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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: rape

Spokane man wins new trial

The Washington State Supreme Court today overturned the second-degree rape conviction of a Spokane man, saying the trial judge violated the man’s right to a fair trial by including a jury instruction that the defense didn’t want.

In the 6-3 decision, the state’s high court ordered a new trial for Brandon S. Coristine, who was 22 when he was convicted in January 2010 of second-degree rape following an incident in 2009.

Spokane County prosecutors charged Coristine under the argument that the victim was too intoxicated to give consent for sex, which the defense argued was consensual.

At the end of the trial, Superior Court Judge Michael Price agreed with the prosecutor to give an instruction to the jury stating that the defendant reasonably believed that the woman gave consent. The instruction further stated that it was the burden on Coristine to prove that the woman gave consent for sex by a preponderance of the evidence.

But in the 6-3 decision, the majority of justices ruled that offering the jury instruction violated Coristine’s right to a fair trial. They reversed a decision by the Division III Court of Appeals and sent the case back to Spokane County Superior Court for a new trial.

Do you know this child porn peddler?

Federal authorities are trying to identify a woman who is featured in child pornography with victims who have yet to be rescued.

The woman could live anywhere in the United States. She is depicted in several videos discovered in June during a child pornography investigation in Colorado.

  The videos featured two young girls, estimated to be tween 3 and 7 years old, who were also featured in child pornography seized in Los Angeles in June 2011.

 The material found in Colorado appears to be first time investigators could see an adult's face. A man who also is shown sexually abusing the girls digitally obscured his face in the material, making him unrecognizable.

The woman appears to be white, about 25 to 35 years old with a medium building, black to dark brown hair and blues eyes. She has a large mole on the back of her left thigh.

Several of the images were created in February 2010. The material depicts a home “which appears to be of typical North American construction found in several areas of the United States.”

The home has standard North American electrical switches. Agents noted two U.S. Army duffel bags, a U.S. Army poncho liner and U.S. Army desert boots in some of the image. Agents also observed a cardboard box with “Sunkist” written on it and a mattress with “Serta Perfect Sleep” written on it. The book “Animal Tracking Basics” by John Young and Tiffany Morgan is on a nightstand.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says the identities of the victims and perpetrators are unknown, and the victims have yet to be rescued.

Prosecutors in Washington, D.C. issued an arrested warrant this week for the woman on charges of sexual exploitation of children and conspiracy. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigation.

“Jane Doe's information and photos are being distributed through law enforcement channels by the HSI's Victim Identification Unit, HSI Los Angeles and NCMEC in a unified effort to find the perpetrators and rescue the two children,” according to a news release.

Anyone with information is asked to call 1-866-347-2423 or submit tips online.

Rape suspect wanted after skipping plea

UPDATE: Green is no longer wanted. He appeared in court and pleaded guilty to third-degree assault. The rape charge was dismissed.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of an accused rapist who missed his scheduled plea hearing.

J. Bailey Green, 24, was to plead guilty and be sentenced in Spokane County Superior Court June 19 for a second-degree rape and unlawful imprisonment case, but he never showed up. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.

Green was charged after a woman told police he raped her while at a home on West Sharp Avenue Dec. 3. The victim told police she bit Green. When police asked him about the bite mark on his cheek, Green said it occurred “maybe when I was trying to hold her down,” according to court documents.

Anyone with information on the location of Green, who is 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Reward for tips on 3 sex offenders

Three sex offenders classified as the least likely to reoffend are wanted by Crime Stoppers for failing to register.

 Jamie Bryantlee Sarazin, 25, (pictured left) was convicted in April 2010 of failing to register as a sex offender and was sentenced to 22 months in prison. A $25,000 warrant was issued May 22 for the new charge.

Sarazin's last known address was in the 0 block of South Adams Street in Spokane.

John Thomas Griffith, 30, (pictured right) was convicted of an out-of-state sex offense in May 2002.  He last gave an address in the 10000 block of East 4th Avenue in Spokane Valley.

 Phillip John Motyka, 45, (pictured left) was convicted of third-degree rape in 1990.

Motyka's criminal history also includes convictions for riot and drug possession. He last gave an address in the 8000 block of West Jensen Road in Cheney.

Sarazin, Griffith and Motyka are level 1 sex offenders.

