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Black Collar Crime Blotter

Posted by on Sep. 7, 2009 at 5:33 PM
  • 2 Replies

or, "By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them." a post about a sex offender being ordained as a minister got me thinking...

The following is Part 1, from a regular column in one of my favorite periodicals.


Melissa Huckaby, 28, Tracy, CA: A grand jury in northern California on Monday indicted a former Sunday school teacher on charges of kidnapping, murder and rape in the death of an 8-year-old girl.  Melissa Huckaby, 28, is accused of killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, who disappeared on March 27 in Tracy, California. Her body was found April 6 in a suitcase in an irrigation pond near the mobile home park where her family lived.

Rev. John Picard
, 42, Englewood, OH: John Picard, 42, of Englewood, is charged with 42 counts of sexual battery. Picard was formerly youth pastor at Grace Brethren Church on Marion Avenue. If convicted on all counts, he could receive up to 210 years in prison.
There are six reported victims.

Rev. Jack Ryan Duffer
, 40, Seaford Road, VA: A youth pastor who was arrested in York County and accused of having sexual contact with an underage girl now faces additional charges — 17 counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor and 17 counts of contributing to the delinquency or a minor.
He was initially charged with one count of taking indecent liberties with a minor and one count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Sgt. Dennis Ivey Jr., a spokesman for the York-Poquoson Sheriff's Office, confirmed the additional charges Monday. He said the charges stem from incidents that occurred between Feb. 26, 2008, and Aug. 15, 2008, at two separate locations in York County.

Rev. Robert Fuller, 54, Sydney, AUS: A 54-year-old Sydney Catholic priest has been arrested and charged after allegedly attempting to groom detectives who were masquerading as a 13-year-old girl, sending them a series of sexually explicit chat-room messages.
Police allege they posed as a 13-year-old girl on the internet to catch Robert Fuller, a priest of three decades standing and the parish priest of All Saints at Liverpool for six years. Prior to that he was the parish priest at a Punchbowl parish.
They allege he sent chat-room messages between July and August, and even tried to arrange a meeting to engage in sexual activity.
Police arrested Father Fuller in a car park at Parramatta, in western Sydney, at 12.30pm yesterday, and later charged him with grooming a person under the age of 16.

Rev. Matthew Darren Wood
, 38, Marshall, TX: The former pastor of Central Baptist Church in Marshall, Texas, has been arrested after being accused of cyberstalking a Shreveport woman who had attended his church while he was the pastor.  Matthew Darren Wood, 38, of the 100 block of Pine Burr Circle, is accused of sending several anonymous, sexually-explicit e-mails to a 21-year-old woman on a single day in March, according to a Caddo sheriff’s office news release.

Rev. Dennis N. Reedy, 65, Philipsburg, PA: Former Tyrone Pastor Dennis N. Reedy was cuffed and carted away to jail Monday after Judge Pamela A. Ruest voiced concern for the safety of children in the community and revoked his bail.
Reedy, 65, of Philipsburg, has been charged twice this summer with sex-related crimes against children, and prosecutor Yvette Willson fought to put him behind bars at a bail hearing Monday afternoon, also mentioning another case in Franklin County in 2006.
Reedy has a history involving juveniles, Willson said, and “for that reason we have a serious and legitimate concern.”
Reedy had been free on unsecured bail — meaning he didn’t have to post any money unless he got in trouble — after his July arrest on charges he groped a 13-year-old boy and then gave the boy and his friend a story he’d written that depicted them engaged in homosexual acts.
“Not less than two weeks later,” Willson said, Reedy was arrested again after security at the Nittany Mall caught Reedy in the handicap stall with the 16-year-old, and when they emerged the boy told police he and Reedy went there to have anonymous oral sex.
Reedy’s attorney, Dave Mason, said that Reedy has been in counseling since the state police confiscated his computer about 18 months ago, looking for the story he wrote the two boys, both younger than 14. Police did not find the story given to the boys, but found similar stories on the computer.
Reedy completed a probationary program in 2007 in Franklin County, in connection with accusations that he groped a 12-year-old at a church camp. And with these two recent Centre County cases, Madeira said, “Unless the court determines that they are relevant to one another, evidence of one alleged offense does not prove or disprove a second offense.”

Rev. James Robinson, 71, Birmingham, UK: British police have charged a former California priest with 22 counts of sexually abusing young boys when he served in the United Kingdom between 1959 and 1983.  James Robinson, 71, is alleged to have carried out the abuse when he served as a Roman Catholic priest in Britain between 1959 and 1983. He moved to California in 1985 and was arrested there in January after he was tracked down by a BBC program and challenged in person by one of his accusers. 
Robinson was taken into custody after a two-minute hearing at a court in Birmingham, 120 miles (190 kilometers) north of London.

