Tag Archives: child sexual abuse

Was Las Vegas Cop Who Guarded Stephen Paddock’s Door at the Mandalay Bay on October 1st “Set Up” on Sex Charges?

One of the officers assigned to guard Stephen Paddock's door after they (finally) entered his room was Officer Bret Theil

    Bret Theil, one of the LVMPD officers that (eventually) entered Stephen Paddock’s room, was arrested for sexual abuse of a child, leading to speculation of ulterior motives for those charges.

Yesterday, I did a post about LVMPD Officer Bret Theil, the latest in a long and fast growing line of Las Vegas cops facing charges related to violence against women and/or sex crimes. He was indicted on Wednesday on over two dozen counts related to the sexual abuse of a child. That child is reportedly a family member and a according to several sources that abuse began when the victim was only seven years old.

Theil was arrested after an armed standoff with a Las Vegas SWAT team that began Wednesday night and didn’t end until early Thursday morning. As I reported yesterday, this was the second Metro cop that was involved in a “barricade situation” within the past week. There have also been over a half dozen Las Vegas area police officers involved in some sort of crime against women just since the beginning of this year.

Since that story was posted though, some additional information about Officer Theil has surfaced. The nature of that new information has led to a lot of speculation and theories about those charges being some sort of retaliation or method of “keeping him quiet” by Las Vegas police and the MGM corporation.

Did He See/Do Something He Shouldn’t Have?

It turns out that Theil was also one of the officers involved in (eventually) entering Stephen Paddock’s hotel room at the Mandalay Bay on October 1st during the Route 91 Festival Shooting. Based on the LVMPD’s Force Investigation Team (who are usually assigned to investigate when Metro police officers kill someone) report, Theil and another officer named Burns were assigned to guard the door to the suite Paddock had been staying at.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

LVMPD report shows Officer Bret Theil was assigned to guard Stephen Paddock's room at the Mandalay Bay.

LVMPD report naming Theil as one of the officers that guarded Stephen Paddock’s door. (Click for full size)

So the theory goes that Theil saw or was somehow involved in something shady that happened during the October 1st shootings. Variations of the theory are that he was set up with the sexual assault charges either to keep him quiet about whatever he potentially saw or to retaliate for some unspecified thing he did since then. The basics are that Sheriff Lombardo and the MGM ownership want to destroy his credibility and/or scare him into not talking.

Personally, I think there are some real holes in that theory, though. The first would be that if you want to keep someone from talking one of the worst strategies for that would be to set them up to face multiple life sentences in prison. They pretty much have nothing to lose at that point.

So why wouldn’t they go ahead and tell everything they knew to anyone that would listen? Of course, the other side of this coin is that the nature of the charges would ruin his so no-one would listen. The truth is though that someone will always be willing to listen if you are telling them something they want to hear. Plus, if you’re trying to pull attention away from something that’s a terrible strategy, even if most people won’t believe it.

Also, if you were trying to get rid of someone and you’re in the middle of an armed standoff with them, just killing them is easily the best way to do that. If a big part of your argument against Metro’s handling of the Mandalay Bay investigation is that they control investigations and cover-up facts (which is actually very true), then it follows that he would be very dead right now if they were trying to keep him quiet.

And, by extension, nobody who would want to question it would be given access to evidence that would enable them to raise those questions. The fact that they didn’t just shoot him like they do with most people that get involved in armed standoffs, but aren’t cops, tends to counter that argument that they were “out to get him.” Instead, Theil will live to get his beneficial plea deal and serve the probation he is likely to be sentenced to.

The other much more pragmatic reason why I don’t believe Officer Thiel was set up is the fact that it wasn’t a case of child porn being found on his computer or in his possession. (The fact that police claim to have found child porn on Paddock’s computer and that his brother is facing child porn charges in California is something that has factored into the theories.) Something like that could conceivably be planted on his computer.

However, these allegations are that he preyed on an actual known person and that person was a very young child. I believe those two factors make it very unlikely (not at all impossible, though) that he was just set up with false charges. I personally think the reality is that there are so many rapists, pedophiles, and domestic batterers within the LVMPD and such a total lack of any sort of accountability (as well as within other departments nationwide) that the odds say at least one of them that was in that hallway (standing around for 75 minutes before they finally went in the room) was bound to be one.

What Happened in Vegas?

