Steinhatchee Church Deacon Convicted Of Production Of Child Pornography

Jonathan High, 30, of Steinhatchee, Florida, has been convicted of two counts of use of a child to produce child pornography. The guilty verdict, returned yesterday, at the conclusion of a one-day bench trial, was announced by Jason R. Coody, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida. Prior to the trial, High pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography. 

In August 2021, law enforcement officers received a Cybertip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that a user of a cloud storage account uploaded files constituting child pornography. An investigation revealed the account belonged to High. Law enforcement officers obtained a search warrant for High’s cell phones and desktop computer, and after an examination of their contents, confirmed that High was in possession of multiple child pornography images and videos that depicted prepubescent boys engaged in sex acts or exposing their genitals in a lascivious manner.  Further investigation revealed that some of these images and videos were produced by High personally; High produced separate video recordings of two young boys using the bathroom in a Perry, Florida church where High served as a deacon.

High’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 9, 2023, at 1:30 p.m., at the United States Courthouse in Tallahassee before United States District Judge Allen Winsor. High faces a minimum mandatory sentence of 15 years in prison and a combined maximum of 70 years in prison for all three counts.

This conviction was the result of a joint investigation conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and the North Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Assistant United States Attorneys Justin M. Keen and Kaitlin Weiss prosecuted the case. 

Keep reading

Investigator who revealed Jimmy Savile’s sick crimes says he is working with police on child sex case against ‘very significant’ person who is ‘untouchable’ and may only be named when he dies

Mark Williams-Thomas, the former police detective-turned-TV journalist who exposed Savile, claimed that the other individual has so far evaded justice because he is ‘untouchable’.

Williams-Thomas was the leading investigator on the ITV Exposure documentary, The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, which revealed how one of Britain’s most loved entertainers systematically and disturbingly preyed upon young and vulnerable girls.

The award-winning film, broadcast just over a decade ago on 3 October 2012 – a year after Savile’s death – prompted hundreds of other unheard victims to come forward with their experiences. 

In the documentary,  five women stated that they had been sexually abused by Savile as teenagers. This exposure of Savile as a paedophile led to extensive media coverage, including 41 days on the front pages.

The film led to the Met Police’s Operation Yewtree investigation, which ultimately resulted in sexual abuse convictions for multiple celebrity personalities.  

By October 2015, 19 people had been arrested by Operation Yewtree; seven of those arrests led to convictions.

However Williams-Thomas, a child protection expert has expressed his frustration that his pursuit of one high-profile target has so far been thwarted.

‘There are still people out there who are untouchable,’ the former Surrey Police and family liaison officer told i.

‘There is one very significant person who I’ve done everything to try and get prosecuted because he is clearly a child sex offender.’

Keep reading

Rate of sexual abuse of kids is highest among religious Zionist sector

Students in religious public schools in Israel are at a higher risk of sexual harassment and assault than any other of the Jewish education streams, a new study examining cases of sexual abuse from the religious Zionist sector by the Ne’emanei Torah Va’avodah movement has found.

“[These results] are a first step in the necessary in-depth discussions that oblige us to fight this phenomenon, recognize it, and to wake up from the illusion that a separated society [of men and women] is a guarantee of preventing harm.” Ne’emanei Torah Va’avodah’s Shmuel Shatach

Researcher Ariel Finkelstein analyzed the scope and profile of sexual abuse victims in Israeli local authorities’ social services departments in 2020, by sector or stream.

In Israel, there are a number of educational streams: Secular public school (Mamlachti), religious public school (Mamlachti Dati) and ultra-Orthodox schools, which are either private or semi-private.

The distribution of the data on sexual abuse was filtered by sector, according to the type of educational stream where the victims are currently or were educated in their childhood.

Keep reading

First arrest made in Utah County ritualistic child sex abuse investigation

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a suspect in an ongoing ritualistic child sex abuse investigation.

Former therapist David Hamblin, 68, was previously charged with 18 counts of sexual assault. He was taken into custody Wednesday morning and booked on the following:

  • 3 counts of sodomy on a child
  • Rape of a child
  • 2 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child
  • Lewdness involving a child

According to records obtained by FOX 13 News, Hamblin had previously confessed to sexually assaulting at least one of his female family members in an undercover phone recording.

“I am sorry for raping you,” Hamblin reportedly said. “I’m not saying it isn’t true… I’m not saying somebody in my body didn’t do it.”

The Utah County Attorney’s Office dropped all charges.

Hamblin lost his license and was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In an interview with FOX 13 News in April, alleged victim Brett Bluth described a long period of abuse and grooming by Hamblin as he tried to “heal” Bluth of his homosexuality.

Keep reading

Brands blast Twitter for ads next to child pornography accounts

Some major advertisers including Dyson, Mazda, Forbes and PBS Kids have suspended their marketing campaigns or removed their ads from parts of Twitter because their promotions appeared alongside tweets soliciting child pornography, the companies told Reuters.

DIRECTV and Thoughtworks also told Reuters late on Wednesday they have paused their advertising on Twitter.

Brands ranging from Walt Disney Co, NBCUniversal and Coca-Cola Co to a children’s hospital were among more than 30 advertisers that appeared on the profile pages of Twitter accounts peddling links to the exploitative material, according to a Reuters review of accounts identified in new research about child sex abuse online from cybersecurity group Ghost Data.

Some of tweets include key words related to “rape” and “teens,” and appeared alongside promoted tweets from corporate advertisers, the Reuters review found. In one example, a promoted tweet for shoe and accessories brand Cole Haan appeared next to a tweet in which a user said they were “trading teen/child” content.

