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Archive for May 2007

Jacksonville, Texas police officer sentenced to 12 years for RAPE and RETALIATION; Victim put on trial by County Attorney, Other Awarded $300,000

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Jacksonville, Texas, the economic center and largest city in Cherokee County, faces several lawsuits from the actions of convicted rapist and former police officer Larry Pugh. Not only did the rogue officer sexually assault several of his traffic stops during the course of working for the city of Jacksonville, he beat and tasered a black gentleman and his pregnant wife during the 2004 “Tomato Bowl Brawl.” Pugh was recently sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for sexual assault while in uniform and retaliating against a witness after the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department alerted him to the federal complaints. Despite nine (9) of his alleged rapes being ignored by the city of Jacksonville, Texas and the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department, the city will not be held liable by Pugh’s last victim who barely survived being attacked a second time by the predator cop.

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Decorated patrol officer Larry Pugh, Cherokee County
(Jacksonville, TX exemplary policeman; months later convicted rapist and linked to missing Athens, TX woman’s corpse.)

The retaliation charge comes from Officer Pugh being notified about his last victim’s plea to the Cherokee County District Attorney’s office. DA Investigator Joe Evans comments at Pugh’s civil trial that the rogue officer was “one of the coldest interviewees in Evans’ 40 years of law enforcement.” Articles suggest Pugh had over 30 women throughout East Texas file RAPE charges against him; the first investigation began with the Department of Justice. No investigation required by Cherokee County; the Cherokee County District Attorney’s office waited for Larry Pugh until his federal indictment a la’ Bailiff Randall Thompson (sentenced to 10 + years for making meth for distribution).

According to the May 24, 2007 issue of the Jacksonville Daily Progress, U.S. District Judge Michael Schneider saved the city by blocking a civil suit brought by Pugh’s last victim (a total of 8 women claimed rape in the lawsuit). The case against the City of Jacksonville and the chief of police was stopped by Summary Judgment. Investigator Joe Evans began to “interview” the other 8 victims (Evans later testified he interviewed over 30 of Pugh’s victims). And victim statements were created after Larry Pugh’s racially motivated beating of Mr. Larry Hinton of Jacksonville and Hinton was exonerated after being put on trial by Joe Evan’s bosses in the Cherokee County court. Despite Pugh’s federal indictments, Cherokee County brought charges and tried one of Pugh’s victims.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph reports on June 20, 2007 that Officer Larry Pugh had  been linked to the skeletal remains of a missing Athens, TX woman who moved to Cherokee County and disappeared in May 2006. The article cites that another missing woman that encountered Pugh has yet to be found.

 Nacogdoches, TX:
The Daily Sentinel
confirms that remains found in the Angelina National Forest are in fact those of one of Jacksonville Texas patrolman Larry Pugh’s victims who was slated to testify against the rapist Cherokee County officer, while Pugh was out on federal bond (pending his federal rape and retaliation trial). No reports on the woman’s remains by local Rusk or Jacksonville, TX newspaper or media outlets. Last year, the new Jacksonville, TX police chief Daniel Reese defended Larry Pugh to the Jacksonville Daily Progress, saying the victims that “disappeared under suspicious circumstances” was “speculation” on the part of out of region media. The fact is Larry Pugh probably did not act alone in his disposal of federal witnesses.
Additional civil suits are still pending against the city, however due to former Jacksonville police officer Larry Pugh’s illegal activities. You have to do intricate internet research to find out a federal trial actually took place in the federal courts and that the jury voted in favor of the victim in U.S. District Judge Schneider’s trial. The jury would have also voted to hold the city of Jacksonville, Texas and Cherokee County liable had the judge allowed it. The Wednesday June 13, 2007 issue of the Tyler News reports that former JPD officer Larry Pugh’s last rape victim was awarded $300,000 in punitive damages. Hard to collect from a convicted ex-officer.  Cherokee County District Attorney Investigator Joe Evans testified at the federal trial about “investigating” Officer Pugh’s other rape victims. Obviously the Rusk, TX Cherokeean Herald will not mention the victim’s victory in court in the June 13, 2007 issue keeping the simple norm of NOT reporting anything negative about the Cherokee County District Attorney office’s failure to render aid to victims of violent crime.