As has been detailed numerous times here at NVCopBlock.org, the movie What Happened in Vegas explores the extremely controversial killings of Trevon Cole, Erik Scott, Stanley Gibson, and Tashii Farmer-Brown by Las Vegas police and the cover ups that followed. Several other instances of violent, racist, and/or outright criminal acts by members of the LVMPD are also featured to illustrate the overall systemic corruption within the department.

A portion of that documentary is also devoted to the shootings that happened at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas on October 1st. Among other things, it explores the reasons why Sheriff Joe Lombardo and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department have been so willing to cover up and even lie about what happened.

It also ties those irregularities within the Mandalay Bay shooting investigation to the similar motives for the cover-ups of the murders of Cole, Scott, Gibson, and Farmer-Brown. As pointed out in the movie by director Ramsey Denison, by and large it’s a matter of liability and pressure from the casinos to assure tourists they should feel safe and continue coming to Las Vegas, since that is the single major industry within the city.

Of course, there’s also a fair amount of incompetence and corruption among the police themselves that has to be factored into that. That holds true with the investigation around the Mandalay Bay Shooting as well. They were already holding press conferences before the investigation had hardly even begun painting themselves as heroes and assuring everyone that there was only one shooter and that he was dead.

After that, they didn’t want to talk about the fact their officers stood around in a hallway outside the room of a man who had already fired on a defenseless crowd (and a security guard in that same hallway) or anything else that contradicted those narratives.

What Happened in Vegas” is currently available on DVD or Video on Demand (VOD) if you want to learn more about just how corrupt (and violent) the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is and what their role has been in the cover-up surrounding the October 1st shooting you can order it at WhatHappenedInVegasTheMovie.com by clicking here.

“What Happened in Vegas” Trailer

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LVMPD Officer Charged with Sexual Assault of Child is Second Vegas Cop Involved in Armed Standoff Within Week

SWAT standoff at Cold Creek Canyon area with accused pedophile Officer Bret Theil

Las Vegas Police Officer Bret Theil, who was indicted on over a dozen charges of sex abuse against a child, engaged in an armed standoff with SWAT overnight Wednesday.

On Wednesday (Feb. 7), it was announced that Officer Bret Theil, who has been with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department since 1998, had been indicted on charges related to the sexual abuse of a child. After his indictment was announced, Theil was involved in an armed standoff with LVMPD SWAT teams.

Update: Coincidentally (?), Theil was also one of the officers involved in (eventually) entering Stephen Paddock’s hotel room at the Mandalay Bay on October 1st during the Route 91 Festival Shooting. Obviously, that has led to speculation that Theil was set up with the sexual assault charges to keep him quiet about whatever he potentially saw. (Click here to view LVMPD report listing Officer Theil as one of two officers assigned to guard door to Paddock’s suite.)

Personally, I think if you want to keep someone from talking one of the worst strategies for that would be to set them up to face multiple life sentences in prison. The pretty much have nothing to lose at that point. Also, if you were trying to get rid of someone and you’re in the middle of an armed standoff with them, just killing them is about the best way to do that.

Basically, there are so many rapists, pedophiles, and domestic batterers within the LVMPD that the odds say at least one of them that was in that hallway (standing around for 75 minutes before they finally went in the room) was bound to be one.

That standoff took place at Corn Creek Canyon, a camping/hiking area about 23 miles outside of Las Vegas. Officer Theil lives in the suburb of North Las Vegas and the NLV police were initially conducting the standoff until it was determined he was an LVMPD officer and Metro took over. Beginning late Wednesday night, the “barricade situation” continued until early Thursday morning. Theil was described as being armed and suicidal.

Not many other details have been released about the standoff at this point. However, it was confirmed that Officer Theil was (of course) taken into custody without injury. He was then taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation. From there he will be transferred to the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC).

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Not very many details have been released regarding the charges he was indicted on earlier in the day, either. It was reported that he was facing charges related to the sexual abuse of a child. The victim of those crimes, which took place over the span of several years, was also a family member. In addition, local media has reported that the victim had been receiving unspecified threats via email after Theil was notified of the impending indictment.

Las Vegas police officer Bret Theil was arrested during SWAT standoff on charges of sexually assaulting a child

SWAT standoff with LVMPD Officer Bret Theil

Currently, he faces six counts of first-degree kidnapping, five counts of lewdness with a child under 14, six counts of sexual assault with a minor under 14, four counts of sexual assault with a minor under 16, four counts of sexual assault, and two counts of child abuse, neglect or endangerment.