Rev. Leslie Doug Campbell, Wichita, KS: A Wichita priest has been charged with lewd and lascivious behavior and other misdemeanors after being arrested last week in a prostitution sting.
Five men and two women were arrested in the Aug. 7 sting operation in Oak Park, including the Rev. Leslie "Doug" Campbell.  The charges against Campbell also include misdemeanor public nudity and being in the park after hours.
The 64-year-old priest serves at St. Jude's Catholic Church.  Bishop Michael O. Jackels announced he will celebrate Mass there this weekend. (from 8-7-09)

Marvin Berkowitz, 62, Jerusalem, Israel: A former Chicago rabbi and nine of his family members and associates have been indicted in connection with a tax-fraud ring that allegedly used the stolen identities of thousands of federal prisoners to file bogus tax returns.
Marvin Berkowitz, 62, who fled to Israel to avoid a tax fraud case in 2003, was arrested in Jerusalem on Sunday night, federal authorities said. Berkowitz allegedly recruited members of the conspiracy to travel to federal courthouses to gather information about prisoners to use in the scheme.
The ring, broken up by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division, submitted fraudulent documents using the stolen identities seeking $35 million, and caused $4 million in refunds to be issued to bank accounts it controlled, authorities said. Berkowitz then allegedly directed $800,000 to be paid to his family members.
It was unclear when Berkowitz might be returned to Chicago, where in the late 1980s he also was convicted of stealing documents from the U.S. attorney's office in yet another fraud case. He eventually was sentenced to 5 years in prison for that crime.
Yair Berkowitz, 26, of Chicago, the alleged leader's son, appeared at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse on Monday, along with Eric Berkowitz, 33, of Chicago, Marvin Berkowitz's son-in-law. Both pleaded not guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges and were being held pending a detention hearing Wednesday.
Prosecutors said there was a serious risk that both could flee to Israel, compounded by the ability of Marvin Berkowitz to wire money.

Robert Sewell Barth, 57, Orange County, FL: An Orange County elementary teacher facing a federal child pornography charge has resigned, a school district official said today.  Robert Sewell Barth, 57, taught second grade at Cheney Elementary School. He has been on "relief of duty" status since December. His resignation was effective last week.
Barth, who also served as a foster parent to nearly 20 children, was once named teacher of the year at Cheney Elementary.  Barth taught Catholic education in two churches and had been a Cub Scout leader. He was certified to teach community first aid and safety for the American Red Cross and helped certify Girl Scouts in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia in 1999.
During a recent hearing in federal court, a prosecutor said evidence collected in the case showed Barth had looked at child pornography before he went to work in December. Investigators found more than 1,100 images and at least 25 videos of child pornography on his computer, the prosecutor said. Barth later admitted to investigators that he purchased child pornography and was addicted to porn, the prosecutor said.

Rev. Arthur James Ree
, 82, St. Cloud, MN: An 82-year-old man and retired pastor within the Southwestern Minnesota Synod ELCA, based in Redwood Falls, Minn., has been arrested for first-degree criminal sexual assault, police said.
Arthur James Ree, also a former volunteer police chaplain in St. Cloud, told police about multiple counts of criminal sexual contact with a female victim in the early 2000s.  Ree also told the police that the incidents happened over a period of 18 months at his residence in St. Cloud.
Police said the incidences occurred at Ree's home in the 1200 block of Wildwood Rd. in St. Cloud, Minn.  The victim has been identified as a juvenile when the incidents occurred.
According to the church's bishop, Ree served at the VA Medical Center in St. Cloud and retired in 1997. He is married and has children, the bishop said.

