Miami mayor’s aide jailed, accused of groping teen at City Hall, sending lewd photo
BY JOEY FLECHAS, CHARLES RABIN, AND DAVID OVALLE
FEBRUARY 07, 2020
Rene Pedrosa, a former TV personality and trusted aide to Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, was jailed Friday morning after police said he lured a teen to City Hall, groped him and later sent the boy an explicit photo on his cellphone.
Pedrosa was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center Friday just after 10 a.m. on charges of battery and transmitting pornography to a minor.
Earlier this week, Pedrosa, 48, resigned amid the probe, telling his boss, Suarez, that he was being investigated for some type of “personal misconduct,” the mayor said.
Former Deputy Attorney General of California Raymond Liddy.Facebook
SAN DIEGO — Raymond Liddy, a former California state prosecutor and son of Watergate break-in organizer Gordon Liddy, was convicted Wednesday of possessing child pornography.
Liddy was convicted after a non-jury trial in San Diego federal court and could face up to 10 years in federal prison when he is sentenced on May 1, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Liddy had been free on bond since his 2017 arrest. FBI agents searched his home in the San Diego Bay resort city of Coronado after an Internet service provider contacted a national tip line to report a user had uploaded child pornography images, the paper said.
Liddy had been a state prosecutor since 2008. After his arrest, the state attorney general’s office placed him on administrative leave and said Wednesday that he had stopped working there in November 2017, the Union-Tribune said.
Liddy is the son of G. Gordon Liddy, who helped orchestrate the 1972 burglary of the Watergate headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C.
The scandal surrounding the break-in and subsequent cover-up led to the resignation of President Richard M. Nixon and Liddy spent nearly 4 1/2 years in prison for conspiracy, burglary and refusing to testify to a Senate committee.
“Operation Broken Arrow” was a four-day proactive effort centered in Valdosta, Georgia. (Renee Schiavone/Patch)
VALDOSTA, GA — Fourteen people, including a dean from Valdosta State University, were arrested over the weekend for Computer or Electronic Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act of 2007 and/or O.C.G.A 16-5-46, Trafficking of Persons for Labor or Sexual Servitude. Additional charges and arrests may be forthcoming.
As a result of a proactive online undercover investigation coordinated by the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation's Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit, the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, and the Southern Judicial Circuit District Attorney's Office, 14 people were arrested over a four-day period beginning Feb. 6.
The following were arrested and charged in Lowndes County as part of "Operation Broken Arrow":
Dave Vincent Almon, 43, retail manager
Billy Stephen Carter, 57, truck driver
Eric Bernard Copeland, press operator
Walter Lee Curry, 33, laborer
Jamian Hogan, 34, retail associate
John Henry Hursey, 45, carpenter
Eugene Andega Mainah, 35, unemployed
Keith Morrison, 43, truck driver
Wyman Rene Phillips, 36, electrician
Wilford Sermons, 28, customer service representative
Josue Trejo, 31, forklift driver
Bronson Jamari D. Tripp, 24, retail associate
Keith Walters, 44, Dean of College of Science & Mathematics at Valdosta State University
Justin Na'eem Warren, 24, student
"Operation Broken Arrow" was a four-day proactive effort centered in Valdosta, Georgia. The operation took several months of planning.
Those arrested, ranging in age from 24 to 57, traveled from areas around south Georgia with the intent to meet a child for sex, the GBI said. Every individual arrested during the operation believed they were going to a location to meet with a child and engage in prearranged sex acts. The Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force had previously received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on at least one person who was arrested during Operation Broken Arrow. That same person had been previously arrested on peeping tom charges. Two people were arrested in possession of a firearm and two persons were arrested in possession of illegal narcotics. At least two others arrested were investigated for sex related crimes in the past. In total, 19 mobile devices and several additional electronic devices were seized as evidence during the operation.
The goal of "Operation Broken Arrow" was to arrest persons who communicate with children on-line and then travel to meet them for the purpose of having sex. Additionally, the operation targeted those that are willing to exploit children by purchasing sex with a minor. Online child predators visit chat rooms and websites on the internet, find children, begin conversations with them, introduce sexual content and arrange a meeting with the children for the purpose of having sex. The children these predators target are both boys and girls. Since 2014, the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has arrested over 150 people in similar operations.
Over the course of the operation, investigators had more than 120 exchanges with persons on various social media or internet platforms. During many of these exchanges, the subjects directed conversations towards sex with persons they believed to be minors. Over 40 cases were established that met the threshold for arrest. Fourteen of those cases were concluded with arrests. In some of these cases, the subject introduced obscene or lewd content, often exposing the minor to pornography or requesting the child take nude or pornographic images for them. About half of the exchanges involved websites used for dating, socializing, or even websites used for classified advertisements.
Although some websites promote themselves as being for "adults-only" it is not uncommon for law enforcement to work cases in which children access these sites, establish profiles claiming to be older, and then find themselves vulnerable to victimization, harassment, blackmail, or assault. Several subjects were identified as communicating simultaneously with multiple investigators posing as minors. Such activity confirms what investigators uncover conducting these types of investigations: that many predators specifically seek out minors on such websites to groom them as potential victims for sexual contact.
Along with those agencies who participated in the planning and coordinating of the operation, 16 additional law enforcement agencies participated in "Operation Broken Arrow" as members of the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. These agencies were:
Alpharetta Police Department
Atlanta Police Department
Floyd County Police Department
Forsyth County Sheriff's Office
GBI - Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center
Glynn County Police Department
Gwinnett County Police Department
Hall County Sheriff's Office
Homeland Security Investigations
Johns Creek Police Department
Lilburn Police Department
Marietta Police Department
Polk County Police Department
Savannah Police Department
United States Air Force - Office of Special Investigations
Woodstock Police Department
The proactive on-line investigation was a coordinated effort among the participating law enforcement agencies to combat this activity.
"The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office is proud to partner with the GBI and other federal, state, and local area law enforcement agencies in these continuing efforts to identify and apprehend those who prey on our most vulnerable victims," Lowndes County Sheriff Ashley Paulk said.
"Thanks to this coordinated four-day effort, multiple predators have been removed from our streets and are no longer free to victimize our children."
GBI Special Agent in Charge, and Commander of the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, Debbie Garner remarked "The Lowndes County Sheriff's Office is one of our most active member agencies. We appreciate their daily efforts to combat child exploitation. This type of cooperation and collaboration is invaluable in the effort to keep our children safe from predators who seek to harm them. This successful operation was a true partnership between all the agencies involved. We will continue to aggressively work together to protect our children."
The Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force consists of more than 240 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, other related criminal justice agencies and prosecutor's offices. The mission of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, created by the U. S. Department of Justice and managed and operated by the GBI in Georgia, is to assist state and local law enforcement agencies in developing an effective response to cyber enticement and child pornography cases. This support encompasses forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, victim services, prevention and community education. The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program was developed in response to the increasing number of children and teenagers using the internet, the proliferation of child pornography, and the heightened online activity by predators searching for unsupervised contact with underage victims. By helping state and local law enforcement agencies develop effective and sustainable responses to online child victimization and child pornography, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program delivers national resources at the local level.
Arrests made by the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force have been steadily increasing over the last three years. In 2017, The Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force made 350 arrests. In 2018, The Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force made 307 arrests. In 2019, the Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force made 474 arrests. The Georgia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force has made over 2,000 arrests since its inception in 2002.
In an effort to make our streets safer for children, law enforcement agencies around the country routinely execute sting operations to catch nefarious characters out looking for vulnerable children. Sadly, these operations usually result in many arrests and oftentimes the criminals aren’t who we’d expect.
It truly is a chilling world in which to raise children.
In a recent sting operation in Ohio, the Jackson Township Police Department arrested 14 sexual predators, including a preschool teacher and a rape crisis counselor.
“Operation Unsportsmanlike Conduct” ran from January 31 through February 3.
One of the suspects has been identified as Jerry Roeal Ragsdale, 38, of Canton. He’s charged with disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile, attempted unlawful sexual conduct and importuning. He’s listed in a police report as a preschool teacher. YWCA Canton released a statement to FOX 8 News about Ragsdale. “On February 3, 2020, the YWCA Canton placed employee Jerry Roeal Ragsdale on unpaid administrative leave as soon as the agency learned of his arrest for an alleged inappropriate situation with a minor. While on administrative leave, Mr. Ragsdale does not have access to our facility. The YWCA has contacted the parents and guardians whose children had direct contact with Mr. Ragsdale. Our utmost concern is the safety and protection of our children who attend who attend our preschool and utilize our services. The YWCA will continue to take every precaution necessary to protect our children.”
Another suspect has been identified as Adam Eric Leidke, 48, of Cleveland Heights. He’s listed as a counselor at Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.
President & CEO Sondra Miller of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center released the following statement to FOX 8:
“Adam Leidtke was employed with Cleveland Rape Crisis Center from March 13, 2017 to May 17, 2018. Cleveland Rape Crisis Center has had no contact with him since his employment with the agency ended.
“Sexual violence is inexcusable whenever and wherever it happens. It’s especially inexcusable when perpetrated by someone who is a helper.”
According to the report, the suspects range in age from 20 to 73 and are from varying Ohio locations including Wooster, Newcomerstown, Canton, Cleveland, Barberton, Akron, Cleveland Heights, Massillon, Stow, Orrville, and North Canton.
They were caught attempting to solicit law enforcement officers who were posing as 15-year-old males and females.
FOX 8 reports that charges range from unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, importuning, and disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile. In one case, Jonathan Settle, 24, of Orrville, is being charged with possession of criminal tools, as he was in possession of condoms and lubricant at the time of his arrest.
These are troubling times to be a parent. It’s imperative to know where your children are at all times. While we don’t endorse children using smartphones, there are devices that allow children to communicate to parents without exposing them to the dangers of the internet. These are options all parents should consider. It isn’t worth risking them falling victim to predators who live and work among us.
Thankfully, law enforcement agencies are doing what they can to protect children and set examples of criminals looking to commit heinous sexual acts with minors.
Lawrence Ray is accused of extorting and abusing several students at Sarah Lawrence College.
(CNN)The father of a former Sarah Lawrence College student allegedly extorted and abused several students from the prestigious university and forced at least one student into prostitution over the past decade, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
Lawrence Ray "exploited and abused young women and men emotionally, physically and sexually for his own financial gain," ultimately extorting approximately $1 million from five victims, said Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Ray, 60, is charged in an indictment with extortion, sex trafficking, forced labor trafficking, money laundering and more.
Ray allegedly ensnared many of his victims while they were teenagers, Berman said, and his alleged initial victims were his daughter's college roommates.
He moved into on-campus housing with his daughter and her roommates during their sophomore year in late 2010 and began "therapy" sessions with some roommates in which he presented himself as a father figure who could solve their psychological problems, the indictment states.
In the summer of 2011, several of the roommates lived with Ray at his Manhattan apartment, where he worked to gain their trust and alienate them from their parents, the indictment says.
Berman said Ray allegedly used "physical, psychological, and sexual abuse" to make his victims confess to invented wrongdoing.
He then allegedly compelled them to make substantial payments to him and directed them to obtain money for him by draining their parents' savings, opening credit lines, soliciting contributions from acquaintances, selling real estate ownership, and performing forced labor and even prostitution, Berman said.
"Over nearly a decade Ray coerced and extorted nearly $1 million in payments from five different victims," Berman said.
In one particular instance, he allegedly used fear, violence and coercion to force one victim to engage in commercial sex acts to repay debts she didn't actually owe, Berman said. That victim allegedly was forced to work as a prostitute for more than four years, and Ray allegedly collected more than $500,000 from her, Berman said.
Berman said Ray allegedly "sexually groomed" that victim beginning when she was a college student, collecting sexually explicit photos and other personal information he then used to coerce her into engaging in commercial sex acts.
He also used violence; in one instance, he tied the woman to a chair, placed a bag over her head and nearly suffocated her, prosecutors said.
In 2013, Ray forced some of the victims to do manual labor at a family member's home in Pinehurst, North Carolina, to pay off these fictional debts, the indictment says.
When Ray was arrested Tuesday morning in Piscataway, New Jersey, one of his daughter's roommates and another female victim were in the residence, Berman said.
Ray had an initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon in Manhattan. His arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon. CNN has reached out to Ray's public defender for comment.
Sarah Lawrence College spokeswoman Patricia Pasquale confirmed that Ray is the parent of a former student.
"The charges contained in the indictment are serious, wide-ranging, disturbing, and upsetting. As always the safety and well-being of our students and alumni is a priority for the College," Pasquale said.
"In April 2019, New York Magazine published a range of accusations about this former parent. At that time, the College undertook an internal investigation regarding the specific activities alleged in the article to have occurred on our campus in 2011; the investigation did not substantiate those specific claims."
The indictment did not detail which, if any, of the alleged criminal activity occurred on campus.
Pasquale said the college has not been contacted by the Southern District of New York but will cooperate in the investigation.
CNN's Ganesh Setty, Alec Snyder and Julian Cummings contributed to this report.
(The AEGIS Alliance) – GEORGIA – Among the 14 people arrested and charged with child sex crimes was a dean at Valdosta State University during a sting in Georgia that lasted four days, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and AJC.com.
