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Crime Stoppers looking for six sex offenders

Crime Stoppers of the Inland Northwest is looking for six sex offenders. Crime Stoppers fugitives are wanted criminal suspects avoiding police capture. Do not approach them, they should only be contacted by law enforcement.

Three of the sex offenders are non-compliant with the terms of their release and are wanted by the Spokane County Sheriff's Office for failing to register.

Matthew Boneshirt, 40, is 6 feet tall, 275 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. He also has a misdemeanor warrant for city theft.

Dakota Lohstreter, 19, is 5-foot-7, 135 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes. He also has a Department of Corrections warrant for escape from community custody.

Bradley Williams, 25, is 5-foot-9, 175 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes. He also has a Department of Corrections warrant for escape from community custody.

Three of the sex offenders are wanted by the Department of Corrections for escape from community custody.

Cabbie Baruth, 32, is 5-foot-8, 155 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes.

Matthew McNamara, 30, is 6 feet tall, 155 pounds and has brown hair and blue eyes.

William Shawl, 28, is 5-foot9, 190 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone with information about these men's whereabouts is asked to call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 800-222-TIPS. Tipsters don't have to give their name to collect the fugitive reward.

Suspect cleared in May home invasion

A Spokane man arrested for a May home-invasion robbery has been cleared of wrongdoing in what his lawyer says was a case of mistaken identity.

Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, still faces seven felony gun, drug, burglary and theft charges for a May 1 burglary.

Police believe Epperson stole guns, electronics and jewelry from a home in the Country Homes area to help pay a $1,000 debt to his heroin dealer. Epperson's girlfriend, Chelsey M. Loe, also is suspected in the case. Investigators searched the couple's home at 51 E. Crown on May 6 and recovered meth and suspected stolen property.

Epperson was summonsed to court for an arraignment but arrested just a few days before for a May 22 home invasion robbery in the Indian Trail area. Robbery and kidnapping charges were dismissed in Spokane County Superior Court on Thursday. Epperson is to stay with a friend in North Spokane if he's released from jail. His lawyer said he possibly has a job at a tattoo parlor.

Suspects Erik J. Zacher, 26, and Nathan W. Day, 21, still are charged for the home-invasion robbery. Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, alias Gardner, was sentenced last month to 10 years in prison.

Past coverage:

May 30: Police: We saved repeat offender's life
  

Sex offender wanted for failure to register

A sex offender with a history of not registering with authorities is wanted on a felony warrant again.

 Eric Paul Alger, 24, was convicted of indecent liberties in Spokane County in 2005.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that lead to his arrest after he failed to register as required.

He has at least three past convictions for failing to register, including convictions in 2009 and 2010 when he was sent to prison.

Alger was named a Crime Stoppers fugitive for failing to register as a sex offender within two months of being released on April 19, 2010. He was sentenced in August 2010 to 20 months in prison.

A new, $25,000 warrant was issued July 31 after Alger again failed to register. He's required to check in with authorities weekly because he is a transient.

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

Reward targets fugitive sex offender

A sex offender wanted since January for failing to register with authorities is being sought by Crime Stoppers.

A reward is available for information that leads to the arrest of Jack Edward Johannbroer, 47, who was convicted of first-degree child molestation in 1993 in Spokane County.

Johannbroer is a level 1 sex offender, which is the classification considered least likely to reoffend. A $15,000 warrant was issued Jan. 30 in Spokane County Superior Court for failing to register as a sex offender.

He's been wanted for the crime before. In 2009, “Washington's Most Wanted” featured him and said he'd served more than four years in prison for molesting two girls in Spokane County, for which he was convicted of child molestation.

“Then in 2007, while living in Kennewick, a jury convicted him of beating his girlfriend and choking her until she passed out,” the TV show reported. “He only got probation for that crime.”

Anyone with information on Johannbroer's current location is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS, or submit tips online here.

Tipsers do not have to give their name to collect a reward but should leave a code name or number.

Jury: Man groped Moody bible student

A man who sexually assaulted a 19-year-old Moody Bible Institute student at Mission Park in March has been convicted of a sex offense.

A Spokane County jury deliberated for about an hour and a half Tuesday before convicting John L. Sanders of indecent liberties.

Sanders faces five years to life in prison when he's sentenced Sept. 11, said Deputy Prosecutor Patrick Johnson. Intern Amanda Tufts served as co-counsel with Johnson.

Sanders, 41, will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Sanders, who was represented by public defender John Whaley, was arrested March 16 after a bible school student told police 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.

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

Two female officers arrested Sanders and say he repeatedly made kissing sounds at them and asked them have sex with him.

Police say Sanders was arrested for a similar incident in downtown Spokane in August 2011 for which he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault. Sanders also has three convictions for second-degree theft.

