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Reward offered in search for man suspected of raping, killing baby

Police in eastern Ohio are looking for a man suspected of raping and killing a baby girl.

According to WFMJ, the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force is offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest of Joshua Gurto.

>> Read more trending news

Gurto is accused of raping and killing a 13-month-old girl in Ashtabula County. He is wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service and the Conneaut Police Department on aggravated murder and rape charges, WFMJ reported.

Police said he has ties to western Pennsylvania.

Gurto is described as:

  • 37 years old
  • 5 feet, 10 inches tall
  • 145 pounds
  • Deformed right year
  • Misaligned jaw
  • Tattoos on right forearm

Anyone with information on Gurto’s whereabouts is asked to call the Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force at 866-4WANTED or text keyword WANTED and the information to 84711.

Tipsters can remain anonymous.

Warrant alleges mother put 2 toddlers in oven, turned it on

A 24-year-old mother of four is accused of killing her two youngest sons “by placing them in an oven and turning it on,” according to an arrest warrant obtained Monday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

An official autopsy is pending.

Fulton County jail officials said Lamora Williams waived her first appearance in court Monday on felony murder charges.

>> Read more trending news

The arrest warrant alleges Williams put her sons in the oven sometime between midnight Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday.

Williams called her sons’ father, Jameel Penn, on Friday night and showed him by video chat that something was wrong in her Atlanta apartment home.

Penn said he immediately called the police.

When officials arrived at the Oakland City West End Apartment complex, the boys, 2-year-old Ke’Younte Penn and 1-year-old Ja’Karter Williams, were dead.

Related: 2 children found dead in Atlanta apartment; mother charged

Friends and family members of Williams told the AJC she suffered from undiagnosed mental health problems that were exacerbated by her father’s death when she was 19 and by having four children younger than 7. They said she was also a single mother who had some help from Penn, but not enough considering her mental health.

Williams’ longtime friend Neesa Smith said Williams quit a job about a month ago because she couldn’t find a babysitter for the kids. 

“Nobody could tell what she was going through,” Smith said.

Williams’ sister, Tabitha Hollingsworth, said Williams is at risk and should be put on suicide watch in the Fulton County Jail, where she remains without bond.

75 percent of workplace harassment victims who complain face retaliation, study finds

comprehensive study conducted in 2016  by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission uncovered some troubling truths about harassment in the workplace.

» RELATED: Sexual harassment in the workplace: What is it, how to report it and more you should know

In a preface to the report, EEOC co-chairs wrote the number of harassment complaints the team receives every year is still striking 30 years after the U.S. Supreme Court recognized sexual harassment as a form of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

>> Read more trending news

“We present this report with a firm, and confirmed, belief that too many people in too many workplaces find themselves in unacceptably harassing situations when they are simply trying to do their jobs,” the co-chairs wrote.

» RELATED: #MeToo: Women share harrowing accounts of sexual assault, harassment

The EEOC selected a 16-member team from a variety of disciplines and regions to be part of the Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace, to conduct an 18-month study in which they heard from more than 30 witnesses and received numerous public comments.

Here are some of the report’s key findings about workplace harassment: 

It’s still a problem.

Nearly one-third of the 90,000 charges EEOC received in 2015 included an allegation of workplace harassment, according to the report.

» RELATED: After defending Harvey Weinstein, director Oliver Stone accused of sexual assault by Playboy model

It too often goes unreported.

Roughly three out of four victims of harassment spoke to a supervisor or representative about the harassment.

It’s also common, the report found, for those who experience harassment to either ignore and avoid the harasser, downplay the situation, try to forget the harassment or endure it.

“Employees who experience harassment fail to report the harassing behavior or to file a complaint because they fear disbelief of their claim, inaction on their claim, blame, or social or professional retaliation,” report authors wrote.

» RELATED: Jane Fonda on Harvey Weinstein: ‘I’m ashamed I didn’t say anything’

Anywhere between 25-85 percent of women reported sex-based harassment.

Using testimonies and academic articles, analysts dug deeper into the widely divergent numbers.

They found that when asked if they experienced “sexual harassment” without defining the term, 25 percent of women reported they had.

The rate grew to 40 percent when employees were asked about specific unwanted sex-based behaviors.

And when respondents were asked similar questions in surveys using convenience samples, or people who are easy to reach, such as student volunteers, the incidence rate rose to 75 percent, researchers found.

» RELATED: Harvey Weinstein booted from film academy

“Based on this consistent result, researchers have concluded that many individuals do not label certain forms of unwelcome sexually based behaviors – even if they view them as problematic or offensive – as ‘sexual harassment,’” authors wrote.

More men are reporting workplace sexual assault.

According to the EEOC, reports of men experiencing workplace sexual assault have nearly doubled between 1990 and 2009 and now account for 8 to 16 percent of all claims.

» RELATED: Sexual harassment in the workplace: What is it, how to report it and more you should know

Seventy-five percent of harassment victims faced retaliation when they came forward.

The EEOC report noted the results of a 2003 study, which found “75 percent of employees who spoke out against workplace mistreatment faced some form of retaliation.”

Victims often avoid reporting the harassment, because they feel it’s the most “reasonable” course of action, another researcher found.

Indifference or trivialization in the organization, according to the report, can harm the victim “in terms of adverse job repercussions and psychological distress.”

These are just some of the risk factors associated with workplace harassment:

  • Workplaces with lack of diversity in terms of gender, race or ethnicity, age
  • Workplaces with extreme diversity
  • Workplaces with many young workers
  • Workplaces with significant power disparities, such as companies with executives, military member, plant managers
  • Service industries that rely on customer service or client satisfaction
  • Workplaces with monotonous or low-intensity tasks

In addition to being plain wrong, there’s a business case for stopping and preventing harassment.

The EEOC report found there are a multitude of financial costs associated with harassment complaints, such as time and resources dealing with litigation, settlements and damages.

Harassment can also lead to decreased workplace performance and productivity, reputational harm and increased turnover rates.

But the bottom line, according to the report, is: “Employers should care about preventing harassment because it is the right thing to do, and because stopping illegal harassment is required of them.”

You can read the full report at eeoc.gov.

Man accused of ‘marrying’ 11-year-old stepdaughter, holding her captive for 19 years

An Oklahoma man was arrested in Mexico earlier this month amid allegations that he “married” his 11-year-old stepdaughter in a van, abducted her and kept her captive as his “wife” for nearly 20 years. 

Henri Michele Piette, 62, is charged with first-degree rape, two counts of lewd molestation and child abuse by injury, according to Oklahoma court records. He was taken into custody Oct. 5 in Mexico, where he lived with the victim and their children for years after her alleged abduction. 

The Oklahoman reported that the now 33-year-old victim, Rosalynn Michelle McGinnis, is speaking out about her ordeal since returning to the United States. Court records show that McGinnis escaped captivity last year with eight of her nine children and found her way to a U.S. Embassy in Mexico, where she received help. 

Her oldest child, a boy, had already run away from the remote village in which they lived. McGinnis told People magazine in August that she has since been reunited with her son. 

Piette was still at large and under investigation by federal investigators when McGinnis first detailed her ordeal and subsequent escape. 

“I knew that if I didn’t get out of there, I’d either go insane or I would end up dying and leaving my kids with that man,” McGinnis told the magazine.

She alleged in her interview that she was raped, beaten, stabbed, choked and shot during her captivity.  

Piette, who has since been returned to Wagoner County for prosecution, told Fox23 News in Tulsa last week that he’s innocent. 

“Most of it are lies,” he told the news station as he shuffled into a courtroom for a hearing, surrounded by deputies. “Ninety-nine percent are lies. I’m telling the truth.”

He also denied raping McGinnis.

“I never raped any children. I made love to my wife,” Piette said. “We were married.”

McGinnis told investigators that Piette first raped her at the age of 11 at their home in Wagoner, the Oklahoman reported. He later “married” her in the back of a van, giving her a ring.

Piette’s son told FBI investigators in January that he performed the “ceremony” for his father. The son was 15 at the time.

McGinnis told People that her “marriage” to Piette took place the day before he legally married her mother. 

McGinnis’ mother later left Piette because of abuse in the home, the Oklahoman said. She and her daughter were living at a woman’s shelter in Poteau, about 100 miles southeast of Wagoner, when Piette abducted the girl in January 1997 from her new school. 