44-year-old Keith Walters is facing charges of sexual exploitation of children after he tried to meet a person he thought was an underage juvenile for sex, AJC.com cites local and state agencies.
According to VSU’s website, Keith Walters is a chemistry professor at the university and is also the dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, AJC.com reports.
A spokeswoman for VSU released a statement, saying “The university placed Keith Walters on immediate administrative leave pending the outcome of internal and law enforcement investigations into these very disturbing allegations. VSU remains committed to assisting law enforcement's investigation in any way."
GBI spokeswoman Lindsay Marchant said the operation was dubbed “Operation Broken Arrow” which led to the charges against Walters. There were nearly 20 agencies involved in the investigation that was based in Valdosta which took “several months of planning,” Marchant said according to AJC.com.
The 14 men arrested range in ages from 24 to 57. Those arrested include a carpenter, truck driver, forklift driver, electricians, and a retail manager.
The 14 men went into online chatrooms on internet-based websites, according to Marchant. They found people in the chatrooms who they thought were children and initiated conversations with them.
Investigators say that eventually, the conversations became sexual.
"In some of these cases, the subject introduced obscene or lewd content, often exposing the minor to pornography or requesting the child to take nude or pornographic images for them,"AJC.com reports Marchant as saying.
Of the men arrested, investigators say they traveled from all over South Georgia and their intentions were to meet up with a child for sex.
"Every individual arrested during the operation believed they were going to a location to meet with a child and engage in prearranged sex acts," Marchant stated.
According to AJC.com, the other 13 of the 14 who were arrested as a result of the investigation were: age 43 Dave Vincent Almon, age 57 Stephen Carter, 33-year-olds Walter Lee Curry, and Eric Copeland, age 34 Jamian Hogan, age 45 Henry Hursey, age 35 Andega Mainah, age 43 Keith Morrison, age 36 Wyman Rene Phillips, age 28 Wilford Sermons, age 31 Josue Trejo, 24-year-olds Jamari D. Tripp, and Justin Na’eem Warren.
Featured Image: VSU Dean, Keith Walters (Left) 14 arrested in Georgia child sex sting (Right) (Credit: Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office)
Hollywood star Corey Feldman announced this week that he will be naming names in his upcoming live stream documentary about Hollywood pedophiles and his harrowing experience of abuse as a child actor.
“(My) Truth: The Rape of 2 Coreys” will also address the alleged abuse by the same predators suffered by the late Corey Haim, a fellow child actor.
According to Movieweb, the film will air via a one-time live stream on March 9. Tickets go on sale on Feb. 22.
The film, which Feldman says Netflix rejected for being “too dangerous,” will only be aired once “so nobody could twist the story in their own way before the viewing audience has a chance to see [the project] for themselves and make their own decisions about what really happened.”
In the film’s trailer, released on Tuesday, Feldman discusses the 911 call in which he reported the alleged sexual abuse.
“After a lifetime of abuse … a lifetime of silence … a lifetime of living in fear … their truth is finally coming,” the trailer reads.
Tears stream down Feldman’s cheeks after he listens to the recording of the 911 call.
Feldman and Haim had previously gone public about the abuse they experienced during their careers as popular child stars but were prevented from naming their abusers for legal reasons. In a 2007 reality show called “The 2 Coreys,” Feldman promised Haim, who had long battled drug addiction, that he would finish the task himself if Haim died before they could finally out the abusers in public.
Haim succumbed to pneumonia and died in 2010.
Back in 2016, Feldman told The Hollywood Reporter that one of his abusers is still working in show business.
“We’ve run into each other many times but no, I’ve never confronted him,” Feldman said at the time.
“I’d advise their parents to never leave [child actors] unattended. Ever. Period,” he warned parents considering a career in acting for their children in a Newsweek interview in 2017. “I don’t care if they’re 14 and they want to go to a party with the adult cast, you go with them. It doesn’t matter what someone’s reputation is or how successful they are. Knowing all that you know about the industry, I truly believe leaving your child alone on set or at a party is negligence. Straight up negligence.”
Sadly, public schools and libraries are becoming just as dangerous as Hollywood parties for children. Still, one can’t help but gag on the irony that Hollywood, the same gaggle of ivory tower celebrities who routinely lecture us little people on the leftist virtue and morality, is a cesspit of pedophilia.
Tickets for the documentary will go on sale at MyTruthDoc beginning on Feb. 22.
Daniel Lee Martin, a country music singer, was found dead inside his Florida home Friday afternoon from what police determined was a death by suicide.
