the age of 11.
Throughout the life of the “Net Nanny” program, law enforcement involved in its supervised multi-jurisdictional operations followed protocols—and the judicial system agreed, clearly finding there was no entrapment under long-standing and tested legal standards.
How the judicial system decides to serve justice on those lawfully charged with violating the law is an issue left for each state to determine, including the severity of sentencing for convicted child sex offenders.
In the end, keeping child predators off the street is paramount, and we will always support law enforcement in their legal efforts to protect children, hopefully before they are preyed upon.
We believe among the best tactics in the fight to bring child sex exploiters, propagators, and abusers to justice is supporting and helping arm the good guys with better technology and expertise. Domestically, this involves public/private partnerships that help support the nation’s law enforcement officers and prosecutors at the federal, state, and local levels in their important work by providing technology, software, expertise, and training where taxpayer budgets fall short.
This also involves sharing the latest intelligence we glean through legally authorized work O.U.R. does internationally with law enforcement, NGOs, and governments to help rescue victims of child sex exploitation, abuse, and trafficking. To date, O.U.R. has assisted in the rescue of more than 4,000 victims globally since our first international operation in 2014.
Since our founding, O.U.R. has always worked hand in hand with law enforcement in the U.S. and abroad, and we will continue to do so, helping to provide the necessary ammunition so they are well-armed and equipped to stop predatory trollers seeking their next child victim.
Our team is composed of top former federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals experienced in child exploitation, trafficking, and digital world policing. One of our newest team members is the former head of the Washington State Patrol “Net Nanny” program, Carlos Rodriguez, who joined O.U.R. this year following a distinguished 27-year law enforcement career.
We are honored to have Carlos on our team now. Together with professionals at all levels of the public and private sectors, we can pool our knowledge, resources, and collective passion to protect children at home and abroad to make sure shrinking budgets never deter anyone from the ultimate goal: safeguarding innocent children and bringing guilty perpetrators who seek to prey on them to justice.
Law enforcement and child protection advocacy groups have done unheralded yeoman’s work in the past 20 years to strengthen efforts to combat the unconscionable exploitation of children. But there remains so much more that must be done.
Today, the sad truth is this: we still do not know the full extent of the enticement, exploitation, and in far too many instances, the sexual assault, of children. In the U.S., the most developed nation in the world, the country’s leading measure of criminal victimization—the National Crime Victimization Survey—still does not measure crimes against children under 12.
Those who want to underestimate scale of the problem or claim to know with certainty who is motivated to criminally victimize a child in the many forms it takes are not being truthful. We simply don’t know.
What we do know with certainty is that with each passing day, our children are becoming even more dependent on the Internet and increasingly engaged in the exploration of online and digital virtual worlds, even more so in the present moment with millions still staying home because of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Honestly ask yourself this question—in the world we live in today, do we want law enforcement to have more resources, tools, and public and private support to combat child exploitation and abuse, or not?
Annual motorcycle ride brings
awareness about Child Abuse, Safety
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The grandmother of a fatal child abuse victim hopes motorcyclists and even non-riders will help raise awareness about keeping kids safe.
Although 3-year-old Carmen Ellis is no longer alive, her memory lives on thanks to her family, friends and even people who never had to a chance to meet her.
“She was just the sweetest little girl and just very funny,” Tina Smith said.
Tina lights up talking about her late granddaughter Carmen. She and her husband, Lorin Smith who is also a motorcyclist, are organizing another annual fundraiser called the Carmen Ellis Memorial Ride, which started eight years ago following Carmen’s death.
“She died August 22, 2012, killed because of child abuse by my daughter’s boyfriend,” said Tina.
Every year since 2012, to remember Carmen, Tina has raised money for child abuse charity.