Piette introduced McGinnis to his children as their new mother, court records obtained by the newspaper showed. In the subsequent years, they moved frequently, living in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Montana and Idaho before moving on to Mexico.

“McGinnis stated that she was sexually assaulted multiple times a day almost every day while she was with Piette,” the court documents read.

>> Read more trending news

Piette would return to Oklahoma occasionally and make McGinnis mail letters from there so authorities would believe she was still living somewhere in the state, she told investigators. He also changed everyone’s names often to stay hidden.

McGinnis told People that, at the age of 18, she was forced by Piette to get her name and photo taken off national missing persons’ lists. 

“He parked three blocks down the road from the Phoenix Police Department, and he had three of my children,” she told the magazine. “He told me what to tell them. He said that if I didn’t come back within two hours, I would never see my children again.”

McGinnis said she walked into the police station and told officers that she had run away from home at 12 because her parents were drug addicts and that “nice people” had taken her in and raised her. Police, with no evidence to the contrary, were forced to believe her. 

She returned to Piette and her captivity, where she remained for another 13 years. In that time frame, she had another six children by her alleged abductor. 

‘Call 911, I done messed up’: Man charged with fatally stabbing 11-month-old son

A Louisiana man has been charged with first-degree murder after his infant son was found dead with multiple stab wounds over the weekend.

Fabian Miguel Smith, 33, of Zachary, is also charged with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate. Smith remained in the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail Monday morning, accused of killing Jericho Smith, 11 months old, Saturday afternoon.

Zachary police Chief David McDavid said during a Sunday news conference that the baby suffered stab wounds across his forehead and had signs of blunt force trauma to the back of his head, the Advocate reported. Jericho was pronounced dead at the scene. 

WAFB in Baton Rouge reported that police were called to the scene around 1:45 p.m. Saturday after two older children sought help from a neighbor. McDavid said that Smith, who was the only adult in the home at the time of the slaying, had locked the other children out of the house.

When they were allowed back inside, they found their brother. The children, ages 9 and 5, ran next door for help, McDavid said. 

One of the neighbors went to the family’s home, where he found Jericho lying on the floor in a pool of blood.

“Call 911. I done messed up,” the neighbor quoted Smith as saying, according to McDavid. 

The police chief said that Smith would not speak to officers who responded to the neighbor’s 911 call, but one of the children, still next door, screamed, “The baby is dead.”

>> Read more trending news

The motive for the slaying has not been determined, McDavid said. The knife believed to be used in the crime, as well as a gun, were recovered from the scene.

An autopsy was anticipated to shed light on whether the gun was also used in the homicide, McDavid said.   

Neighbor Brent Waldon told the newspaper it was his nephew who the 9-year-old boy approached for help. Waldon’s wife, Robyn Waldon, said Smith seemed unaffected in the aftermath of the stabbing, sitting outside the house smoking a cigarette as investigators searched the property.

His 5-year-old daughter screamed and cried for about an hour, Robyn Waldon said.

“This is just a nightmare,” Robyn Waldon told the newspaper. “I’ve held that baby before, and our 7-year-old would go over and play there a lot. I just can’t believe something like this would happen so close.”

McDavid said that the case was an especially tough one for his investigators.

“This is the senseless killing of a little child of God,” McDavid said during the news conference

The chief said the slaying greatly affected the officers, firefighters and other first responders who went to the scene. 

“To see this, it just broke their hearts. All of them have small children,” McDavid said. “I have grandchildren and children myself. To see this, it’s just senseless to see this happen in Zachary.”

Jimmicka Bouie, who identified herself as Jericho’s maternal aunt, set up a GoFundMe page to help her sister, Ieshae Tolbert, pay for the baby’s funeral. The page does not address how the baby died, but calls the incident a “tragic accident” that ended in his death. 

As of Monday, the page had raised about $1,150 of its $5,000 goal.

Mother accused of killing toddler sons has history of mental illness, family says

More details are emerging about an Atlanta woman accused of killing her two sons.

>> Watch the news report here

Lamora Williams, 24, has been charged with two counts of murder in the deaths of her two children, ages 1 and 2. Their brother, a 3-year-old, survived.

