Tag Archives: rape

Update: LVMPD Officers Helped Fellow Vegas Cop Accused of Child Sex Abuse Intimidate Victim During Investigation

Officer Bret Theil LVMPD cop charged with dozens of counts related to the sexual abuse of a child

After he was informed that an investigation had been launched into the sexual abuse of a child against Officer Bret Theil some of his friends at the LVMPD helped him locate and attempt to threaten her.

Last month, I posted about Bret Theil, who was one of two LVMPD officers to be involved in an armed standoff with Metro’s own SWAT team during the same week. Unlike most regular citizens, Theil survived his encounter with SWAT completely unscathed, in spite of being armed, and was subsequently charged with over two dozen charges related to the sexual abuse of a child (purportedly a family member).

Those charges include 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.

Soon after, Officer Theil’s case took on more of a national interest once it was revealed that he was present at the Mandalay Bay during the Route 91 Festival Shooting on October 1st. The fact that Theil was one of the Heroes that stood around in the hallway for over an hour doing nothing outside the hotel room of Stephen Paddock after he had already shot at a crowd of defenseless people fueled a lot of speculation.

Most of that speculation revolved around the idea that Theil had been “set up” to prevent him from (or warn against) revealing some nefarious details involving the Las Vegas Mass Shooting. As I posted earlier, I don’t personally believe that the charges (with a very real victim) were somehow fabricated for several reasons.

One of those reasons being that Theil is still alive after being involved in an armed standoff with the people that supposedly want to keep him quiet. Another being that charging somebody with several crimes that carry the possibility of life sentences is a pretty terrible way to prevent someone from spilling secrets. They simply don’t have much to lose by talking at that point.

The reality is that with the prevalence of sexual abuse and domestic violence among police officers, in general, and Las Vegas police, in particular, it’s not at all shocking that one (if not more) of those officers heroically hanging out in the hallway would face such charges.

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.

Court Documents Reveal Details of Abuse

Officer Theil appeared in court on February 14th for an arraignment hearing. Included within the court documents filed as part of that hearing were grand jury transcripts that included details of the allegations against him. Those details illustrate how Theil used his position as a police officer to abuse and intimidate his victim. That abuse began when she was just eight years old and continued until she was nineteen.

According to  

The victim testified that in one of the most recent attacks, Theil used police-issued handcuffs to secure her to a bunk bed ladder for about an hour as he scolded her.

Before forcing her to perform sex acts on him, according to the testimony, he often used his position of authority as intimidation. An officer with Metro since August 1998, Theil would remove his police uniform and degrade the victim, sometimes erupting into fits of rage, she said.

Because of his job, his respect among neighbors and the cache of weapons she knew he kept, she was afraid to tell anyone about the ongoing abuse, she said.

“I felt drained,” she testified. “I felt fearful of what would happen if I told anyone, and I didn’t know if they would believe me.”

The first of more than 50 forced sexual encounters, including 10 after she turned 18, occurred inside the bathroom of his friend’s home, she testified.

In another incident, Theil allegedly struck the girl in the mouth, causing her to bleed.

At one point, he used a slick red plastic rope to tie her hands to the underside of a sit-up bench, she said.

Theil often would watch pornography on his cellphone or laptop while abusing her, according to the victim’s testimony, sometimes dragging her by the hair into submission.

“If I fought back with him,” she said, “I’m afraid he would probably knock me out.”

Other LVMPD Officers Helped Theil Locate Victim

Those grand jury transcripts also revealed that Officer Theil’s use of his position to intimidate and threaten his victim wasn’t just limited to the times he was actually committing those abuses. They also reveal he had a “little help from his friends” at the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.

Once Theil was informed of the investigation into his crimes, he began an “urgent effort” to locate the victim before she could talk to the North Las Vegas police officers conducting that investigation. Among other things, he hired an attorney and a private investigator to search for her.

In addition, other officers within the LVMPD accessed a confidential law enforcement database in order to help Theil find her.

An intelligence database known as SCOPE, which contains personal and address information, was accessed to search for the victim from either Metro headquarters or a substation and an office at the College of Southern Nevada, according to testimony from Carey McCloud, a North Las Vegas detective.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Stacy Kollins asked, “Do you know whether law enforcement was involved in looking for her?”

