4/15/14: Today’s Round-up of Child Sex Abuse in the News


Tumwater, WA – Former teacher’s aide at Black Hills High pleads guilty to sex with student
A former teacher’s aide at Black Hills High School pleaded guilty Monday to having sex with a former student she once supervised in detention, court papers state.  The former Black Hills para-educator, Courtney Keller, 29, pleaded guilty Monday to four counts of first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor. She will be sentenced in Thurston County Superior Court on June 2. She is currently out of custody on work release.  Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney John Skinder said he and Keller’s defense attorney will jointly recommend a suspended 5-year prison sentence, and that she be allowed to complete a Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative, or SOSA.  Read more here:

Harrisonburg, VA – Sexual assault panel held to raise awareness, promote campus resources
On Friday afternoon in Rose Library, a collection of faculty and students met to discuss a problem plaguing college campuses across the nation — sexual assault. Friday’s panel brought to light and highlighted the resources JMU makes available to victims. Sexual assault can be a very messy affair and can often devolve into a “he said, she said” set of circumstances. For the number of falsely-reported cases, there are a plethora of unreported incidents.  Read more here:

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN – Task force faults Twin Cities archdiocese for ‘dreadful’ abuses
The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis suffers from “serious shortcomings” in its handling of child sex-abuse complaints that have allowed priests to continue abusing victims, sometimes for years, a task force reported Monday.  The solution, according to the church-ordered study, is to foster a culture that “places victims first” and creates more accountability by involving ordinary church members in the oversight and discipline of wayward clergy.  Read more here:

Charlotte, NC – Charlotte swim coach banned for life after sexual misconduct charge
A longtime Charlotte swim coach has been banned for life from USA Swimming, seven months after he was charged with misdemeanor sexual misconduct involving a minor.  On Monday, the sport’s governing body announced Thomas’ permanent suspension for violation of the USA Swimming code of conduct. The suspension means he is prohibited from coaching or owning one of its club teams. Read more here:

Ann Arbor, MI – Student government: U-M regularly missed deadlines on investigating sexual assault claims
The University of Michigan regularly failed to meet deadlines to investigate claims of sexual assault on campus, a report issued Sunday by the university’s Central Student Government charges. “(U-M) routinely failed to meet its 60-day deadline to conduct investigations, apparently due to a lack of staffing,” CSG President Mike Proppe told the Free Press. “While the increase in reporting of sexual misconduct is encouraging, the university should have responded by hiring an additional investigator more quickly.” Read more here:

Ellsworth, ME- Former teacher accused of sexually assaulting student among 13 indicted in Hancock County
A former middle school teacher and coach was among more than a dozen people indicted last week by the Hancock County grand jury.  Benjamin H. Hodgdon II, 46, of Mount Desert was indicted April 10 on multiple charges of gross sexual assault, unlawful sexual contact and sexual abuse of a minor. According to police, Hodgdon is accused of sexually assaulting a girl between “30 and 40 times” in 1999 and 2000.  Read more here:

Washington, DC – Sexual Assault Is a Crime Against Women’s Health
In 1974, the women’s liberation movement was in full swing. My class at Baylor College of Medicine had over 30 female students, more than in previous years. We felt powerful — like trailblazers doing our share for women and equality. As part of a commitment to helping other women, many of us volunteered to support sexual assault survivors who came into the teaching hospital’s emergency room. Several times a month during that year, I left my house in the middle of the night to hold a woman’s hand as she recounted the details of one of the worst experiences of her life. Though I had never been assaulted myself, I could feel her terror and pain. Walking back into my dark apartment, with these women’s words still in my ears, I felt real fear. Would it happen to me?  Read more here:

Boise, ID – Former students file lawsuit over alleged sexual assault
Two former Boise State students have accused university athletic officials of ignoring sexual assault and harassment incidents involving a student athlete.  According to the two women, athletic officials were aware of the accused athletes previous record of sexual assault and harassment and failed to stop the behavior, further emboldening the inappropriate actions of what the suit calls a “men’s star track and field athlete”.  Read more here:

Kittanning, PA – Student Education Theme of ‘Sexual Assault Awareness Month’
In 2013, almost a child per month had to be counseled due to sexual abuse.  During ‘Sexual Assault Awareness Month’ nationwide in April, individuals and groups – such as HAVIN (Helping All Victims in Need) – are committed to educating children and teenagers on how to lower that statistic.  HAVIN Executive Director Jo Ellen Bowman said there are many opportunities to reach children this month – both in the community and at local schools.  “One of the challenges of kids is we tell children to obey adults, listen to adults and respect adults, but what we don’t often say is ‘with the exception if an adult is touching you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.’ Often times, kids get confused, and offenders take advantage of that,” Bowman said. “(Offenders) kind-of manipulate kids.”   Read more here:

Huntington, WV – Documentary, panel to focus on sexual assault
The Marshall University Women’s Center, in conjunction with CONTACT Rape Crisis Center, will sponsor a screening of “The Invisible War,” an investigative documentary about rape within the U.S. military. It will be shown at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 16, in the Multi-Purpose Room, BE5, of the Memorial Student Center, and is free and open to the public.  Immediately following the screening, there will be a panel discussion regarding treatment of military sexual assault and victim advocacy.  Read more here:

Kalamazoo, MI – Ex-principal pleads to 1 sex assault charge
A former middle school principal has admitted to sexually assaulting a former student.  Greg Tibbetts on Monday pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal sexual conduct, Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting told 24 Hour News 8. He was sentenced to between 18 months and 15 years in prison.  Tibbetts, formerly the principal of Vicksburg Middle School, was arrested  in October 2012 and initially charged with 13 felonies following allegations he had sex with a former student. He resigned from his post soon after being officially charged.  In court Monday, Getting confirmed, Tibbetts admitted to touching a male victim’s genitals in the fall of 2011. The victim was 14 years old at the time.  Read more here:

Fairview, NJ – Fairview bus driver, 63, molested girl, 12, twice, prosecutor says
A 63-year-old bus driver from Fairview was arrested by county and local authorities and charged with molesting a 12-year-old girl twice.  Roberto Trochez, who drives for a private North Bergen company, was being held on $350,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault and one of child endangerment.  Read more here:

Houston, TX – Apartment maintenance man accused of molesting boy in laundry room
An apartment maintenance worker is facing charges, accused of molesting a four-year-old boy at the South Houston complex where he worked. But several residents are calling the charges into question.  Police say it was in the laundry room at the Ashton Place apartments where a mom claims her four-year-old son was sexually assaulted by a maintenance man. But tenants and workers at the complex say they’re not buying that story.  Read more here:

Portland, OR – Lexington Police Arrest Ft. Knox Soldier Accused Of Sexually Abusing Child
A 42-year-old former Lake County sheriff’s deputy has been accused of sexually abusing a 17-year-old Lakeview girl reported missing late last week.  The Oregon State Police say the girl got in touch with authorities Sunday afternoon and was returned to her family.  Earlier this month, as an investigation began, Kenneth Turkle resigned from the sheriff’s department.  On Friday, the girl was reported missing. She was last seen staying with a friend in Grants Pass and leaving with a man believed to be Turkle.  He surrendered Sunday morning in Lake County on charges of sexual abuse and contributing to the sexual delinquency of a minor.  Read more here:

Medford, OR – Man charged with sex abuse, harassment for targeting women shopping
A registered sex offender has been arrested on suspicion of seeking sexual gratification by bumping against women at grocery and department stores.  David Neal Reynolds, 53, of the 1300 block of Beekman Avenue, Medford, turned himself in and was arrested Friday on charges of third-degree sexual abuse, harassment and failure to register as a sex offender.  A 41-year-old woman reported that she bent down to look at merchandise at Target on March 29 and an unknown man pressed his pelvis against her buttocks, a news release from Medford police said.  Read more here:

Sterling, IL – Daycare operator charged with child molestation and sexual abuse
Disturbing new details are being released in the case of daycare operator, Gary Talkington, charged with child molestation, sexual conduct with a minor and sexual abuse.  The Pima County Sheriff’s Department served search warrants at the in-home day care off Silverbell and W. Camino Del Cerro on April 4th.  Detectives with the Crimes Against Children Unit confiscated attendance logs, DNA swabs, and a jar of candy from the home, according to the search warrants just released on Wednesday.  According to the Interim Complaint, detectives went to the daycare called “Cricket’s Kids Pre-school” operated by Gary Talkington and his wife after a child under the age of five, disclosed to her parents that Talkington had touched her in her “private areas”.  Read more here:


Geneva, Switzerland – Second UN committee to grill Vatican again on clergy sex abuse
A second UN committee plans to question Vatican officials on failures to stop clergy sex abuse.

The hearing scheduled for May 5-6 in Geneva will look at whether the Vatican’s record on child protection violates the UN Convention Against Torture. The Holy See ratified the treaty in 2002.  Vatican spokesmen said on Sunday they could not immediately comment.  Last January, Vatican officials testified for eight hours before an obscure human rights committee on the scale of clergy sex abuse globally.  Read more here:

Perth, Australia – Catholic apology: Priest, 79, admits historic child sex abuse on young girls
AN elderly Perth Catholic priest has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing two young girls, dating back to 1969 and 1980.  Father Patrick Holmes, 79, appeared in Perth Magistrates Court this morning, where he admitted six charges relating to two young girls under the age of 13.  Police charged Holmes over an offence in 1980, at the St Aloyius Church in Shenton Park, when he indecently assaulted a girl who was aged 10 to 12 years old when she visited the presbytery after school.  He also indecently assaulted a girl aged six to seven years old in 1969 while working at the Holy Name Church in Carlisle, also allegedly in the presbytery.  The guilty pleas sparked Catholic Archbishop Timothy Costello to issue“sincere apology” to the priest’s victims.  Read more here: