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Eugene Ballantyne, 29, of Running Springs appeared Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Riverside on one count of receiving and distributing child pornography, according to the FBI’s Los Angeles division.
Ballantyne taught social studies at Arrowview Middle School until two weeks ago, when the accusations came out.
Federal agents arrested Ballantyne at his home Tuesday morning.
During an FBI search at his home March 1, Ballantyne admitted to agents that he had been communicating with the girl in South Brunswick, N.J., since January, according to the criminal complaint. He also said he received pornographic images from another girl he met two years earlier and that he traveled 180 miles to have sex with a third child, FBI officials said.
Ballantyne met the New Jersey girl on an Internet chat site, according to the complaint. He went by the name John Baldwin. Ballantyne allegedly sent nude pictures of himself to the girl and received partially nude, sexually suggestive photos of the alleged victim.
FBI officials said he was demanding during phone conversations with the girl and persuaded her to engage in sexual activity while they talked.
He also asked the victim to delete his pictures, text messages and emails and told the girl not to tell anyone about their relationship, according to the complaint.
The complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office says Ballantyne sent messages expressing his love for the child.
“Really it’s so nice to have you in my life. I only wish you were here so I could really express my feelings for you,” he wrote in one of his notes.
The South Brunswick Police Department began investigating the case when a parent of the child reported the relationship earlier this year.
In court proceedings Tuesday before Judge David T. Bristow, an FBI agent testified that Ballantyne contacted a 13-year-old female student at Arrowview – a day after federal agents served a search warrant at his home.
Special Agent Jeffrey Stiff testified that Brinda Leon, a human-resources official at San Bernardino City Unified School District, told him just before the court proceedings that Ballantyne had contacted the Arrowview student via Facebook at 8:30 p.m. March 2.
“Mr. Ballantyne stated that he liked a young girl. He asked if she ever kissed a boy,” Stiff testified, in summary. The girl felt “uncomfortable” and told a principal, who told Leon, Stiff said.
The testimony was the “tipping” point for Bristow, who said he had been considering a conditional release for Ballantyne. Instead, Bristow said he was concerned about potential harm to the community and ordered the defendant held in custody of federal marshals.
But the judge added that he was willing to reconsider his decision if new information develops after federal prosecutors investigate the incident further.
Ballantyne returns to U.S. District Court in Riverside for a preliminary hearing March 27. An arraignment was scheduled for April 4.
Bristow ordered Ballantyne into the custody of U.S. marshals.
San Bernardino City Unified School District placed Ballantyne on paid administrative leave March 1, when the FBI told the district agents were searching his house. Ballantyne, who was hired in July 2010, resigned March 2, and parents were mailed a letter that day.
“The district takes all accusations of sexual misconduct seriously,” district spokeswoman Linda Bardere said before learning of Stiff’s testimony. “At this point, and it also comes out in the FBI report, we have no reason to believe Arrowview Middle School students were involved or in danger.”
However, investigators suspect he may have more victims.
Students at Arrowview Middle School painted conflicting pictures of Ballantyne on Tuesday, although none gave their names because of the sensitivity of the topic and their fears of retribution.
“Anyone who says that must be lying,” said one seventh- grade girl who said Ballantyne had substitute taught her class several times. “He’s a good teacher, and he’s nice. He wasn’t `too’ nice, though, you know?”
Other students said they had suspicions even before the accusations became public.
“He’d look at some of the girls `perv-y,’ and he was always going from happy to mean,” said an eighth-grade boy who had taken his class.
Neighbors said Ballantyne and his wife were a trusted member of a close-knit street.
“He was a super nice, church-going guy,” said neighbor Tylor Newman. “I never expected it. It’s just such a shocker.”
School Board President Barbara Flores said the school board was updated as soon as the FBI contacted district officials.
Anyone with information about this case or on additional victims may call the FBI at 888-226-8443.
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A couple have been arrested for violently beating their four adopted children and forcing them to perform sex acts in a disturbing catalogue of abuse which police say amounts to torture.
Aubrey Thomas, 58, and his wife Laura, 47, have been accused of forcing the children to throw up and eat their own vomit, beating them with a large paddle called ‘Mr Awesome’ and then making them soak in a bath of ice to reduce swelling from the abuse.
Investigators described the family’s Oklahoma home, where the two girls and two boys now aged between 13 and 15 lived, as a ‘house of horrors’.
The children said they were sexually abused, claiming they were forced to eat gum off Aubrey Thomas’ penis and made to perform oral sex on their adoptive siblings in exchange for food.
The Thomas’ also allegedly forced them to put urine soaked underwear in their mouths if they wet the bed and forced them to eat horse manure for not cleaning a horse pen, reports News9.com.