Anyone with information the locations of either of the three is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Crime Stoppers also is offering a reward for tips on the location of two sex offender with lengthy criminal stories. Read more here.
  

Cash targets unregistered sex offenders

Two Spokane sex offenders with lengthy criminal histories are wanted by Crime Stoppers for failing to register.

Jeremiah Kevin Johnson, 33, was convicted of first-degree child molestation in 1990 and 2006.

He's already failed to register as a sex offender at least once - he was sentenced to 90 days in jail and three years probation in 2009.

Johnson (pictured left) also has convictions for assault and unlawfully possessing guns. He last gave an address in the 0 block of East Courtland Avenue in Spokane.

Joining Johnson on the Crime Stoppers fugitive list is Lamonte William Lindsay, 46, (pictured right) who has more than 40 criminal convictions as an adult, including at least eight for assault.

Lindsay was convicted of third-degree rape in 1989. He has previously failed to register as a sex offender. He last gave an address in the 300 block of W. 2nd Ave., but the online sex offender registry says he currently is a transient who's required to check in with authorities every week.

He's been wanted since May 22 on a $15,000 warrant.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to their arrests. Anyone with information either man's location is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Spokane County lists all non-compliant sex offenders. Check out the website here.

Alleged sex slave traders released

Four people arrested in what investigators believe is Spokane County’s first human trafficking case were released this weekend because no charges have been filed.

Spokane County sheriff’s investigators still are working on the case against Lawrence Dean Johnson, 43, his wife, Dina K. Tellez, 43; Christopher G. Foster, 33; and Foster’s girlfriend, Shanell L. Haddon, 28.

The suspects were released from the Spokane County Jail because prosecutors did not file charges within three days of their arrest as required by law. They can still be charged, and investigators still are working on charging recommendations for prosecutors.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

May 24: Sex slave claim leads to 4 arrests

Sex slave claims lead to four arrests

A frightened young woman’s descriptions of being held captive and sold for sex at drug houses and motels over the past year has led to several arrests in what’s believed to be Spokane County’s first human trafficking case.

Lawrence Dean Johnson, 43, his wife, Dina K. Tellez, 43; Christopher G. Foster, 33; and Shanell L. Haddon, 28, who is Foster’s girlfriend, are in the Spokane County Jail as prosecutors consider formal charges against them.

Dave Skogen, a detective with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, said Thursday that more victims could be identified.

Foster denied the allegations in an interview with The Spokesman-Review from jail Thursday evening.

“They should get a psychiatric evaluation done on this chick,” Foster said. “Then the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office will realize what a big mistake they’ve made.”

Read the rest of my story here.

Rapist’s civil commitment overturned

Appellate judges ordered a new trial today for Spokane man convicted in 2009 of being a sexually violent predator because the note he wrote, detailing his desire to rape, kidnap and dismember a woman, was never communicated to anyone and thus did not meet the required legal definition of a threat.

 As part of the elements to qualify him as a sexually violent predator, the state must show that convicted rapist Shawn D. Botner committed an “overt act” toward committing another sex crime. Because of the decision Tuesday, Botner is expected to face another trial to determine whether he will remain in state custody indefinitely.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Past coverage:

Aug. 25, 2009: Sex offender's fate rests with jury

DSHS worker had ‘disturbing’ child porn

A state social services employee accused of distributing child pornography must undergo a mental health evaluation before he can leave jail, a judge ruled today.

A federal prosecutor said the material distributed by Darrell J. Rogers, who licenses foster homes for children, is some of the worst he's encountered in his 36 years of practicing law.

“This is not normal child pornography,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Earl Hicks said at Rogers' bail hearing in U.S. District Court. “This is child pornography that is very disturbing.”

The material includes a video of a 3-month-old girl being raped by an adult male, Hicks said.

“This is not like trading baseball cards,” Hicks said. “What kind of person would have an interest in this?…Most people are disgusted by it, and most people would ask 'what's wrong with this person?'”

Rogers, 51, is a married father of two with no criminal history. He's lived in Spokane his entire life and has worked for the state Department of Health and Human Services since 1995. Family, friends and coworkers attended his hearing; some left afterward in tears.

Distributing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison for each image.