McCloud replied, “Just his friends, from what I understand.” – (same source as above quotes)

The victim was eventually located by the private investigator and prior to her contact with NLV detectives Theil threatened her repeatedly in an attempt to intimidate her into not cooperating with their investigation. Fortunately, it didn’t work this time.

As disgusting as it is that other Metro officers would not only look the other way, but actively assist Theil in abusing his victim, it shouldn’t be surprising. Las Vegas area police have a long and widespread history of engaging in, covering up, and condoning abuse by their own. And the list of Bad Apples goes all the way to the top of the tree.

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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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Update: Details Revealed About Evidence, Previous Arrests of Las Vegas Ex-Cop Finally Charged in 1997 Rape and Murder

Previous Charges Arthur Lee Sewall Former LVMPD Officer Murder

At a preliminary hearing, court documents revealed LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall already had a criminal history before the 1997 rape and murder he was finally charged with in January.

Last week, I wrote about former Metro Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr., who was charged with murder and rape for the 1997 killing of a woman named Nadia Iverson. The original story was that a “lack of funding” prevented the testing of the Iverson’s rape kit and other DNA evidence from the crime scene. Presumably, that made it impossible to prosecute him at the time from a lack of evidence.

After receiving a grant from the New York District Attorney’s Office, the rape kit was finally sent for testing in 2016. Then, in February of 2017, Sewall’s DNA was positively matched to that rape kit. As a result, Officer Sewall was finally charged with rape and murder earlier this month (Jan. 10th).

A sample of Sewall’s DNA had actually been available since 1999, when he was sentenced to (just) probation for a separate arrest on multiple on duty sex crimes, and he was accused by prosecutors of Iverson’s murder the very same day her body was found. Once again though, since they couldn’t scrape together the cash to test that one rape kit, Sewall was able to avoid prosecution for twenty-plus years.

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.

When he was eventually arrested  last month Sewall essentially confessed to the murder of Iverson in a statement to Metro detectives. Although, in a quote published by Mike Shoro of the Las Vegas Review Journal it does sound like he is looking to claim it was an accident:

“During the interview, he admitted to engaging Iverson in sex for money,” Sewall’s arrest warrant said. “During their sexual encounter, Iverson was shot. Sewall couldn’t account for why his gun was out or pointed at Iverson. He knew she was shot in the head and he immediately fled the scene.”

A Previous History of Violence Against Women

However, like most cases of crimes and misconduct committed by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers, it has now come out after the fact that the real story is quite a bit different than what was originally reported. Not only did court documents reveal even more details about his arrest history that predated the murder, but it also raises serious questions about why he couldn’t have been prosecuted even without the DNA evidence.

Rape Murder Charges Las Vegas Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall

Former LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr.

Those documents, which were made public at a preliminary hearing last week, also show that Metro police officers had responded to a domestic violence call at Sewall’s house in 1995, two years prior to the murder. Although he (not surprisingly) was never charged with a crime as a result, a .357 revolver was confiscated from Sewall by those officers.

As I mentioned in the original post, Officer Sewall was also arrested earlier in 1997 in a video sting operation for forcing prostitutes to perform sex acts. He was on duty and used the threat of arrest in those sexual assaults. That arrest led to his resignation from the LVMPD.

In addition, although he was only sentenced to probation for those rapes, that sentence is what required him to submit a DNA sample in 1999. As was once again mentioned in the previous post, Sewall also was arrested while he was awaiting sentencing in 1999 for propositioning an undercover cop who was posing as a prostitute in San Diego.

Sufficient Evidence Twenty Years Ago?

Based on those court documents, that .357 revolver and those previous arrests would have represented a pretty significant piece of evidence in the 1997 case for which Sewall currently faces charges. In fact, had it been pursued that alone probably would have been more than enough to tie him to the murder and secure a conviction.

Las Vegas Police Officer Arthur Sewall Murder Rape Victim Nadia Iverson

An Undated Photo of Nadia Iverson.

Back then, before Clark County’s “Blue Card” law was overturned, all handguns had to be registered with Metro. As a result, Sewall’s was officially listed as an owner of such a weapon. Obviously, there was also a record of that from when he had it impounded during his domestic violence incident as well.

According to the current arrest warrant detectives at the time determined a bullet “consistent with a .357 revolver Sewall previously registered with Metro” was used to kill Iverson. In spite of that, Las Vegas police seemingly did not even attempt to match the bullet to the gun they knew Sewall had at the time.