The couple is facing a series of child abuse charges.
The couple, who lived in Rogers County, became foster parents in 2001 and took in six children.
But the couple were able to keep the other four children and moved to Osage County west of Sperry in 2006.
Investigators described the family’s Oklahoma home, pictured, where the two girls and two boys now aged between 13 and 15 lived, as a ‘house of horrors’
In October, the Osage County Sheriff’s Office was called in to investigate after one of the girls, who had been put into a psychiatric facility, revealed the allegations to a counselor, reports the Tulsa World.
Investigators say the home schooled children, who were all found to be malnourished, were coached not to say anything about the alleged abuse.
Osage County sheriff’s investigator Justin Kling’s reports says the girls, particularly, were singled out for ‘heinous abuse’, reports the Tulsa World.
Kling was able to track down a biological daughter of the Thomas’ who had moved away in 2008. She echoed the stories of abuse.
‘It’s probably one of the worst cases that I know of that’s happened around here in a long time,’ Brown told News9.com.
‘To treat a child like that is beyond my imagination.’
The four children are now in protective custody.
The DHS released a statement to News9.com saying: ‘We are rigorously reviewing this case to find any mistakes made by our agency or others during the years of involvement with this family.
‘This is absolutely intolerable. It is our mission to protect children and we will take whatever corrective action is needed to ensure this does not happen in the future.’
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Charges: Mark Edward Mesiti, 43, is accused of raping and murdering his 14-year-old daughter Alycia
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for a California man accused to raping and killing his 14-year-old-daughter before burying her body in the backyard of their home.
Mark Edward Mesiti, 44, allegedly drugged and sexually abused his daughter Alycia before killing her in August 2006, just months after a judge granted him custody of his daughter and son, according to court documents.
The Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office said it is seeking the death penalty because of a ‘special enhancement’ to charges against Mr Mesiti. Those charges accuse Mesiti of committing murder ‘before or during’ rape, sodomy and oral copulation, according to court documents.
Prosecutor Annette Rees made the announcement Monday during a pretrial hearing.
Mesiti also faces additional charges of molesting two other girls, one age 8 and the other while she was 16 and 17, according to prosecutors.
Mesiti committed most of the sexual assaults against his daughter while she was drugged, sometimes with anesthesia, according to criminal complaint documents obtained by the Modesto Bee.
The documents claim Mesiti molested Alycia from July 2005 through May 2006.
A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge awarded Mesiti custody of Alycia and her brother despite Mesiti’s substantial criminal history.
Alycia Mesiti was 14 when she disappeared from her Ceres, California home
Mesiti, records show, had committed several federal and state crimes, including bank fraud and drunk driving. He had also been charged with domestic violence and ordered to attend anger-management classes, according to the San Jose Mercury News.
Alycia disappeared from her home in Ceres, California in August 2006. At the time Mr Mesiti told police investigators that his daughter had vanished after setting off on a camping trip with some friends and her pet Chihuahua.
The case was elevated from a disappearance to a homicide investigation in 2009 only after the retirement of a Ceres detective who had been assigned to the case. At that point Ceres police officials ordered a new round of interviews in the case.
Shortly afterwards, police officials obtained a search warrant for Mr Mesiti’s former home. Alycia’s body was found in a grave beneath the backyard by cadaver-sniffing dogs. Three years had passed since her disappearance.
Only days after finding Alycia’s body, police authorities obtained a search warrant for Mesiti’s Los Angeles apartment and found a meth lab.
Mesiti was arrested and later convicted of manufacturing methamphetamine.
Alycia and her brother lived with Mesiti for nine months before she disappeared, despite repeated warnings filed by police authorities and child welfare workers.
Court appointed lawyers recommended only temporary placement with Mesiti due to ‘sufficient issues and risks to these minors,’ the Modesto Bee reports.
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The last horrifying moments of an eight-year-old girl’s life were revealed in graphic detail today by a woman who has admitted bludgeoning her to death with a hammer.
Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford was abducted from outside her school in Woodstock, Ontario, on April 8, 2009. Her body was found 103 days later stashed in garbage bags and buried under a pile of rocks.
Terry-Lynne McClintic took to the stand for the second day at London, Ontario’s crown court for the murder trial of her ex-boyfriend and alleged orchestrator of the abduction and brutal murder.
She broke down as she revealed the little girl begged for help moments before she was killed.
Michael Rafferty, 31, is accused in the first-degree murder, sexual assault and abduction of Tori. He pleads not guilty.
McClintic had already plead guilty to a first-degree murder charge and is serving life in prison.
Since the trial started on March 5, the court has heard that the school girl was pummeled with a hammer, sexually assaulted, slain and buried like an animal.