According to The Tennessean, Martin had been arrested in Williamson County, Tennessee, in 2018 for alleged sex crimes he's accused of committing with three minors under the age of 13 between May 2014 and January 2018.
Investigators remove boxes from the New York headquarters of Canadian fashion executive Peter Nygard today.
The FBI and NYPD raided the Manhattan offices of fashion mogul Peter Nygard Tuesday amid an ongoing federal sex-trafficking investigation, sources said.
The feds are probing claims that Nygard plied underage girls with booze at sex parties at his Bahamas mansion, according to law enforcement sources.
Nygard announced late Tuesday he was stepping down as chairman of Nygard International and will divest his ownership interest.
Photos from the office raid show federal agents and city cops swarming the company’s Broadway headquarters — and hauling away at least a half-dozen cardboard boxes.
Manhattan US Attorney’s Office spokesman Nicholas Biase confirmed Tuesday’s raid but declined to provide details.
A spokesman for Nygard said the wealthy playboy’s Los Angeles offices were also raided, but the FBI and federal prosecutors would not confirm that blitz.
The raid comes on the heels of a federal lawsuit filed Feb. 13 by 10 unidentified women who accuse the 78-year-old Canadian businessman of a “decades-long sex-trafficking scheme.”
One accuser says she was just 15 at the time of the abuse. The age of consent in the Bahamas is 16.
According to the lawsuit, Nygard regularly hosted sex-fueled soirées known as “pamper parties” at his ritzy mansion in exclusive Lyford Cay in the Bahamas — which he renamed Nygard Cay in 1992 and was once featured on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”
The parties were “both to promote the Nygard company’s brand and facilitate commercial sex acts,” the lawsuit charges.
Lawyers for the accusers said they have “over 100 witnesses” in the case that includes “dozens of victims.”
The suit said Nygard also used Nygard International’s corporate jet to “smuggle” the women and girls to sites in the United States and at his estate in the Caribbean archipelago.
In a statement Tuesday, Nygard spokesman Ken Frydman claimed the allegations were “fabricated” by billionaire hedge-funder Louis Bacon — with whom Nygard has been embroiled in a legal battle spanning more than a decade and spawning more than two dozen lawsuits.
“As a direct result and in furtherance of the conspiracy planned by billionaire Louis Bacon, federal agents have executed a search and seizure on Nygard offices in California and New York,” Frydman said. “As with other actions taken as a result of Louis Bacon’s conspiracy, Nygard is not surprised by this latest action.
“Nygard welcomes the federal investigation and expects his name to be cleared,” the spokesman said.
“He has not been charged, is not in custody, and is cooperating with the investigation.”
A representative for Bacon declined to comment Tuesday.
The bad blood between Nygard and Bacon stems from a massive personality clash and a tiny driveway shared by their neighboring Bahamian properties.
Bacon is “a self-professed environmentalist” — in stark contrast to his Canadian-born neighbor’s raucous playboy lifestyle, according to a 2016 article in Town & Country.
Nygard’s compound, by comparison, is decorated with hundreds of torches, carved dragons and giant statues of nude women modeled after former girlfriends, according to Vanity Fair.
The floodgates opened in 2007 when the two became embroiled in an argument over water runoff that was flooding the shared roadway, Vanity Fair reported in 2015.
When a 2009 electrical fire on Nygard’s side of the road razed several buildings — including his 32,000-square-foot “grand hall” and disco — the fashion mogul blamed Bacon.
Over the years, the feud has become increasingly hostile, with Bacon accusing Nygard of sex trafficking and Nygard accusing Bacon of everything from insider trading to membership in the Ku Klux Klan.
Bacon said he even feared that Nygard would have him killed, The New York Times said in a report last week.
The newspaper reported that investigators tied to Bacon had offered “generous incentives” to help make a case against Nygard, with money trickling down to his accusers.
At least two women who claimed they were raped as minors — but were not plaintiffs in the recent suit — later recanted their stories and said they were promised cash and were coached to make the claims, the Times reported.
“Given Mr. Nygard’s pattern of alleged horrific sexual abuse over a period of decades, and spanning the globe, it is not surprising that he now finds himself under the scrutiny of the FBI,” the accusers said in a statement.
“And while his representatives continue to spout far-fetched conspiracy theories as his sole defense, the volume of evidence and the number of victims coming forward to hold Mr. Nygard responsible for his behavior continue to grow.
“Our focus remains squarely on pursuing justice for these countless victims who have been so viciously harmed by Mr. Nygard and his enablers.”