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Stabbing at Hartford, CT Apartment Highlights Need for Proper Security Measures

A recent stabbing at a Hartford, Connecticut apartment complex highlights the continued need for proper and adequate security measures to protect people from criminal behavior.  You can read more about the incident here:
Please contact us for a Free Consultation if you would like to have us review a potential Negligent Security Claim.

PLAINVILLE MAN SHARED 20 GIRLS’ NUDE PICTURES, POLICE SAY

The United States Supreme Court is going to hear a case involving whether victims of child pornography are entitled to seek financial restitution from people who view or otherwise make use of their pornographic images. The Hartford Courant recently reported on a Plainville, Connecticut man who collected and shared obscene photographs of more than twenty underage girls. You can read more about that case here:

http://www.courant.com/community/plainville/hc-plainville-nude-photos-1001-20130930,0,526412.story


Court Grants $750,000.00 Attachment Order in School Van Sex Assault Case

On September 25, 2013, Judge Sam Sferrazza issued an order granting a $750,000.00 attachment to the family of a young girl who was sexually assaulted by a school van driver.  The order was issued in the case of Doe v. King in Rockville Superior Court.  The order says that, “the plaintiff has demonstrated probable cause that a judgment will be rendered in her favor…”

The plaintiff in the case is represented by Attorney Timothy O’Keefe of the Hartford trial law firm of Kenny, O’Keefe & Usseglio, P.C.

Connecticut Supreme Court Upholds Sex Assault Conviction

In a decision released on August 6, 2013, the Connecticut Supreme Court has upheld a criminal conviction of a child sex predator.  The defendant in the case, State v. Stephen, J.R., appealed his conviction of sixteen counts of sexual assault in the first degree and risk of injury to a minor claiming the testimony of his child victim was too “generic” and “non-specific” to allow for a conviction on multiple counts.  The child had testified at trial that the defendant had sexually assaulted her “three or four times” and it was “always the same thing”.  During a previous clinical child interview at the Aetna Foundation Children’s Center at St. Francis Hospital, the child testified that the sexual assaults occurred “five to six times”.   On appeal, the defendant argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he abused the child on four separate and distinct occasions.
Writing for a unanimous court, Justice Andrew McDonald wrote that sometimes “testimony from a child victim describing a series of indistinguishable acts by an abuser who has ongoing access to the child is often the only evidence that the child is able to provide.”  Judge McDonald also reiterated this state’s long held view that our courts “will not impose a degree of certitude as to date, time and place that will render prosecutions of those who sexually abuse children impossible.  To do so would have us establish, by judicial fiat, a class of crimes committable with impunity”.  The court upheld the convictions of the defendant.
If you would like to discuss legal representation for a claim for civil damages arising out of a child sex assault, please use the Free Case Evaluation Form on this website.  All inquiries will be handled with 100% confidentiality.

Newington Schools Tutor Charged With Sexual Assault

NEWINGTON — A woman who worked as a special education tutor in the Newington school system has been charged with eight counts of second-degree sexual assault after engaging in a sexual relationship with a 20-year-old student.

Newington school officials notified police of the allegations on June 13 and on Monday police announced they’d arrested Amy Belliveau, 43, of New Britain. Police said she turned herself in Thursday after learning a warrant had been issued for her arrest.

It is against state law for a school employee to have sexual contact with a student, regardless of age of the student.

Belliveau has been fired from her position. The sexual contact occurred between April and June of 2013, police said. The victim was a student at the Newington Transitional Academy, police said.

Schools Superintendent William C. Collins said the district worked jointly with police after they began to suspect a sexual relationship had occurred. Collins said he was “thrilled” that an arrest was made.

The 20-year-old student was a “high-functioning” special needs student, he said.

Belliveau was placed on administrative leave as soon as the investigation began and then terminated after the arrest. Collins said she was in her first year of teaching in the district.

She posted $10,000 bail and is due back in court Oct. 9.


Wesleyan, frat settle Conn. rape victim’s lawsuit

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A former Wesleyan University student who said she was sexually assaulted at a frat house known as the ‘‘rape factory’’ in 2010 has settled a lawsuit against the private liberal arts school and a chapter of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, according to court documents.

The student alleged Wesleyan officials knew that Beta House, home of the Mu Epsilon chapter of Beta Theta Pi, was a dangerous place for women because of numerous sexual assaults there but failed to protect her and other female students. The woman, who is from Maryland and known only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit, sued for $10 million last year.

U.S. District Judge Robert N. Chatigny in Hartford issued an order last month to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the parties in the case reported it had been settled. Terms were not disclosed.

Lawyers in the case and a Wesleyan spokeswoman declined to comment Tuesday.

The woman said she was a freshman at the Middletown school in October 2010 when she was locked in a room and raped during a Halloween party at Beta House. She also claimed another woman reported being raped at Beta House the same weekend.

The attacker, now serving a 15-month prison sentence, was a friend of a Beta member and didn’t attend the school, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit said the woman had no idea there had been numerous previous assaults at Beta House, but Wesleyan officials were well aware of that history and failed to take adequate actions to fix the problem. Wesleyan did order safety changes at the frat house, but those orders were ignored, the lawsuit said.

