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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) — A martial arts instructor from southwestern Illinois has been sentenced to 90 years in prison for sexually abusing three young students.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports 20-year-old Christopher Horton of Highland, Illinois was sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Judge David Herndon.

Horton pleaded guilty in October to five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a child.

Federal prosecutors say Horton recorded video of himself committing sex acts on students ages 6, 8 and 10. Horton taught martial arts to the victims at a Belleville studio.

Police questioned Horton after someone discovered one of the videos and contacted law enforcement. Prosecutors say they recovered 57 video files from Horton's cell phone.

He also was ordered to pay $3,250 restitution.

Published in Local News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - The Archdiocese of St. Louis has turned over names of priests accused of sexually abusing minors over a 20-year period, though the names will not be made public.
 
The Missouri Supreme Court ruled last week that the archdiocese must release the names of more than 100 church employees accused of abuse. The list is under seal and available only to the judge who granted the order and attorneys involved in litigation.
 
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Monday that the names were turned over, but said it was unclear how many names were released.
 
The disclosure is part of 2011 lawsuit filed on behalf of a then-19-year-old woman who claimed abuse by since-defrocked Rev. Joseph Ross, starting when she was 5 at St. Cronan's parish.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri prosecutors are organizing a campaign on behalf of a proposed constitutional amendment they say will help convict people who commit repeated sex offenses against children.
 
Prosecutors announced the formation Monday of the Protect Missouri Children committee to lead the campaign for the November ballot issue.
 
The proposal would allow evidence of past crimes to be used in prosecuting defendants accused of sex offenses against people younger than 18.
 
Platte County Prosecutor Eric Zahnd says Missouri currently has the nation's most restrictive rules on citing evidence of past child sex crimes against people facing new charges.
 
Zahnd is a co-chairman of the new campaign committee. He says the group plans to appeal to voters through mail, radio ads and potentially TV ads.
Published in Local News
Sunday, 12 January 2014 09:33

St. Charles woman sentenced to probation

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) — A St. Charles woman accused of blackmailing her boyfriend over child sex abuse allegations has been sentenced to five years' probation.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports 34-year-old Jennifer Callaway was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to concealing a felony. She was also ordered to undergo psychological and alcohol abuse evaluations and must have no unsupervised contact with minors.

Callaway was accused of coercing 45-year-old Raymond David Avett into giving her his home, SUV, boat and life insurance in exchange for not reporting the alleged abuse of a 6-year-old.

Avett's also charged with concealing a felony. St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar says Avett hasn't been charged with a sex crime because Callaway's failure to report the crime took away his office's ability to properly investigate the case.

Published in Local News

A St. Louis priest accused of molesting a teen, is no longer facing charges.

Father Joseph Jiang had pleaded not guilty to a child endangerment charge before the case was dismissed today. A lawsuit filed on behalf of the victim's family is still active. The family claims that Archbishop Robert Carlson did nothing to stop the abuse.

The Survivors Network of these Abused by Priests released saying they are disappointed. They are now asking for anyone who may have seen or suffered abuse by Father Jiang or others, step forward.

Published in Local News

   A Cuba, Missouri man is in police custody after allegedly placing an online ad asking for someone to sexually assault an 11 year old female relative.  St. Louis County Police say that ad was reported and prompted them to set up a sting.  

   They arrested 32 year old Anthony Brinkman Friday after he arrived to meet an undercover police officer at a south county Cracker Barrel restaurant.  

   Police say Brinkman had brought the child with him.  She is with her family.  Police say they don't believe Brinkman had assaulted her, but they are still investigating.

   Brinkman has been charged with attempted statutory sodomy.  He's jailed on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

Published in Local News

The St. Louis Catholic Archbishop is named in a new lawsuit, accusing him of helping to cover up the sexual abuse of a second-grade girl and teen boy by a priest.

The alleged abuse too place when Archbishop Robert Carlson was a church official in Minneapolis three decades ago. The lawsuit says Carlson was one of three officials who knew of the repeated abuses at the hand of Reverend Robert Thurner. Carlson and the other officials never reported the incidents to police. Lawyers for the alleged victim say they will demand that Carlson answer questions under oath in the case.

Neither Carlson nor the St. Louis Archdiocese have yet commented on the charges.

 

Published in Local News

A Belleville martial arts instructor is headed to prison after admitting to sexually abusing three of his students.