Not only that, but when Sewall was arrested for soliciting a prostitute in San Diego while he was already awaiting sentencing for raping prostitutes, he had that same revolver in his possession. Meanwhile, neither the LVMPD or Clark County prosecutors mad any effort to acquire the gun they obviously suspected he had used to murder someone after it was confiscated by San Diego police.

Instead, Sewall was sentenced to probation and that revolver was later destroyed by the SDPD, eliminating any chance it could be tested for a ballistics match. Officer Sewall proceeded to violate that probation numerous times over the course of the next five years with relatively little consequences for those violations. Also, as can be evidenced by his Facebook profile, Sewall was living a pretty comfortable life during the twenty years Iverson’s rape and murder went unpunished.

Incompetence or an Intentional Lack of Effort?

As has already been pointed out in previous posts, the excuse that there was a lack of funds is a ridiculous excuse for not testing the thousands of rape kits that have sat untouched in evidence rooms from as long ago as the mid-eighties. Las Vegas area city governments and police departments have had no problem coming up with well over a billion dollars in total for new government buildings, publicly funded NFL stadiums, and faulty radio systems.

They even came up with $400,000 to pay off the police chief and deputy chief at the Henderson Police Department after they were forced to resign for sexual harassment. The idea that they couldn’t somehow come up with enough money to test that one rape kit that would positively identify the person they suspected in the case literally from day one should be considered an insult to everyone’s intelligence.

But even if you disregard the DNA evidence altogether, they shouldn’t have had a very difficult time charging and even convicting Sewall. Detectives investigating the crime scene had already determined she was killed by a gun matching one they knew for a fact he owned.

The fact he had it impounded by the San Diego police during his 1999 arrest obviously means he still had it in 1997 after the murder. They very easily could have gotten a warrant to have it tested right after the murder or while it was in the possession of the San Diego police.

Regardless of any other evidence (which I’m sure there was), matching the gun to crime would by itself be pretty damning. A prostitute being raped and then killed using a gun owned by someone with a history of sexual assault and violence against women (and in particular prostitutes) would be pretty hard to explain away.

Instead of presenting (or apparently even seeking) that evidence however, investigators just filed it away along with the rape kit that they don’t seem to have had any interest in ever having processed. At best, this would have to be classified as a huge case of incompetence by the Las Vegas police and prosecutors.

In fact, it’s almost like they intentionally tried to avoid prosecuting one of their own by making sure the evidence didn’t get found. Almost exactly like that.

Original Local News Report

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Oklahoma Governor: Police Not Complying With Executive Order to Audit Untested Rape Kits

Backlog Untested Rape Kits Police Refusing to Comply Audit Order

The massive backlog of untested rape kits sitting in evidence rooms across the country totals anywhere from tens to hundreds of thousands in number.

Last week, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin stated that only about half of the police departments in the state were complying with an executive order she issued in April instructing them to perform an audit of all untested rape kits. To be clear, the order wasn’t to complete the testing of the thousands that are sitting in evidence rooms throughout the state. In fact, it wasn’t even actually to begin testing them. It was simply to perform an inventory and determine just how many of them there are.

For many of those departments, though, the deadline of December 31, 2017 has come and gone. A lieutenant at the El Reno Police Department who states that they did do the audit but it somehow slipped his mind to send the information in. Meanwhile, according to “News9.com” Sgt. Jillian Phippen of the Tulsa Police Department maintains that they just don’t have the personnel or money to do it.

“For us, to do that, to comply with this unfunded mandate, it’s just a lot of money,” said Sgt. Phippen. “We’re already putting my sex crimes detectives back into the field to work patrol positions, so it’s not like we just have extra individuals that can stop what they’re doing and then complete this audit.”

It’s kinda obvious where the priorities of police department are when  one representative states that he “just forgot” to provide the information and the other says that their department has their rape investigators out generating revenue by writing tickets, instead of solving sex crimes.

For her part, Governor Fallin, who has now given them until Feb. 15th to comply, doesn’t seem terribly worried about the fact that thousands of rapists are walking the streets and potentially victimizing other women, when they could have been caught long ago. She “isn’t happy with the lack of cooperation she is getting from law enforcement.” However, she seems to be willing to afford them the benefit of the doubt that they (eventually) will.

