Tag Archives: Grand Jury

Five New Jersey Corrections Officers Sexually Abused Female Prisoners Over the Course of Two Years

Four New Jersey corrections officers have been indicted for sexual assault against nine women at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton, NJ. Corrections Officers Jason Mays, Ahnwar Dixon, Brian Ambroise, and Thomas Seguine were all indicted by a Hunterdon grand jury for engaging in ongoing sexual abuse of inmates over the course of two years. All told, they are facing 26 charges between them.

A fifth man, Joel Herscap, previously pled guilty to official misconduct for engaging in a “sexual encounter” with an inmate. He was subsequently sentenced to three years in prison. Herscap worked as an institutional trade instructor at the prison prior to being arrested.

Via the Trentonian.com:

The rape culture at a New Jersey women’s prison has continued.

Hunterdon County Prosecutor Anthony P. Kearns III announced at a press conference Monday morning that two more senior corrections officers were charged with rape at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in Clinton. That brings the tally to a total of five male employees, including four corrections officers, charged with the sex assault of nine female inmates at Edna Mahan over the past year.

Mays, 43, of Hillside, has been employed by the New Jersey Department of Corrections (DOC) since May 2005. He was indicted on five counts of official misconduct, one count of a pattern of official misconduct and three counts of sexual assault, all second-degree crimes, and two counts of criminal coercion and criminal sexual contact, prosecutors said.

Dixon, 38, of East Orange, has been working for DOC since November 2004. He was indicted on two counts of official misconduct, one count of a pattern of official misconduct and one count of sexual assault, all second-degree crimes, and three counts of criminal sexual contact, prosecutors said.

“In these cases, the victims were particularly vulnerable as inmates,” Kearns said. “The corrections officers had complete power and control over every aspect of their lives behind bars.”

Kearns did not provide specifics of the recent arrests.

Charges were handed out starting early last year.

In February, another senior corrections officer was arrested for allegedly having sex with a female inmate. Thomas Seguine Jr., 34, of Phillipsburg, was charged with official misconduct and sexual assault.

Then three months later, a kitchen worker at the jail was arrested for reportedly exchanging cigarettes with two female inmates in return for sexual favors. Joel Herscap, 55, of Alpha, was charged with two counts of second-degree official misconduct, two counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact. Kearns said Herscap was recently sentenced to three years in jail on an official misconduct charge.

In October, Brian Y. Ambroise, 33, of Union, engaged in a sexual relationship with an inmate at the prison, authorities said, and was charged with official misconduct and sexual assault. The senior corrections officer was arrested following a joint investigation by the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and the New Jersey Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division.

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Texas Transit Cop Who Beat Sleeping Man Charged With Assault (Update)

Earlier this week, CopBlock Network Contributor Asa Jay reported on a surveillance video that showed a Metro Transit Authority cop beating a man who had been caught sleeping on a bench at a train station in Houston. Officer Jarius Warren resigned while an internal investigation was being conducted. Now shortly after that video became public, Warren has also been indicted on assault charges.

Via HoustonPublicMedia.org:

A Harris County grand jury has indicted a former Metro police officer on assault charges.  Jarius Warren is accused of striking a man with a baton during an incident at the Burnett Street Transit Center on September 14. The incident was caught on a Metro security camera.

Warren resigned from the Metro police force after a disciplinary review board recommended that he be fired. If he’s convicted on the assault charge he could get up to a year in jail.

“The video is very disturbing,” said Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson in a press release. “When we have compelling evidence such as this, we immediately initiate an investigation. The case was presented to a diverse grand jury and we wholeheartedly support their decision. This officer used excessive force and should not be wearing a badge.”

The grand jury decided not to indict another officer who was also at the scene. Metro says Officer Daniel Reynoso will return to duty after receiving additional training.

As mentioned in the quoted section, the Good Cop who stood by and watched Officer Warren was not indicted. However, Officer Reynoso will be trained not to beat people who are sleeping, because that’s not something a rational person should just know on their own.

Obviously, it’s good that Warren was indicted for something, although at the very least it should be aggravated assault. I have little that when his full Policeman’s Discount kicks in he will get a fine and a slightly sore wrist.

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Sandusky, Ohio Sheriff Kyle Overmyer Indicted on 43 Charges Including 38 Felonies

Sheriff Kyle Overmyer of Sandusky, Ohio was pretty much the shoe-in to win re-election  to the post he was originally appointed to after the previous sheriff died and a nice little raise that goes along with it in November. Although, the Republican Party hasn’t decided whether they should withdraw their support just yet, the fact that he was just indicted on 43 charges, 38 of which are felonies, related to drugs and theft of cash from his and surrounding jurisdictions might put a slight dent into his campaign.

