Category Archives: Law Enforcement

AZ Nurse, CA Nurse, Neurosurgeon Facing Multiple CSA Charges

.jpg photo of nurse accused of Child Sex Abuse
Emily Joy Stephens, 30

Tucson woman faces additional Child
Sex Abuse charges in California

A Tucson woman arrested in May on child sex abuse charges out of California is facing additional charges in connection with the crime.

Emily Joy Stephens, 30, was previously facing six felony child-abuse charges involving three children under the age of 10 and three children under the age of 14 in Santa Cruz County Superior Court.

On August 4, she was charged with two additional counts of oral copulation or penetration on a child under 10, according to Santa Cruz County Superior Court records.

Stephens is being held without bond in Pima County jail awaiting extradition to California.

Also accused in the case is California neurosurgeon James Kohut, 57, who is facing multiple counts of sexually abusing children younger than 14.

On May 11, a police detective from Watsonville, California contacted the Pima County Sheriff’s Department regarding a video that showed Stephens and another woman having sex with three juveniles, according to Arizona Daily Star archives.

The other woman, Rashel Brandon, is a 42-year-old nurse who worked with Kohut in a Santa Cruz hospital.  She’s also facing multiple charges of child sexual abuse in connection with the case, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

When deputies arrested Stephens, she was living with her five children, all whom are under the age of 13, according to sheriff’s department records.

Stephens, who is pregnant with Kohut’s child, met Kohut eight years ago on a website for single parents, according to Star archives.

Hot Vehicles Claim 2 AZ Children

.jpg photo of Child Abuse graphic
Hot Vehicles Claim 2 AZ Children. #VehiclesAreNotBabySitters

2 Babies die in Phoenix after being left in
hot cars

PHOENIX, AZ  –  For the second time in two days, a baby boy has died after being left for hours in a hot car.

Phoenix police and fire officials were called out at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday to a Church of God in Christ after witnesses called 911.

Fire officials arrived and pronounced 1-year-old Josiah Riggins dead.

Police:  Father forgot baby was in the car

Phoenix police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune said Josiah was in the care of his father at the time of his death.

“Our initial investigation is saying that the father forgot the baby was in the car,” Fortune said.  “The child was unresponsive and had been left in the vehicle for several hours.”

Parents in TN hot car toddler death charged with felony murder

Fortune said investigators were still interviewing the parents to determine exactly what happened.  The baby had not been in the church parking lot for hours; Fortune said the car had been elsewhere before the father drove to the church.

She said she didn’t know where the car had been or why it had ended up at the church.

“Everyone is cooperative,” Fortune said.  “It’s the death of a child. It’s a tragedy.”

No arrests had been made as of Saturday night, Fortune said.

Family members began gathering at the church to support the parents shortly after it happened.

“It’s shocking, devastating, just sad,” said Zettica Mitchell, who said she was a cousin of the baby’s father.  “You feel like it’s something that could happen to anybody.”

She said she had come to the church to support the family, and mentioned hearing about the other baby that had died similarly Friday.

Second death in two days

This death came just 24 hours after 7-month-old Zane Endress died after being left in a car in northeast Phoenix for about four hours, according to Phoenix police.

The boy was in the care of his grandparents at the time, police reported.

These two are the first cases of a child dying in a hot car in Maricopa County this year.  There was at least one death last year.

Fortune reminded parents to take time to check their backseats for their children.

“We hear that parents are saying they forgot their babies in their vehicles,” she said.  “Take some time, again, to look inside your vehicle … to just avoid these tragedies.”

In October, 5-month-old Israel Sebastian Avila died after being left unattended in a car for about four hours.

The baby’s aunt and her boyfriend had been babysitting the child, according to Peoria police officials.  They dropped the baby’s mother off at work and then returned home, reporting that they forgot the baby was in the car until they got back in the car to pick the mother up from work.

Son Of G. Gordon Liddy Charged With Child Porn

>jpg photo of NCMEC LOGO
NCMEC received a tip that Child Pornography had been up-loaded.

California State Prosecutor Charged With
Child Porn

A California deputy attorney general has been charged in San Diego with possession of child pornography.

Raymond Joseph Liddy was arrested Tuesday.  He pleaded not guilty and was released on $100,000 bond, according to a complaint.  The attorney general’s office said they are aware of the matter and that the 53-year-old Liddy was placed on administrative leave.