“We’re horrified,” David Maddocks, brand president at Cole Haan, told Reuters after being notified that the company’s ads appeared alongside such tweets. “Either Twitter is going to fix this, or we’ll fix it by any means we can, which includes not buying Twitter ads.”

In another example, a user tweeted searching for content of “Yung girls ONLY, NO Boys,” which was immediately followed by a promoted tweet for Texas-based Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital. Scottish Rite did not return multiple requests for comment.

Keep reading

FBI Whistleblower Alleges Bureau Took Agents Off Child Sex Abuse Cases To Pursue Political Probes

The House Judiciary Committee Republicans released a letter this week that they sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray that featured claims from a whistleblower from the Bureau who claims that FBI agents were moved off child sex abuse cases to work on political investigations.

“We continue to hear from brave whistleblowers about disturbing conduct at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, including politicization within the Washington Field Office (WFO),” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Ranking Member on the Committee, at the start of the letter. “On July 27, 2022, we wrote to you about protected whistleblower disclosures that FBI officials including an Assistant Special Agent in Charge from the WFO-were pressuring agents to reclassify cases as ‘domestic violent extremism’ (DVEs) even if the cases do not meet the criteria for such a classification.”

The letter stated that since then, the Committee has learned of new whistleblowers who allege that the Bureau is “deliberately manipulating the way case files related to January 6 investigations are maintained in order to create a false and misleading narrative that domestic violent extremism is increasing around the country.”

The letter goes on to state how the FBI allegedly overstates the domestic violent extremism threats in the U.S. and how the Bureau has allegedly “not followed regular procedure” with respect to January 6 cases.

“The manipulative casefile practice creates false and misleading crime statistics,” the whistleblower stated. “Instead of hundreds of investigations stemming from a single, black swan incident at the Capitol, FBI and DOJ officials point to significant increases in domestic violent extremism and terrorism around the United States.”

“In other words, the FBI’s case categorization creates the illusion that threats from DVE are present in jurisdictions across the nation, when in reality they all stem from the same related investigation concerning the actions at the Capitol on January 6,” Jordan’s letter stated. “Such an artificial case categorization scheme allows FBI leadership to misleadingly point to ‘significant’ increases in DVE threats nationwide. These allegations are consistent with disclosures we have received from other whistleblowers that high-ranking FBI officials–including a senior WFO official–are pressing front-line agents to categorize cases as DVE matters to fit a political narrative.”

Keep reading

Biden signs bill eliminating civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse victims

President Biden on Friday signed a bill that will eliminate the statute of limitations for people who were sexually abused as minors to file civil claims.

The Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act was passed by the House by voice vote on Tuesday after passing the Senate by unanimous consent in March.

The bill eliminates time constraints for survivors to file civil claims related to sex abuse crimes against minors, including forced labor, sex trafficking, sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.

Previously, minors who survived such abuse were able to file federal claims until they reached the age of 28 or until a decade after the violation or injury was discovered.

No federal statute of limitations was in place for criminal claims regarding child sex abuse.

Keep reading

State Lawmaker Advised Mormon Bishop Against Reporting Church Member Who Sexually Abused Daughters, Lawsuit Filings Say

Utah state representative told a Mormon bishop not to report a church member’s sexual abuse, advice that led to seven years of rape and abuse committed by the church member against his own daughters, according to new lawsuit documents.

State Rep. Merrill Nelson (R-UT), a prominent lawyer for the Mormon church, allegedly answered the first call from a help line when Bishop John Herrod told him that Arizona church member Paul Adams had admitted to sexually abusing two of his daughters. For more than two years, Nelson communicated with Herrod and another bishop who knew about the abuse allegations, according to call records, the Associated Press reported.

Nelson told Herrod “that he could be sued if he reported, and the instruction by counsel not to report Paul [Adams] to the authorities was the law in Arizona and had nothing to do with Church doctrine,” according to the plaintiff’s filings. However, as the AP reported, Arizona law allows blanket immunity for those who report child sexual abuse or neglect.

The sex abuser’s two daughters and one of his sons are trying to gain access to records from the Mormon church, but the church has refused them based on confidentiality. After a county judge ruled in the victims’ favor to see the records, the Mormon church took the case to the Court of Appeals.

Keep reading

Former Utah mayor, bishop arrested for sex abuse of multiple children, including toddlers

A former bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been arrested as part of an ongoing sex abuse investigation involving multiple victims over the course of several decades.

Carl Johnson, 77, was arrested in Orem on Wednesday and booked into the Davis County Jail on seven counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child.

Detectives say Johnson abused children as young as 2 years old and held numerous positions of trust in the Church, including as a bishop. Johnson also served as Mayor of West Bountiful City in the 90s.

“In all these cases, the victims were told not to tell anyone else about what happened to them. In some cases, these crimes were suppressed in one way or another by Johnson when any disclosures were made. Johnson used his position of trust to influence any disclosures,” a police affidavit says.

Keep reading

Prosecutor for State’s Child Protection Division Arrested on Multiple Charges for Preying on Children

For 12 years, before he retired without notice in 2020, Gary Lee Bell was the assistant attorney general from the Utah Attorney General’s Office where he worked in the Child Protection Division, prosecuting individuals who harmed children. His years of service are now being called into question, however, as he was arrested this month for that very act.

Bell was arrested on August 24th by Utah County sheriff’s deputies and charged with six counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. According to police, the investigation into Bell was launched on May 22, 2022, after they received a tip about child sex abuse material being uploaded to social media.

According to the tip, submitted to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Bell was distributing images and videos on an unnamed social media app of children under the age of 10 being sexually abused.

Keep reading