Friday, June 22, 2018

Gym teacher charged with sexting with 14-year-old girl

A gym teacher at a private Christian school in Florida was arrested after his explicit text messages to a 14-year-old girl were found by her mother, authorities said.

Stephen Ward — a 69-year-old physical education teacher and volleyball coach at Stetson Baptist Christian School in DeLand — was arrested Saturday after the teen’s mother found the texts and notified deputies with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The text messages detailed Ward performing sex acts on the girl, who told deputies she “has been in a relationship” with Ward for roughly two weeks, but denied having sexual contact with him, according to the Sentinel.

Gym teacher charged with sexting with 14-year-old girl

Retired teacher, pastor, charged with sexual abuse of a minor - KRBD

Recently retired Ketchikan High School teacher and local pastor Doug Edwards has been arrested and charged with three counts of sexual abuse of a minor.

According to the complaint filed in court by police Detective Devin Miller, the charges stem from incidents last fall with a 14-year-old girl. She knew Edwards through his roles as a pastor with First Baptist Church and as a culinary arts teacher at Ketchikan High School.

Police say Edwards has admitted to the crimes.

Retired teacher, pastor, charged with sexual abuse of a minor - KRBD

UPDATE::NC church leader indicted in unemployment benefits scheme | Charlotte Observer

A prominent leader of a controversial Western North Carolina church is accused of devising a scheme that cheated taxpayers out of tens of thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits.

Kent Covington of Rutherfordton, a top minister in the Word of Faith Fellowship church, was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Over five years, according to the indictment, Covington and "co-conspirators" filed more than $250,000 in phony unemployment claims for employees who kept working for companies owned by Word of Faith members.

Starting in 2008, the indictment said, Covington masterminded a scheme to help his plastics manufacturing company survive the recession by laying off his work force, applying for unemployment benefits for his employees, then forcing them to keep working.

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NC church leader indicted in unemployment benefits scheme | Charlotte Observer

UPDATED::2 Missing Girls Found In Utah; Self-Proclaimed ‘Prophet’ In Custody « CBS Denver

UPDATE::  Doomsday cult leader in central Utah pleads guilty to child bigamy, sodomy charges
The leader of a doomsday cult in central Utah has struck a plea deal with prosecutors.

John Alvin Coltharp, 34, pleaded guilty to felony charges of child bigamy and sodomy. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed charges of kidnapping and obstruction of justice.

"I plead guilty," Coltharp told the judge to both charges, later adding: "The fact is I did act contrary to those statutes that I am charged with violating. So yes, I’m guilty of violating both of those. That is a fact."
UPDATE:: Member of Utah polygamous doomsday cult sentenced to 26-to-life in prison
Samuel Shaffer was ordered to spend 25 years-to-life in prison for the first-degree felony rape charge and another one-to-15 years in prison for abuse. Fifth District Court Judge Matthew Bell ordered him to serve the sentences consecutively.

"I want to be clear you are not being sentenced based on religious views, you are being sentenced based on criminal conduct which is highly disturbing," Judge Bell told him.

Shaffer was known as "the seer" in the apocalyptic group "Knights of the Crystal Blade." He and his co-defendant, John Coltharp, are accused of kidnapping children. After he was arrested, Shaffer told police in Iron County he was "betrothed" to Coltharp's 8-year-old daughter. Shaffer also told police Coltharp was married to his 7-year-old daughter.
UPDATE::  Leader of self-proclaimed religious group refuses plea bargain
John Coltharp will not accept a plea offer.
Wednesday, Coltharp appeared in Sanpete County hours after Shaffer pleaded guilty to related crimes in Iron County.  The county attorney in Sanpete said Coltharp was aware of Shaffer’s admission of guilt.

But during Wednesday hearing, the judge was made aware of a plea offer for Coltharp.

He told the judge he refused the deal.
UPDATE::  Former cult leader pleads guilty to child rape
A former cult leader accused of taking a child bride pleaded guilty to child rape and child abuse.

Samuel Warren Shaffer appeared in court Wednesday. He faces 25 years to life in prison for child rape and 15 years for child abuse.

"Well, I think this is a great outcome for the State of Utah, for the victims in this case. It's the maximum sentence allowed under law for this offense," said Iron County Attorney Scott Garrett.
UPDATE:: New charge filed against alleged doomsday sect member
A Sanpete County man who, along with the alleged leader of a doomsday sect, was charged last month with kidnapping now faces allegations of abusing a child.

John Alvin Coltharp, 34, of Spring City, was charged Monday in 6th District Court with sodomy, a first-degree felony. Coltharp is already charged with child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and obstructing justice by concealing a person, a class A misdemeanor.

Coltharp was originally charged along with Samuel Warren Shaffer, 34, of Cedar City, who faces two counts of child kidnapping, a first-degree felony, and four counts of intentional child abuse causing injury, a second-degree felony.
Two young sisters who were believed to be with a religious sect leader in Utah have been found and are safe.