According to a complaint filed in federal court, an electronic service provider sent a tip to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in January that a user had uploaded an image that appeared to be child porn.

A month later another provider sent a similar tip to the San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.  The activity was traced to his home in Coronado, stated the complaint.

Liddy is accused of being in possession of about a dozen illegal photos.  He was put on home detention and is wearing an ankle device.

Local and federal authorities said they traced the activity to Liddy’s home.  When they questioned him, Liddy said he downloads sexual images and deletes them, according to the complaint.

He also said he may have forwarded some of the images, and some of them may have been of children, possibly.

They searched his home and uncovered disturbing photos on a computer and thumbdrive of minors engaged in sexual conduct.

Defense Attorney Knut Johnson, who has taken Liddy’s case, told NBC 7 that he knows his client is a good person and all his coworkers describe him as an honorable man.

TX AG CEU Stops Waco Child Pornographer

.jpg photo of Child Pornographer
Roberto Cruz-Lara, 57, of Waco Texas

OAG’s Child Exploitation Unit Arrests McLennan County Man for Possession of Child Pornography

AUSTIN, TX  –  Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced today that the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) of his office arrested 57-year-old Roberto Cruz-Lara, of Waco, on one count of Possession of Child Pornography, a third-degree felony.  Cruz-Lara could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Following a CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, CEU investigators executed a search warrant at Cruz-Lara’s residence, where child pornography was found on a desktop computer.

Investigators seized several additional digital storage devices that will be examined by the attorney general’s Digital Forensics Unit.

During an interview, Cruz-Lara admitted to possessing child pornography.

He was transported to the McLennan County Jail where he will appear before a magistrate.

The Texas Attorney General’s Office works to protect children by using the latest technology to track down some of the most profoundly evil predators online.

The CEU proactively seeks out and arrests predators who commit crimes against children using technology and online sources.

Attorney General Paxton urges all parents and teachers to become aware of the risks our children face on the internet and take steps to help ensure their children’s safety.

If you suspect someone of producing or downloading child pornography you can report it to NCMEC.

For more information on cyber safety, please visit: https://texasattorneygeneral.gov/initiatives/cyber-safety/

TN Toddler Left In Hot Vehicle

.jpg photo of vehicular heat stroke victim
Kiara, 11-month-old, was found dead in a hot car

Officers testify in Child Abuse case

CHATTANOOGA, TN  –  The mother of a baby who died in a hot car in Chattanooga last week, stood before a judge today.

As of now, Jessica Tollett is charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse, but that could change.

Jessica Tollett listened on as officers testified in her child abuse case.

Earlier this month, Tollett’s 11-month-old daughter, Kiara, was found dead in a hot car.

Police have charged the father, Travis McCullough in connection to that.  But this launched an investigation into how her three children were cared for.

The two other children were at the scene and taken to the hospital.

“It appeared they had not been bathed recently.  Now when they were brought food by the hospital, they seemed to be very protective of the food, they ate it fairly quickly,” said SVU Investigator Christopher Grafe, with the Chattanooga Police Department.

After leaving the hospital, investigators went to the couple’s home at College Hill Courts.  The judge and lawyers looked over pictures of what was found.

“Walking straight back into the room, which was the worst room in the house.  It had a couch that looked like it had been torn up, in my opinion by a dog.  From my experience it looked like feces all over the ground,” Grafe said.

This isn’t the first time Tollett and McCullough have been investigated for child abuse.  It happened back in 2012, but charges against them for that were dismissed.

A police sergeant described what the motel they were living in at that time was like.

“Once inside the room the infant was asleep on one of the mattresses.  It didn’t have any sheets on it.  There was a comforter partially covering his face.  I immediately moved that off his face.  His face was dirty, his clothes were dirty, the infant also had a heavily soiled diaper.  You could tell it hadn’t been changed in a while,” Sergeant Jamie Barrow, with the Chattanooga Police Department.

Tollett’s lawyer and Prosecutors agree the charges against her should be changed.

“The highest charge that Ms. Tollett should receive in this case is attempt child neglect,” said Erinn O’Leary, a public defender.

But they disagree on what the new charge should be.

“We can say that judging by this defendant’s prior knowledge of how horribly she was keeping her one kid at that time in 2012, to how she is keeping all three of her kids and even in worse condition now that could certainly rise to serious bodily injury at some point,” prosecutor Boyd Patterson said.

The judge will make a decision about the charges on Wednesday morning.