The charges were filed by North Las Vegas police and include felony charges that carry the possibility of life sentences if he is convicted. Of course, the fact he is a cop means he will likely receive a very generous plea bargain offer. He’s probably more likely to receive probation than a long prison sentence. (As always, I’ll be following the case and providing updates.)

Metro Officer Involved in Domestic Disturbance

As indicated by the title of this post, Officer Theil apparently wasn’t the only cop to engage in an armed standoff within the past week. On Super Bowl Sunday, there was another incident in which a “suicidal man armed with multiple guns” barricaded himself in his house and also had to be coaxed out by a SWAT team. The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that he also was taken to a hospital for mental evaluation. There was no indication of what (or if) he would be charged with criminally.

Neither the LVMPD nor local media have officially identified the man involved yet. However, sources have stated that he is Metro Officer Jeffery M. Arrigo. Those sources also said that this standoff was the result of a domestic disturbance. Not surprisingly, given the high percentage of domestic violence among police (and the cover ups involved), Officer Arrigo already has a previous history of domestic abuse. In September of 2015, he was arrested on domestic battery charges.

Other Recent Incidents

It’s been a busy past couple of months for Las Vegas police officers involving sexual crimes and crimes against women:

And that’s just since the beginning of this year.

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Maine Cop Facing 20 Sexual Assault Charges, Including Against Six Year Old, Gets Misdemeanor Plea Deal, $1000 Fine

Sexual Assault Charges Misdemeanor Plea Deal Deputy Kenneth Hatch

Maine Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth Hatch facing 20 charges of sexual assault of a minor, including one who was six years old at the time was given a misdemeanor plea deal and a $1,000 fine.

Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy Kenneth L. Hatch III was facing 20 charges of sexual assault against three minors, including one who was just six years old at the time. However, instead of refiling charges after his first trial ended in a hung jury, the Maine Attorney General’s Office offered him a plea bargain. And, boy, what a bargain it was!

As part of the plea deal Hatch agreed to plead guilty to the Class D misdemeanor (almost the lowest level of crime someone can be charged with) of “furnishing a place for minors to consume alcohol.” In exchange for that, the prosecutor has agreed that his “punishment” will consist of a $1,000 fine. No jail time, no probation, no sex offender registry, not even a series of overpriced classes to sit through. It’s slightly worse than if he had received a traffic citation.

At this point, it’s hard to be surprised when cops sit back and cover for their “Brothas” no matter how heinous the crime might be. Nor is it particularly shocking anymore when prosecutors give them their “Policeman’s Discount” and they get just a slap on the wrist or the crimes committed by “Police Heroes” are overlooked altogether. This takes the cake, though.

Note: If you have videos, stories, upcoming events/protests, or personal interactions with the police (and/or “justice” system) that you would like to share, send them to us and we will do everything we can to bring it to the attention of the world. In addition, you can visit the Nevada Cop Block resources section for information and links to the rights of citizens when dealing with police, during which you should always be filming.

Lincoln County Sheriffs Deputy Kenneth Hatch

Former Lincoln County Sheriff’s Deputy of the Year Kenneth L. Hatch III

Obviously, one would think that someone facing charges of sexually abusing multiple underage children, including one who was only six years old at the time, would get several books thrown at them.

Via the PressHerald.com:

On and off for the last 16 years, prosecutors allege, Hatch preyed on teenage girls, all the while moving through the ranks of law enforcement in central Maine.

An indictment handed up in August accused Hatch, 46, of 22 felonies, including 11 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, eight counts of aggravated furnishing of marijuana to a minor, and two counts of unlawful sexual contact. In many of the incidents, Hatch was on duty when the alleged abuse occurred.

Via the Bangor Daily News:

The drug counts allege that Hatch gave marijuana from a bag marked “EVIDENCE” to two of his three alleged victims, two of whom were 14 or 15 at the time of the alleged assaults.

The alleged sexual assaults against the third victim, which resulted in Hatch’s arrest in June, reportedly first occurred in 2004 when she was 6, Assistant Attorney General John Risler, who is prosecuting the case, told the grand jury in August. The indictments allege that Hatch then sexually assaulted the same girl and provided her marijuana in 2013 and 2014, when she was 14 and 15.

