On Monday, February 13, 2012, at approximately 7:30 P.M., members of the
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Internal Criminal
Investigations Bureau arrested a 24-year old employee named Remington
Orr, as he was preparing to enter Men’s Central Jail to distribute
Orr, employed as a Custody Assistant assigned to the Men’s Central
Jail, has been a Department member for four years. Monday’s arrest
culminated a four week Sheriff’s Department investigation into
allegations that Orr was bringing contraband to jail inmates in exchange
for monetary considerations. He was subsequently arrested for
Possession of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Sell,
Transportation of a Controlled Substance with the Intent to Sell, and
Orr was booked into the Inmate Reception Center, and is being held in lieu of $1,000,000.00 bail.
- From LASD statement
From the Associated Press:
Lisa Gesik hesitates to log into her Facebook account nowadays because of unwanted “friend” requests, not from long-ago classmates but from the ex-husband now in prison for kidnapping her and her daughter.
Neither Gesik nor prison officials can prove her ex-husband is sending her the messages, which feature photos of him wearing his prison blues and dark sunglasses, arms crossed as he poses in front of a prison gate. It doesn’t matter if he’s sending them or someone else is — the Newport, Ore., woman is afraid and, as the days tick down to his January release, is considering going into hiding with her 12-year-old daughter.
“It’s just being victimized all over again,” she said.
Across the U.S. and beyond, inmates are using social networks and the growing numbers of smartphones smuggled into prisons and jails to harass their victims or accusers and intimidate witnesses.
California corrections officials who monitor social networking sites said they have found many instances in which inmates taunted victims or made unwanted sexual advances.
Like Gesik’s case, it’s often difficult for authorities to determine for sure who’s sending the threatening material and the few people caught rarely face serious consequences.
“The ability to have these kinds of contacts is increasing exponentially. In many ways, the law has not caught up with these changing technologies,” said Rob Bovett, an Oregon district attorney whose office prosecuted Gesik’s ex-husband, Michael Gladney.
Timothy Heaphy, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia, said criminals’ use of social networks to reach witnesses has made his job harder.
“We deal every day with witnesses who are afraid of being identified,” he said. “If there are increased instances where folks who are incarcerated can reach outside the walls of the jail, that’s going to make it more difficult for us to get cooperation.”
In a rare victory, Heaphy’s office successfully prosecuted John Conner and Whitney Roberts after they set up a Facebook account that Conner used to intimidate witnesses preparing to testify against him on charges of burning two houses to punish a girlfriend and collect the insurance.
“How the hell can u b a gangsta when u snitchin and lien…,” said a post from the pair that publicly exposed one witness who cooperated with law enforcement, according to federal court records.
The issue has emerged as cellphones have proliferated behind bars.
In California, home to the nation’s largest inmate population, the corrections department confiscated 12,625 phones in just 10 months this year. Six years ago, they found just 261. The number of phones confiscated by the federal Bureau of Prisons has doubled since 2008, to 3,684 last year.
Noting the increase, California legislators approved a law bringing up to six months in jail for corrections employees or visitors who smuggle mobile devices into state prisons, while inmates caught with the phones can now lose up to 180 days of early-release credit. But no additional time is added to their sentence, minimizing the deterrence factor.
In the old days, those behind bars would have to enlist a relative or friend to harass or intimidate to get around no-contact orders. Social networks now cut out the middle man.
In Gesik’s case, Gladney used to harass her the old-fashioned way, sending letters and making phone calls through third parties. The Facebook harassment began in June.
Gesik, 44, got prison officials to contact Facebook to remove that account, only to receive another message appearing to be from him in September. This time, there was a different spelling of his last name.
“I figure, if he’s done all this from in prison, what’s he’s going to do when he gets out?” Gesik said.
A gap in state law meant that “no contact” orders like the one Gesik obtained against Gladney were deemed not to apply to anyone in custody, said Bovett, the prosecutor. “So they could do these very creative ways of reaching victims through third parties,” he said.
The attorney who represented Gladney in his criminal trial did not return a phone call seeking comment on behalf of his client.
Last June, Oregon legislators approved a law prohibiting inmates from contacting their domestic violence victims from behind bars.