The girls, 4-year-old Hatti and 8-year-old Dina, were found alone in a building outside the town of Lund on Monday night.

Their grandfather, Steve Sobel, confirmed the news to CBS4 later that night. He said the girls were found in a “storage receptacle.”

2 Missing Girls Found In Utah; Self-Proclaimed ‘Prophet’ In Custody « CBS Denver

See also:: Girls are found after Amber Alert issued in Utah; their father, a member of a group called Knights of the Crystal Blade, is linked to their disappearance

UPDATED::Former El Paso priest admits to sexual misconduct | KFOX

UPDATE:: Former Texas Catholic priest arrested in El Paso on sexual assault of a child charge
El Paso police arrested a former Texas priest who, during an El Paso Catholic Diocese investigation last year, allegedly admitted to sexually abusing a child.

Miguel Luna, 68, was arrested Monday afternoon in front of his home in the 3500 block of Keltner Avenue in Northeast El Paso, police said. He was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to jail records.

Luna is being held on a $50,000 bond.

Police said the arrest came after a investigation by the Crimes Against Children Unit into allegations by a woman who said she was repeatedly sexually abused by Luna when she was a child. It is not clear if the woman is the same person who was part of the investigation by the diocese.
A priest who once served at El Paso churches has admitted to sexual misconduct with a teenage girl during the 1980s.

Miguel Luna, 67, who served at eight El Paso parishes, was ordained for the Diocese of El Paso on July 1, 1982.

In 2013, Bishop Mark Seitz removed Luna from the ministry upon the recommendation of the Diocesan Review Board.

A spokesperson for the diocese said the recommendation was made because allegations of sexual harassment had been made but not involving a minor.

Former El Paso priest admits to sexual misconduct | KFOX

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

UPDATED::Christian metal singer gets six-year prison sentence in California murder plot

UPDATE:: Christian Band Reunites With Lead Singer Who Hired Hitman to Murder His Wife
In 2013, Tim Lambesis, the lead singer of the Christian band As I Lay Dying, hired a hitman to murder his wife.

That hitman turned out to be an undercover cop, and not long after Lambesis handed over $1,000 for expenses and agreed to pay a total of $20,000 for the attack, he was arrested. He later received a sentence of six years in prison. He was released on parole at the end of 2016.

And now, to the shock of many of the band’s fans, Lambesis is back to being their lead singer. They just released a new single, “My Own Grave,” and announced a comeback show beginning on Saturday in San Diego.
An update to this story from February ,,,

The lead singer for a heavy metal Christian rock band was sentenced on Friday to six years in prison for pleading guilty to trying to hire a hit man to kill his wife, prosecutors in California said.

Tim Lambesis, 33, lead singer for the band As I Lay Dying, had been in a custody dispute with his wife, Meggan, over their three children in May 2013 when he asked a personal trainer at his gym if he knew anyone who could kill his wife, according to charging documents in the criminal case.

The trainer contacted the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, which sent an undercover detective to meet with Lambesis.

As part of a plea agreement with prosecutors, Lambesis admitted that he had paid the undercover detective $1,000 in cash for the murder, with an additional $19,000 to be paid when his wife of eight years was dead.

Christian metal singer gets six-year prison sentence in California murder plot

Sunday, June 10, 2018

UPDATED:: Palmdale Man Found Guilty In Torture-Murder Of 8-Year-Old Boy « CBS Los Angeles

UPDATE::  Mother gets prison sentence after torture killing of son because boyfriend thought he was gay
A mother in Palmdale, California was sentenced to life in prison without parole after her son was tortured and killed in 2013 because her boyfriend thought he was gay.

Prosecutors first accused Isauro Aguirre of torturing and killing eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez last year. He admitted to murder, but denied the torture.
UPDATE:: Palmdale abuse case: Jury recommends death penalty in killing of 8-year-old boy
A jury recommended on Wednesday that Isauro Aguirre, convicted of the torture and murder of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy, be sentenced to death.

Last month, Aguirre was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend's 8-year-old son, Gabriel Fernandez.

The jury found him guilty of first-degree murder and also guilty in the special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture.

Jurors then had a choice between recommending life in prison or the death penalty.
A Palmdale man was convicted of first-degree murder Wednesday for the torture-killing of his girlfriend’s 8-year-old son, whose agony-filled life shocked the community and led to criminal charges against social workers accused of ignoring his plight.

Isauro Aguirre, 37, faces a possible death sentence for the killing of Gabriel Fernandez, who was routinely beaten, shot with a BB gun, fed cat feces and forced to sleep while gagged and bound inside a small cabinet. In addition to convicting Aguirre of murder, the seven-woman, five-man jury also found true a special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture.

The jury deliberated for about 5 1/2 hours over two days before reaching its verdict late Wednesday morning.

Palmdale Man Found Guilty In Torture-Murder Of 8-Year-Old Boy « CBS Los Angeles