“That’s not enough.” Governor Fallin said. “We need to do better and I think everybody’s certainly willing to step up and do it but we need to finish the job.”

Rape survivors, such as Danielle Tudor, aren’t quite so patient, though:

Tudor says that’s not acceptable.

“What is says to me as a rape survivor and unfortunately what it says to future sexual assault victims is, ‘Is it worth it to report it? Is it worth it to have that rape kit done because I have no guarantee that my evidence will even be used in my case.'”

News9.com – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

A National Issue and a Question of Priorities

It’s a valid concern for victims of rape and other crimes involving sexual assault and it’s not just limited to Oklahoma, either. A 2015 story by USA Today estimated at least 70,000 untested rape kits existed nationwide, based on data obtained through a massive campaign of open records requests. A year earlier, in 2014, the Daily Beast published their own estimate of 400,000 kits that have failed to be tested since the mid 80’s when DNA testing began to be widely used.

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.

Police Need to Take Rape Seriously

Police Don’t

While it’s a handy excuse to ignore things the police don’t really want to be bothered with the “lack of funding” doesn’t really hold up to scrutiny. Early last week, I posted about former LVMPD Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr.,who was (finally charged with rape and murder twenty years after the crime was committed.

In spite of the fact investigators suspected Sewall literally from day one of their investigation in 1997, the victim’s rape kit wasn’t processed until 2017. Prosecutors supposedly couldn’t find the money to process a rape kit in a case where they already had a suspect, that suspect had a previous history of sex crimes, and they already had access to his DNA profile.

Meanwhile, the LVMPD and the City of Las Vegas managed to scrape together over a half billion dollars between them to build a new police headquarters and city hall. Just for good measure the nearby suburb of North Las Vegas also built new fancy building for their police department and city government.

Just as outrageous is the story Joey Lankowski posted here at NVCopBlock.org yesterday. Within it, he detailed how it was recently exposed that Henderson (another Vegas suburb) Police Chief Patrick Moers and his second in command, Deputy Police Chief Bobby Long, were forced to resign as the result of a sexual harassment scandal.

As part of what was originally characterized as a “voluntary separation,” Moers and Long received about $400,000 for accrued vacation hours and benefits. I have very little doubt that that money alone would have funded testing for quite a few of the 4,000+ untested rape kits within Southern Nevada. If not, then the $750 million in public funds the Clark County Commission voted to give the Raiders for a new stadium certainly would.

Are There Other, Worse, Reasons for the Lack of Urgency?

Of course, the reason that there wasn’t a more immediate uproar about Chief Moers’ and Deputy Chief Long’s large payoffs was because the Henderson City Government kept the true reason for their resignations under wraps for months until an anonymous source tipped off the local newspaper.

Similarly, Officer Sewall spent the vast majority of those twenty years violating his probation terms without suffering any significant repercussions. Nor did anyone in a position to do so make much of an effort to get the one rape kit that could confirm what they already suspected was true processed. It’s almost like the respective prosecutors, city governments, and police departments were just not that interested in pursuing the case, if they could avoid it. Almost exactly like that.

(Not to mention the mayor of North Las Vegas, for whom the former NLV police chief admitted having covered up the presence of child porn on his computer and the current number two man in charge at the LVMPD, who once had to resign after he asked a woman to expose herself in exchange for not being arrested.)

It’s no secret that some police have used their position and the vulnerabilities of women they often interact with to pressure or physically force them into performing sex acts. In fact, just three years ago, right there in Oklahoma City, Officer Daniel Holtzclaw was convicted of raping 13 women and had preyed upon numerous more during his time as a police officer.

Experts say that DNA evidence is as high as 99% accurate and has led to the identification of over 1,200 serial rapists in Detroit and Cleveland alone after concerted efforts were made to test the backlogs there. It would seem that Oklahoma, Nevada, and everywhere else would want to do the same, thereby bringing justice to past victims and preventing future ones.

Unless they’re afraid that a certain occupation might pop up a little too often once those tests are conducted…

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Murder Charges Filed Against Former Las Vegas Cop After 1997 Rape Kit is Finally Processed Twenty Years Later

Rape Kit 1997 Murder Charges Arthur Lee Sewall Former LVMPD Officer

Former LVMPD Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr. has been charged with murder after a rape kit from 1997 was finally processed in 2017.