In California, prison officials are working with Facebook to identify inmate accounts and take them down. But that generally happens only after the damage is done.
Karen Carrisosa, who lives in a Sacramento suburb, was aghast when officials found Facebook postings from Corcoran State Prison inmate Fredrick Garner. Garner is serving a 22-year, involuntary manslaughter sentence for killing her husband, 50-year-old Larry Carrisosa, outside a church 11 years ago.
“My kids, they go on Facebook, I go on Facebook, and what if they decide to look us up?” Carrisosa said.
She was alerted by a Sacramento television station that Garner was posting messages to his mother and others. Garner was punished with a 30-day reduction in his early release credits for possessing a forbidden cellphone and has since been transferred to Salinas Valley State Prison.
While the use of the Internet by Los Angeles County jail inmates to harass alleged victims or witnesses is an issue officials are concerned about, the problem is not nearly as significant as in the state prison system, sheriff’s Capt. Michael Parker said. Only fourteen cell phones have been seized from L.A. County inmates since 2009.
“Within the L.A. County jail system, we’ve not had a significant number of cellphones recovered,” Parker said.
County jail inmates are less likely to have cellphones than their counterparts in the state prison system for several reasons, he said. Jails have historically been largely transitional facilities, Parker explained, housing inmates awaiting trial or those who’ve been sentenced to a year or less behind bars.
Additionally, county jail inmates go through continual searches and screenings as they’re transported between facilities and to court hearings, unlike prison inmates serving lengthy sentences.
But California’s new prison realignment plan — which will allow convicts whose crimes are deemed “non-serious,” “non-violent” and “non-sexual,” to serve sentences of several years in county jails rather than prisons — may increase the motivation and opportunity for inmates to smuggle cellphones into jails in the future, Parker said.
And while having cellphones is against jail policy and can result in disciplinary action against inmates, Parker explained, there is no law or policy preventing inmates from having others who are not incarcerated from posting messages online on their behalf.
“These are definitely complicated issues that we as a Sheriff’s Department are interpreting as best we can, and using existing laws to address 2012 issues,” Parker said.
If an inmate is having someone else post online for them, officials can only take action if the speech itself takes the form of a a crime, such as a threat, the captain said.
Non-criminal speech enjoys First Amendment protection, Parker said.
“But if they’re making a threat against anyone, then like any other threat… we would potentially investigate that as a crime,” he added.
“We can only enforce laws that exist,” Parker said. “We are constantly adapting to what is the latest shenanigans the inmates are doing. To that end, we have to do it within the Constitution as well.”
- Staff Writer Brian Day contributed to this report
LOS ANGELES COUNTY — Crime statistics released by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Friday show that both violent and property crime is down throughout the county, with some significant decreases in the San Gabriel Valley.
Violent crimes are down 12.61 percent the first nine months of 2011, compared with last year, according to a report issued by the sheriff’s department. They’re down 21.84 percent over the past five years.
Property crimes dropped by 3.5 percent in 2011, and 14.56 percent since 2006.
Most notable in the San Gabriel Valley, so-called “Part I” crimes such as murder, robbery, burglary, rape and auto theft, declined by 32.1 percent at the sheriff’s Altadena Station, 15.6 percent at the La Crescenta Sation and 15.2 percent at the Temple Station, according to the report. All three stations have seen declined of more than 25 percent over the past five years, as have the Industry, San Dimas and Walnut stations.
The only notable spikes in crime in the San Gabriel Valley were in the categories of rape and criminal homicide, which both involve small numbers, making statistics subject to rapid change. Murders handled by the Norwalk Station gre from two last year to six, and five homicide have been investigated in Pico Rivera so far this year, compared with two the year before.
Reported forcible rapes handled by the Industry Station rose from 16 last year to 21 this year. Eleven rapes were reported to the San Dimas Station this year, compared with six last year, and 10 were reported to the Walnut Station, up from seven last year.
At many area sheriff’s stations, robbery, assault, burglary, theft and auto theft statisitcs have seen significant and continuing decline over the past five years, continuing this year.
In Altadena, robberies are down 16.9 percent this year, and 33.1 percent over the past five years.