Superior Court Judge Kathleen O'Connor presided over Sanders' trial this week.

Woman fails to register as sex offender

A woman convicted of a sexually motivated assault on a teen boy in 2006 is wanted for failing to register as a sex offender.

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for tips that help arrest Eugenia Ann Reuter, 41, who was not residing at her registered address in the 18000 block of West State Route 902 in Medical Lake when a sheriff's deputy went there on June 28.

A resident told the deputy he had a restraining order against Reuter and that she hadn't lived there in eight months, according to court documents. 

Reuter is required to notify authorities when she moves. She's a level 1 sex offender, which is the classification considered least likely to reoffend.

In addition to a third-degree assault with sexual motivation, Reuter has convictions for prostitution, first-degree theft, making a false statement and theft.

Reuter was dating Billy Morris, a custodian at Spokane City Hall, when he arrived home in 2008 and found her in bed with another man.

The man killed Morris in what he and Reuter said was self defense

A $15,000 warrant was issued Monday for Reuter's arrest for failing to register as a sex offender. Anyone with information on her current location is asked 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 give a code name or number.

‘92 Valley murder case goes to judge

Patrick Kevin Gibson made big money robbing banks. A dozen gunpoint heists in the 1990s netted him $850,000.

He was a professional robber who didn’t need to bother with a small-time holdup at a furniture store, claims the attorney representing him in a murder trial.

Gibson, 60, was arrested in Western Washington last year in connection with the 1992 killing of Spokane Valley furniture store owner Brian Cole. The arrest came under unusual circumstances: Gibson had stopped to complain to a police officer about a speeding motorcycle.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

June 12: Report details Gibson's criminal history

June 11: TV host's DNA sample delays Spokane murder trial

NorthTown Mall sex offender arraigned

A Spokane sex offender out of jail on $250,000 bond pleaded not guilty today to charges related to an alleged incident with a 5-year-old girl at the NorthTown Mall last month.

 Richard Michael Payne, 55, faces a potential life sentence if convicted of indecent exposure and two counts of first-degree child molestation after a girl and her 11-year-old sister told their mother he'd exposed himself in an arcade area at the mall June 21 while rubbing the younger girl's back. The girls' mother said in an email that the girl's 19-year-old brother was in the arcade at the time, too. She said the family was vacationing in Spokane.

Police obtained surveillance video of the incident and identified Payne as a suspect through the sex offender registry. He was arrested June 26 and left jail June 27 after posting the bond through Smith Family Bail Bonds.

Owner Chris Smith attended today's arraignment before Superior Court Judge Jerome Leveque. Payne is represented by lawyer David Hearrean.

He's wearing a GPS ankle monitor through the bond company that tracks his movements and is prohibited from contacting children or visiting places where the gather, including the NorthTown Mall.

Payne is a level 3 sex offender who served about 3 1/2 years in prison for grabbing a 9-year-old girl's crotch and buttocks while at a North Division Street store in 2001.

He also has two convictions for fourth-degree assault that stem from child molestation claims, as well as a public indecency in Oregon in 1985 for fondling himself at a Sears store. He has no further criminal history in Washington state.

Payne left the Spokane County Courthouse today without speaking to media. Hearrean has said he's worried citizens may seek vigilante justice and his client may not get a fair trial.

Sex offender released on $250k bond

A Spokane sex offender facing a potential life sentence for allegedly molesting a girl at the NorthTown Mall is out of jail.

Richard Michael Payne, 55, posted $250,000 bond through a bonding company and was released from Spokane County Jail about 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Payne is under court orders not to contact children or visit places where children gather. He's also wearing an ankle monitor that tracks his movements, said his lawyer, David Hearrean.

“I just don't want people to go out and try to take the law into their own hands,” Hearrean said. “What happened to innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?”

Payne posted the bond through Smith Family Bail Bonds. Owner Chris Smith said he requires customers to pay 10 percent of the bond in cash and rarely allows extended payment plans. He declined to discuss the details of Payne's payment but said Payne is being mointored by a GPS tracker.

“We can actually see where he is within two meters at all times,” Smith said.

Hearrean said Payne is entitled to a reasonable bond.

“I just assure you he's under close monitoring. Not only by the bond company but by the court and others, including me,” Hearrean said. “He's not gong to violate any release conditions.”

Smith said he also is worried citizens may seek “vigilante justice.”

“As a professional bondsman, I understand when people in the community are considered when people in cases like this post a bond,” Smith said. “It is our job to keep that community risk as low as absolutely possible.”

Payne is to be back in court on July 5 for an arraignment.

Superior Court Judge Annette Plese cited Payne's danger to the community when she approved the $250,000 bond requested by the Spokane County Prosecutor's Office Wednesday afternoon.

One court official said it's the highest bond he's ever seen for a non-murder case.