‘‘Beta House has a long-documented history of dangerous misconduct, student injuries and numerous sexual assaults of women, resulting in Beta … gaining the reputation in the Wesleyan community as the ‘Rape Factory,’’’ the lawsuit said.

In 2005, Wesleyan revoked recognition of the fraternity as a student group after repeated misconduct and failure to comply with school rules, according to the lawsuit. Although the recognition was never regained, students have been allowed to continuing using Beta House and living there, the plaintiff said.

After numerous student injuries and hospitalizations, Wesleyan officials warned students months before the woman’s assault to stay away from Beta House because it was dangerous and the university couldn’t ensure their safety, the lawsuit alleged.

After Jane Doe was assaulted at the Halloween party, school officials again warned students about Beta House and prohibited students from living there or using the house for social and academic events, the plaintiff said. That sparked campus-wide ‘‘Free Beta’’ protests organized by members of Beta and Beta House residents, which caused the school to reverse the prohibitions on Beta House, the lawsuit said.

Jane Doe said protesters rallied and chanted outside her dormitory. She said she was traumatized, forced to hide in her room and missed classes.

Doe also accused Wesleyan officials of doing little to help her after the rape, so she took a medical leave and eventually transferred to another school in another state.

The lawsuit also alleged Wesleyan violated the federal Title IX law by not protecting Doe against discrimination and harassment.


City Official Charged With DUI To Police: ‘Do You Know Who I Am?’

When police arrived at the intersection of Prospect and Farmington avenues Saturday night — where two cars had collided, totaling a city-owned vehicle — they noticed that one of the drivers, Rhonda Moniz-Carroll, had “red, glossy eyes,” “thick, slurred speech” and a strong odor of alcohol emanating from her breath, according to an incident report.

Mayor Pedro Segarra fired Moniz-Carroll, the city’s deputy public works director, on Monday. She was charged over the weekend with driving while intoxicated and failure to drive in a proper lane.

A preliminary investigation showed that Moniz-Carroll, 53, veered into oncoming traffic on Prospect Avenue, police said. She collided head-on with another vehicle about 9:30 p.m.

Both the city-issued Ford Escape that Moniz-Carroll was driving and the other car, a 2006 Nissan Altima, were damaged in the crash.

The driver of the Nissan was Caitlin Greenbaum of Hartford, sources said. She was taken to St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center for treatment of an ankle injury and a concussion. Moniz-Carroll, of 54 Cone St., refused medical attention.

Moniz-Carroll told police she was driving south on Prospect Avenue and that the other driver was headed north. Police noticed “a debris of car parts in the north bound lane,” adding: “The focus of the debris was mainly where the impact point was.”

“Based on the area of the impact, I determined Rhonda Moniz-Carroll crossed the double-yellow line and struck [another] vehicle that was traveling north on Prospect,” an officer wrote in a report.

When police approached Moniz-Carroll’s car and questioned her about the accident, they noted she had “droopy eyelids,” “blood shot eyes” and slurred speech. One officer wrote in a report that he detected “an overwhelming odor of alcoholic beverage” on Moniz-Carroll’s breath.

During a field sobriety test, Moniz-Carroll swayed while trying to balance, raised her arms for stability and “would look in the opposite direction of the stimulus in an apparent attempt to sabotage the test,” according to an incident report.

She initially told police she had not consumed alcohol before driving, but later said she drank one glass of wine at 11 a.m. Saturday, the report states.

During interviews with police, Moniz-Carroll said: “Are you serious? You’re going to arrest me! Do you know who I am?” and “Does Chief [William] Long know you are doing your job and arresting me? Do you know who I am?”

At police headquarters, Moniz-Carroll refused a Breathalyzer test and told officers that her husband, Kevin Carroll, was her attorney. As police spoke to her, “she became more upset … stating ‘this is ridiculous. I can’t believe you are doing this. Do you know who I am?'” an incident report states.

Greenbaum told police she did not remember anything before or after the crash. She was “extremely disoriented and was suffering from memory loss due to the force of the impact,” a report states.

Moniz-Carroll is scheduled to be arraigned Friday at Hartford Superior Court.

The accident renewed attention to the assignment and use of city-owned vehicles. Segarra’s former chief of staff, Jared Kupiec, was charged in July with using a city car without permission and interfering with police after he had left the city’s employ. He was later granted a special form of probation.

The Hartford Internal Audit Commission is investigating the assignments and policies for take-home city vehicles, and the city council is considering a proposal that would limit their use.

Fifty-nine employees are currently assigned city vehicles that they can take home.


Former Torrington HS Football Player Gets 6 Years In Sex Assault

LITCHFIELD ——

Edgar Gonzalez, one of two former Torrington High football players accused of sexually assaulting 13-year-old girls, was sentenced to six years in prison Friday.

The other former player, Joan Toribio, will be sentenced to 10 years, suspended after 9 months, and 10 years of probation for second-degree sexual assault, according to an agreement with prosecutors.