Despite Pugh’s past, he was employed by the city of Jacksonville, TX as a peace officer. Despite over 35 complaints of sexual assault throughout Pugh’s law enforcement career, Cherokee County law enforcement produced DA Investigator Joe Evans at Pugh’s sentencing. Officer Pugh was said to had used the Freedom of Information Act to locate the majority of his complainants, several he had arrested on drug charges in the past after he raped them. Evans testified that he had “interviewed” the majority of Pugh’s victims, however it took the federal government to actually stop Pugh’s apetitite for destruction. Remember, Cherokee County does not arrest its own officers for anything; Pugh was therefore assisted by local law enforcement in locating those who had filed police reports or visited the Rape Crisis Center in Jacksonville, Texas.
 Larry Pugh would not have been also been charged with RETALIATION had he not been personally informed about the multiple victims’ complaints to the Jacksonville Texas police department and the FBI. Pugh’s police brutality sanctioned by Cherokee County, Texas does not just include raping homeless drug addicts living on the streets; those are easy prey. Pugh focused his attention on less prominent black residents in the community, where he could start a violent incident at random when finding his victims in a public place, knowing the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department would back his every move.

 The “Tomato Bowl Brawl” was a race riot that occurred at the Jacksonville, TX high school football stadium and homecoming in Octomber 2004. What began as juvenille rough housing, turned into a full blown race riot, complete with tasers, pepper spray and billy clubs. Fellow officer Larry Pugh beat several black attendees in the parking lot. A gentleman named Larry Hinton escorted his pregnant wife to their car, when the fighting broke out. He was by attacked and tasered by JPD Officer Pugh, his front teeth knocked out and his pregnant wife maced. Mr. Hinton was later charged with “interfering” with a police round-up. Mr. Hinton was actually put on trial by the Cherokee County attorney Craig Caldwell. Mr. Hinton and others filed a federal lawsuit and excessive force suits against the city of Jacksonville. Jacksonville recently “settled” the lawsuits pending from Larry Pugh’s actions during the Tomato Bowl Brawl, after the exoneration of Mr. Hinton and other black citizens filed class action police brutality suits. The Cherokee County media reported on Larry Hinton’s “public misconduct” trial after concerned citizens took to the Rusk, TX courthouse steps in protest. During the same time Cherokee County District Attorney’s office was “interviewing the 25-30 witnesses, including women who claimed they had been raped by Pugh and people they had told, including ministers and police officers, which substantiated their claims.”

The bogus Larry Hinton criminal trial took place AFTER Officer Larry Pugh was arrested and incarcerated for sexual assaulting women while in uniform. Mr. Hinton was later acquitted, as was a 13 year old girl, the center of the altercation. Cherokee County officers had “arrested” and kicked the junior high girl, when fellow citizens jumped into the fray created by Cherokee County officers. Mr. Hinton had simply refused Officer Pugh’s request that he lay down while his front teeth got kicked out. Hinton’s wife was punched and knocked down during the melee. Supporters for Mr. Larry Hinton took to the steps of the Cherokee County courthouse to demonstrate the community’s zero tolerance for police brutality.
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Cherokee County Attorney Craig Caldwell, who tried Larry Hinton, stated to the media that the Jacksonville Police Department “got control of the situation” and “they did a good job for the city that night.” Caldwell’s statements come after Hinton’s acquittal and officer Pugh’s federal indictments for rape.

Craig Caldwell’s statements come after Mr. Hinton’s testimony on how his jaw was broken that night in October 2004.

These statements on what a “good job” the Cherokee County peace officers did that night inciting a race riot. A riot the taxpayers of the city Jacksonville, Texas will be paying for years to come. Very little mention of the fact that Officer Larry Pugh pleaded guilty to one count of retaliation and two counts of civil rights violations in the local media. Those following the case will have to go to the Department of Justice’s website and press releases to find out that Larry Pugh was sentenced to 12 years confinement in federal prison. The case was prosecuted by the US Attorney’s office. One complaint by a white woman whom Pugh threatened to kill after having forced sex with her, apparently got the attention of the US Attorney’s office; several excessive force complaints were ignored, including his actions during the October 2004 homecoming beatings.

