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Sirens & Gavels

Posts tagged: sex offenders

Cheney child rapist could serve life

A Cheney man has been sentenced to 17 years to life in prison for raping and molesting children.

William D. Hargrove, 48, was convicted of first- and second-degree child rape and first- and second-degree child molestation after a bench trial last week before Superior Court Judge Greg Sypolt.

Hargrove was accused of raping two girls for most of their childhoods. One reported knife-point attacks, according to court documents.

Cheney police were alerted to the abuse in August 2008.

Hargrove was sentenced Monday to 210 months in prison. He must undergo a sexual deviance assessment before he's released, which could keep him behind bars for the rest of his life.
  

Level 3 sex offender moves to Valley

A sex offender recently released from prison for the unlawful imprisonment and robbery of a 16-year-old is now living in Spokane Valley.

Joseph R. Wheeler, 34, is a level 3 sex offender, which is the classification considered most likely to reoffend.

He served about eight years in prison after being convicted of first-degree robbery, second-degree assault, unlawful imprisonment, harassment in April 2004, according to court records. He was credited for about 1 1/2 years spent in the county jail before he was convicted. Wheeler's victim was a stranger.

Wheeler is being supervised by the Washington Department of Corrections but is not wanted by authorities. However, the Spokane County Sheriff's Office wants people to be aware of his presence.

Wheeler is living in the 1300 block of South Robie Road, which is a few blocks from Opportunity Elementary School.

The Spokane County Sex Offender Registry is available here. Anyone with questions about the sex offender community awareness program is asked to call (509) 477-6609 or email RSOUnit@spokanesheriff.org.

Jury indicts DSHS worker for child porn

A state social services employee arrested on child pornography charges April 17 has been indicted by a federal grand jury.

Darrell J. Rogers, 51, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of distribution of child pornography. The charges carry five years to 20 years in prison and registration as a sex offender if convicted. 

Rogers, a married father with no criminal history, was allowed to leave jail a few days after his arrest after undergoing a mental health assessment.

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

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.

Sex offender posing in park arrested

A Spokane sex offender is in jail after police say he posed for sexually explicit photos in Riverfront Park Tuesday afternoon.

James Ray Febus, 36, told police that “there was really no full nudity” involved, but Spokane police Officer Shawn Pegram showed him photos to the contrary, and Febus asked for a warning and said it had been an “error in judgment,” according to court documents.

Febus was arrested for indecent exposure, which is a felony because he has previous sex offense convictions for third-degree rape of a child and failure to register as a sex offender.

Police were called to the park about 3:45 p.m. after a security officer on a bicycle saw Febus exposing himself to another man who was taking photos in the seating area overlooking the falls and gondola route adjacent. The officer said anyone in the area could have seen Febus' genitals.

The photographer, Richard Craven, told police he took pictures as Febus exposed “his penis, testicles and buttocks,” according to court documents.

Febus was sentenced in April 2009 to prison for failing to register as a sex offender. He was convicted of the same crime in 2002 and 2005. He was sentenced to 26 months in prison in 1997 for third-degree rape of a child.

FBI arrests social worker for child porn

A state social services employee who licenses foster care homes was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of child pornography possession.

Darrell J. Rogers, 51, is in the Spokane County Jail without bail after appearing in U.S. District Court Tuesday afternoon. FBI agents arrested him at his home in the 7100 block of North Westgate Place in the Indian Trail area in north Spokane, where he lives with his wife, Kim Rogers, 49.

Kim Rogers also is a social worker with the state Department of Social and Health Services who specializes in finding homes for children who are wards of the state. Her husband licenses those homes, a neighbor said.

Darrell Rogers told FBI agents his wife had nothing to do with the child pornography they were investigating, according to court documents. The FBI began investigating Rogers in February after an agent in Maryland downloaded child pornography from an Internet user in Spokane.

The material includes children as young as approximately three months old being sexually assaulted by men and women.

Darrell Rogers was a social worker for 10 years beginning in 1995, said Thomas Shapley, DSHS spokesman. He began licensing foster homes in 2005, Shapley said.

Rogers is barred from entering his workplace, and his computer access has been locked. Should he be released from jail pending the resolution of the case, “we've already prepared an alternative work assignment for him where he would not have any contact with children,” Shapley said.

FBI agents say Rogers admitted Tuesday to using Internet file sharing programs and said no one else in the home, including his wife and two sons, would have used the screen names associated with the explicit material.

“Agents asked if he knew of any really bad people who he traded with that specifically harmed children,” according to court documents. “Rogers responded that he did not know of anyone who was abusing children, and had he known he would have reported it.”