U.S Magistrate Cynthia Imbrogno will review Rogers' mental health evaluation. Rogers and his wife must pay $25,000 bond to secure his release from jail. If he is released, Rogers will be confined to his home and must wear an electric monitor. Firearms that FBI agents found in his home during a search on Tuesday must be removed.

Imbrogno called the conditions “perhaps about as stringent as they get for this type of charge,” she said.

Hicks cited Rogers’ employment as a person in a position of trust with children as further reason for a mental health evaluation.

“He's leading a double life, in effect,” Hicks said.

A DSHS spokesman said Rogers will be reassigned to a position in which he does not have contact with children if he's released from jail pending the resolution of his case. Imbrogno said she'll decide if Rogers can be employed after reading his evaluation.

Rogers has been in the Spokane County Jail since Tuesday, when FBI agents arrested him at his home in the 7100 block of North Westgate Place in the Indian Trail area in north Spokane and seized a computer containing sexually explicit images of children.

The FBI began investigating him in February after an agent in Maryland downloaded child pornography from an Internet Protocol address linked to Rogers' home.

The material features the infant and children up to six years old, Hicks said.

Rogers told the FBI the material was on a computer in the guest bedroom when questioned, Hicks said.

Rogers also told investigators he'd never hurt a child and would contact authorities if he knew of someone who was. He said he wasn't sexually attracted to children but was “trying to figure out” child pornography.

Hicks said Rogers' response was typical “even from people who have been diagnosed as pedophiles.”

“I'm not saying Rogers is; I'm saying that's a typical response,” Hicks said.

He called the assertion that viewing and distributing child pornography doesn't harm children “bunk.”

“Fifty-one-year-olds creating generations of pedophiles. If we look at the facts, that’s what happens in a lot of circumstances,” Hicks said.

Public defender Matthew Campbell said a mental health evaluation isn't necessary and said Rogers is not a danger to the community. “He has no criminal history,” Campbell said.

Campbell said prosecutors have not opposed pre-trial release in other child pornography cases, but Hicks said the cases didn't involve three month olds being raped by adult males.

Crime Stoppers targets 2 sex offenders

Crime Stoppers is offering rewards for tips that help arrest two sex offenders who haven't check in with authorities as required.

Kevin Raymond Belieu, 53, (left) is a transient with a 35 year criminal history that includes convictions for robbery, theft, forgery and lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor.

Belieu, 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds, is living as a transient, which means he's required to check in with authorities once a week. A $15,000 warrant was issued March 12 after he failed to check in.

Also wanted is Billy Ray Roberts, Jr., 32 (right).

Roberts, 6-feet-tall and 215 pounds, last gave an address in the 8000 block of North Mayfair Street in Spokane.

His nine-year criminal history includes conviction for theft and burglary, as well as a conviction for third-degree rape of a child in 2003. A $15,000 warrant was issued March 12 after Roberts failed to check in with authorities.

Belieu and Roberts are level 1 sex offenders, which is the classification considered least likely to reoffend.

Anyone with information on their current locations is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online. Tipsters do not have to leave their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Rapist registers as Spokane transient

A sex offender considered likely to reoffend has registered as a transient in Spokane County.

 Harold David Werstein, 48, spent nearly 18 years in prison for raping a 13-year-old girl. He was convicted of first-degree rape in Lewis County in 1990. His victim was a stranger.

Werstein is no longer under supervision by the Washington Department of Corrections, but he's required to check in with authorities once a week so long as he doesn't have a permanent address.

Werstein is a level 3 sex offender, which is the classification considered most likely to reoffend.

He is not wanted by authorities, but the Spokane County Sheriff's Office wants people to be aware of his presence.

Spokane County's sex offender registry is available here.

Child rapist registers as local transient

A sex offender considered likely to reoffend has registered as a transient in Spokane County.

Christopher Michael Foster, 27, was convicted by a jury of four counts of third-degree child rape in 2005 for having sex with a 14-year-old girl who he met after she ran away from home.

He was sentenced to five years in prison and never admitted the crimes.

Foster also was convicted of first-degree child molestation in Pend Oreille County in 1998. His victim was a 6-year-old girl.

Foster, a level 3 sex offender, is no longer being supervised by the Washington Department of Corrections, but he's required to check in with authorities once a week because he doesn't have a permanent address.