Earlier this week, former Metro Police Officer Arthur Lee Sewall Jr. was charged with murder and rape for the 1997 killing of a woman named Nadia Iverson. Iverson’s body had been found by a construction crew at an unoccupied apartment in May of that year. He was finally arrested on January 11th in Reno, where he had been living recently.

Sewall was named by prosecutors as a suspect the very same day that her body was discovered. However, although they had acquired a sample of his DNA in 1999, a positive identification of Sewall wasn’t made until February of 2017. The reason for that is because, due to a lack of funding, the rape kit collected from Iverson was not sent for processing until March of 2016.

In the meantime, Sewall spent a large percentage of those twenty years on probation for sex crimes committed while on duty prior to Iverson’s murder. In February of ’97 Officer Sewall had been caught on video attempting to force a woman to perform oral sex on him. Instead of being fully prosecuted for that crime, he was allowed to resign from the department and given a plea deal for two charges of oppression under the color of law.

He was then sentenced to probation, even though he was arrested in San Diego for soliciting a prostitute while awaiting sentencing. During that time on probation, he was caught in possession of a knife and gun by probation officers, failed to submit required reports, and also did not comply with a sex offender counseling program he had been ordered to complete.

Finally in 2004, he was sentenced to almost two years in prison for repeated probation violations. Even after being released from prison, he still didn’t comply the restrictions he was subject to as a convicted felon. At the time he was arrested in Reno, he had not registered his address change after moving from California and had to be tracked down by detectives. According to media reports (video embedded below), he then confessed to the murder of Iverson.

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.

The failure of police departments and city governments to fund the testing of rape kits across the country has left huge backlogs and prevented the arrest and conviction of rapists. As a result, many of those perpetrators have been able to continue victimizing women and committing other violent crimes for years and even decades in some cases. Others have been falsely convicted only to be exonerated once the testing was finally conducted.

In Southern Nevada alone 6,473 rape kits went untested, including approximately 5,600 connected to investigations within the LVMPD. It wasn’t until they received a $2.7 million grant from the New York State District Attorney’s Office that those kits began to get tested within the past couple of years.

Over 4,000 of those rape kits are still in the process of being tested or have not been sent out for testing to this day. Meanwhile, in recent times Metro has spent almost $300 million on a new headquarters complex, $42 million dollars on a new radio system that never worked properly (of which allegations of favoritism and kickbacks have been made), and another $26 million dollars to pay for the radio system that replaced it.

The City of Las Vegas also spent $185 million to build a new City Hall. That and the LVMPD’s HQ were both initiated in 2008. So somehow they managed to find the funding for those optional (and heavily criticized) expenditures during the worst recession in 70 years, but not for the (relatively) tiny fraction of cost that would be involved in the testing of the rape kits.

And that doesn’t even take into account the annual cost of payouts to victims of the misconduct and violence perpetrated by Las Vegas area police officers. In several recent years that money alone would have paid for all of the rape kits to be processed. That’s especially relevant when discussing a crime that was committed by one of those officers and then went unsolved for twenty years because there was no money for the rape kit to be processed.

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Kirstin Blaise Lobato Freed After 15 Years in Prison for Las Vegas Murder Prosecutors Knew She Couldn’t Have Committed

Wrongful Murder Conviction Overturned Kirstin Blaise Lobato

In spite of evidence of her innocence, the Clark County DA’s Office did everything they could to prevent Kirstin Blaise Lobato from being freed after over 15 years in prison for a murder she didn’t commit.

After spending her entire adult life in prison for a murder she didn’t commit, a Las Vegas woman has finally been released. Kristin Blaise Lobato spent over 15 years behind bars in spite of evidence that she was over 150 miles away at the time the killing took place. However, she was finally able to walk out of the Clark County Detention Center a free woman for the first time since she was 18 years old on January 3rd.

Meanwhile, even after a judge had declared her innocent and ordered her release, prosecutors with the Clark County District Attorney’s Office refused to acknowledge the improprieties carried out during her trial(s). In fact, they even briefly had plans to force her to spend another year in the county jail for having been caught having sex with another inmate during the time that she was wrongfully imprisoned.

Fortunately, Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez also dismissed that case, instead ruling that the time she had already spent in prison for a crime she didn’t commit was sufficient punishment for that as well and giving her credit for time served. Judge Gonzalez then ordered that Lobato be released from custody immediately.

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.