Gonzalez was also sentenced to 10 years parole and must register as a sex offender for 10 years. Toribio will not have to register as a sex offender. Gonzalez pleaded guilty to second-degree sexual assault in June.

Prosecutor Terri Sonnemann noted that Gonzalez was out on bail for a 2012 robbery charge at the time of the assault. She described how the 13-year-old victim suffered physical injuries in the encounter and how Gonzalez poured alcohol down her throat and had intercourse with the girl.

“The night took a horrific turn for this young woman,” Sonnemann said. “The encounter was rough. She suffered injuries. … This was not something this girl wanted. It was not something she sought out. … this was not by any stretch of the imagination a consensual experience for this girl.”

The girls’ parents attended and addressed the court, telling the judge that the incident changed her forever.

“He raped her,” the girl’s mother said. “She said no. Let me repeat that. She said no. He didn’t care.”

Toribio and Gonzalez were accused of sexually assaulting different 13-year-old girls on the same night in February.

Toribio’s attorney, Charles Brower, argued that what happened on Feb. 10 was not indicative of Toribio’s character.

“This is an isolated incident,” Brower said.

Toribio obtained his high school diploma and is “college material,” Brower said.

Making him register as a sex offender would hamper his ability to attend college, Brower said. The law allows exemptions to the registration requirement if the defendant is under 19 and is not viewed as a threat to public safety.

Sonnemann did not disagree with Brower.

Toribio is to be sentenced Nov. 15.

The case drew widespread attention because some friends of Gonzalez taunted the victim on social media.

Arrest warrants described a night of drinking, marijuana smoking and, ultimately, sexual contact between the high school athletes and the girls.

One of the girls was sleeping over at the other’s house. About 3 a.m. on Feb. 10, she would later tell police, they sneaked out of the house and went to Toribio’s family’s apartment. Gonzalez was there with Toribio, according to the warrant, and Toribio’s mother was asleep at the time.

Gonzalez and Toribio admitted to Torrington Det. Kevin Tieman, in separate interviews, that they had sex with the girls and that they now know it was wrong, the warrant says. They insisted the sexual contact was consensual, but they were charged with second-degree sexual assault because, under Connecticut law, a 13-year-old girl cannot consent to sexual contact.

One of the 13-year-olds, according to the arrest warrant, said she told Gonzalez “no,” but he insisted and had intercourse with her. She also said she smoked marijuana and drank vodka with Gonzalez. She said that she felt “fuzzy” from the alcohol at the time of the encounter.

The girl also told police Gonzalez told her she needed a shot of alcohol, and he pulled her head back and poured it into her mouth, the warrant states.

The girl told a forensic interviewer at Torrington’s Center for Youth and Families that at one point during the sexual contact, Gonzalez held her arm behind her back. The girl said “that she verbally told Gonzalez that she did not want to have sex, but as a result of the marijuana, alcohol and ‘entire situation,’ vaginal sex just happened anyway,” according to the arrest warrant.

Gonzalez told the detective that, at one point, the girl said, “I don’t know. … I don’t want to do this,” and they stopped, according to the warrant.

The second girl said she did not smoke marijuana or drink vodka. She was reluctant to talk to police about what happened and at one point said, “I ruined his life,” the warrant states.

Police learned of the incident after one of the girls’ relatives told one girl’s mother about what had happened. The mother then contacted police.


Police: Danbury Hospital Worker Sexually Assaulted Patient

DANBURY — A Danbury Hospital employee has been charged with sexually assaulting a patient in June, police said Thursday.

Michael Wilmot, 47, was arrested after a lengthy investigation and charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault, according to a police news release. Wilmot was in custody on $50,000 bail Thursday morning.

The alleged assaults happened on June 12, 2012, police said.

Wilmot was a patient care technician at the hospital, they said, and the patient was under his care.

In a written statement, a hospital spokeswoman said Thursday that Wilmot has been suspended from the hospital.

“Since this involves an active legal matter, we cannot comment in detail. We can say that the involved employee has been suspended,” said Andrea Rynn.

“We want to reassure the public that the well-being and security of our patients is our top priority, and that we are fully committed to providing a safe environment for their care,” she said.


Lawsuit Filed in School Transportation Van Sexual Assault Case

The Hartford, CT trial law firm of Kenny, O’Keefe & Usseglio, P.C. has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a fifteen year old, special needs student who was sexually assaulted by a school transportation van driver.  The lawsuit was filed on July 31, 2013 in Rockville Superior Court.  The case is being handled by Attorney Timothy O’Keefe.
“Under the law, when you take custody of children for these purposes, you have an affirmative legal duty to provide for their safety and protection.  We expect to prove that the defendant company failed to meet its legal obligations in this circumstance.  As a result, a young girl suffered significant harm.”  Timothy O’Keefe, Kenny, O’Keefe & Usseglio, P.C., Hartford, CT
“This is an incredibly sad situation involving a very vulnerable young girl.  The defendant took complete advantage of her and should be held accountable for his actions.”  Timothy O’Keefe, Kenny, O’Keefe & Usseglio, P.C., Hartford, CT

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