The father of the boys, Jameel Penn, told WSB-TV's Chris Jose that Williams showed the gruesome scene to him on a video call.

>> 2 children found dead in Atlanta apartment; mother charged

"It was like a real horror movie. It was Friday the 13th," he said. "When I saw my kid, how I saw my kid, that's when I knew what was going on."

On Friday night, Williams told police that she left the kids with a relative around noon and returned home late in the evening to find the children dead. Police say that's not true.

Jose learned Penn was one of two people Williams called that night.

A picture that WSB-TV obtained shows an oven taken from the apartment. Police say the two boys, Ja'karter and Ke'yaunte, had obvious injuries, including burns.

Police said their brother saw his mother kill the boys.

Penn first met with Jose at a vigil with friends and family Saturday night. He told Jose that the last time he saw his two toddlers was last month.

>> Read more trending news

"Ja’karter, Keyante, my world, my everything. I’m lost," he said.

Neighbors expressed their grief and disbelief at the vigil. They told Jose that the apartment "smelled like death" – a smell investigators say indicates the bodies may have been inside for a few days.

"How does a 1-year-old and a 2-year-old get in the stove?" said Neesha Smith.

Williams' mother, Breanda, told Jose that her daughter has struggled with mental health issues her whole life. 

"I just came from the jail," she said. "I also let them know to put her on suicide watch because she’s gonna kill herself."

Lamora's sister, Tabitha Hollingsworth, believes that the deaths could have been prevented. 

"This was something we saw that could possibly happen. She's had issues from a baby. Issues my mom tried to address with the state of Georgia," Hollingsworth said.

Williams is expected to make her first appearance in court Monday.

Black man beaten at Charlottesville white nationalist rally turns self in

A counterprotester who was beaten by a group of protesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, has turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

A picture and video of DeAndre Harris, 20, being attacked by a group at the August rally quickly went viralthe Root reported. The attack left Harris bloodied, with a fractured wrist, a knee injury, abrasions and a cut on his head that required staples, according to CBS News.

>> See the photo here

On Monday, a warrant was issued for Harris’ arrest on behalf of self-described “Southern nationalist” Harold Ray Crews, the Washington Post reported. Crews obtained a warrant from a local magistrate on a felony charge of unlawful wounding after accusing Harris of striking him with a pipe during the Charlottesville rally.

Harris turned himself in to police on Thursday, WSET reported.

Harris’ lawyer, S. Lee Merritt, agrees that Crews was attacked with a pipe but argues Harris wasn’t the attacker. Merritt notes that a picture of Crews being hit in the head with a weapon shows the hand of a white counter-protester — Harris is black. Merritt also denounced another video that allegedly shows Harris hitting Crews with a pipe.`

>> Read more trending news

“The incident that DeAndre was involved in showed [Crews] as the aggressor, driving his pole into [counterprotester] Corey Long, the sharp end of his flag pole. DeAndre responded to that defensively, which is an affirmative defense to the charges filed against him,” Merritt told the Root.

Merritt called the charges against Harris “clearly retaliatory.” In the Washington Post article, he said, “We find it highly offensive and upsetting, but what’s more jarring is that he’s been charged with the same crime as the men who attacked him.”

Detective Sgt. Jake Via of the Charlottesville Police Department said the department was “not expecting” the warrant and had planned to do its own investigation into Crews’ claims when they learned of the warrant, the Post reported.

Two men were already charged with malicious wounding in the attack carried out against Harris, CBS News reported.

– The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

5 arrested in connection with 34-year-old cold case slaying

Five people, including two law enforcement officials, were arrested Friday by the Spalding County Sheriff’s Department in connection with a 1983 Georgia cold case

>> Watch the news report here

Timothy Coggins, a 23-year-old man, was found dead on a power line near Manley Road in the city of Sunny Side on Oct. 9 of that year. 

Frankie Gebhardt, 59, and Bill Moore Sr., 58, were charged with murder, aggravated assault, aggravated battery and concealing a body. Lamar Bunn, a Milner Police Department employee, and Sandra Bunn, 58, were charged with obstruction. Gregory Huffman, a detention officer with the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office, was charged with obstruction and violation of oath of office.