District Attorney Steve Wolfson and Chief Deputy District Attorney Sandra DiGiacomo have attempted to justify their efforts to keep an innocent woman in prison by contending that the fact she was found guilty at trial by two juries means she is. However, the case against Lobato was very much flawed from the start and those verdicts were more a product of what was kept from the juries than the strength of the evidence actually presented to them.

Kirstin Blaise Lobato Released From Prison

There was virtually no physical evidence tying Lobato to the murder of Duran Bailey, a homeless man who was found beaten to death and castrated in a Downtown Las Vegas dumpster in 2001. The only real justification for her to even be a suspect was a story that she told to several people that she had fended off a rape attempt by cutting her attacker’s penis with a knife.

She had told that story weeks prior to the murder, though, and had identified the location where that incident happened as a different area of town. In spite of that, police investigators characterized her description of stabbing a man attempting to sexually assault her in the groin during an interrogation as a confession of Bailey’s murder.

More importantly, Lobato was positively verified to have been at her parents’ house in Panaca, Nevada, nearly 200 miles from Las Vegas on July 8, when Bailey was murdered. Based on that and other inconsistencies in the physical evidence, experts brought in by her defense attorneys testified that it would have been impossible for her to have carried out the murder.

However, that testimony was suppressed by Judge Valorie Vega during the original trial. Meanwhile, the prosecution was allowed to present a expert witnesses that made the ridiculous claim that flies in Las Vegas act completely different than flies anywhere else in the world do.

In addition, the district attorney’s office actively fought to prevent additional DNA testing on the physical evidence recovered at the scene, even after the Innocence Project offered to pay any costs involved. All previous DNA testing had excluded Lobato and, due to the violent method of Bailey’s death, it’s unlikely the person who murdered him could have done so without leaving their own DNA behind (such evidence from an unknown source was in fact found).

Of course, if Lobato was guilty those tests would more than likely definitively prove she was present at the crime scene. So realistically the district attorneys should have had their own incentive to cooperate with the DNA tests.

Regardless of that, Judge Vega ruled against allowing the testing. Shortly after, Vega chose not to run for reelection following an (unrelated) official reprimand against her by the Nevada Commission on Judicial Discipline. In what’s probably not a coincidence, almost exactly three years after Judge Vega left the bench Kristin Blaise Lobato walked out of the front door of the Clark County Detention Center.

Background on the Case and False Convictions

Not Surprisingly, this isn’t the first time Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson and his underlings at the DA’s office have gone to great lengths to keep someone who was obviously innocent in prison. Not too long ago, I reported on the case of Demarlo Berry, who was falsely convicted of murder based on testimony from a witness that was coached and paid off by detectives from the LVMPD.

Not only were the prosecutors in the case complicit in manufacturing evidence against Berry, they also delayed his release for four years after that witness recanted his testimony and the real murderer had confessed. Then, once they finally realized that they couldn’t prevent his release, they portrayed it as if they were responsible for freeing him.

In another case, Fred Steese was issued a pardon last month in order to clear his record of a murder he was falsely convicted of and spent twenty-one years in prison for after he was beaten and coerced into confessing. Prosecutors also hid evidence that definitively proved he was in another state at the time and photo lineup results that pointed to his innocence.

Instead of releasing him after he was declared “actually innocent” by a judge, they threatened to refile the charges and drag out the process coercing Steese into accepting a plea deal for second degree murder to ensure he wouldn’t have to stay in prison for years while fighting those new charges.

Numerous other convictions in Clark County have been overturned recently, including several death penalty cases, due to racial discrimination by prosecutors during jury selection. Obviously, for Wolfson and his prosecutors the important issue isn’t guilt or innocence, but rather simply whether they can get a conviction, even if it they know it’s a false conviction.

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Florida Cop Will Not Face Charges of On-Duty Sexual Assault; Department Unsure If He Violated Policy

Orlando Police Department Detective Angel Burgos Rape

Not only can’t they press sexual assault charges against Orlando Detective Angel Burgos, his department isn’t sure if he even violated policy.

Yesterday it was announced by prosecutors that they would not be pursuing charges against Orlando Police Detective Angel Burgos for an incident in which a woman accused him of forcing her to perform oral sex on him. This incident happened inside Burgos’ unmarked police car while he was on duty. Chief Assistant State Attorney Deborah Barra has stated that there is enough proof showing the sexual act the woman described happened, however, she maintained that there is not “concrete proof” that the woman was forced into performing the sex act.

