AG Paxton: Pflugerville Man Arrested for
Possession of Child Pornography
February 8, 2017
AUSTIN, TX – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that the Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) of his office arrested a Pflugerville man on two counts of Possession of Child Pornography.
Kenneth Ray Ward, 54, is charged with a third-degree felony and could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
The CEU began its investigation after receiving a CyberTipline report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, indicating that Ward uploaded child pornography to a cloud storage account.
A search of his home turned up images of child pornography on Ward’s tablet computer. Investigators also confiscated a desktop computer and smartphone, which will be examined by the attorney general’s Digital Forensics Unit.
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.
Troy man who admitted to Sexual Abuse of over 100 kids could return to Capital Region after early release
ALBANY, NY – A child sex predator could soon be out of prison and return to the Capital Region.
Louis VanWie is scheduled to be released 10 years short of his maximum sentence. The Troy man admitted to abusing more than 150 children over decades.
Two of his victims are trying to fight his release.
Some of his young victims never knew his name until his 1997 arrest.
His victims said VanWie got away with most of his horrible crimes. Now they fear he will harm other local children when he is released from prison – possibly at the end of December.
In 1996, Kayla Wittman was a sweet-faced ballerina. She was a happy kid growing up in Lansingburgh. But her bright smile would fade with the unwanted touches from a man she knew back then as a family friend.
“He would have me sit on his lap, and he would force me to sit there if I tried to get up,” she recalled. “You know, he would touch me.”
Wittman said the abuse was revealed after the night VanWie entered her bedroom. She and a friend were making a home video. She said VanWie made some comments, which were picked up by the camera.
“And then I just made my parents aware,” she said. “They listened to the videotape, and they just thought that things were a little weird. And then I confessed to them everything that he had done to me.”
Troy police investigated and discovered two more victims. The local handyman was arrested on Sodomy and Sexual Abuse charges.
But then came a chilling revelation. VanWie admitted to abusing over 100 boys and girls going back decades. A search of his home revealed a large collection of children’s underwear and photos of young kids in bathing suits.
Then police received calls from more than 100 other possible victims.
“He is the worst of the worst,” Gary Greenberg said. “Over 40 years, he abused hundreds and hundreds of kids.”
Today, Greenberg is a successful casino investor, but back in 1966, he was a 7-year-old boy living in Cohoes. He said VanWie sexually assaulted him during a visit to the hospital when VanWie was working as an orderly.
“You know, he wanted to touch me in my private parts, and you know, I fought him,” Greenberg said. “I kicked him.”
Greenberg said he fought his way to a set of service elevators.
“That’s where the elevator shaft was,” he explained. “So he picked me up by my ankles, hung me head first down the elevator shaft, and said, ‘If you don’t do what I want you to do, I’m going to let go.’”
Greenberg said his abuser’s identify remained a mystery for 30 years. But that all changed in 1997 when he recognized VanWie in news reports of his arrest.
Greenberg said he and VanWie’s other victims were denied justice due to New York State’s statute of limitations on sex abuse cases, something he’s trying to change by spearheading the Child Victims Act, which would eliminate any time limit.
“He’s a poster case for why we need to change the laws in his state,” he said.
But now, there’s a much more urgent concern.
The man who admitted to victimizing several children is about to be set free. The shocking news was delivered in a letter to Wittman’s parents.
The Department of Corrections told NEWS10 ABC the now-74-year-old convicted child predator is eligible for conditional release after serving two-thirds of his 30-year prison term.
“It’s terrifying to know that I can go to the grocery store and bump into this man who scarred me for life,” Wittman said.
Wittman is afraid other children could be hurt by VanWie when he is released.
“I mean, a lot of people are saying he will be closely watched, but obviously, he doesn’t follow the rules or the laws,” she said. “So I don’t think this is going to stop him.”
VanWie has a tentative release date of December 29, 2016. But the DOC said he has been unable to secure adequate housing, so his release date may change.
NEWS10 was told he still has family in the area and may return to Troy.
Wittman and Greenberg are now asking Governor Andrew Cuomo to keep VanWie behind bars or place him in civil confinement. NEWS10 reached out to the governor’s office. They said those requests will not happen.
Parole denied VanWie five times, but he has served two-thirds of his indeterminate sentence, so by law, he is eligible for release.
ERAU professor charged with Child Abuse,
9 other counts
Florida – A professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has been charged with child abuse and committing lewd and lascivious acts with someone less than 16 years old.
Embry-Riddle professor Mark Fugler was arrested Friday night in Ormond Beach, according to arrest records. Fugler has been charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious conduct to someone less than 16 years old, two counts of showing obscene material to a minor, one count of child abuse, and three counts of lewd and lascivious exhibition, the arrest records show. Fugler, 58, is being held at the Volusia County jail on $550,000 bail.
University spokesman James Roddey said in an email that Fugler is a professor of civil engineering at the Daytona Beach campus and that he was hired by the school in 1996. He said that “university officials will fully cooperate with law enforcement authorities on this investigation.”
A woman at his Ormond Beach home answered the door but declined to comment about the charges.
According to the university’s website, Fugler was currently teaching four classes and his areas of expertise included advanced materials in civil engineering, structural performance prediction, civil engineering in aerospace education, and remote structural condition assessment.
Texas Attorney General: Man arrested on 6 counts of child pornography possession
A 22-year-old Adkins man was arrested Thursday for allegedly having multiple images of child pornography, including at least one image of a 10-year-old girl, the Office of the Texas Attorney General said Friday.
Jarrett Ray Dwayne Palitza was formally charged on six counts of possession of child pornography after investigators with the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s Child Exploitation Unit (CEU) conducted a warrant-approved search of his residence in Adkins, which is about 21 miles east of San Antonio.
The CEU became involved initially as assistance to the Sealy Police Department regarding a case of sexual assault of a girl, 10, along with the possibility of a potential possession and distribution of child porn, according to a news release issued Friday.
The search led investigators to Palitza’s home, where child pornography was allegedly discovered. One of the images was of the 10-year-old girl believed to be involved in the Sealy Police Department case, according to the news release.
“One more dangerous individual is off the streets and behind bars thanks to the efforts of the Child Exploitation Unit and the Sealy Police Department,” Paxton said in a news release. “My office will remain steadfast in protecting our children and our communities from the heinous acts of these child predators and continue seeking justice against them.”