Spokane County's sex offender registry is available here.

Man charged with woman’s Aug. murder

A sex offender suspected of killing a Spokane woman who was working as a prostitute last August has been charged with murder.

Derrick Ross Vargas, 25, is to appear in Superior Court today on a first-degree murder charge for the brutal slaying of Evon M. Moore, 48, whose body was found in an alley near North Ralph Street and East Riverside Avenue Aug. 13.

Vargas was released from federal prison on Aug. 2 after serving about four years for having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl when he was 19.

He's been in the Spokane County Jail since Sept. 23 after a Washington State Patrol trooper contacted him during a traffic stop and a woman jumped out of his truck and said she'd been raped. 

Police say the woman was working as a prostitute on East Sprague Avenue when she met Vargas.

Police realized Vargas' truck matched a truck seen on the surveillance video near where Moore's body was found.

Detectives found a pair of shoes with blood on them in Vargas' East Trent Avenue apartment that matched the shoe tread pattern found near Moore's body. They also found a purse believed to belong to Moore, who was a student at Spokane Community College.

Spokane police recommended murder, rape, robbery and kidnapping charges against Vargas in a case sent to prosecutors earlier this month. Look for an update later this afternoon on the formal charges against Vargas, which were filed Monday.

Rapist registers as transient in Spokane

A convicted rapist considered likely to reoffend has registered as a transient in Spokane County.

Douglas James Dennis, 44, served 10 years in prison after being convicted in March 1985 of kidnapping and raping a 17-year-old girl.

Dennis is required to check in with authorities once a week because he is not registered at a permanent address.

Dennis is a level 3 sex offender, which is the classification considered most likely to reoffend.

He is not wanted by authorities, but the Spokane County Sheriff's Office wants people to be aware of his presence.

Spokane County's sex offender registry is available here.

Rape alleged in prostitute’s brutal murder

Spokane police are recommending murder, rape, robbery and kidnapping charges against a sex offender suspected of killing a Spokane woman who was working as a prostitute last August.

Major crimes detectives have submitted the charging request for Derrick Ross Vargas, 24, (right) to the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office, police said today.

Vargas, who has long been a suspect, is accused of raping and murdering Evon M. Moore, 48, whose body was found in an alley near North Ralph Street and East Riverside Avenue Aug. 13. Police said the condition Moore's body showed she was obviously the victim of a “brutal murder.”

Detectives were looking for clues from cars seen on surveillance video in the area when a Washington State Patrol trooper contacted Vargas during a traffic stop Sept. 23.
 
A woman jumped out of his red truck and said Vargas had raped her. Police say the woman was working as a prostitute on East Sprague Avenue when she met Vargas - just like Moore (left). And Vargas' truck matched  a truck seen on the surveillance video near where Moore's body was found.
 
Vargas was released from federal prison on Aug. 2 after serving about four years for having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl when he was 19.
 
Detectives found a pair of shoes with blood on them in Vargas' East Trent Avenue apartment that matched the shoe tread pattern found near Moore's body. They also found a purse believed to belong to Moore, who was a student at Spokane Community College.
 
He's been in jail since Sept. 23 on a rape charge for the alleged incident with the prostitute. He has not yet been formally charged in Moore's death.

CdA man accused of raping teenage boy

A 41-year-old Coeur d'Alene man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly raping a 16-year-old boy.

Sonny Novero Coley was booked into the Kootenai County Jail on charges of rape, sexual battery and sexual exploitation of a child.

Detectives received a report Tuesday that detailing Coley's alleged contact with the boy, police said Wednesday. They interviewed Coley at the police station and arrested him about 8:30 p.m.

The alleged victim knew Coley “and spent a lot of time with him,” according to a Coeur d'Alene Police Department news release.

Police did not release further details.

Man gets 9+ years for New Year’s rape

A Spokane man who raped a girl in a park on New Year's Day 2010 will spend at least nine years in prison under a sentence imposed recently in Superior Court.

Louis Victor Kuster, 23, was sentenced to at least 114 months for second-degree rape. Because he's a sex offender, Kuster must undergo evaluations before he's allowed to be released. That means he could stay behind bars indefinitely.