>> On MyAJC.com: A look at Georgia’s cold case files

Sheriff Darrell Dix said there is “no doubt” in the minds of investigators that the crime was racially motivated, and if it occurred today it would be prosecuted as a hate crime. 

Officials did not release any additional information on the suspects’ involvement in the crime. Huffman was fired from the sheriff’s office Friday morning. 

“(Coggins) was murdered brutally,” Dix said. “And we are going to make sure people answer to that crime.” 

The GBI and Spalding sheriff’s department reopened the case in March after receiving new information and met with Coggins’ family in July. Many of the witnesses interviewed said they had been living with information since Coggin’s death, but “had been afraid to come forward or had not spoken of it until now,” officials said. 

>> Read more trending news

“We have always wanted justice, held out for justice, and knew that we would have justice,” Heather Coggins, the man’s niece, said at a news conference. “We have endured grief for the past 34 years … our journey is coming to an end; their journey is just beginning.” 

The initial investigation in 1983 hit a snag when those suspected of being involved threatened and intimidated potential witnesses, Dix said. 

Officials said the investigation is not over, and more people could be arrested and charged. 

“We are sending a message that we want to make crystal clear. If you are a criminal, murderer, drug dealer or gang member, you are no longer welcome or tolerated in Spalding County,” Dix said. “We will do everything we can do to stop you, regardless of who you are, where you come from, and as was demonstrated today, regardless of time or distance.”

Bloody trail leads police to Florida man suspected in 8 car burglaries

A Florida man was arrested Thursday in connection with eight car burglaries after leaving a trail of blood in a Palm Beach neighborhood, police said.

Tyler Longwell, 33, of West Palm Beach faces charges of burglary, grand theft and criminal mischief in the string of burglaries that happened in August, according to the Palm Beach Police Department.

Police officers responded on the morning of Aug. 11 after a woman reported that the front window of her car was smashed, and her Gucci sunglasses and Sunpass were stolen, according to the Palm Beach Post report.

>> Read more trending news

The crime scene matched seven other car burglaries in the same neighborhood — including three in which Longwell was caught on surveillance video, and two in which blood was found inside the vehicles, the arrest report states.

Surveillance video from the homes showed Longwell wearing a light-colored hoodie, light-colored shorts, sneakers and dark socks. Investigators collected blood samples from the two cars, and testing revealed the presence of Longwell’s DNA.

Officers went to Longwell’s home in West Palm Beach on Sept. 21 with a search warrant and questioned him, the Palm Beach Post reported.

Longwell told officers that he did not recall the burglaries because of his “excessive drug use,” the police report stated. When asked about the blood in the two vehicles, Longwell said “he must have been the one responsible” but still did not recall the incidents. He also said any items he took were sold to drug dealers in exchange for drugs.

Longwell remains at the Palm Beach County Jail on a $49,000 bail, according to jail records.

Massachusetts after-school employee charged with child rape

Massachusetts man is on leave from an after-school program in Waltham after charged with multiple counts of child rape.

>> Read more trending news

According to the Norfolk County District Attorney, John Quinn, 28, was arrested Wednesday and arraigned Thursday in Foxborough on six counts of aggravated rape of a child and six counts of rape of a child with force.

The district attorney said Foxborough police had been investigating Quinn and obtained an arrest warrant from Wrentham District Court Wednesday. Quinn was arrested during a motor vehicle stop later in the day.

The alleged victim was known to Quinn, the district attorney said, but not through his employment.

Quinn had worked as an employee of Champions, a program at Plympton Elementary School in Waltham. He has since been removed according to the company.

Parents who knew Quinn through his work said the charges do not match with their perception of him.

“[He’s] really nice. I always talked to him how was the day and he was always in a good mood,” said Aleksandra Maguire, a mother with two children in the after-school program. “He was great with the kids. The kids like him he’s fun, nice guy, good guy.”

Waltham Superintendent Drew Echelson sent a letter to parents that read in part:

“These charges are very concerning. We will be updating the community as soon as we have more information."

Quinn was released on $5,000 bail and ordered to wear a GPS monitor and not contact the victim or victim’s family. In addition, Quinn is not allowed to have unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.

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