Apparently, not only did he go doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions of opiates filled, but he also drove all over the county collecting drugs people had left in various departments’ drug take-back boxes, which are intended to allow for the safe disposal of expired or no longer needed prescription drugs. According to the Good Sheriff, he was collecting all the drugs he could get his hands on in order to promote communication between the departments.

Then, just to round things off, he stole a bunch of money from the department over the course of two years by writing himself checks and tampered with official police records to cover up that theft.

Via TheNews-Messenger.com:

The sheriff faces several felony counts of deceiving physicians and pharmacists to obtain prescription pain medication on various dates beginning April 2014 through January 2015, including nine separate cases of seeking Percocet, five instances in which he sought Hydrocodone pills and one case in which he sought Oxycodone.

“He was indicted on various counts of deception to obtain drugs, filing a false financial affidavit, tampering with records and theft of drugs,” Hamilton O’Brien said Tuesday night.

The indictment, which was released by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Tuesday night, also alleges that Overmyer falsified financial statements between January 2009 and August 2016.

Several counts in the indictment include theft in office of monetary values over $1,000, but less than $7,500. The theft allegations detailed in the indictment range from November 2013 through April 2015.

Last January, it was revealed the state was investigating Overmyer in connection with the collection of take-back prescription pill boxes from county police departments, also included among the 43 charges in the indictment.

During this  period, Overmyer is alleged to have improperly collected the boxes from April through August of 2015.

Also included in the indictment were allegations that Overmyer tampered with records between November 2013 and December 2015.

Overmyer is expected to appear in court Wednesday before visiting judge Patricia Cosgrove.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released a statement detailing the counts against Overmyer, including:

• Twelve counts of tampering with records, all third-degree felonies. Overmyer is alleged to have tampered with records concerning the departments Furtherance of Justice account.

• Twelve counts of deception to obtain a dangerous drug, all fourth-degree felonies. Overmyer is alleged to have deceived physicians and pharmacists in order to obtain prescription pain medication, according to DeWine’s release.

• Six counts of theft in office, all fourth-degree felonies. The sheriff is alleged to have improperly taken medication from prescription drug disposal drop boxes.

• Four four-degree felony counts of theft.

• One fifth-degree felony count of theft.

• Five first-degree misdemeanor counts of filing false financial disclosure reports.

Hamilton O’Brien, the Delaware County prosecutor, said Overmyer is still the sheriff in Sandusky County, and said she is working with Overmyer’s legal counsel to have him turn himself in.

The investigation that resulted in the charges is actually the second investigation launched by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations. The original investigator, Special Agent Jeff Cook, had to be removed after he told police chiefs from the departments Sheriff Overmyer had been improperly collecting the drugs from that the investigation was “trivial and minor” without issuing any warrants or subpoenas  and without interviewing anybody from those departments in relation to the matter.

The dozens of subsequent charges emerged after two other agents were assigned to investigate. Meanwhile, Sandusky Sheriff’s Deputy Sean O’Connell is being investigated and could possibly face charges himself for acting as a whistle blower by leaking files containing the information that justified those charges to Carol Hamilton O’Brien, a special prosecutor assigned to the case.

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Las Vegas School Cop Charged With Assaulting Student and Staff Member With Baton Enters Plea

In May, Officer James Lescinsky became the latest in a growing number of Las Vegas school cops to be implicated in a violent crime and/or official misconduct. Lescinsky, while employed by the Clark County School District Police in North Las Vegas, is accused of assaulting both a student and a school staff member with his police baton in May of 2015. He’s also accused of slamming the student into a wall and onto the floor. Additionally, he has been charged with falsifying his report and lying to cover up his actions.

On May 26, Officer Lescinsky made his initial court appearance and pled not guilty to five federal charges. In addition to the assault charges and the charge of falsifying an incident report, he’s also charged with tampering with a witness by asking them to lie and support his story.

Neither the student nor the staff member, both of whom are female, have been identified publicly.

Via the Las Vegas Sun:

A Las Vegas-area school police officer pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal charges alleging he attacked a student and a school staff member and tried to cover it up.