One would obviously be very wrong, though. Apparently, in Maine the Magical Uniforms they issue to cops are especially potent at rendering them impervious to any sort of meaningful consequences for their actions. Of course, one of his victims spoke of her fears in relation to that and how it made her reluctant to come forward. (Via the PressHerald.com, again.)

One of the alleged victims who spoke with the Maine Sunday Telegram said Hatch used his power as a police officer to sexually abuse her over a period of years. She was afraid to speak up, she said, because it would be her word against his.

“He’s a cop,” she said. “Who’s going to believe me?”

Finally in June, she spoke up and told a family member, triggering the investigation and Hatch’s arrest.

Her fear of speaking out is common among victims of police sexual violence. For every victim who comes forward to accuse an officer, five more remain silent, said Philip M. Stinson, a professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University and a leading researcher on police misconduct.

“There’s something about that power dynamic,” Stinson said. “Police officers are used to being in charge, of telling people what to do, and of people obeying them – or there are consequences.”

I’m sure that this sentence will alleviate those fears:

“Hatch will appear before Stokes in Knox County Superior Court on Friday morning, agree to pay a $1,000 fine, and will serve no jail time.”

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Phoenix Cop Justin LaClere Sentenced to Just Sixty Days in Jail For Sex With Underage Girl

Earlier this week, Officer Justin LaClere of the Phoenix Police Department was sentenced to serve just sixty days in jail after being convicted of having sex with a 17 year old girl that LaClere had been “courting.” Those charges included “luring a minor for sexual exploitation,” which is a class three felony, and “sexual conduct with a minor,” which is a class six felony. Typically, those charges result in sentences between two and seven years for non police officers.

Via the Phoenix New Times:

A seven-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department, LaClere was arrested by Scottsdale Police in January 2014 after authorities learned that he’d had sex with the 17-year-old high school student he’d been courting. The two met through on the social media site Whisper, which allows users to upload pictures anonymously and privately message one another about them.

According to court documents obtained by New Times, the girl, whose name has not been released because she was a minor at the time of the arrest, “uploaded a picture of a baby with the text ‘I want to get pregnant but I’m only a teen’ written across it.”

After coming across the photograph, LaClere, who went by the handle “Jason69er,” sent her a private message and the two corresponded for the next two days.

LaClere was not at all dissuaded by the girl’s age, and instead probed for details about her desire to get pregnant:

“Want a baby in ya?” he messaged her.

“Ya,” she responded.

“You’d be a beautiful pregnant mommy, heck maybe I’d help ya,” he said, adding that they should get together soon and “start making a baby” since he’s “wanted a young pregnant girlfriend.”

At some point during their online conversation, he asked: “Is me being older okay?”

“Yah,” she said, “but I know my parents wouldn’t like it though [and] I’d be worried my dad would call the cops and have you arrested for sleeping with a minor since I’m not of legal age to sleep with you.”

Still, he sent her photographs of himself, including one in which he was wearing a dark blue uniform with Phoenix PD patches on the shoulders,” court documents show, and suggested that she sneak away from her parents after school and meet up with him:

“He told her that he thought she should go home after school and if no one was there he would come in really quickly and they could have sex,” it says in the documents. “She agreed to the plan.”

The girl sent LaClere her Scottsdale address and told him that her dad was out running errands.

According to a statement the girl later gave to the Scottsdale police, she and LaClere went up to her bedroom and had sex on the floor without a condom. Immediately after the act, he got dressed and left the house.

Sergeant Benjamin Hoster of the Scottsdale Police Department told New Times last summer that the department only learned about the incident because the girl told her friends about it at school the next day. The friends promptly told the school’s resource officer, who called the girl in for an interview.

She admitted that the story was true and showed the two photographs “Jason69er” had sent her, which allowed the police to identify him as Justin Francis LaClere.

LaClere was arrested at his home in Gilbert on January 16 and immediately resigned from the PPD.

Court documents show that he admitted to being “Jason69er” and to having sex with a girl he knew was a minor, and he was booked in jail on two felony charges — child abuse and sex with a minor.

LaClere initially pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, but he changed his plea in July 2015 after accepting a deal from the state. Six months later, he was finally sentenced by Judge Margaret Mahoney.

Vincent Funari, spokesman for the Maricopa County Superior Court, writes in an e-mail that as “per the plea,” LaClere will serve 60 days in jail, after which he will be subject “to lifetime supervised probation with sex offender terms.”

