Louisville’s mayor announced that he has asked the FBI to investigate what he called “our worst nightmare,” the alleged sexual abuse of children in the police department’s Youth Explorer program

Louisville, Kentucky. —

Louisville’s mayor announced that he has asked the FBI to investigate what he called “our worst nightmare,” the alleged sexual abuse of children in the police department’s Youth Explorer program.

Mayor Greg Fischer also said he had hired former U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey to review an investigation conducted by Louisville Metro Police and determine whether “errors were made,” including by police Chief Steve Conrad.

“If there has been an injustice, it will be remedied,” Fischer said Friday.

Harvey, who was appointed by President Obama in 2010 as the top prosecutor in the Eastern District of Kentucky and stepped down in January, said he would conduct a “stem-to-stern review” to determine if the investigation was effective and appropriate – and if procedures were not followed, “why not.”

A lawsuit filed last week on behalf of a former scout identified as N.C. charges that his alleged rape by Officers Kenneth Betts and Brandon Wood was “concealed” by department officials. Betts and Wood are accused of sexually assaulting the former scout from 2011 through 2013 and recording the incidents to make porn.

Scout: I was raped by Louisville police officers

Council urges independent inquiry into Louisville sex-abuse scandal

The Courier-Journal reported this week that Conrad ended an investigation of alleged “improper contact” between Betts and a teenage girl in the program because Betts resigned in 2014. Wood is still with the force but on administrative assignment.

Conrad told The Courier-Journal on Friday he is “dying” to talk about the allegations but is barred from doing so by a court order sealing the lawsuit. Fischer said he expects the case will be unsealed next week.

The Courier-Journal has filed a motion to unseal the case. The city has also asked that it be unsealed.

Fischer said he first learned about misconduct in the Explorer program last October when he received a heads-up from Conrad that there would be media reports. The mayor declined to comment when asked whether additional police officers or youths were involved, citing a pending criminal investigation by the department’s Public Integrity Unit.

Asked if he still has confidence in Conrad, the mayor initially avoided directly answering the question, saying “what is important is to get to the truth, and I think he agrees with that.” Ultimately, Fischer said he did have confidence in the chief.

Fischer also said Conrad was “aligned” with the decision to hire Harvey, who was retained Friday under a $275-an-hour contract capped at $50,000. Harvey will not have subpoena power but will enjoy the “full power of the mayor,” Fischer said.

The city also will conduct a separate inquiry that will examine all agencies that have programs involving children and teenagers to determine if adequate measures are in place to protect them.

Harvey resigned as a U.S. attorney this year in anticipation that President Trump would name a Republican to the post. He said it would be up to the FBI to decide whether to launch its investigation, but that based on news reports, the alleged misconduct could constitute a federal civil rights violation.

Councilman David James said Friday he was glad the mayor reached out to the FBI. But he said whatever review Harvey conducts should include the mayor’s office because former police commanders who were in the department at the time of the allegations are now in the Fischer administration.

“It’s important we not just limit it to the police department, but knowing who knew what when, and wherever that goes is important,” James said.

Councilman James Peden, who joined James and nine other members in calling for an outside agency to investigate on Thursday, said he was pleased the mayor sought the FBI’s help. But he said he doubts whether hiring Harvey will bear any results.

“I’ve been doing this long enough to know if you hire someone to do studies or investigate, they come up with results you wanted them to find in the first place,” Peden said. “I think that’s a waste of money.”

James, a Democrat, and Peden, a Republican, said they met with Conrad about the Explorer program weeks before the suit was filed. Both said they’ve received information from police officers that there could be more allegations.

“If anything, (Mayor Fischer) finally realizes this has now extended beyond the boundaries of just a bad police officer,” Peden said.
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In connection with a prostitution business prosecutors say they were operating for nearly two years at luxury apartments in Irvine – a man and woman residing in Ladera Ranch were hit with numerous felony charges Thursday

Irvine, California –

Feb. 2, 2017

2 Ladera Ranch Residents Charged With Running Brothel Operation at High-End Irvine Apartments

A man and woman residing in Ladera Ranch were hit with numerous felony charges Thursday in connection with a prostitution business prosecutors say they were operating for nearly two years at luxury apartments in Irvine.

