West Virginia baby dies after “worst case of
sex assault” in decades
RIPLEY, WV – A 9-month-old baby has died after she was allegedly raped by a 32-year-old man in West Virginia, according to officials.
Jackson County officials say this incident was the worst sexual assault case they’ve seen in two decades, according to WCHS.
Benjamin Taylor, 32, was found Monday morning with the child in the basement of an apartment he shared with his girlfriend, who is the mother of the baby. The baby was unresponsive and covered with blood, officials say.
Family members tell West Virginia Metro News that the baby was clinically brain-dead with no hope of waking up.
Taylor will now face a murder charge on top of the count of first-degree sexual assault. Authorities say Taylor had a criminal record, but a motive was not yet known.
DONA ANA COUNTY, NM – Wednesday, the mother of baby Brianna Lopez, the 5-month old who was brutally raped and beat to death in 2002 was released from prison.
Stephanie Lopez was released today after serving nearly 13-years of her 27-year prison sentence. Lopez was convicted in 2003 in connection to the death of her daughter Brianna.
“This case sent shockwaves through the entire community. Baby Brianna was horrifically tortured, raped and murdered, and we all want the monsters who took part in this brutal crime to face justice,” Secretary of Corrections Gregg Marcantel said. “Unfortunately, the law at the time allowed these violent offenders to have a much lighter sentence than what they deserved.”
Brianna was just a few months old when her father Andrew Walters, 59926, and uncle Steven Lopez, 59927, raped and abused her. Her mother took part in the abuse, biting the child from head to toe, and allowed the rapes to happen. The jury found Stephanie Lopez not guilty of intentional child abuse, but guilty of child abuse resulting in death. She received a 27 year sentence but under the law was eligible for day for day good time and credit time for time served in jail awaiting trial.
Walters received a total of 63 years in prison for child abuse resulting in death and rape. He is also eligible for good time as is Steven Lopez, who received a 57 year sentence in total for rape and neglect resulting in death.
Walters’s mother, Patricia Walters, and his brother, Robert Walters Junior, were convicted of failing to report child abuse and were sentenced to 60 days in jail.
Corrections officials had five independent auditors to review Lopez’s case file to ensure that she served her full sentence. The State does not have the authority to alter the court ordered sentence that permits her release.
Lopez will serve two years of parole in another state through the interstate compact agreement. Location of offenders in interstate compact is confidential. She will have to follow all rules and requirements of her parole as well as state and federal laws.
Baby Brianna’s Law, named after the victim, now sets a mandatory life sentence for child abuse resulting in death for a child under 13.
An effort to expand the law to children from age 13 to 18 died in the state senate in the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions
1 – I CHECK FIRST with my parents, guardians, or other trusted adults before going anywhere, helping anyone, accepting anything, or getting into a car.
2 – I TAKE A FRIEND with me when going places or playing outside.
3 – I TELL people “NO” if they try to touch me or hurt me. It’s OK
for me to stand up for myself.
4 – I TELL my trusted adult if anything makes me feel sad, scared,
Sometimes there are people who trick or hurt others. No one has the right to do that to you. So use these rules, and remember you are STRONG, are SMART, and have the right to be SAFE.
TAKE A FRIEND
TELL PEOPLE “NO” IF THEY TRY TO TOUCH YOU OR HURT YOU
TELL AN ADULT YOU TRUST IF ANYTHING HAPPENS
KidSmartz is a child safety program that educates families about preventing abduction and empowers kids in grades K-5 to practice safer behaviors. This program offers resources to help parents, caregivers, and teachers protect kids by teaching and practicing the 4 Rules of Personal Safety using tips, printable activities, quizzes, articles, music, videos, and more.
“This crime occurs when a trafficker uses force, fraud or coercion to control another person for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or soliciting labor or services against his/her will,” says NHTRC.
One may think that sex trafficking only happens in under-developed neighborhoods, or only in other countries. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller reiterates that is simply not true, as it happens in any neighborhood, and from any computer or phone.
In Marion County alone, there have been 20 sex traffickers prosecuted and 25 victims rescued just in the past six months.
Zoeller, an advocate for education and the ceasing of sex trafficking in the Hoosier state, says many victims may not even see themselves as victims. They may experience a phenomenon close to ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ or not know any other life than the toxic one they’re exposed to.
The AG says the victims are not to blame, but the main problem is the business world the traffickers are feeding into.
“This is a growing problem, and one we need to recognize is real. Many people don’t even believe this exists,” says Zoeller. “I’ve called for the fact that people should be arrested and put in jail, the same way we address drunk driving. You may lose your job, or at least the respect of your friends and community. So if we start raising the risk factor, I think we can really take a dent out of the demand that’s out there today.”
Northwest Ohio is also no stranger to human trafficking cases either, as Toledo was once rated fourth in the nation for youth-sex trade due to a high number of FBI busts. Some local coalition members say the busts are actually a good thing.
According to the NHTRC, there have been 289 human trafficking cases reported just this year. 233 of those cases are sex trafficking.
Even higher is the number of phone calls made to report a potential case: 1066.
Jennifer Wedge, a member of the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition, says high numbers is not a bad thing, but quite the opposite.
“If there’s a population center with a lot of identified human trafficking victims, it means something in that area is working,” says Wedge. “They’re getting them identified and getting them help. It does happen in every single zip code in our country and in every country around the world.”
Many victims are believed to be missing children.
That’s why Tim Wedge, a Forensics Science professor at Defiance College in Defiance, Ohio (and Jennifer’s husband) wanted to step in and help.
Wedge helped create FAGIN, Facial Analysis to Gain Information Now, a basic crude prototype that he and his students engineered.
FAGIN is designed to take missing person reports with pictures of missing children, run it through the facial analysis software by comparing them to pictures in ads for people being sold for sex online, and produce a report whenever there’s a match.
It even matches old pictures of the children, from the time when they went missing, to an aged picture years later when they’re being sold.
Wedge says FAGIN has the possibility of rescuing a shocking amount of victims.
“If we can take this crude prototype and turn it into a production system, we potentially can rescue every single one [victim] that’s being advertised online. That possibility exists. That [number of victims saved] is very likely going to be in the thousands,” Wedge says.
Wedge has showed the prototype to some law enforcement agencies to show how it works and how it can be made into a full production system.
He believes for that to happen, FAGIN needs the resources of law enforcement officers to officially use it for missing children like from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children database, where 800,000 children are reported missing each year. One in five of them are sex trafficking victims.
Zoeller says knowing the signs of trafficking is prominent in eliminating the epidemic. Be on the lookout for young girls with an older man and it seems out-of-place. There might be some bruising or cuts on the victims, they might seem very controlled, looking down and staying quiet, and they might not have identification on them.
Zoeller says these recognizing these red flags and bringing it to someone’s attention could help get someone’s life back.
To report a potential human trafficking case anonymously, call the NHTRC at 1 (888) 373-7888 or send a text to 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”). Both are available 24/7.
An Ohio daycare worker has pleaded guilty to charges of sexually assaulting children.
Heather Koon, who worked at ABC Kidz Child Care in Elyria, was charged with rape and kidnapping for allegedly assaulting children as young as 1-year-old in the fall of 2013.
Officials said she even videotaped the molestations.
Koon’s fiancé, James Osbourne – a registered sex offender — was also charged in the case.
The Chronicle-Telegram reports that Koon raped four children at ABC Kidz, while she also took obscene photos of children at ABC Kidz and Country Day School in Amherst, where she took a job after leaving the daycare in Elyria.
Prosecutors said Osbourne provoked Koon’s actions. It wasn’t immediately clear how officials found out about the incidents.