An Ector County jury found a mother guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child after she was accused of taking and distributing photos of her performing sexual acts on her daughter.
This is the second conviction for the defendant, Amber Lynn Haugen, after she was convicted in federal court in June 2016 on child pornography charges and sentenced to 12 years in federal prison followed by 10 years of supervised release. The state trial, which started in the 70th District Court overseen by Judge Denn Whalen, continued with the final witness for the guilt portion of the case: Michelle Rawles.
Michelle Rawles is a stay-at-home mother to 10 children, most recently, the adoptive mother of Haugen’s daughter. The child was placed with Rawles when she was just five months old.
After Rawles was heard, the jury was sent back so the defendant’s charge could be discussed. Thomas asked the judge to change the charge to indecency with a child by contact, as he said it is a lesser offense than aggravated sexual assault. That request was denied, and aggravated sexual assault was ruled to be the charge that Haugen would eventually be found guilty of.
During the closing statement, the prosecutor Clay George argued that Haugen intentionally or knowingly sexually assaulted her daughter based on a confession Haugen made to FBI Special Agent Joshua Pirtle that she had done so. George also referenced text messages seized, although Haugen’s part of the conversation had been deleted, which showed her ex-boyfriend, Kelly David Shambaugh, and a co-worker of hers, Edward Anderson Rawlins, threatening to go to law enforcement if she did not complying, suggesting guilt.
“You also have some images, some horrible images you can never unsee,” George told the jury, referring to the photos of Haugen and her daughter naked and a picture of Haugen performing oral sex on her daughter.
The defense attorney Matt Thomas gave his closing statement telling the jury this is one of the saddest cases he has ever defended. He then asked the jury to disregard the photo of oral sex, as he didn’t feel they were properly authenticated due to not being able to fully see either face of the two people in the photograph. Thomas then tried to gain sympathy for Haugen.
“She did state she did what Mr. Shambaugh ordered her to do,” Thomas said. “These two animals found a way to get into her head and they took advantage of her.”
Thomas closed out his statement by telling the jury he feels his client is a victim in all of this, and asked them to imagine the trauma they would feel in a situation like this themselves, and said it can’t be proved Haugen acted knowingly or intentionally given the pressure on her.
Clay responded by pointing out the threats sent to Haugen via text by Shambaugh and Rawlins were only sent after she had assaulted the child, and said he didn’t buy Haugen not knowingly or intentionally sexually assaulting her daughter.
“Do you think she accidentally fell between her infant’s legs and did that?” George asked the jury.
Clay then said feeling sorry for Haugen is not a defense, and brought up Rawles’s testimony about milestones babies have when they are only a few months old, such as lifting up their head.
“They don’t walk. They don’t talk. And they don’t tell law enforcement that their mom is doing this to them,” he told the jury. “If you can’t find her guilty with the confession and pictures, how will we enforce this law?”
The jury then left the courtroom to decide the fate of Haugen. They came back after about 15 minutes with one verdict: Guilty.
Shambaugh and Rawlins have both been convicted, as well. Shambaugh was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison on charges of distributing child pornography, cyberstalking and conspiracy to commit cyberstalking. Rawlins was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in federal prison on two charges of cyberstalking.
Judge Whalen reconvened the jury after a short recess to begin the punishment phase of the trial to determine how Haugen will face the charges.
Kortney Williams, a prosecutor in the trial, said in an opening statement it doesn’t begin with Haugen’s daughter. It begins in Wisconsin, where Haugen used to live, with a son.
Williams told the jury that not only had Haugen had two previous children, a boy and a girl, but they had been taken away from her, as well. She said Haugen was offered custody of her daughter back if she moved out with her boyfriend at the time, a registered sex offender, but she refused. Williams also told the jury they would hear from a sexual assault nurse about sexual assault-related on her youngest child’s body.
Pictures of Haugen and her daughter could be circulating the internet for the rest of the child’s life, Williams said.
“For the rest of (her daughter’s) life, they’ll be there to be traded back and forth between sex offenders,” Williams told the jury.
The first witness brought out for the punishment phase was Dutch Leydell, a case worker in Racine, Wisconsin who handled a case involving Haugen and her son.
Haugen had her son taken from her due to allegations of neglect and abuse, Leydell said.
“Ms. Haugen indicated someone needed to take the child or she would kill him,” Leydell told the prosecutors.
Haugen had recently moved to Racine when Leydell started seeing her. She had moved in with a man named Tim Pech, a registered sex offender.
“She said she didn’t see a problem with it because she had been living with sex offenders her entire life,” Leydell said.
Leydell then told the court of how Haugen had her son removed and how she had missed some of her assigned parenting classes and refused to complete mental health counseling.
Haugen had told Leydell three of the four relationships she has had were with registered sex offenders, Leydell testified.
Thomas questioned Leydell as to the authenticity of the report that Haugen said she was going to kill her child if he was not taken from her, as Leydell said she had not heard Haugen say that herself. Thomas also pointed out that anyone can call Child Protective Services to try and get a person in trouble.
Cody Allen, a peace officer in the criminal investigations division of the Texas Department of Public Safety, testified that child pornography was everywhere on the internet, from a quick search on Bing to the dark web, a part of the internet not indexed by search engines.
“Once an image is out there, it’s impossible to completely remove it,” Allen told the courtroom.
Allen also mentioned that some of those who have been abused can grow up to commit the same crime themselves.
“Our victims are now becoming our suspects,” he said.
Allen told Thomas that he didn’t believe an infant would be able to remember being sexually abused, but that something such as a news article or pictures online may be able to show them what happened.
A California woman was sentenced to five years in prison for a bizarre and elaborate scheme to frame her husband’s ex-fiancée for trying to have her raped.