Via the New York Daily News:

In an interview with BuzzFeed News, the alleged victim said Burgos arrived at her home on Dec. 15 around 9 a.m. and asked her to join him in his car. The woman had apparently gotten to know Burgos from a previous case she had been involved in.

“He was an officer, I didn’t think much of it, I trusted him,” the woman, speaking on condition of anonymity, told BuzzFeed.

The woman said she held a casual conversation with Burgos until he suddenly unzipped his pants, exposed his penis and began kissing her.

Burgos kept asking her to touch his penis and “j–k him off,” but she refused.

When she finally tried to get out of the car, the woman said Burgos grabbed her by the neck and pressed her head against his crotch. When she again tried to get away, Burgos allegedly told her to “live in the moment.”

The same sequence repeated itself a couple of times until the woman gave in and performed oral sex on Burgos for about 30 seconds, she claimed. Burgos subsequently masturbated and ejaculated onto a towel he kept in the center console, and the woman left the car.

She alerted the Orlando Police Department’s internal affairs unit about a week later, and an investigation was subsequently launched.

“I was still very upset,” the woman said. “This was all still very fresh — it was just a week later. I was scared, hurt and confused.”

Obviously, the majority of rapes and other types of sexual assaults not committed by strangers (which actually constitutes the majority of sexual assaults) lack “concrete evidence” beyond proof of a sex act having taken place. Therefore, it’s not at all uncommon for rape cases to come down to the victim’s word against the accused rapist’s and in fact is more likely to be the majority in such cases. So that brings into question why this case wouldn’t warrant the same standards that someone without a Magic Uniform being accused of the same acts would receive. Of course, that’s a question we all know the answer to.

Beyond that, logic would tend to dictate that due to the fact police officers are in positions of authority and armed with the ability to coerce and oftentimes even physically take advantage of someone who is restrained there would be pretty solid restrictions on even consensual sexual contact with anyone while on duty to avoid even the appearance of something like that. Not to mention that most employers tend to frown on that type of activity while on the clock, regardless of the employee’s job. Not so much with the Orlando Police Department, though. They’re still “investigating” whether he even violated policy with the sex act that the prosecutors have stated there is “sufficient evidence” of having happened.

False Imprisonment: Its Increasing Frequency and the Huge Cost It Imposes on Society

The following post was shared with the CopBlock Network anonymously by a reader, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

Police Abuses on the Rise

It’s no secret that police brutality and misconduct has been on the rise recently with cases in the news like Eric Garner who was suffocated in a choke hold by police and killed for illegally selling cigarettes. Similarly, a 12-year-old boy Tamir Rice was shot and killed after playing with a toy gun in the park. The level of uneasiness between police officers and citizens has hit an all-time high and we see this unrest play out in society. Police brutality is not the only form of police misconduct- false arrest of citizens can be an excruciating experience that sends innocent people to prison for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For example, Chicago’s taxpayers have had to pay over $120 million for the racial torture committed by one police commander, Jon Burge. Part of the disconnect between officers and citizens is the unfairness in power and how that power is used. To add on to this, police are offered different treatment when it comes to false arrests or misconduct. Although Burge oversaw the torture of over 118 black men – which would typically lead to decades in prison – he was released in three-and-a-half years and sent to a halfway house. All the men he tortured remain behind bars.

Police officers were granted a Qualified Immunity Doctrine by the Supreme Court which essentially states that police officers are innocent of harm towards their suspects in most cases due to their risky and honorable line of work. The best intentions are seen to be associated with most police officers, but has that been the case recently?

Typically, false arrest from police officers falls into the police misconduct category, which can also encompass police brutality and wrongful death. According to the University of Michigan Law School’s National Registry of Exonerations report, 75% of homicide exonerations involved police misconduct. One widely publicized example of a wrongful arrest was James Bain, who was convicted of kidnapping and rape at the age of 18. He served 35 years for a vicious crime he did not commit. Although DNA evidence was tested and presented prior, he was refused further DNA testing from the courts until his fifth try in 2006. Although misidentification from eyewitnesses account for 75% of all convictions that are overturned by DNA evidence, Bain was wrongfully arrested and incarcerated by police.

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How Does False Imprisonment Affect the Public?