The good news is that city of Jacksonville, TX and the family of Larry Hinton “settled” the civil rights class action suit for an undisclosed amount and Larry Pugh is settling in good at the federal prison where he can continue to “do a good job” for Cherokee County. And Pugh’s last rape victim, though unable to collect a settlement from a convicted rapist, was awarded $300,000 for pain and suffering. After being raped and then almost murdered after Pugh was notified and totally cognizant about her complaints to the Cherokee County District Attorney’s office. Pugh actually testified that the rape victim “had a bad reputation.”As a footnote, the Palestine Herald-Press almost gets to reporting about Larry Pugh’s federal civil rights violations in neighboring Cherokee County and indictment in 2006.

The Tyler News also reports that entire incident from both the victim’s perspective and Larry Pugh’s arrogant denial of the charges. He states he took the federal plea to spend 12 years in prison “to protect” his family, while denying the fact that other federal witnesses (including Cherokee County DA investigator Joe Evans) testified about being raped.
Read at URL: http://www.tylerpaper.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2007706130312
The Jacksonville Daily Progress was recently awarded three (3) AMPE prizes for its coverage of rogue elements within the Jacksonville  Texas Police Department.
Good going Daily Progress, the light is beginning to shine.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDVH) has established a hotline and a secure website for victims of teen dating violence, for situations like those ongoing in Cherokee County. The Helpline is available 24 hrs at 1-866-331-9474 (TTY 866-331-8453) and at http://www.loveisrespect.org/

It took the US Attorney’s office and the FBI to stop Jacksonville, Texas police officer Larry Pugh for continuing his sexual assaults on women driving through Cherokee County. According to the National Census of Domestic Violence Services (NCDVS) Survey show the counties of Anderson and Cherokee have miserable ratings based on the number of victims’ service requests.

 As a footnote, The Jacksonville Daily Progress reports in its May 24, 2007 issue that
Larry Pugh’s rape victim cannot proceed with her federal civil suit against the city of Jacksonville, TX.

Veteran Troup, TX Police Chief sentenced to 10 years

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Troup, Texas:

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60 year old Chester Kennedy, police chief of Troup, TX has been sentenced to 10 years prison time for stealing a gun and evidence tampering. Sgt. Samuel “Mark” Turner was sentenced to 3 years in prison for helping himself to seized marijuana in the evidence locker.
In an article running in the Seattle Times, the Smith County prosecutor states:
“In rural East Texas, methamphetamine labs can operate unnoticed. Misdemeanor drug charges in Smith County, about 100 miles southeast of Dallas, are as common as drunken-driving arrests, District Attorney Matt Bingham said. But in the past six years, the Troup police force sent just 11 drug cases to the district attorney’s office.”
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According to the AP wire on the December 2006 conviction, the Troup police department “commonly accepted money and drugs as bribes.” Troup has sent only 2 drug evidence samples to the Texas DPS crime lab since the year 2000!

Chester Kennedy had been acquitted in 1993 for indecency with a child charges in neighboring Wood County, while working as a Wood County Sheriff”s deputy, according to the Denton Record-Chronicle. The same article cites the time Chief Kennedy’s son violated parole, went into hiding and was caught at Kennedy’s home.

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Footnote: the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department patrols the city of Troup.
Don’t let the cover up continue by local media sound bites that CCSD “now” after the Kennedy conviction “now CCSD patrols the southern part of Troup.” Chester Kennedy’s jurisdiction included Cherokee County.

Smith and Rusk Counties have attempted to clean up their law enforcement, with the help of local media outlets actually willing to report the FACTS.
Rusk County’s Sheriff Department personnel have had ongoing sexual harassment problems with its female staff. The latest has resulted in a federal lawsuit. It takes a Longview attorney to hold a press conference and “break the silence” of the
civil rights violations happening in the Rusk County jail. Similarly, the police chief of Tatum, TX was fired after 9 years of on the job, by a city council vote of no-confidence.
 

Cherokee County would have reacted to the previous situations with blatantly false media reports and press releases from the Sheriff’s Department to distract attention away from the sexual harassment. Perhaps a fictitious character would emerge to praise a rapist cop or drug dealing constable—but when they’re caught tell the media that they hadn’t shown up for duty in over a year, a la’ Larry Pugh and Randall Thompson. Great stuff ain’t it?

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