Angela Maria Diaz, 32, pleaded guilty to multiple felony and misdemeanor charges including kidnapping, false imprisonment, forgery and falsely reporting a crime, according to a statement released by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
For months, Diaz made it appear that her husband’s ex-fiancée, Michelle Suzanne Hadley, 30, had been harassing and stalking her, as well as recruiting men to go to Diaz’s home and rape her by posting “rape fantasy” ads on Craigslist.
Diaz married her husband, an agent with the U.S. Marshals Service, in February 2016. Prior to that — from August 2013 to August 2015 — her husband had a romantic relationship with Hadley.
Hadley, of Ontario, was arrested twice before investigators discovered Diaz’s scheme. At one point, Hadley was jailed for three months on a slew of charges and faced life in prison.
Prosecutors say Diaz also claimed to have cervical cancer, pretended to be an attorney, forged doctor’s notes and faked a pregnancy. She even told police Hadley was sending emails threatening to kill her and her unborn child, according to the statement. She was arrested and charged in January.
“If not for the hard work of law enforcement continuing to investigate and seek the truth in this case, Ms. Hadley could have continued to face life in prison. It is unfathomable why Ms. Diaz would concoct such a diabolical scheme to hurt an innocent person,” District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said in the statement.
“Even while pleading guilty, Diaz showed no remorse, compassion, or empathy for the victim,” Rackauckas said. “We hope the resolution of this case brings some closure to Ms. Hadley so she can move forward in her life.”
Prior to Diaz’s entering her plea, Hadley’s attorney read a victim impact statement saying that Diaz’s “vicious, monstrous acts” left Hadley with nightmares and post-traumatic stress disorder.
In February, Hadley told Dennis Murphy, of Dateline, “I’ll carry this around for the rest of my life.”
Diaz’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment.
Calif. Woman Sentenced for Craigslist ‘Rape Fantasy’ Plot to Frame Husband’s Ex: ‘a Diabolical Scheme’ HARRIET SOKMENSUER OCTOBER 19, 2017
British paedophile who streamed sex assault on drugged child nicknamed 'Sleeping Beauty' by abuser is jailed Rod Minchin Stuart Abel 26 OCT 2017
With a trial just two weeks away, a Sidney husband and wife pleaded guilty to federal charges tied to the sexual and physical abuse of a 17-month-old girl in Delaware County.
Justin Crandall, 28, faces up to 30 years in prison for his plea to three felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child. His wife, Jessica Crandall, 27, pleaded guilty to felony counts of conspiracy to sexually exploit a child and sexual exploitation of a child.
The minimum penalty for the charges is 15 years in federal prison and the amount of time they spend behind bars will be decided Feb. 23 by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas McAvoy in Binghamton.
The U.S. Attorney's Office says both Crandalls provided day care to the 17-month-old girl starting around Thanksgiving 2016 until Feb. 11, 2017 at their Sidney home.
During that time, prosecutors say, Justin Crandall used the child to engage in sexual acts while he made videos and images of that conduct.
Law enforcement were alerted Feb. 11 after a witness reported receiving an image depicting a female toddler engaged in a sex act, which Justin Crandall had sent via cellphone, according to court papers.
The FBI and state police executed search warrants on the Crandall home and found the sexually explicit videos and images on a cellphone.
Investigators also spoke to the child's mother, who said she noticed some changes in her child's behavior along with unexplained injuries, according to court papers.
Court documents by the U.S. Attorney's Office described the abusive acts in graphic detail.
According to the FBI, Justin Crandall's abuse of the victim was connected to his meth addiction.
In court records, investigators stated, "(Justin) Crandall admitted he touched the minor female child in a sexual manner while he was under the influence of methamphetamine."
Court papers say Jessica Crandall admitted she and her husband engaged in "repeated sexual activities" involving the child going back to the previous December.
Following a detention hearing in April, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Peebles described the crimes as "barbaric acts."
The case had been scheduled for a jury trial at Binghamton's federal courthouse on Nov. 6.
A grand jury indictment had charged both Crandalls with the following federal felonies: one count of conspiracy to sexually exploit a child, along with five counts of sexual exploitation of a child.
In addition, Justin Crandall had been indicted on a felony count of distribution of child pornography.
Sidney husband, wife plead guilty in 'barbaric' sex abuse of toddler Anthony Borrelli pressconnects.com Oct. 27, 2017
An Illinois social worker seduced and kept a 24-year-old patient as a sex slave at a mental institution, according to a federal lawsuit.
Ben Hurt, 24, took legal action against one of his former social workers, 53-year-old Christy Lenhardt, who he said sexually abused him for three years at Elgin Mental Health Center, news station WBBM reported.
“She engaged in all kinds of various sexual misconduct,” Hurt’s attorney, Joe Cecala, told the station. “The graphic details are every sex act that you can imagine.”
His lawyer claimed that the social worker spent months seducing Hurt, starting in 2014, before they had sex at the state mental institution.
“She’s accused of manipulating and seducing our client, repeatedly, and it took her about four months until she actually had sex for the first time with him,” Cecala said. “We have evidence of her perversion, both in her emails to the client, nude photos.”
Hurt, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in 2014 for battery against a police officer. The incident landed him at the facility, where his mom claims that Lendhart would make excuses to extend his stay, WBBM reported.
“They assured me that they were going to help me with my child,” Hurt’s mom D’Anntanette Lee told WBBM. “What they did to my son was wrong.”
Hurt, who was released from facility, also sued two other psychiatrists and the center’s director for ignoring the abuse.
Lenhardt was fired from the center in July but has not been charged with a crime.
Illinois State Police launched an investigation into the allegations, WGN-TV reported.
Mother found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting her 14-year-old daughter Vijay Narayan and Dhanjay Deo 13/11/2017