The Smiths have teamed up with local VFWs, which serves as some of the stops for the memorial ride. This year the fundraiser will also include kicking off with a breakfast where participants can make donations. The breakfast takes place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. with an all-you-can-eat buffet with a $7.75 donation. The memorial ride starts at The American Legion Post 495 located at 8725 East 38th St., in Indianapolis. The donation is $20 per motorcycle rider and just $5 per passenger. Kickstands up at 10:30 am.
The couple also plans to do a 50/50 drawing, auctions and raffles. Tina and Lorin don’t usually set a number of riders for each event but it has grown each year just by word of mouth. This year’s event will take place after missing last year.
The memorial ride happened last year but without Tina and Lorin. They both lost their lower left legs in crash with a distracted driver and spent months in physical therapy. So now they’re inviting everyone to be in Carmen’s Ride.
“You can be on a motorcycle, on a slingshot, a car, a truck or a van,” Tina said. “As long as it’s roadworthy you can be there with us.”
This year the memorial ride is even more special because it’s on Aug. 22, which is the same date Carmen received her heavenly wings.
Whether you do Carmen’s Ride or not Tina wants everyone to help with stopping child abuse.
“The child should come first,” Tina said. “They are so dependent on us, the adults, just adults to help them.”
Executive Order on Strengthening
the Child Welfare System
for America’s Children
We opened NOT IN MY WORLD!!!! as a one-page gift to Google+ and all it’s users, on August 19, 2014, with 7 members in #OurCircle. Since that day, we have been very active in the war being waged for Our Children, and seen many Blessings.
In those first days, weeks, and possibly even months, at this point in time I think we, for the most part thought the people we were fighting was something like perverted men dressed in raincoats, standing around and flashing women and children.
I don’t mind telling this like it really is, and was… it wasn’t long before everything we read and saw hit us, and opened deep mental wounds, and assaulted all of our senses, and nothing has changed as far as that.
I can’t help but cry as I look back on all this, here we were adults having innocence ripped away from us, by what was/is done to Our Children almost every minute of every day.
It took quiet some time before we learned of Senator Nancy Schaefer, but the rest of what I list here is documented on our website or our blog, down thru January 2016.
Worse yet, the administration acknowledged that it can’t account for each of the 90,000 children it processed and released since the surge peaked in 2014.
My post on January 30, 2016 had a dead link, and I already knew this was one I enjoyed, because Senator John McCain got so upset with Mark Greenberg and CPS, that he walked out of the bipartisan congressional investigation. The article led the reader to believe that possibly 10 – 30 Children were “missing”, when the link was fixed that number had grown to 90,000+ Children.
HHS Official Jerry Milner was appointed three years ago to oversee much of the departments child welfare work.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar hailed the order as a step toward “bold reforms”. The goals are ambitious – curtailing child maltreatment, strengthening adoption programs and encouraging supports for at-risk families so fewer children need to be separated from their homes and placed in foster care.
Section 1. Purpose. Every child deserves a family. Our States and communities have both a legal obligation, and the privilege, to care for our Nation’s most vulnerable children.
The best foster care system is one that is not needed in the first place. My Administration has been focused on prevention strategies that keep children safe while strengthening families so that children do not enter foster care unnecessarily. Last year, and for only the second time since 2011, the number of children in the foster care system declined, and for the third year in a row, the number of children entering foster care has declined.
Sec. 2. Encouraging Robust Partnerships Between State Agencies and Public, Private, Faith-based, and Community Organizations.
Sec. 5. Improving Processes to Prevent Unnecessary Removal and Secure Permanency for Children.
(iv) Within 6 months of the date of this order, the Secretary shall provide guidance to States regarding flexibility in the use of Federal funds to support and encourage high-quality legal representation for parents and children, including pre-petition representation, in their efforts to prevent the removal of children from their families, safely reunify children and parents, finalize permanency, and ensure that their voices are heard and their rights are protected. The Secretary shall also ensure collection of data regarding State use of Federal funds for this purpose.
Sec. 6. Indian Child Welfare Act. Nothing in this order shall alter the implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act or replace the tribal consultation process.