Some people may think that the police arrest people who they think are guilty of a crime, and if they are wrongfully arrested, they are quickly released and go about their happy lives. That is far from the truth in most cases where the arrest was outright wrong and unlawful. Many people who are falsely arrested fight back and sue the police officer who wronged them and because of this, the public is responsible for paying that fee.

Amount of Money City Taxpayers Have Paid for Police Misconduct:

  • Chicago: $521 million from 2004-2014
  • Cleveland: $8.2 million between 2004-2014
  • Denver: $12 million since 2011
  • Dallas: $6.6 million between 2011-2014
  • Los Angeles: $101 million between 2002-2011

For example, Robert Graham was arrested for disorderly conduct by a police officer who was stuck in traffic behind him. Due to the gridlock traffic in New York City, Graham was also stuck in traffic and unable to move. The police officers wrongfully arrested Graham due to the circumstances of the situation. Graham’s wrongfully arrested cases was one of the ones that contributed to New York taxpayers paying $18 million to pay back people who were wrongfully arrested by officers.

According to Jon Norinsberg, a false imprisonment attorney, New York city police may only legally arrest citizens if:

  1. The police have an arrest warrant.
  2. The police have probable cause that you committed a crime.
  3. You are interfering with a police investigation or arrest.
  4. The police believe you are a criminal attempting to flee a crime scene.

Why are Police Officers Getting Away with False Imprisonment?

The number of innocent people behind bars is the highest number it has ever been historically, so it is only natural to question the source – the police. Why has it become okay to so quickly convict people and rarely face punishment as a police officer for wrongfully arresting someone? The issue gets stickier when videos of police officers using excessive force and even killing citizens when they appeared to pose no threat. Are there consequences for that? Rarely.

Unfortunately, false arrests happen and can be scary to argue your case in front of a judge – especially because police are most often shielded by the Qualified Immunity Doctrine exercised by the Supreme Court. This is a protective order that is designed to protect police officers from facing punishments from their mistakes or unlawful actions. In theory, this Qualified Immunity Doctrine was originally designed to shield officers who are properly bringing justice to criminals and who handle situations appropriately – if someone is upset for getting arrested if they deserve it, well this doctrine will protect the police from this potential complaint or lawsuit. Since videos have been released of police officers using unnecessary excessive force on unarmed people, citizens are growing scared that officers are abusing this immunity from the Supreme Court to get away with their unjust behavior. This is where a disconnect lies between police officers and citizens.

Where is the Accountability From the Police?

Why is it that as a society we only started paying attention to police misconduct and false arrests when Netflix featured programs like Making a Murderer?

Police officers are designed to keep our communities safe. While most cops are heroes and upstanding citizens who work hard to protect our safety, those who entered the police force to unlawfully assert power over others and take advantage of their badge are getting more press in recent news. Although it’s an unfortunate circumstance, it is important to stay educated on what is happening in society to better educate yourself and to hopefully make a positive change.

Update: Harris County Texas Cop Who Raped Dog on Video Also Charged With Possession of Child Porn

In an update to a story I posted two days ago, it is now being reported that, in addition to having been caught uploading a video of himself raping a dog (using a Harris County Sheriff’s Office computer), Deputy Andrew C. Sustaita Jr. has now been charged with multiple accounts of possessing child pornography.

Reportedly, over 200 images and videos of child porn, including images of at least two girls under four years old being raped, were found on Sustaita’s personal computer during the bestiality related investigation.

Via ABC13.com:

A former deputy accused of posting a video of himself performing a sex act with an animal is now charged with possession of child porn, according to the Harris County District Clerk’s Office.

Andrew C. Sustaita Jr. is a six-year veteran of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, most recently assigned to the Crime Control Division.

According to charging documents, when deputies searched Sustaita’s personal laptop, they discovered more than 200 child pornographic photos and videos. At least two female victims in the photos appear to be as young as 4 years old, documents say.

Sustaita was identified as a suspect during the course of an investigation managed by the sheriff’s high tech crime unit.

The (original) video reportedly shows him involved in a sex act with a small dog.

No other details have been released.

Not surprisingly, neither his father, who is currently still employed as a HCSO deputy, nor his attorney were ready to make a statement about the allegations against Sustaita. (Because you’re pretty much never ready for that.)

Local Media Coverage of New Charges

Original Local Media Coverage