Rev. Marion Leon Kosier Jr.
, 48, Summerville, SC: A Dorchester County preacher with a criminal past was arrested Monday and accused of exposing himself last year to a 5-year-old girl who attended his church.  Marion Leon Kosier Jr., pastor of Harleyville Christian Church, surrendered alongside his attorney at the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office in Summerville, sheriff's Maj. John Garrison said. Kosier is charged with committing or attempting a lewd act on a child younger than 16.
The girl's parents on Monday night said they had found no evidence to suggest that anything other than the alleged exposure took place.
Kosier's wife said his attorney is working to have the charge changed to indecent exposure.  Lil Kosier said her husband is innocent.
"He has never been alone with this child," she said. "It's just someone trying to ruin him."
Marion Kosier, 48, a bus line ticket agent and part-time minister, had a brief stay at the Dorchester County Jail in St. George on Monday. Authorities said he was on suicide watch because he threatened to kill himself. Hours later, however, he was released after posting $35,000 bail.
His wife of 21 years was waiting for him outside.
Kosier was a close friend of the Summerville girl's family. An affidavit accuses him of walking into the girl's bedroom sometime between April 1 and Sept. 1, 2008, with his pants open and his genitals exposed.  Her parents said the girl didn't immediately report the incident, but when she told them about it weeks later, they felt a devastating sense of betrayal.
The girl's parents said that after she told them about the incident, they learned that Marion Kosier was a registered sex offender.
He had been arrested on a charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor in August 1984. In November of that year, he was convicted of a lesser offense of third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor. He was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of probation, according to State Law Enforcement Division records. Kosier served fewer than three years behind bars before he was eligible for release on probation in April 1987, said Josh Gelinas, communications director for the state Department of Corrections.
Kosier was arrested again in August 1995 and charged with exposing himself and committing a lewd act on a minor. The Associated Press reported that, at the time, he was pastor of Branchville Baptist Church and that he resigned two weeks before two girls accused him of exposing himself when they came to his house to sell doughnuts.  He pleaded guilty and a year later received a six-month suspended sentence, along with two years of probation. He also was required to attend sex offender counseling, SLED records state.
Garrison said Marion Kosier wasn't arrested for the Summerville incident until this week because investigators wanted to be thorough and have medical experts interview the girl.  The girl is now age 6.
Her parents said Marion Kosier has continued to preach at the church since the allegation was made.

Rev. Michael Agnello
, 57, Charleston, SC: Local pastor and talk show host Michael Agnello was arrested early Sunday and charged with aggravated DUI after being pulled over on Interstate 64.
Agnello began swerving into the other lanes of traffic and running off the roadway.  Agnello was arrested for DUI and brought to the Dunbar Police Department, where be blew a .173 on an Intoximeter, causing police to charge him with an aggravated DUI. The legal limit is .08.  Anyone with a blood-alcohol content level greater than .15 can be charged with aggravated DUI.
The pastor is no stranger to making headlines in Charleston. He was at the center of a 1988 New Life Church scandal that rocked his congregation and caused him to leave Charleston.

Rev. Bernard Squires, 64, Columbia City, IN: A local chaplain is facing child pornography charges. Bernard Squires, 64, is accused of distributing child pornography.  Court records do indicate that police seized a number of computers, tapes and movies from Squires' rural Columbia city home.
Squires served as chaplain for the Whitley County Sheriff's Department. It's not clear how long he was in that position, but officers tell NewsChannel 15 he has been let go.
Squires is also the pastor of a Grace Baptist Church in Columbia City.

Rev. Denis Lyons, 75, Seal Beach, CA: A priest who escaped prosecution on allegations that he molested a boy more than 30 years ago was arrested Monday on new charges of molesting a second boy at a Costa Mesa Catholic school during the mid-1990s.  Police said the abuse occurred from 1992 to 1995 at St. John the Baptist School, when the victim was between the ages of 7 and 9.
Lyons was charged with four felony counts of lewd conduct with a child younger than 14, along with a sentencing enhancement of committing substantial sexual conduct.  If convicted of the charges, Lyons faces 14 years in prison.
Lyons, who was removed from ministry in April 2002, has cost the Diocese of Orange more than $4 million in settlements of other sex-abuse claims.
The most recent payout came in February, when the diocese settled a lawsuit brought by Jonathan Kirrer, 24, of Fountain Valley for an undisclosed amount.
Kirrer, a student at St. John the Baptist, alleged he was abused in 1994 and 1995. Kirrer claimed that Lyons abused him four times – twice in the parish rectory and twice in the church's sacristy. He reported the abuse to Costa Mesa police soon after filing the lawsuit in March 2008.
Lyons denied the allegations.
Molestation accusations aren't anything new to Lyons. In 1993, he admitted to inappropriate behavior with two adults in 1979, when he was pastor at St. John the Baptist. He was placed into counseling but put on administrative leave in 2002 when he was assigned to St. Edward Church in Dana Point.
In 2003, he was charged with molesting a teenage boy for three years beginning in 1978 at St. John the Baptist. But that case was dropped after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidated prosecutions of some older sex crimes, including acts Lyons was accused of committing.
David Clohessy, national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, thinks Lyons has abused more children, and said he hopes they come forward.
"We're seeing this more and more often: child molesting clerics, even after they're caught, breaking laws and hurting others again,'' he said in an email. "It proves what we've long said: Kids are safest when predators are jailed."