Fadi Chaiban, left, and Tina Saunders are shown in booking photos released Feb. 2, 2017, by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

The man authorities call the “brother ringleader,” 53-year-old Fadi Boulos Chaiban, is accused of pandering at least 29 women to commit prostitution, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. In addition to one felony pandering charge for each woman, Chaiban was charged with three felony counts of pimping and two felony counts of conspiracy to commit pandering, officials said.

Co-defendant Tina Lorraine Saunders, also 53, was charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to commit pimping, conspiracy to commit pandering, pimping, and pandering, the DA’s office said.

Prosecutors say Chaiban ran a “sophistical brothel operation” at various high-end apartment complexes in Irvine between April 2015 and January 2017, recruiting adult women to work for him by posting internet ads to meet potential victims. Saunders is accused of aiding Chaiban’s operation by renting an apartment for him to use as a brothel, authorities said.

Both were taken into custody on Tuesday as they were leaving their home, officials said, and Chaiban is accused of possessing more than $469,000 in cash in a storage locker at the time of his arrest.

Law enforcement located several luxury apartment buildings in Irvine where Chaiban allegedly arranged for clients to pay for sex, according to the DA’s office. During their probe, investigators saw dozens of men enter and exit the apartments in 30-minute and one-hour intervals before victims left in the evening, the release states.

Chaiban collected cash earnings left behind in the apartments by victims at the end of each day, keeping the majority for himself, according to prosecutors. He is also accused of maintaining a detailed client list.

The “ringleader” allegedly took sexually explicit photos of more than 28 different victims that were posted to websites commonly used to advertise prostitution, as well as a website he ran. Chaiban is additionally accused of pretending to be a woman online to communicate with clients and set up prostitution dates, authorities said.

If convicted, Chaiban faces a maximum sentence of 45 years and four months in state prison, while Saunders faces a maximum of six years in state prison, the DA’s office said. His bail has been set a $3 million and hers has been set at $500,000; both must prove bond money is from a legal and legitimate source.

The investigation is ongoing and officials are seeking potential additional victims. Anyone with information can contact Irvine Police Detective Hall at 714-765-1904, or OCDA Supervising Investigator Frank Reynoso at 714-347-8560.

2 Ladera Ranch Residents Charged With Running Brothel Operation at High-End Irvine Apartments: DA

Outcry over firefighters making up to $400,000 – Despite ever-tightening budgets, hefty paydays are actually becoming the norm for a lot of firefighters

Mar 4, 2017

SAN RAMON, Calif. — Despite ever-tightening budgets, hefty paydays are actually becoming the norm for a lot of firefighters.

In 2015, some firefighters with the San Ramon Valley Fire District were making as much as $400,000 a year in total compensation, CBS San Francisco reports. More than half of the full-time employees at the department make more than $300,000 in total compensation a year, according to data collected by the watchdog group Transparent California.

“Does it make sense that a battalion chief in San Ramon should earn $300,000 when our governor only earns $180,000 a year in compensation?” said Jack Weir, president of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association.

But one department said that paying out a lot of overtime is actually saving taxpayers money.

San Ramon Valley Fire Chief Paige Meyer says the $300,000 figure doesn’t tell the whole story. That number includes pension and benefits, so in reality, he says, firefighters take home about half of their total compensation.

“So, if someone makes $1, we ending up close to spending 90 cents for their pension, so that’s $1.90, roughly,” Meyer said. “And then we also have the costs of healthcare.”

Meyer said pension and healthcare obligations can mean it’s cheaper to pay a firefighter overtime instead of hiring someone new and adding an extra set of benefits costs.

“Saving can be upwards of 25 to 30 percent,” Meyer said.

Firefighters are guaranteed about 70 percent of their income after retirement in their 50s. In San Ramon, firefighters contribute close to 25 percent of their income to their pension.

Weir believes the system won’t work in the long run.

“It’s unreasonable, it’s unaffordable and most importantly, from a taxpayer’s perspective and from the perspective of the firefighters, it’s unsustainable,” Weir said.

But Meyer says San Ramon is an example of a fire district doing things right.

“We have a very sustainable system,” Meyer said. “We’re paying all of our unfunded liabilities. We’re actually one of the only agencies that I know of in the United States that pays extra money toward our unfunded liabilities in retired, medical and pension costs.”

Meyer also says a starting firefighter in San Ramon would make about $90,000 in salary alone.

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