Kuster was arrested in January 2011 after DNA he submitted for a property crime conviction linked him to the rape at Patrick Byrne Park, 125 E. Walton Ave. His victim was a 16-year-girl. Kuster told jurors at his three-day trial in November that the oral sex was consensual, but they convicted him.

Kuster underwent sex offender treatment as a teenager after he was accused of sexually harassing and inappropriately touching four girls while a middle school student in Stevens County.

Judge Kathleen O'Connor sentenced Kuster on Tuesday. He's at the Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to prison.

Cops: Sex offender tried to rape hooker

A sex offender jailed in California has been charged with trying to rape a Spokane prostitute at knifepoint.

Robert James Barbee, 38, also faces a federal charge of failing to register as a sex offender after investigators say he moved to the area from California without notifying authorities.

He was arrested in Oct. 17 after a woman recognized him as the man who tried to rape her Sept. 25 after she agreed to perform oral sex for $40, according to the Spokane Police Department.

The woman told police was working the corner of East Sprague Avenue and North Magnolia Street when she went with the man to an abandoned house and was attacked. The woman said she fought off the attack and was assisted by patrons at the Rainbow Room, a topless bar.

Police caught up with Barbee Oct. 17 after the woman called 911 and said her attacker approached her friend that day while they were working as prostitutes near Sprague and North Crestline Street. Officers found Barbee near East Second Avenue and South Perry Street, and he told them he'd been attacked by a man who accused him of raping a woman, according to court documents.

Barbee was arrested on a warrant out of California for failing to follow parole conditions for a theft/embezzlement against the elderly conviction. He told police he'd been in Spokane for about five weeks and was staying at the House of Charity.

A federal complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Spokane alleges he failed to register as a sex offender here. He's required to do so because of a 1994 conviction for lewd and lascivious conduct with a 13-year-old child. Barbee last registered as a transient in San Joaquin County, Calif.

Spokane police Detective Brian Hamond says Barbee denied any knowledge of the incident during a phone interview in prison in Elk Grove, Calif. on Dec. 19. Barbee also denied carrying a knife, according to documents prepared by Hamond.

Spokane County prosecutors charged Barbee Dec. 20 with attempted first-degree rape and second-degree assault. He has not yet arrived in Spokane to face charges.

Ex-tribal jail deputy acquitted of rape

A former jail deputy on the Spokane Indian Reservation has been acquitted of accusations that he raped an inmate.

A jury found Clifford Arlen Matherly not guilty of two rape charges Thursday in U.S. District Court in Spokane.

Matherly was arrested in June after a grand jury indicted him on charges he raped a woman while she was under his supervision  at the Bureau of Indian Affairs jail in May 2008. He was released from jail pending trial.

The acquittal came after a two-day trial.
  

Jury convicts Spokane man of rape

A Spokane County jury has convicted a man linked to a rape after his DNA was collected for a property crime conviction.

Louis Victor Kuster, 23, is awaiting sentencing after being convicted of second-degree rape Thursday after a three-day trial in Superior Court.

Kuster has been in jail since his arrest in January, more than a year after he raped a 16-year-old at Patrick Byrne Park, 125 E. Walton Ave. Police circulated a sketch of the attacker in the weeks after the Jan. 1, 2010 attack.

Kuster told jurors the oral sex was consensual.

Juror Jeff Bruno, a 48-year-old small business owner, said Kuster's gave a conflicting statement to police at the time of his arrest that he'd never met the girl. That showed he couldn't be trusted, Bruno said.

“If I walked through a park and happened to have sex with a woman I'm going to remember that for a long time. That's not something I would casually just forget,” Bruno said.

Bruno said jurors were split when they began deliberations - seven guilty and five not guilty. Deliberations lasted about five or six hours, Bruno said.

Bruno said Kuster and the victim testified. He said Kuster became angry on the stand and described him as a “monster.” The girl had a diffficult time testifying, he said. She “was just terrified of this guy on the stand,” Bruno said. “She wouldn't even look at him.”

Bruno learned after the verdict that Kuster underwent sex offender treatment as a teenager after he was accused of sexually harassing and inappropriately touching four girls while a middle school student in Stevens County.

Bruno said jurors were told only of Kuster's conviction for second-degree possession of stolen property, which led to his DNA being collected in August 2010.

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