August 28, 2008

Molestation, child porn arrests made: 61 people held after investigation targeting sex offenders

By Paula Lloyd, The Fresno Bee


The message to child molesters who target Valley children is this: "You have to go through us."

U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott gave that warning Thursday as he announced the arrest of 61 people on child pornography and molestation charges.

He said investigators and prosecutors have seen a "profound change" in the sexual exploitation of children. "In the old days, we could lock our doors and windows to protect our children. Now sexual predators come electronically into our homes."

The investigation targeted known sex offenders because there is "an absolute connection between people who molest children and create and distribute child pornography," Scott said.

The arrests capped a monthlong investigation involving officials from more than 30 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. The investigation was conducted between July 27 and Aug. 22 and was coordinated under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Justice Project Safe Childhood program.

Project Safe Childhood seeks to increase federal prosecutions of violent sexual predators and to reduce child pornography and sexual solicitation of minors on the Internet.

The program also seeks to teach community groups, schools, parents and children how to safely use the Internet and avoid online sexual predators.

Scott said 16 of those arrested have been indicted on federal and state charges and/or federal criminal complaints have been lodged against them, mostly for creating, possessing and distributing child pornography and for child molestation.

Most of the 15 men and one woman who were indicted are from the Valley, but one man is from New York and another from Michigan.

August 21, 2008

Forest Miles arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on two teenage students

By Jennifer Squires, Santa Cruz Sentinel

August 21, 2008

A former teacher at Empire Academy in Santa Cruz has been arrested on suspicion of having sexual relations with at least two teenage students, police reported. Forest Cascade Miles, 24, was arrested at his Santa Clara home Wednesday morning on suspicion of sexual assault and molestation. Miles no longer works at the school but taught both girls when the sexual assaults were said to have occurred, police spokesman Zach Friend said.

Police said they were tipped off to the alleged abuse in late July when the father of the 17-year-old reported his daughter was having a sexual relationship with her former teacher. The subsequent investigation revealed that Miles previously had been sexually involved with another student, police said. Friend said the other girl was 14 when the alleged abuse began, and that the relationship may have gone on for up to two years.

"We know that he had extended contact with the girl who's now 16," Friend said. "Our concern is there may be additional victims because he clearly has no qualms about contacting girls who are significantly underage."

Police served a search warrant at Miles' residence Wednesday and collected evidence, but declined to disclose what was removed from the home. Miles was booked into County Jail on suspicion of unlawful intercourse with a minor, lewd or lascivious acts with a minor, sexual penetration with a foreign object and annoying/molesting a child. His bail is set at $50,000.

Empire Academy is a private school in downtown Santa Cruz that serves grades 6-12. School officials were not immediately available to comment.

August 10, 2008

Jeffrey Toro charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a child

Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, CA

August 10, 2008

Jeffrey Scott Toro, 32, of Suisun was arrested by the Sutter County Sheriff's Office at 5 p.m. Aug. 8 at his residence on suspicion of committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, sexual penetration with a foreign object and sexual battery. Jeff Toro was booked into Sutter County Jail and held on $100,000 bail.

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August 6, 2008

Records list lewd texts, molestings by pastor Darrell Gilyard

August 6, 2008

By Jim Schoettler, The Times-Union

She was a 15-year-old Jacksonville girl with behavior problems whose parents trusted their pastor to give her private counseling.

But details the teen gave to police about what she said happened in darkened rooms and elsewhere describes anything but help meant for a troubled child.

The teen's allegations of being molested and receiving sexually explicit text messages were included in 800 pages of records released Tuesday in three criminal counts against former pastor Darrell Gilyard.

The records also include pages of lewd text messages involving a cellular phone belonging to Gilyard and another teenage church member. That 14-year-old girl's initial texting to Gilyard led to a crude string of phone sex banter that is part of the criminal case.

Gilyard, 46, was arrested in January and charged with lewd and lascivious conduct on the 14-year-old girl. The case began when the girl's mother contacted police after finding some of the text messages.

Charges of lewd and lascivious conduct and lewd and lascivious molestation were added in March. The new charges involved the 15-year-old, who was friends with the other teen. Both girls said they had their encounters with Gilyard last year, well before he took a leave of absence and eventually resigned from the church as the case became public.

Not guilty plea was entered

Gilyard has pleaded not guilty to all counts and has been free on $5,000 bond since his arrest. His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 3.