Category Archives: Indifference

TX AG Units Still Keeping Texas Safe

.jpg photo of Texas Attorney General LogoAG Paxton’s Law Enforcement Round Up

The Election Integrity Unit made one noteworthy arrest last week.

In Nolan County, Kenneth Ray Teaff was arrested on Aug. 26 after being indicted by a grand jury for one count of Fraudulent Use of Application for Ballot by Mail and one count of Tampering with a Government Record.   This case involves allegations that Teaff applied for a ballot by mail in the name of his deceased brother during the November 2020 Nolan County General Election.

The Fugitive Apprehension Unit made two noteworthy arrests last week.

In Dallas County, Arlis Jamel Waits was arrested by the Rowlett Police Department on Aug. 25, in Rowlett, on an outstanding warrant for Indecency with a Child.

In Tarrant County, Gerald Ray Burnett was arrested on Aug. 24 in Fort Worth. In 2013, Burnett was convicted in Tarrant County of Aggravated Sexual Assault and was sentenced to 5 years in prison.  Burnett failed to comply with the applicable sex offender registration requirements and the Fort Worth Police Department issued the corresponding Fail to Register Sex Offender warrant.

Counselor, Child Camper Caught In Bed, “NEVER REPORTED”

.jpg photo of a camp for boys in New Hampshire
A darker side of New Hampshire’s Camp Tecumseh…

Behind the motto of ‘make good boys better,’
a darker side of New Hampshire’s
Camp Tecumseh

Since 1903, Camp Tecumseh has welcomed young male campers to New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee for summers of sports and outdoor adventures to “make good boys better.”

But at least two campers who summered there had a very different experience of life at the camp.  They say that at different times between 1999 and 2013 they were sexually abused by Matthew J. Scavitto, 37, a former camper and counselor who has since been convicted of sexual abuse in Pennsylvania.

Police in the small, lakeside town of Moultonborough, N.H., are now investigating the accusations, which have cast a pall over the 350-acre camp that draws many boys from the Philadelphia area and boasts of alumni including Prince Albert II of Monaco, the son of actress Grace Kelly; and the late Bert Bell, the first NFL commissioner.

One former camper who said he was molested at the camp by Scavitto during the early 2000s said life at Tecumseh required navigating a maze of demeaning and embarrassing practices.

“It was ‘Lord of the Flies,’ ” said Will Addis, 30, referring to the novel about boys who descend into chaos after being stranded on an uninhabited island.  “It has a pervasive culture of toxic masculinity and abusive practices.

Addis, of Nantucket, sued Camp Tecumseh last fall in New Hampshire, alleging that Scavitto sexually assaulted him repeatedly from 2001 and 2003.

Camp life, Addis alleged, celebrated games that sometimes took on sexual overtones and primitive accommodations like a shared shower area without curtains between campers and “The Widdow,” a bathroom with no privacy doors.

Campers who chafed at Tecumseh’s rituals were vulnerable to being hazed or bullied, Addis said, and the camp also permitted nude swimming, pranking others by twisting nipples, and having campers apply IcyHot to their testicles in a Mercy-style game.

Scavitto, of West Chester, Pa., declined to comment.  He has not been charged in the Tecumseh matter, but, in a separate case, pleaded guilty in 2015 to charges of institutional sexual assault and corruption of minors and was sentenced to 11 1/2 months to 1 year and 11 months in prison, records show.

Scavitto was prosecuted after two students at The Phelps School in suburban Philadelphia, accused him of sexually abusing them while he worked there as a teacher, coach, and dorm supervisor, police said.

One of the Phelps students also attended Camp Tecumseh and told investigators that Scavitto sexually abused him at the camp in 2013, a police report said.

Scavitto was at the camp from 1994 to 2014, according to Camp Tecumseh, which cut ties with him after his Pennsylvania arrest in June 2015.

As campers returned Saturday to Camp Tecumseh, Addis said he wants to share his story publicly and highlight aspects of camp culture that he believes facilitated Scavitto’s abuse of boys.

The state of the police investigation is unclear.  Moultonborough police Sergeant Jody Baker said the investigation is open and she was not “in a position to comment.”

Addis and the camp said they reached an out-of-court settlement earlier this year.

Photos and videos posted on a camp alumni website and YouTube show some of the practices and old-school, rough-edged play that concern Addis.