 James Lescinsky, 45, appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Peggy Leen, who let him remain free ahead of a July 26 trial, but ordered him to surrender personal weapons and return his police equipment to the Clark County School District.
Lescinsky has been suspended from his district and police duties, a district spokeswoman said…

An indictment alleges that Lescinsky struck and injured the female staff member with a police baton, and unlawfully assaulted the student by hitting her with the baton and slamming her into a hallway wall and floor.

Lescinsky is accused of lying when he said the student was combative and that the student and staff member were wrestling; of falsifying incident reports; and of trying to persuade a witness to provide a false account of the incident.

Convictions on the five charges could get Lescinsky decades in prison.

Slap On The WristI wouldn’t hold your breath based on the theory that he could get “decades in prison,” though. I can almost guarantee you he’ll get the typical Policeman’s Discount. He isn’t likely to spend even a day in jail once they give him a plea deal for some dramatically lesser charge involving a very hard slap on the wrist and some probation time.

FOX5 Vegas – KVVU

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“Crowd-Pleasing, Gun-Toting, Tough-Talking” Colorado Sheriff Facing 6 Felonies, Including Extortion And Kidnapping

Last week, Terry Maketa was indicted on nine charges, including six felonies. Less than two years ago, Maketa was the sheriff of El Paso County in Colorado and a powerful Republican “rising star” within local politics.

Along with Former Sheriff Maketa, Former Undersheriff Paula Presley and Former Sheriff’s Office Commander Juan “John” San Agustin were also indicted by the same grand jury. Presley faces the same charges as Maketa, while San Agustin faces two felony charges.

Maketa and Presley were both charged with extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, tampering with a witness or victim, conspiracy to commit tampering with a witness or victim, second degree kidnapping, false imprisonment, and three separate counts of first degree official misconduct. San Agustin was also included on the kidnapping and false imprisonment charges. A PDF of the grand jury’s indictment can be found here.

Via Gazette.com:

The criminal investigation, led by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, turned up wide-ranging allegations involving abuses of power and reprisals against political rivals. Among the charges leveled at the three were that they conspired to force a domestic violence victim to recant her story to protect a deputy she accused of punching her – eventually causing her arrest and wrongful incarceration.

In another alleged scheme, Maketa threatened to pull a $5.2 million contract with the jail’s healthcare provider unless the company fired an employee who refused to run Presley’s aborted campaign for sheriff in 2013. The sheriff, who is married, was accused by subordinates of having an affair with Presley, which the pair have denied.

The grand jury also found that Maketa and Presley led a series of internal investigations in 2013 that accused or sought to accuse sheriff’s employees of stealing an internal affairs file belonging to then-sheriff’s candidate Bill Elder – igniting a controversy that threatened to end Elder’s political hopes and instead put the candidate of Maketa’s favor into office.

The grand jury panel met in secret at the El Paso County courthouse in a process overseen by prosecutors with the 18th Judicial District, comprising Arapaho, Elbert, Lincoln and Douglas counties. District Attorney George Brauchler declined to say how many people were on the panel, how many times they met, or what the final split was on the nine counts.

The county has paid more than $300,000 in claims against Maketa and other former Sheriff’s Office employees. Another $400,000 had been paid in fees for financial and personnel investigations and for the three Sheriff’s Office commanders put on paid leave.

Even though they are facing numerous felonies, their bail was set at just $10,000. All three of them have posted that bond and are currently free awaiting trial.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office Indictments

Along with various financial improprieties, at the heart of those charges is a case in which members of the El Paso Sheriff’s Office at Maketa’s direction (just doing their job) caused the girlfriend of a deputy to be arrested after she reported being assaulted by that deputy in order to cover up for him.

Via Gazette.com:

A woman’s face and jawline swelled – allegedly from a punch – and her arm showed bruises.

She blamed it on violent beatings at the hands of her boyfriend – but a month later, she was the one in jail, court documents show.

In 2013, to protect a deputy, then-El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa directed a domestic violence victim to change her story and say she was the aggressor, a grand jury found in indicting the former sheriff and two others on Wednesday. Maketa then stood by as the woman was arrested and wrongfully jailed.

The deputy’s girlfriend also said she had been dragged inside their house, as well as pushed and hit on her head over the previous four months, the affidavit said. Some bruises were visible, according to Kaiser’s report.

When Kaiser pressed (Deputy Travis) Garretson on the allegations, he said “it was possible” he hit his girlfriend the previous night, the affidavit said. He also admitted to leaving a string of obscenity-laced voicemails on her phone, including one where he threatened, “I know what you are doing, I will get you back.”

Garretson was arrested and booked into the El Paso County jail on suspicion of third-degree assault and harassment, both misdemeanors.