Rogers told federal agents he had had no sexual interest in the material but was “trying to figure it out,” documents say.

“When asked about how long he had an interest in child pornography, Rogers stated that he did not know, and that he would never touch a child, and would never molest children,” agents wrote.

Rogers is due back in court Friday for a hearing to determine if he can be allowed out of jail on bail pending trial.

Godly chance leads to sex offense arrest

A Moody Bible Institute student who hoped to teach a man she met in Mission Park about God was instead groped and asked to smoke marijuana, according to Spokane police.

Officers say 40-year-old John L. Sanders continued acting inappropriately after his arrest by repeatedly asking two female Spokane police officers to have sex with him.

Sanders told the officers he hoped they would strip search him and repeatedly made kissing sounds at them, according to court documents.

The officers had arrested Sanders on a warrant March 16 after the bible school student told them she'd walked to the park to relieve stress and saw someone trying to get her attention. She was not wearing glasses and “assumed it was someone from her acting class or her church,” according to court documents.

When she realized she didn't know the man, the woman said “she felt she might have an opportunity to minister” to him, according to documents.

The man then touched her breast and asked her to smoke marijuana with him, she told police. The woman tried to leave, but the man kissed her on the lips, grabbed her and made inappropriate comments and noises.

Officers responded to the park and arrested Sanders on the unrelated warrant.

A detective assigned to follow up realized Sanders was arrested for a similar incident in downtown Spokane on Aug. 22. Sanders pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and was credited for 51 days served in jail.

The victim identified Sanders from a photo montage on Wednesday, and he was booked into jail on a felony charge of indecent liberties.

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.

Sex offender admits child porn charge

A registered sex offender admitted today to possessing child pornography at his home in Hayden Lake, Idaho.

John Patrick McClaren, 46, faces up to 15 years in prison when he's sentenced June 19 in U.S. District Court in Coeur d'Alene, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force began investigating McClaren in December 2009 after learning his Internet Protocol address was involved in the distribution of child pornography online.

Investigators seized a laptop computer and two hard drives from his home in the 3100 block of East Cambridge Drive on Jan. 27, 2010, that contained at least 160 sexually explicit images of minors. One child was identified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children as being a sex abuse victim from New Hampshire, officials said.

McClaren was convicted of possessing child pornography in Kootenai County in 2001, according to the Idaho Sex Offender Registry.

5 cited for porn shop indecent exposure

Five people were cited for indecent exposure during an undercover police investigation at a Spokane Valley porn store Tuesday.

Undercover detectives walked through the Hollywood Erotic Boutique in the 9600 block of East Sprague Avenue and observed five acts of indecent exposure, according to the Spokane County Sheriff's Office.

Detectives also checked for criminal activity at the boutique in May 2009 and May 2011. Seven violations were reported during those visits.

The five people identified Tuesday were cited for indecent exposure and released at the scene. Their names have not been released.

Detectives checked other adult stores in the area, but no other violations were reported.

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.

Fugitive haunted by son’s murder in jail

A man targeted by Crime Stoppers for failing to register as a sex offender committed the same crime three years ago while haunted by the brutal jailhouse murder of his son.

William R. Rentz, 58, was convicted of third-degree child molestation in Cowlitz County in 1994.

He was living in an abandoned van at a gas station in the winter of 2008-2009 and walked to the police station to register as a sex offender each week. He left for Idaho without notifying authorities when his brother learned he was living in the unheated van, according to court documents.

Rentz never registered in Idaho, which led to his criminal conviction in 2010.

Rentz is the father of Christopher Lee Rentz, a 21-year-old gas theft suspect who was brutally murdered by cellmates Michael Lee West and Brandon West Martin in the Spokane County Jail in 2004.

The county settled a lawsuit over Rentz's death for $180,000, and Martin and West were convicted of murder. West is now accused of brutally assaulting two other inmates at the Airway Heights Corrections Center.

Rentz considered his son to be his best friend and has not recovered from his murder, according to a memorandum his public defender, Kari Reardon, filed before his sentencing in 2010 for failing to register as a sex ofender.

Rentz was in jail, too, when he was son was killed, Reardon wrote. Jailers put him on suicide watch after informing him of the murder.

“Unfortunately for William, part of him died with Chris,” according to a letter from his brother, Terry Rentz that was included with the memo.

Terry Rentz described how he searched for his brother at various convenience stores when he learned of his condition. He said his brother was physically unable to register, and when he was, “he could not face the fact hat he would need to contact the sheriff in the same building in which his son was murdered.”

