Category Archives: Law Enforcement

Don’t Victimize Children In Texas

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Kedrick Nelms, 28, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl.

AG Paxton’s Office, Travis County DA
Margaret Moore Obtain Conviction
in Child Sex Trafficking Case

AUSTIN, TX  –  Resulting from a joint effort by his office, the Travis County District Attorney’s office, and the Texas Department of Public Safety, Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that a Travis County District Court sentenced Kedrick Nelms, 28, to 40 years in prison for sex trafficking a 14-year-old girl.

On June 20, a Travis County jury found Nelms guilty of trafficking of persons and of compelling prostitution of a minor, both first-degree felonies.  Nelms opted to have the judge determine his punishment.

The attorney general’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime section, led by Deputy Criminal Chief Kirsta Melton and Assistant Attorney General Melissa Holman, assisted the prosecution of the case at the invitation of Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore.  They were joined at the trial by Travis County Assistant District Attorney Josh Reno.

The Texas Department of Public Safety conducted the investigation that led to the successful prosecution of Nelms.

“As a result of this successful, first-of-its-kind partnership between my office, the Travis County District Attorney’s office and the Texas Department of Public Safety, a dangerous and despicable human trafficker has been brought to justice,” Attorney General Paxton said.  “I’m grateful to the prosecutors and our law enforcement partners for their tireless work on this collaborative effort.  My office will continue to work to protect victims from sex trafficking and prosecute those who profit from the exploitation of human beings.”

Travis County District Attorney Moore said: “I commend the attorney general and his assistants for this outstanding prosecution.  I am proud to have partnered in this exemplary collaboration.”

Nelms used a social media app called Tagged to lure his underage victim into a relationship, then introduced her to his girlfriend, Kirsten Violette, who conspired with Nelms to traffick the girl for prostitution in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio in June 2016.

It took a jury one hour to return guilty verdicts on both charges against Nelms.

Separately, Violette pleaded guilty this week to trafficking of persons and faces a punishment hearing in August.

Attorney General Paxton has made combating human trafficking a top priority.  Two years ago, he launched his office’s Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime section, which prosecutes human traffickers across the state.

In April, the section’s prosecution of Backpage.com resulted in the company pleading guilty to human trafficking in Texas and its CEO, Carl Ferrer, pleading guilty to money laundering.

The attorney general’s office also assisted the U.S. Department of Justice with permanently shutting down the website, which was considered the largest online sex trafficking marketplace in the world.

Earlier this year, Attorney General Paxton unveiled a powerful training video to teach Texans how to spot and report suspected human trafficking activity.

Be the One in the Fight Against Human Trafficking” is available for viewing online at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/human-trafficking

CA Father Arrested After Evidence Posted On FaceBook

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A case of Child Abuse was caught on camera Thursday July 5, 2018 outside a Riverside residence.

Father Arrested in Case of Child Abuse Caught on Camera

SAN JOSE, CA  –  Security camera video that showed a man dropping, throwing and slinging a child outside a Riverside home led to the arrest of the boy’s father, according to police.

In the video captured July 5, a man can be seen arguing with a woman identified as the man’s girlfriend, according to police.  He is seen holding the young child — police said the boy is 18 months old — and speaking to the woman before dropping him.

During the confrontation, the man appeared to swing the boy at the woman.

Police were first alerted to the video by someone who posted it to a Facebook group page.  Officers searched door-to-door in the neighborhood and located the man in the Montecito Estates subdivision of the Riverwalk neighborhood in Riverside.

The child suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was treated for cuts and bruises at a hospital.  He was released to his mother.

The boy’s father, identified by police as 27-year-old Techoak Lim, was arrested on suspicion of felony child endangerment.  NBC4 is attempting to confirm whether he has an attorney.

Police said the mother and father are separated and share custody of the child.  The woman seen in the video is not the mother of the child.

Smile You Are On Child Abuse Camera

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Brian Loss was recorded by Daughter while assaulting her.

Spokane Valley man faces Child Abuse charges; Child reportedly records
violent attack

SPOKANE, WA  –  A Spokane Valley man is facing serious charges of child abuse after police say his daughter recorded him attacking her at home — an attack that was reportedly so violent, the man broke his hand from hitting her so hard.

The video came to light after Brian Loss was arrested on June 20 for 3rd degree assault-domestic violence against his 16-year-old daughter.