Robberies declined by 13.6 percent this year in the Temple Station’s area, 32 percent at the Pico Rivera Station, 24.9 percent at the Pico Rivera Station and 14 percent at the Walnut Station.and 29.8 percent since 2006. All three stations have seen declined of more than 23 percent over the past five years.
Agravated assaults at the Crescenta, Altadena, Norwalk and Walnut stations are down this year by more than 20 percent, also continuing a five-year downward trend.
Burglaries in Altadena have dropped 33.2 percent this year. The Pico Rivera, San Dimas and Norwalk stationsl saw decreases around 15 percent.
Thefts, which were down throughout most of the county, were down in Altadena by 34.7 percent. The Norwalk and Pico Rivera stations saw single-digit increases in thefts.
And auto theft continues to become a less common crime in many areas, with annual decreases of 40.7 percent at the Altadena Station, 36.7 percent at the La Crescenta Station, 22.8 percent at the Temple Station, 36.8 percent at the San Dimas Station and 21.6 percent at the Walnut Station. All five stations have experienced a decrease in auto thefts of more than 40 percent over the past five years.
Rio Hondo College professor of criminal justice Bob Feliciano said the drop in crime was likely do to an aging population.
“That’s the dynamic. We have an older society with older crooks, and older crooks don’t commit crimes,” Feliciano said. “There’s very few burglars in their 50s.”
He added that predictions five years ago that crime rates would skyrocket due to a bad economy and high unemployment failed to take into account the aging of the criminal population.
But the trend won’t hold for long, Feliciano said.
“Unfortunately, we have a new cadre of young people coming up,” he said. Once the next generation reaches the “age of crime” in the next five or ten years, police and jails will likely become busier.
“As I tell my students,” who are primarily future law enforcement officials, “right now crime is down. but don’t worry, business is going to get better.”
LOS ANGELES COUNTY — Extra sheriff’s deputies and resources will keep an eye on the county’s buses and trains Sunday during the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is responsible for patrolling the buses and trains of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
“Although there have been no specific threats against the transit system for 9/11, the sheriff’s department and Metro are committed to the safety of their patrons, will remain vigilant and exert every effort to curtail any potential threat to the system and the riding public,” sheriff’s Metro Transit Services Bureau Capt. Dan Cruz said in a written statement.
More than 723,000 people board Metro buses and trains on an average Sunday, officials said. Metro railways extend 79.1 miles through the county.
Cruz asked anyone who sees suspicious activity at any Metro station or on any train or bus to report it immediately by calling (888) 950-7233. Tips can also be left anonymously with L.A. Crime Stoppers by calling 800-222-8477.
LONG BEACH – A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy accused of engaging in sex acts with a teenage girl is expected to be arraigned this afternoon, the District Attorney’s Office announced.Deputy District Attorney Deborah Escobar of the Justice System Integrity Division said Orlando Denison, 34 (dob 8/16/76), is charged with two felony counts of oral copulation of a person under 18.Denison is expected to appear for arraignment in Department J of Long Beach Superior Court. The defendant was charged on May 5 in case No. NA088848 in a felony complaint for arrest warrant.Officers of the Long Beach Police Department arrested Denison without incident at his residence yesterday afternoon. The alleged offenses, which occurred in July 2010, involve a female relative who was 16 at the time.If convicted as charged, Denison faces a maximum sentence of three years, eight months in state prison. Bail for the defendant is recommended at $100,000.
VICTORVILLE — Another San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy has been arrested on suspicion of committing sex acts with a child in the department’s explorer program, officials announced today.Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Benjamin, 30, a supervisor of the program in Victorville, was arrested late Wednesday and posted $100,000 bail this morning, San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials said.Investigators suspect the sex acts occurred while the victim, a 17-year-old girl, was on ride-alongs with the deputy.Sheriff Rod Hoops said the explorer ride-along program will be suspended for 60 days and the entire program will be fully reviewed and overhauled.Benjamin is the second deputy in less than two weeks to be arrested on suspicion of having sex with a child in the program.Deputy Nathan Gastineau, 30, based at the sheriff’s Highland station, was arrested in late April on suspicion of committing lewd acts with a child. Jason Anguiano, 27, of Rialto, suspected of having sex with the same girl, also was arrested.