Payne is a level 3 sex offender, which is the classification considered most likely to reoffend. He served 3 1/2 years in prison for grabbing a 9-year-old girl's crotch and buttocks while at a North Division Street store in 2001. He also has two convictions for fourth-degree assault that stem from child molestation claims, as well as a public indecency in Oregon in 1985 for fondling himself at a Sears store.

He has no further criminal history in Washington state.

Payne was arrested Tuesday after a Spokane police detective identified him as the man who touched a 5-year-old girl's  back, buttocks and upper thighs while exposing himself at Bumpers Family Fun Center in the mall on June 21. The girl's 11-year-old sister saw the incident, and the girls ran to tell their mother, who was shopping in another part of the mall.

Police obtained surveillance video of the incident and identified Payne through the sex offender registry.

He faces a charge of first-degree child molestation. He could stay in prison for the rest of his life if convicted. State law requires that sex offenders undergo risk assessments before being considered for release from prison.

Hearrean declined to discuss how Payne was able to come up with the bond money.

He said he fears his client won't be able to get a fair trial.

“Everybody deserves a fair trial,” Hearrean said.

Cops: Sex offender molested girl at mall

UPDATE: Payne bonded out of jail last night. Look for a follow up later.

A child molester with a history of sex crimes in public places could be jailed for life after he was arrested for exposing himself to a girl at the NorthTown Mall in Spokane.

Richard Michael Payne, 55, is accused of molesting a 5-year-old girl June 21 as she and her 11-year-old sister were playing in Bumpers Family Fun Center while their mother shopped.

Read the rest of my story here.

Sex offender wanted for skipping therapy

A child molester who stopped participating in treatment and has failed to register as a sex offender is being sought by Crime Stoppers.

Jeffrey M. Ines, 36, was convicted of three counts of first-degree child molestation in 2007.

He could have gone to prison for at least 10 years, but his sentence was suspended under a program aimed at helping first-time sex offenders. Ines was to participate in intensive therapy, but court documents show he had problems from the beginning.

He stopped participating in treatment completely on March 29, then stopped checking in with his probation officer on June 6, according to court documents. He failed to register on June 5.

A no-bail warrant was issued for his arrest on June 21.

Crime Stoppers on Monday offered a reward for tips that lead to his capture. Anyone with information on Ines' current location is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS or submit tips online.

Sex offender arrested after car chase

A sex offender sought by Crime Stoppers was arrested Thursday after leading troopers on a chase in the West Plains area.

Phillip John Motyka, 45, pulled into a parking lot but just circled through and exited back on state Route 2 after Washington State Patrol Trooper Chad Kindler tried to stop him for driving without a front license plate.

Trooper Tom Shirey joined in the pursuit and followed Motyka to another parking lot and attempted to stop the car with a PIT maneuver after Motyka struck his patrol car, according to WSP.

Motyka exited the car with his hands up, then drove to the ground and was arrested without further incident.

Motyka had methamphetamine, heroin and morphine on him, according to WSP. He was arrested on drug charges, as well as attempt to elude, hit and run, and driving while suspended.

He had warrants out for his arrest, including for failing to register as a sex offender. Motyka was convicted of third-degree rape in 1990. He's a level 1 sex offender, which is the classification considered least likely to reoffend.

Sex offender gets 8 years for child porn

A registered sex offender was sentenced to eight years in prison today for distributing child pornography.

John Patrick McClaren, 46, of Hayden Lake, is to be on probation for 15 years after his release.

The Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force began investigating McClaren in December 2009 after a Shoshone County sheriff's deputy learned 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.

He pleaded guilty in February to distributing child pornography that is an adapted or modified depiction of an identifiable minor and was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge in Coeur d'Alene.
McClaren forfeited the computer and hard drives used in the crime.

“It is a priority of this office, and our law enforcement partners to target and prosecute anyone who collects or distributes child pornography,” Wendy Olson, U.S. attorney for Idaho, said in a prepared statement.  “We are firmly committed to protecting children.  This commitment includes advocating for lengthy prison sentences that reflect these horrendous criminal acts.” 

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.

CdA robbery linked to Spokane cold case

Investigators believe a sex offender on trial for the 1992 murder of a Spokane Valley furniture store owner robbed a children's apparel store at gunpoint three hours before the fatal shooting.

A judge has heard testimony from Steve and Teresa Benner, who owned the Kid's Fair clothing store in the Sunset Mall in Coeur d'Alene.

The store was robbed at gunpoint Nov. 7, 1992, about 5 p.m. The couple's two children, ages five and two, were present. The robber ordered employee Kathy Ward to handcuff Steve Benner, then handcuff herself to Benner. He stole their money and credit cards and left.