Court documents say Loss went to pick up his daughter in Spokane County to give her a ride.  She told police she jumped on the hood of his vehicle to avoid being left behind and he reportedly drove off with her on the hood, swerving in an attempt to knock her off.  The child did eventually fall off the hood, according to police.

Loss appeared in court at the end of June and was then released on his own recognizance, but a domestic violence no contact order was issued.

During the investigation, police say they obtained a video of a December 5, 2017, assault by Loss at his residence.  It was during that assault that police say Loss broke his hand during the beating.  He and his daughter later went to an urgent care to have a cast put on it.

Documents also say that Loss violated the domestic violence no contact order on July 1.  He was arrested and appeared in court on Tuesday.

Loss is charged with third degree assault and witness tampering, third degree child rape, third degree child molestation and harassment.

He will be in court again on July 17.

LESS VIABLE OPTIONS FOR TRAFFICKED CHILDREN

.jpg photo of U.S. Department of Justice Building
United States Department of Justice Building

Trouble Ahead for Wrongly Criminalized
Trafficking Victims

In a major blow to survivors of human trafficking, the US Department of Justice has announced that it will no longer allow funding to be used to help survivors get legal representation to clear their criminal records that resulted from their victimization. The decision by the Office for Victims of Crime will affect $77 million of human trafficking grants this year.

The abrupt policy reversal was initiated by the Trump administration and goes against the consensus of survivors, advocates, and law enforcement.  The new funding restrictions are expected to go into effect in just a couple of weeks.

In an opinion piece in The Hill, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan District Attorney, and Kate Mogulescu, an Assistant Professor of Clinical Law at Brooklyn Law School, write:

It is widely acknowledged that victims are frequently arrested when they are trafficked.  A 2016 National Survivor Network survey found that over 91 percent of respondents reported having been arrested, over 40 percent reported being arrested 9 times or more.

No one questions the detrimental impact this has on survivors’ ability to move forward.  Criminal records act as concrete barriers for survivors, and lead to denial of employment, housing, and other services.  Furthermore, the message to survivors living with criminal records because of their trafficking is clear — you did something wrong, you deserve this, this will live with you forever.

That’s why Manhattan prosecutors screen every prostitution arrest for evidence of trafficking and dismiss prostitution cases after individuals receive counseling sessions and other services.

But the most effective legal response to correct the injustice of past convictions is vacatur or expungement, laws that provide survivors a way to clear their record of charges they were convicted of that were a result of trafficking.  New York was the first state to pass such a law in 2009, and almost every state in the country has taken some steps toward relieving survivors of the burden of a criminal record since then.

In one example, Vance and Mogulescu point to the case of a young woman who was sex trafficked for five years in New York, starting when she was just 16.  During that time, she was arrested for prostitution six times.

Yet, because of collaboration between the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Brooklyn Law School, her convictions were vacated, ensuring that she would she would not be haunted by them for the rest of her life.

Prosecutors have come to rely on partner organizations to help identify trafficking victims and bring vacatur motions or expungement petitions.  Under the new funding rules, victims who can’t access legal representation will be forced to file petitions on their own — a significant burden to those seeking justice.

As Vance and Mogulescu conclude, this policy will have tremendous impact on the ability for trafficking survivors to simply live their lives:

“Funding for this work is critical — for the survivor trafficked into prostitution over two decades ago, who has focused on her education, earned a Masters degree in counseling, but is prohibited from taking a state licensure exam because of her criminal record;  for the survivor parent of a nine-year-old child who faces humiliation at being fingerprinted to chaperone a school trip;  for the survivor who secures an entry level service sector job but has the offer rescinded when a background check reveals her criminal record.”

Severe Abuse Suspected In Indiana Case

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Shannon Breaux, 33

Couple arrested in Child Abuse case out of West Lafayette

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN  –  A man and woman are facing charges after two children were abused in West Lafayette, according to the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Office.

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Ashley Stigers, 32

Deputies were called to investigate the case in the 6100 block of Warrior Dr. Tuesday evening.

The investigation was eventually turned over to detectives, who later arrested 33-year-old Shannon Breaux and 32-year-old Ashley Stigers.

Breaux is facing charges of neglect of a dependent, battery by strangulation, and confinement, all level 6 felonies.  Stigers has been charged with neglect of a dependent.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Stigers had posted bond and Shannon remained in custody at the Tippecanoe County Jail.

Authorities did not provide details regarding the suspects’ relation to the victims.