One photo of a game called “Buck Buck” shows a chain of kneeling campers clutching the waist of the person in front of them as an adult man straddles the back of one participant. One set of players tries to build a pile as large as possible on top of a second group of players who are linked together.

The camp said it stopped sanctioning nude swimming in the early 1990s and built a dividing wall in the bathroom in the early 2000s.  The bathroom and showers were renovated this year to enclose toilets and install curtains around each shower.

The camp didn’t directly address specific games or pranks, but said it has “recognized that what once may have been considered adolescent humor or physical pranks of innocent intent have no place at Camp.”

“While bullying and hazing have never been permitted or tolerated, we have recognized that even well-intended or seemingly innocent jokes and pranks were no longer appropriate or supportive of Camp’s values and mission,” the camp wrote in response to questions from the Globe.  “These changes were part of our concerted effort to create an environment where minors feel safe and are protected by clear boundaries, guidelines, and expectations and multiple levels of oversight.”

The camp said it created a new senior-level position, director of camper safety and wellness, to oversee the protection of minors, and retained outside experts to train staff. Tuition for this summer’s seven-week session is $7,700, and scholarships are available from the nonprofit camp.

A 3 1/2 page camp statement said it is “committed to an environment where minors and adults feel empowered to report incidents and have a clear understanding of what to look for and how to prevent and stop abuse.”

“Nothing that we do now can undo the harm caused to our former campers, both those who were directly impacted, as well as the many other campers, counselors, and senior leaders whose sense of safety and security were shaken by these events.  We are deeply sorry to the former campers who were abused by Scavitto, and so very grateful for their courage in speaking up and standing strong.”

On Thursday, the camp issued a letter informing the Tecumseh community that the Globe was preparing a story about Addis and described its efforts to address his concerns.

Being close to Scavitto, Addis said, shielded him from hazing and bullying.

In the last year, Addis said, he learned that in 2003 a counselor came upon him and Scavitto in bed together in their cabin, and reported it to his father, also a camp employee. The counselor and his father in turn, Addis said, approached the camp director.

“Nothing happened,” Addis said.  “This was incredibly public.  People knew what was going on but they didn’t do anything.”

Reached by the Globe, the former counselor said he couldn’t speak and hung up.  His father didn’t respond to e-mails.

Camp Tecumseh said that an internal investigation launched after Scavitto’s Pennsylvania arrest revealed that the counselor and his father approached the camp director during the early 2000s with a “concern about boundaries, rather than about abuse.”  The camp said it shared the information with New Hampshire police after learning about it in 2015.

James Talbot, the camp director in 2003, said he has no recollection of being approached.

“Nor did I have any other information that any of this behavior took place while I was camp director,” Talbot wrote in an e-mail.  “Had I known, I would have put an immediate stop to it and notified the authorities.”

Addis’s lawyer, Eric MacLeish, said the camp missed an opportunity to stop Scavitto years before he was accused of molesting boys in Pennsylvania.

“By the time Will was molested, the mandatory abuse reporting laws had been in effect in New Hampshire for decades,” said MacLeish, a New Hampshire attorney who has represented many child sex abuse victims.  “It is impossible to understand why the Camp failed to investigate, report, or fire Scavitto when it learned that he was in bed at 10: 30 at night with a [10-]year-old child.”

After Scavitto’s 2015 arrest, the camp said it hired the law firm Cozen O’Connor to investigate, contacted the families of current and former campers, alerted police and child protective services in New Hampshire, and added staff to ensure individual campers are never alone with a counselor.

It was unclear whether state officials in New Hampshire were informed about the alleged abuse.  A spokesman for the state’s child welfare division said state and federal laws require it to protect the privacy of any individuals involved in the agency.

Responding to a records request, the state’s health and human services agency produced one document from Scavitto’s tenure as a counselor, a 2014 report that noted beds were too close together in the cabin visited by the inspector.  A department spokesman said other files were purged after five years, and that the agency had only been authorized in 2020 to oversee camps.

At Tecumseh in 2001, Addis was assigned to a cabin of 18 campers, where Scavitto had arranged for him to sleep next to him, Addis recalled.  At night and during the daytime rest period, Addis said Scavitto sexually assaulted him.

Around camp, Addis said Scavitto held his hand, played with his hair, and put his arm around him.

“He told me he loved me,” Addis said.   “He told me not tell anybody this is our little secret.”