The Benners told police at the time that he was wearing a fake beard and a black baseball hat that said “Solid Gold.” That hat and a piece of the beard was found at the scene of the murder and robbery at Cole's Furniture Store in Spokane Valley, which occurred about 8 p.m. on Nov. 7, 1992.

Store owner Brian Cole was fatally shot when he tried to overpower the robber after the robber said he might harm Cole's wife, who uses a scooter.

Spokane County detectives submitted that beard for DNA testing in late 2010, and it matched a DNA sample from Patrick K. Gibson, who was arrested in May 2011. The Benners identified him from a photo montage as the man who robbed their store.

Gibson's bench trial resumes today before Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen.

Gibson's extensive criminal history includes convictions for rape and robbery in Multnomah County, Ore., in 1979, as well as kidnapping in Nevada in 1978. He was convicted of bank robbery in federal court in California in 1996 and served 12 years in prison.

Court bailiff arrested for child sex abuse

A bailiff at the Kootenai County courthouse lost his job recently after he was arrested on child sex abuse charges.

Jack David McPike, 31, of Athol, is accused of sexually abusing a girl from 2006 until this month, when the girl told a school counselor about the abuse and the counselor contacted the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department.

Detectives arrested McPike in the parking lot of the Kootenai County courthouse as he was leaving work May 17. McPike had been a bailiff there since August 2011.

A Kootenai County human resources employee confirmed today McPike was no longer employed as of May 18. She said she couldn't say whether he was fired or quit.

McPike has pleaded not guilty to charges of infamous crime against nature, lewd conduct with a minor and sexual abuse of a child. He remains in the Kootenai County Jail on $50,000 bond.

Trial begins in ‘92 cold case murder

Trial began Tuesday for a career criminal sex offender linked to a 1992 Spokane homicide by DNA on a fake beard.

 Patrick K. Gibson, 60, is charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death of Brian Cole, 48, of Nov. 7, 1992, during a robbery at Cole’s Traditions in Oak, a furniture store on East Sprague in Spokane Valley.

The case was featured on “America's Most Wanted” in 1993, but the investigation went cold until detectives in the last few years re-tested evidence and Gibson's DNA was found on the beard, which was left at the murder scene.

Gibson, a level 3 sex offender living in Stanwood, Wash., was arrested in May 2011.

Records show he was convicted of rape and robbery in Multnomah County, Ore., in 1979 after robbing a Portland restaurant, forcing a waitress into his car and raping her at a rest stop. He also was convicted in federal court in Nevada of kidnapping, aiding and abetting and conspiracy to kidnap. He also was convicted in Douglas County, Nev., of robbery after holding up a gas station in 1978, kidnapping a 17-year-old boy and a 19-year-old woman, then sexually assaulting the woman and leaving both tied up.

He served prison time, then was convicted in 1996 of bank robbery and aiding and abetting in federal court in the Eastern District of California. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

According to previously published reports, on the night of Cole's homicide in 1992, police allege Gibson entered the store about 8 p.m. and demanded money, then became angry when he was told they didn't have any cash.

Cole asked the armed assailant if he would harm a handicapped woman, referring to his wife, who used a scooter due to multiple sclerosis. The man replied he “just might,” the sheriff’s office said.
In an apparent attempt to protect his wife, Cole tried to overpower Gibson, authorities said, who fired three shots, hitting Cole in head and chest.

Gibson chose a bench trial instead of a jury trial, meaning Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen will hear the case against him and decide whether there's enough to convict. Testimony began Tuesday.
  

Sex offender arrested in home invasion

A sex offender suspected in a violent gunpoint home-invasion robbery was arrested today.

 Joshua Clint Epperson, 32, was booked into jail on felony charges related to an early-morning attack last Tuesday in the 9600 block of North Alpine Court in the Indian Trail area.

The Spokane police Patrol Anti-Crime Team located Epperson in the 4200 block of North Atlantic Street, Officer Brian Eckersley said in a news release.

Epperson was arrested just three weeks ago for a burglary in the Country Homes area in north Spokane County and is to be arraigned Wednesday on residential burglary, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and resisting arrest charges.

He was out of jail awaiting that arraignment when police allege he partook in the robbery, which involved the victims being bound with zip ties and one being pistol whipped.

Suspects Nathan W. Day, 21, and Nathan T. McDaniels, 28, were arrested Wednesday and remain in jail.

Epperson faces charges of first-degree burglary, first-degree robbery, first-degree kidnapping, possession of a stolen firearm, two counts of second-degree assault, two counts of unlawful imprisonment and two counts of possession of a controlled substance, Eckersley said. Prosecutors filed charges on Friday.

Epperson is a level 3 sex offender, which is the classification considered most likely to reoffend. He was convicted of third-degree rape of a child in 2003. He also has a conviction for indecent liberties.

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

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.