Tag Archives: Law Enforcement

Domestic Violence Big Part Of Utah Child Abuse Case

.jpg photo of man that made death threats toward child to mother
Daniel Mercer, 28

Utah couple charged with child abuse
after 3-month-old girl suffers broken bones, brain bleeding and severe burns

SPANISH FORK, UT  –  A Spanish Fork couple was charged Friday after their three-month-old child was taken to the hospital with bad burns on her body, and other injuries consistent with child abuse, investigators said.

According to a probable cause statement released by the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, officers were contacted by the Department of Child & Family Services to investigate an aggravated child abuse case involving a three-month-old girl.

Investigators went to the University of Utah, where doctors said the baby had second-degree burns on her hand, two broken bones, brain bleeding consistent with shaken baby syndrome and a possible detached retina in her eye.

Doctors determined that the injuries the baby sustained were inflicted over the course of two weeks prior to her being admitted to the hospital, the statement said.

.jpg photo of abused child's mother
Whitney Huber, 30

The parents, identified as Whitney Huber, 30, and Daniel Mercer, 28, spoke with police about the incident, according to court documents.

After being interviewed by police, Mercer admitted to “recklessly causing the burns to his infant daughter’s left hand.”

“Daniel admitted to making death threats to the child and telling Huber when they fought on two recent occasions that he would, ‘kill the baby and make her watch as the baby died.’” the statement said.

Neither Huber or Mercer would tell police how the infant sustained the other injuries doctors said she had, police stated.

Mercer was charged Friday with two counts of child abuse – inflict serious physical injury intentionally, both second-degree felonies, possession of a controlled substance, a class-A misdemeanor and use or possession of drug paraphernalia, a class-B misdemeanor.

Huber was charged one count of child abuse, inflict serious physical injury recklessly, a third-degree felony.

Support is available 24/7 in Utah for those dealing with domestic violence.  Visit the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition online or call 1-800-897-5465 for resources and assistance.  In an emergency, dial 911.

The List Keeps Getting Longer

.jpg photo of actor accused of sexual assault
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.

Disney Channel Actor Charged With Child Sexual Exploitation

.jpg photo of Disney Actor accused of child sexual exploitation
Disney Channel actor Stoney Westmoreland has been charged with six felony counts.

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.”

MD HS Coach Accused Of Child Sexual Abuse

.jpg photo of Baltimore high school Coach accused of child sex abuse
Ernest Jackson, Mercy High School former part-time coach.

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

Hazing Or Rite Of Passage? I Don’t Think So

.jpg photo of town where high school players are accused of sexual assaault
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.

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.