What followed, however, was a plot to place the blame on Garretson’s girlfriend, Kellie Trull, 45, according to the indictment.

Garretson asked Maketa for help keeping his job in light of his arrest, the indictment said.
The sheriff responded by telling Trull to claim responsibility for starting the fight, for which she would not be arrested, the grand jury found. Presley reiterated those instructions – and the promise Trull would not be arrested, the indictment said.

Kaiser, the same sheriff’s detective who detailed Trull’s swollen face and bruises a month earlier, took the woman’s new confession in September 2013.

However, key details appear to be missing from that affidavit – a document that law enforcement officers must use to justify arrests.

Those details include:

– No mention the couple had worked at the El Paso County jail when the altercation took place. Garretson was a deputy there and Trull worked for Correctional Healthcare Companies, which provided medical services at the jail, the indictment said.

– No mention that Trull followed her about-face confession with the claim that Maketa and Presley told her to recant her statement and accept blame for the fight.

The affidavit largely focused on Trull’s admission that she instigated almost every altercation with Garretson, leaving him scratched and bruised. She also claimed to have been drunk when she drove to a friend’s house, the affidavit said.

Trull was arrested and booked into the Douglas County jail on suspicion of harassment and driving under the influence. She was held more than 24 hours, the grand jury found. Maketa and Presley later assured Garretson that “this could help” him with his own case, the indictment said.

Three Sheriff’s Office employees – Bureau Chief Al Harmon, then-Sgt. Robert Jaworski and Kaiser – said they did not think Trull should have been arrested.

Kaiser said she was following orders. Jaworski said he feared for his job. Harmon denied ordering the arrest, but nevertheless expressed fear about disobeying orders. (Emphasis added.)

Creepy Sheriff MaketaIncidentally, it was the combination of a sex scandal involving affairs Sheriff Maketa, who is married, was having with three female employees of the sheriff’s office, including Presley, and accusations of abusive treatments from other employees that started the whole investigation leading to those indictments.

And as is the usual case, a shirtless selfie ultimately led to his dramatic downfall.

Via Gazette.com:

For years, rumors circulated about improprieties in the Sheriff’s Office, but it was an article accompanied by a shirtless selfie of Maketa on the front page of The Gazette that brought to light accusations of sexual misconduct and abusive treatment of employees.

The article outlined complaints written by three Sheriff’s Office commanders. The complaints, submitted May 12, 2014, to the Board of El Paso County Commissioners and the federal Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission, accused Maketa of discrimination, creating a hostile work environment and financial mismanagement.

The complaint named three women alleged to have had sexual relationships with Maketa: Undersheriff Paula Presley, Comptroller Dorene Cardarelle and the head of training for dispatchers, Tiffany Huntz. Maketa was married at the time. The Gazette also obtained more than 500 emails and text messages between Maketa, Cardarelle and Huntz.

The messages to Cardarelle were explicit.
“Wish you were with me” message accompanied this selfie of Sheriff Terry Maketa sent to a female subordinate.

In one message, a photo of a shirtless Maketa includes the message “wish you were with me.”

The fallout was immediate. County Commissioner Darryl Glenn said Maketa’s alleged affairs were the “worst-kept secret in town.” He said the rumors hadn’t been acted on because there had been no proof.

“This is the first time we’ve been presented evidence from people willing to put down their names,” Glenn said at a press 2014 conference.

Within a week, Commissioner Peggy Littleton called for Maketa to resign, citing a “lack of integrity” in his office.

Two days later, the commissioners gave him a unanimous “no confidence” vote, stating “we believe that leadership within the Sheriff’s Office has been compromised along with the functionality within the office.”

Maketa refused to step down, and instead ordered meetings to discuss employee morale. When one employee told The Gazette about the meetings, Maketa released the personnel file of the person he suspected of leaking the information.

In September 2014, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation confirmed it was investigating the sheriff with the help of the FBI. In December, Maketa submitted retirement paperwork, with plans to leave two weeks before the end of his third term.

Settlements given to Sheriff’s Office employees stand at more than $300,000, with another $400,000 spent by the county for investigations.

Remember folks, shirtless selfies are never a good idea. Neither is extortion, convincing domestic violence victims to lie in order to protect a deputy who beat her up and then kidnapping and falsely imprisoning her after she does so, or even cheating on your wife; especially with people you supervise at work. But above all else, if you feel the urge to take a shirtless selfie, fight it with every fiber of your being. Nothing good will come of it.

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