Her body was found naked from the waist down and she had blunt injuries to her body that lacerated her liver and fractured her ribs — injuries that could have been fatal on their own.
From the ploy she used to lure the girl away from school, to the conversations they had when she promised she wouldn’t let Rafferty rape her again, to the rage she said overtook her and led her to beat Tori to death with a hammer, McClintic spared no detail in her gut-wrenching testimony.
As Tori’s devastated parents listened, the 21-year-old described how she and Rafferty singled out the little girl because she was on her own – the first day she was allowed to walk back from school alone – and lured her to the car by saying they had a schitzu puppy.
McClintic was high on Oxycontin, as she was most days, and had also smoked marijuana.
The drug-addicted couple made three stops, she said, to pick up Percocet, a highly-addictive narcotic pain killer, coffee and a hammer and garbage bags before arriving at the remote area chosen to kill the innocent school girl.
McClintic said she ‘knew what was about to happen’, so walked away from the car. When pressed as to what that was, she replied: ‘I believed he was going to rape her.’
After Rafferty sexually assaulted Tori the first time in the front seat of his Honda Civic, during which time she could hear screams and cries for help, he called McClintic to take her to the toilet, she told the court.
The 21-year-old recalled Tori was bleeding and crying and pleaded with her: ‘Just don’t let him do it to me again.’
‘I told her I was sorry and that she was a very strong girl. And she said “Like you?” And I told her she was much stronger’, she testified. The convicted child killer then took Tori back to Rafferty, so he could commit the senseless, depraved act again.
At this point in her testimony, Tori’s parents Tara McDonald and Rodney Stafford broke down in tears.
Rafferty’s former girlfriend told the packed courtroom that as they were walking back to the car, Tori wouldn’t let go of her hand. All she was wearing was her favourite Hannah Montana T-shirt.
‘She asked me to stay with her. I tried to hold on to her hand but I couldn’t stay because I knew what was going to happen,’ said the former drug addict. ‘I couldn’t be there for that. I left.’
As she described what happened next, McClintic broke down. She said she was overcome by an anger and rage that seemed to engulf her as she stood in the distance trying to block out the sounds of the assault. It brought back painful memories of past abuse. Of what she didn’t elaborate.
‘I kept having flashbacks. Sometimes it was like I wasn’t even there,’ she said. ‘I realized I needed to do something so I turned back to the vehicle and . . . when I saw what was going on, all I saw was myself when I was that age and all the anger and hate and rage that I’d had and blame that I still feel towards myself came boiling up out of me.’
She walked back to the car, put a garbage bag over Tori’s head and started to kick her. She then struck her repeatedly with both sides of the hammer on the head, she told the court.
Parents: Rodney Stafford, father of slain Victoria Stafford walks into court for proceedings in the Michael Rafferty trial today, and mother Tara McDonald arrived at court yesterday, right
‘I went back to the vehicle and I savagely murdered that little girl,’ she said to a stunned and horrified courtroom.
They both buried the body, she recounted, before washing themselves and the car so no evidence could be found.
The pair had been dating just over a month when they carried out the gruesome crime. McClintic said it was Rafferty’s idea and said they would be like Bonnie and Clyde.
Last week, the court heard that before she snatched Tori, McClintic went to an employment centre, filling out various forms but citing anger issues and a Grade 9 education as impediments to finding a job.
Before that she had smoked marijuana, got a food voucher from church, bought groceries and shot up some Oxycontin. It was then that Rafferty showed up at her house unexpectedly.
The surveillance video showing Tori walking away from school with a woman in a white puffy coat was released soon after her abduction.
Police received a tip from Tori’s mother, Tara McDonald, who said she heard from a friend that it looked like McClintic.
McDonald has testified she crossed paths with McClintic twice previously when she and her boyfriend bought Oxycontin illegally from her home.
Ms McDonald’s addiction to the painkiller has also been flagged up by prosecutors.
A check turned up a warrant for McClintic’s arrest on a parole violation, breach of custody and supervision. Police arrested her April 12, 2009, and she confessed to Tori’s murder on May 19.
She said today the whole thing was her ex-lover’s idea. She recalled Rafferty urging her to kidnap a ‘young female, because the younger they were the easier they were to manipulate’.
As they drove past Oliver Stephens Elementary school on that fateful day, Rafferty dared her to prove she wasn’t ‘all talk’.
Through tears, McClintic testified: ‘He said it would be easy. “They’re getting out of school now. All you have to do is talk about dogs or candy or something like that”.’
He had previously asked her if she thought it would be weird if he wanted to kidnap somebody. They couple had only met a month before and had sex in his car the first night they met.
McClintic told the court she went along with whatever he said as she ‘badly wanted to meet a good man’.
The trial continues.
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