Rev. Donnell Williams
, 36, Ruskin, FL: Donnell Williams, a pastor at the Church of God in Christ House of Praise on North Nebraska, was charged with identity theft resulting in losses over $5,000, identity theft resulting in losses under $5,000, first-degree grand theft and money laundering. He was released on $51,000 bail.
Williams was employed at Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union as a loan officer and as a branch manager.  Between July 26, 2006, and February 12, 2009, Williams used his position to establish fraudulent loans to co-defendants by falsifying the loan applications. Williams, 36, also used his position within the credit union to circumvent security measures, used the personal information of others both with and without their consent and received monetary gain from doing so. Williams also engaged in money laundering by filtering the ill-gotten funds through various other accounts.  Williams was fired from the credit union in February, according to officials. He later went to work as a substitute teacher in the Hillsborough County school district.

Samuel Solanky
, 61, Cambell Hall, NY: A pastor and television show host has been indicted in a $3 million jewelry fraud scheme.  Samuel Solanky, 62, aka Samee Solanky, has been charged in an indictment for wire fraud for stealing approximately $3 million from victims in a phony jewelry business scheme.
Prosecutors say that in June 2005, Solanky was a pastor who had a religious show on cable television known as “Vandana,” which was broadcast in the New York City metropolitan area and elsewhere.  Solanky used religious organizations with which he was associated to solicit victims to invest in his purported jewelry business. In both conversations and written communications, Solanky told numerous victims that he would use their investments to purchase gem stones in India that would be sold to jewelers in the United States. Prosecutors say he promised victims that they would receive 100% returns on their investments within a matter of months.
In fact, prosecutors say Solanky did not operate a jewelry business but rather diverted the victims’ money for his own use. While he allegedly made several payments to some of the victims in order to induce them to invest additional funds with him, the majority of the victims received no money at all from Solanky; they never received returns on their investments and they never received refunds of their investments.  Some victims received checks that did not clear because there were insufficient funds in the accounts on which the checks were drawn, as well as checks as to which Solanky stopped payment, prosecutors said.  In total, Solanky allegedly stole approximately $3 million from victims through his fraudulent scheme.
Solanky is charged with one count of wire fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. He also faces a maximum fine of $250,000 or twice the gross gain resulting from the offense, as well as forfeiture of the proceeds of his crimes.

Rev. Timothy Dane Tillman, 44, Vincent, AL: A former Vincent pastor charged in the 2005 shooting death of his wife will go on trial this fall.  Shelby County Circuit Judge Dan Reeves set a trial date of Oct. 19 for Timothy Dane Tillman.  Tillman, 44, is accused of deliberately shooting Janet Lorita Tillman, 40, on Oct. 26, 2005, at their Vincent home. He is charged with murder.
Tillman is also facing a separate possession of a forged instrument charge. That charge stems from a $5,000 check that was endorsed by his late wife, prosecutors said.
Tillman, who is free on bond, was arrested in October 2007 on the murder charge. Prosecutors say Tillman was leading a double life. He would tell his family he was going to a church retreat and then travel across the country, prosecutors contend. While pretending to be in the Navy, Tillman was visiting a woman he married after his wife's death, the prosecution alleges.

Rev. John Edward Smith, 44, Jackson, KY: Using electronic communications to procure a minor for sexual offenses.  Smith, the pastor of Rehoboth Baptist Church, pleaded not guilty to using text messages to lure the girl, 13, for sex.  Investigators said he knew the teen through church.

Rev. James L. Swanson, 55, Leesburg, VA: James L. Swanson, 55, of Leesburg, is charged with two counts of assault and battery and taking indecent liberties with a minor while in a custodial or supervisory position in that case.  The alleged incidents occurred while Swanson was pastor of the Greater Zion Community Church in Ashburn.  A nearly two-month long investigation by the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division led to the identity of three alleged victims. In April, Loudoun Investigators received independent information of a 14-year-old female and 15-year-old female, both of Ashburn, having inappropriate contact with the pastor.
"It's not clear at this point whether or not there are any more victims," said Loudoun County Sheriff's Office PIO Kraig Troxell. "Whenever you have a case when you have a person in a position of authority abuse their powers–be it a teacher, pastor or law enforcement officer –it is very disconcerting."

by on Sep. 7, 2009 at 5:33 PM
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by Satan on Sep. 7, 2009 at 5:35 PM

...and that is just the ones readers submitted, during one month.

And that's just the ones who were caught, and who the authorities were able to charge.

"I'll fight for a person's right to speak so long as that person will, in return, fight to allow me to challenge their opinions and ridicule them as the content of their ideas merit."



by Silver Member on Sep. 7, 2009 at 6:23 PM

That is just sick.  I hate nothing more than when people abuse a position of trust/power with intent to  deceive and harm children.   A closer eye should be kept on them, maybe they need to have mandatory background checks.   I don't even know how that works, are they employed by the churches or is it voluntary? just wow - unbelievable.

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