It remains unclear at this time whether LaClere will be registered as a Level I II, or III sex offender.

AZ Sentencing Guidlines Screenshot

Click for full size

Based on the Policeman’s Discount LaClere has already received from his buddies in the Phoenix court system with regard to sentencing, I have a pretty good inclination that he will receive the lowest level of sex offender status. Not that it should really be a major spoiler at this point in the game or anything. I’m actually kinda surprised they didn’t figure out a way to make sure he could stay on the force after his slap on the wrist healed.

Meanwhile, on the very same day that Officer LaClere began his “courtship” of this 17 year old girl he was in the process of railroading an innocent woman on a bogus DUI charge. Fortunately for that woman, LaClere was an obvious liar while on the stand and the jury didn’t believe him. So, they found her not guilty in almost literally no time at all.

Via CBS5AZ.com: (emphasis added)

The case involved a woman named Michelle Thomas, who was cited for DUI in May of 2013.

Thomas is a married mother of two who was in the back seat of the vehicle when her husband was pulled over by LaClere for allegedly not driving within his lane.

LaClere left the vehicle running while performing tests on Thomas’ husband to determine if he was driving impaired.

Thomas repeatedly told LaClere she needed to use the restroom but could not open the back doors of her vehicle because the child safety locks were engaged.

She told a jury she crawled into the front seat of the car and attempted to get out of the driver’s side door, but because she engaged herself in the driver’s seat while doing so,  LaClere initiated DUI charges against her.

A number of Phoenix attorneys have come forward to CBS 5 News claiming that LaClere was not credible as a court witness.

Criminal defense lawyer Kristina Sitton represents Thomas’ husband.

“I really thought the judge was gonna come across the bench and throw him out of the courtroom,” said Sitton when describing LaClere’s attitude in court while testifying. “Just rude and condescending conversation.”

CBS 5 News exclusively obtained audio recordings from that DUI trial and they reveal LaClere’s interaction with defense attorney Gerald Gavin.

[NOTE NATURE OF LANGUAGE]

Gavin: “When you asked her if she was driving, she denied driving the vehicle, correct?”

LaClere: “She indicated she wanted to piss.”

Gavin: “When you talked to her in the front seat did she say she wanted to drive away?”

LaClere: “She indicated she wanted to piss.”

Gavin: “Did you ask her why she was in the front seat?”

LaClere: “For the reason I just gave.”

Gavin: “Did you ask her why she was in the front seat?”

LaClere: “She indicated she had to piss. I asked her what she was doing.”

Attorney Kristina Sitton was in the courtroom gathering information for her upcoming trial involving Thomas’ husband. CBS 5 News has learned Phoenix city prosecutors have dismissed the case against him.

“I can tell you I have never seen an officer be so disrespectful. It was very clear,” said Sitton.

The audio recording also includes Thomas’ testimony on the stand.

“I thought I fully explained myself,” she told the jury. “I told him I just needed to go across the street to use the restroom and I attempted to walk off. That’s when he grabbed my left arm and he slammed me up against the back door on the driver’s side.”

LaClere testified he saw the vehicle roll 10 feet with Thomas engaged in the driver’s seat and claims to have seen her put the car from drive into park.

Thomas denied those claims and the jury believed her. In fact, they returned three not guilty verdicts against her in under 10 minutes. Attorney Gerald Gavin said it was the second fastest jury he has had in his legal career.

This also was not the first time LaClere had been an issue for city prosecutors.

One prosecutor brought a formal complaint against him in 2012, saying LaClere was the most difficult officer she had ever worked with.

She also indicated she settled a case rather than going to trial because she didn’t believe LaCere would be a “positive representation of the police department” and that a jury “would have hated him,” according to the complaint in LaClere’s disciplinary file obtained by CBS 5 News.

The fact that juries generally believe cops regardless of how outrageous their claims are or how much evidence there is against them says something about just how much of a see through and obvious piece of garbage LaClere really is. It’s a good thing all those Good Cops and upstanding members of the “Justice System” took it easy on him.

In fact, in the video below yet another one of LaClere’s victims discusses her own encounter with him, the bogus DUI charges he arrested her on, and the relief she felt upon hearing that he had resigned and is no longer able to pose a threat to the citizens of Phoenix by working as a police officer. Obviously, there were no red flags in this guy’s history that would have tipped off one of the Heroes he worked with every day that he might a Bad Apple.