William Rentz, who was credited for 417 days served in jail at his sentencing in 2010, suffers from mild dementia, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic injury caused when he was buried in concrete, according to the memo.

A no-bail warrant for his arrest was issued Jan. 25 for failing to register as a sex offender, a felony. Crime Stoppers last week offered a reward for tips that lead to his arrest.

Anyone with information on his current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit tips online.

‘Teacher Grandpa’ sentenced for rape

A man known as “Teacher Grandpa” at a Spokane day care has been sentenced to at least 10 years in prison for child rape.

Eugene R. Wright, 66, is to serve 123 months and undergo a sexual deviance evaluation before he's released, which could mean he stays in prison for the rest of his life.

Wright was arrested in August 2010 for sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl at the Bigfoot Child Care Center at Spokane Community College.

Wright passed a background check and began working at the center in late June 2010. He was dismissed in mid-August 2010 when a young girl told her mother that Wright had molested her. Another parent told police she’d witnessed inappropriate contact between Wright and the girl.

Wright also worked at the East Central Head Start program from January 2010 until he transferred to the Bigfoot center.

Wright passed a background check through the state Department of Early Learning and was paid a stipend through a Catholic Charities program that finds work for low-income elderly people.

Wright pleaded guilty to first-degree child rape Jan. 27 and was sentenced by Spokane County Superior Court Judge Harold Clarke. He's in the Spokane County Jail awaiting transport to prison.

Spokane police Detective Stephanie Barkley investigated the case. Sgt. Steve Wohl of the sexual assault unit “credits the cooperative efforts among the Daycare on the SCC campus and other criminal justice partners for this very thorough and extensive investigation,” according to a news release.

Sex offender arrested for child porn

Spokane police Officer Tyler Cordis escorts sex offender Christopher Ebner to a patrol car after his arrest on child pornography charges today. (SPDphoto)

A sex offender was arrested today for allegedly possessing child pornography. 

Christopher Michael Ebner, 37, lives in the 1400 block of North Hodges Road in Spokane Valley, which is near the Central Valley Kindergarten Center and the Central Valley bus garage.

Detectives discovered Ebner had a large amount of child pornography on his computer and that he was sharing the material online.

The videos depicted children who appeared to be as young as 8 years old, police said. Ebner was booked into jail about 9:15 a.m.

Ebner is a level 2 sex offender with convictions in 2005 for third-degree rape of a child and possession of child pornography.

He was arrested in 2004 for having sex with a 14-year-old girl he met through an Internet chat room. Police found child pornography on his computer then, according to a previous report.

He was sentenced to 26 months in prison and four years probation, according to court records.

Today's search warrant was one of four related to child pornography in recent weeks, police said.

Cash for tips on sex offender’s location

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to the arrest of a sex offender who hasn't checked in with authorities.

Robert Tom Boren, 32, was convicted of first-degree child molestation in Washington state in 1994.

He last registered as a transient in Spokane County, which means he's required to check in with authorities once a week. But he hasn't done that, and a $15,000 arrest warrant was issued Jan. 18.

Crime Stoppers offered a reward for tips on Monday.

Boren, 6-feet tall and 170 pounds, is a level 2 sex offender. Level 3 is considered the most likely to reoffend; level 1 is the least.

Anyone with information on Boren's location is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit tips online.

Spokane man gets 13 years for child porn

A sex offender assaulted in his cell by a self-proclaimed skinhead will spend nearly 15 years in prison for child pornography charges.

Darrel W. Monzingo, 45, was sentenced today to 161 months after he pleaded guilty this summer to possessing and distributing child pornography. The case began when a Colorado Internet Crimes Against Child Task Force discovered him sharing the material over the Internet.

The investigation led to Spokane,  where the Spokane Police Department executed a search warrant on Dec. 16, 2010.

Officers seized about three dozen items of digital equipment containing thousands of images of child pornography – including some images Monzingo took himself, Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Rice said.

Monzingo has been in federal custody since Jan. 20. He was originally charged with producing child pornography. In March, he was assaulted by a self-proclaimed skinhead who was later convicted after a bench trial.
  

Police: Child molester living as transient

A sex offender considered likely to reoffend is living as a transient in Spokane County, the sheriff's office announced today.

Kevin Duane Musgrove, 33, was convicted of first-degree child molestation in Spokane County in 1993. His victim was a 3-year-old boy. Musgrove was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Musgrove also has juvenile convictions for two counts of fourth-degree assault with a sexual motivation.

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

Musgrove is not wanted by authorities, but the sheriff's office wants the public to be aware of his presence.

Musgrove is required to check in with authorities every week because he has no permanent address.

Spokane County's sex offender registry is available here.

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