He added: “I almost felt that I had better treatment than any other camper and some counselors.  I felt like I had such privilege at that camp.”

Last March, Addis said, the closing of the economy due to the coronavirus pandemic set off a change in him.  He said childhood memories of Camp Tecumseh and Scavitto filled his mind and he took action.

Up until then, Addis said, he feared what happened to him at camp.

“I thought I would take this to the grave,” he said.

TX AG Law Enforcement Units Stop Sewer Rats, Violent Offenders

.jpg photo of Texas Attorney General Logo
TX AG Law Enforcement Units Stop Sewer Rats, Violent Offenders

AG Paxton’s Law Enforcement Round Up

The Child Exploitation Unit made one noteworthy arrest last week.

In Bexar County, Brandon Garza, 22, of San Antonio, was arrested for two counts of Promotion of Child Pornography and one count of Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child on May 12.  This case was received as a NCMEC CyberTipline report involving the upload of child pornography to an online account, with a possible live victim.  During an interview, Garza confessed to owning the online account, producing child pornography with a 9-year-old female child victim, and sending images of child pornography. Investigators seized multiple devices to be examined by the Digital Forensics Unit.  Garza was transported to the Bexar County Jail.

The Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week.

In Bexar County, Gonzalo Gonzales was arrested in San Antonio on May 7.  Gonzales had an outstanding warrant for Sexual Assault/Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child issued by the Frio County Sheriff’s Office, as well as a warrant for Sexual Assault/Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child under 14 by the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office.

In Bexar County, Darren Paul Doze was arrested in San Antonio on May 7.  Doze had an outstanding warrant for Homicide issued by the Leon Valley Police Department.  This arrest was made while working with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of San Antonio.

In Galveston County, James Nolans Logan was arrested in Galveston on May 12.  Logan had an outstanding warrant for Murder issued by the Los Angeles Police Department in California.  This arrest was made while working with the Gulf Coast Violent Offender Task Force.

In Travis County, Victor Roman Cardenas was arrested in Austin on May 13.  Cardenas had outstanding warrants for two Counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child by the Austin Police Department.  This arrest was made while working with the United States Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force out of Austin.

First Hot Car Death Of 2021

.jpg photo of heat stroke in hot vehicle graphic
#HotVehicles Are Not #BabySitters

First Hot Car Death in 2021 Confirmed
as we Approach National Heatstroke Prevention Day

April 29, 2021  –  Today it was confirmed that a North Carolina 5-month-old baby lost her little life after being left alone in a hot car last Sunday, April 25.  Preliminary findings from the autopsy report point to the cause of death being environmental hyperthermia which is consistent with statements provided by the mother.

Saturday, May 1st is National Heatstroke Prevention Day.  Though it is too late for this little girl, we need to double our efforts to focus on education and awareness regarding the dangers of hot cars.

This year, Kids and Car Safety is emphasizing that there are technological solutions to put an end to the devastation seen every year of children and animals dying excruciating deaths in hot cars.

“After more than 20 years of public education, the number of children dying in hot cars has gotten worse, not better,” stated Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Cars Safety. “The years 2018 and 2019 were the worst in history with a total of over 100 children that died in hot cars nationwide,” she continued.

Education and public awareness are important, but not enough.  Children will continue to die in hot cars until technological solutions that can sense the presence of a child are standard in all vehicles.

The Hot Cars Act is a federal bill that will be reintroduced in the coming weeks that requires technology that can detect the presence of a child in all new vehicles to prevent hot car injury and death.   This technology is readily available and affordable.

“The only thing more tragic than a child or animal dying in a hot car is knowing that there are solutions that exist that could prevent this.  By not utilizing available technology to sense a child or pet alone inside a vehicle, we are shamefully allowing this to happen over and over again.  The price of inaction is the life of children and that is unacceptable,” said Amber Rollins, Director of Kids and Car Safety.

Nobody believes that a hot car tragedy is going to happen to them or their family until it does.  Kids and Car Safety is calling on the public to take action today by learning what to do if they see a child alone in a vehicle.  The organization is also encouraging parents to adopt several simple habits to protect their children, even if they believe this could never happen to them.

Look Before You Lock Safety Checklist
Create simple habits to help keep your child safe.