Christopher Horton told a judge, he abused the students and recorded the acts on his cell phone. The incidents happened between May of 2012 and February of this year. The victims were between six and ten years old. Horton pleaded guilty to six total counts. When he is sentenced in March, Horton will face up to 30 years behind bars. 

Published in Local News

   WARSAW, Poland (AP) — The leader of Poland's Catholic Church has come under a wave of condemnation by appearing to suggest that children are partly to blame for being sexually abused by priests.

   Archbishop Jozef Michalik, head of Poland's influential Episcopate, was commenting this month on revelations about Polish pedophile priests. A child from a troubled family, Michalik told reporters, "seeks closeness with others and may get lost and may get the other person involved, too."

   The words triggered an immediate uproar — one that Michalik tried to stamp out the same day by apologizing and saying he had been misunderstood. He had not, he said, meant to suggest that child victims were in any way responsible.

   But the damage was done.

   Ordinary citizens joined prominent politicians in expressing outrage, and intense debate continues more than two weeks later. The media pointed out that Michalik had supported a parish priest convicted in 2004 of child sex abuse, and one of the priest's victims said she was horrified by Michalik's latest remarks.

   "Archbishop Michalik's words make us feel fear and revulsion," Ewa Orlowska said.

   The archbishop's comments forced the Episcopate's spokesman, the Rev. Jozef Kloch, to state that Poland's church has "zero tolerance" for pedophilia but that it needs to learn how to approach and talk about the matter. The controversy has since led bishops under Michalik to apologize for "priests who have harmed children."

   It all comes amid a tide of allegations that Poland's church is sweeping cases of sex abuse under the carpet, putting it at odds with Vatican efforts since 2001 to punish abusers. The scrutiny has also further undermined the church's status in Poland as a moral and political leader — cemented by Polish-born Pope John Paul II through his critical role in inspiring the fight against communism. The church's defenders say that priests are being singled out for condemnation when teachers and sports coaches have also been caught sexually abusing kids.

   John Paul himself came under criticism for a reluctance to heed accusations against priests. While the Vatican in 2001 ordered bishops to submit cases of alleged pedophilia to the Holy See's review, it was largely the initiative of then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. After the church sex abuse scandal erupted in 2002 in the United States, Ratzinger pressed for faster ways to permanently remove abusers from the church.

   The crackdown against pedophile priests gained intensity once Ratzinger became Benedict XVI. In 2011, Benedict instructed bishops' conferences around the world to submit their own guidelines for keeping molesters out of the priesthood and to protect children.

   Poland's Episcopate has issued guidelines for the church's punishment of priests and support for the victims. But it sees no need to report priests to state investigators and says that the financial compensation rests with the wrongdoer, not with the church. That approach may soon be tested by a man who is readying Poland's first sex abuse lawsuit against the church.

   In several countries, including the U.S., Canada and Australia, the church has been paying millions in compensation over sex abuse cases.

   Michalik also recently raised eyebrows by saying that the roots of pedophilia lay in pornography and divorce, both of which are "painful and long-lasting wounds."

   The debate started last month after Dominican Republic investigators revealed child sex abuse allegations against two Polish clergymen: Archbishop Jozef Wesolowski, the Vatican's ambassador, and Rev. Wojciech Gil, a parish priest. Wesolowski has been forcibly removed by the Vatican. Gil has denied sex abuse and suggested that Dominican drug mafia is taking revenge on him for his educational work.

   Some 27 Polish priests have been tried for sex abuse since 2001, but most cases ended in suspended prison term — indicating a general leniency for the church in Poland, where religion is taught in schools and senior church officials attend state ceremonies.

Published in National News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - State Sen. Kurt Schaefer is suggesting Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster could open an investigation into an alleged sexual assault in northwest Missouri.

Schaefer said Wednesday that an independent review of the evidence is needed after the Nodaway County prosecutor dropped charges against teenagers accused in a sexual assault of two younger girls.

Schaefer is a Republican running for attorney general. Koster is a Democrat who plans to run for governor in 2016.

Koster's office has said it cannot intervene unless a local prosecutor or court asks him to do so.

Schaefer cited a Missouri law allowing subpoenas for witnesses or information to be provided to the attorney general regarding sexual offenses. That law only applies when the venue of the crime is in question.

 

Published in Local News
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