Make sure your child is never left alone in a car:

  • Place the child’s diaper bag or item in the front passenger seat as a visual cue that the child is with you.
  • Make it a habit of opening the back door every time you park to ensure no one is left behind.  To enforce this habit, place an item that you can’t start your day without in the back seat (employee badge, laptop, phone, handbag, etc.)
  • Ask your childcare provider to call you right away if your child hasn’t arrived as scheduled.
  • Clearly announce and confirm who is getting each child out of the vehicle. Miscommunication can lead to thinking someone else removed the child.

Make sure children cannot get into a parked car:

  • Keep vehicles locked at all times, especially in the garage or driveway.  Ask neighbors and visitors to do the same.
  • Never leave car keys within reach of children.
  • Use childproofing knob covers and door alarms to prevent children from exiting your home unnoticed.
  • Teach children to honk the horn or turn on hazard lights if they become stuck inside a car.
  • If a child is missing, immediately check the inside, floorboards, and trunk of all vehicles in the area carefully, even if they’re locked.

Kids and Car Safety and their safety partners will be sharing posts via social media throughout the day about how child vehicular heatstroke can be prevented with the use of technology.  They are calling on the public and media outlets to join in to support this national effort.

Kids and Car Safety has prepared posts, photos, and graphics that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, newsletters, and websites, etc. to help raise awareness about the importance of adding existing technology to vehicles to help end these predictable and preventable hot car fatalities.

Children Must Be Supervised Full Time

 

.jpg photo of suspects arrested in child predator sting
Operation “Guardian Angels” went after child predators on-line.

Catching Predators: An Exclusive Look
Inside A Statewide Underage Sex Sting

ROGERS COUNTY, OK  –  A two-month undercover sex sting to take down child sex predators ended with nearly a dozen men in jail in Rogers County, but this operation extends far beyond the county line.

Operation “Guardian Angels” went after adults trying to meet and have sex with what they thought were 14-year-old boys and 15-year-old girls.

For the last two months, News On 6’s Reagan Ledbetter rode along with investigators at all times of the day and night, as investigators arrested suspected predators from Joplin, Missouri to Oklahoma City.  Months ago, investigators created fake social media profiles of 14-year-old boys and 15-year-old girls.

They arrested 11 men accused of trying to meet and have sex with those children.

Deputies said what people do not realize is predators will do whatever, and go wherever, to meet children.  In one of the cases, deputies said the suspect drove from Joplin, Missouri, rented a hotel room, and messaged the girl and told her he wants to have sex with her.  But, it didn’t stop there.

Just days later, the operation went to Oklahoma City.

“We have an arrest warrant that we are getting ready to execute on a violent predator down here in Oklahoma City,” said Lt. Kyle Baker with the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office.  “He’s been soliciting a 15-year-old female for sex and other disgusting things he would like to do to her.”

Investigators teamed up with OKC police to take down a foster dad, Craig Hooper, who they said told the fake profile he wanted to get her a bus ticket to come to Oklahoma City so he could be her foster father and have sex with her.  Investigators said half of their arrests were men trying to meet boys.

They said two of the suspects showed up with loaded guns.

In another case, deputies said Johnny Rose planned to pick up who he thought was a 15-year-old girl for sex and to do drugs, but he tried to get away. They chased him and eventually arrested him on the highway.

“We already positively identified who he was; we were basically just waiting for him to show up,” said Sgt. Bo Williams with the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office.  “We’ve already got communications with him in regards to sexual stuff he was wanting to do with our undercover profile; so, he’s bought and paid for.”

In the past, sexual predators had to drive around looking for a child to kidnap.  Now, the predators are in your own living room, on your kid’s phone, and you have no idea – until it’s too late.

“They are predators and technology gives them a vehicle to do this.  Most of the time if you look at the stats, untouched,” said Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton.

Law enforcement’s worst fear is they don’t get to a suspect before he actually assaults a real victim, but that’s a reality and that’s what led to the arrest of 18-year-old Wade Ennis.  He’s accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl, which was captured on video.

Deputies said he admitted to that crime, as well as abusing other children who were even younger.

“That’s the one we want to get,” said Sgt. John Haning with the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office.  “He had already touched, or potentially touched, three underage victims.  As he was getting older, he was getting more brazen.”

Investigators said parents have to know what their kids are doing online, because the harsh reality is, for every one they arrest they have four more trying to meet a child for sex.

They said 80 percent of all child predators never get caught.