Category Archives:Sexual abuse

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2 Murrieta Football Players Charged with Alleged Rape of Six Victims

Sex-related criminal charges have been filed by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office against two Vista Murrieta High School football players in an investigation involving allegations of the rapes of six underage female victims.

Kishawn Tre Holmes, 17, and Byron Keith Holt, 17, have both been charged with sex related crimes. Online player profiles list both Holmes and Holt as members of the 2012-2013 Vista Murrieta varsity football. However, neither players are listed on the team’s 2013-2014 roster. 

Holmes, a Vista Murrieta High senior, has been charged with eight felony counts involving a total of six victims in incidents dating back to 2012, with the most recent being in August, said John Hall, spokesman for the DA’s office.

The arrests of two students on suspicion of rape were confirmed Monday morning by Murrieta police and officials with the Murrieta Valley Unified School District. According to Murrieta Police, the alleged rapes did not occur on school campus. Pending the outcome of the charges, the suspects were not on campus, according to Murrieta Valley Unified School District Spokeswoman Karen Parris, who said privacy laws do not allow the district to comment further on the charges or disciplinary actions taken.

Both teenagers will appear Tuesday for a detention hearing. While Holmes’ proceedings are allowed to be public, due to the charges of rape by force or fear, the charges against Holt do not qualify under the law as those that would permit public knowledge of the court proceedings or case outcome.

Don Ho Law will be keeping this legal blog updated as the case proceeds. 

If you are accused of a sexual offense, not only may you serve jail time, but you may be required to register as a sex offender. If charged with these offenses it is important to be represented by an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorneyDon Ho is a criminal defense attorney in Orange County who can fight for your rights, contact our office today.

Published by Don Ho LawDon Ho is a criminal defense attorney who serves Riverside, Orange, and San Bernardino Counties.

Redlands Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex Charges

Former Redlands teacher, Laura Elizabeth Whitehurst, recently pleaded guilty to six counts of felony sex charges of sex with a minor.

Whitehurst allegedly gave birth to a child police say was fathered by her student. Whitehurst was an adviser at Citrus Valley High School to the then-16-year-old boy, who is now 17, and believed to be the father of her child.

The victim’s mother reported the relationship to school officials, who contacted Redlands Police. The sexual relationship allegedly began in the summer of 2012 and continued for nearly a year. Two more students have been identified as having been in sexual relationships with Whitehurst, but other charges have not been filed.

There were questions about whether the school district violated the state’s “mandated reporter law” because it did not notify police about an unsubstantiated rumor about the teacher prior to her arrest. However, no charges were filed against the Redlands Unified School District by the District Attorney’s Office.

During the sentencing, the courtroom heard from the victim and his mother. Both asked the judge not to grant Whitehurst the plea deal, though both the victim and his mother had been in agreement with the district attorney’s plea deal prior to the hearing.

Whitehurst pleaded guilty to six counts of felony sex charges. Under the deal, Whitehurst will receive one year in jail and must register as a sex offender for life. She will also be under probation for five years, and she will have to forfeit her teaching credentials. 

If you are accused of a sexual offense, you may not only serve jail time, but you may also be required to register as a sex offender. If charged you or a loved one is charged with a sexual crime or offense, it is important to be represented by an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney

Published by Don Ho LawDon Ho is a criminal defense attorney who serves Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties.

Boy Scouts of America 'Perversion Files' Published, Reveal Incidents of Misconduct in Orange County

What began as a newspaper investigation unearthed several hundred descriptions of abuse within the Boy Scouts of America.

This Thursday, thousands of pages of secret “perversion files” kept by the Boy Scouts of America were made public. These files named 19 Orange County members banned from scouting over allegations of child sexual abuse. Previosly, 28 Orange County cases have been made public. Together, they total 47 Orange County cases.

The Scout files were released Thursday by order of the Oregon Supreme Court. They had been used in a court case there, brought and won by a plaintiff who alleged an assistant scoutmaster molested him in the 1980s.

The Scouts began keeping files on those suspected of abuse shortly after the group’s establishment in 1910, in a struggle to keep pedophiles out of its ranks. The Scouts said Thursday that the files, consisting of handwritten letters, memos from local leaders, police reports, and newspaper clippings, helped them track offenders and keep children safe.

Though there are numerous documented cases within the files, it is not clear whether the Scout leaders took allegations of abuse to the police in cases that occurred within Orange County. Deron Smith, spokesman for the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America, has said the Scouts now require all leaders and volunteers to report any instance of abuse to police.

The files hold specific instances of convicted child molesters and sexual offenders serving as Scoutmasters and working directly with children. The files feature cases that span two and one-half decades, from 1959 to 1985. They indicate that a convicted child molester once served as a local Scoutmaster, a registered sex offender worked with a Santa Ana Scout pack and a man later hospitalized as a “sexual psychopath” helped lead a Scout troop in Orange.

One Orange County scout leader, Kenneth Morgan Harper, was listed on the Megan’s Law website as a registered sex offender. Harper was sent to prison for child molestation more than 20 years after the Scouts removed him from a Buena Park troop for having a police record of “sexual perversion”.

Also the files indicate that any effort to keep the sexual deviants out of the Scouts were disorganized and lacked guidance. Within the files there exists at least on memo from a Scouting executive pleading for better guidance on how to handle abuse allegations.

This was the second big release of files detailing allegations of abuse within the Scouts. A set released in the early 1990s as part of another court case detailed nearly 1,900 cases from 1971 through 1991.

Former Boy Scouts still struggle to cope with the abuse they suffered at the hands of Scout leaders, and those who are willing to tell the stories of their abuse have come to feel abandoned by an organization considered a pillar of American society. If you have been a victim of sexual abuse, or have been accused of committing sexual abuse, it is important to have representation from qualified attorneys. The attorney at Don Ho Law, is deeply rooted in the Southern California legal community and has established relationships with several district attorneys and judges in Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties, which can make all the different in the success of your case.

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Conspiracy of Silence in LAUSD

Los Angeles Unified School District
Image via Wikipe

The entire Los Angeles Unified School District is under a critical public eye. 


Following allegations of abuse, a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in South Los Angeles was arrested.  The outrage was only compounded when a second teacher at the same school was also arrested on charges of sexually abusing children.  Then came news reports that two aides at the school had been fired after being accused of abuse, and that one had been sentenced to 15 years in prison. 


Around the same time, allegations surfaced at other schools in LAUSD: a high school music teacher was removed after being accused of showering with students; a third-grade teacher was being investigated for more than a dozen accusations of sexual abuse; an elementary school janitor was arrested and accused of lewd acts against a child.  Most recently, a high school softball coach and special education teacher was arrested on charges of sending inappropriate messages to children over the Internet. 
While there is no evidence to suggest that these abuse accusations are connected, such occurrences have raised fundamental questions regarding the way the district monitors its employees and responds to reports of abuse.

Most of the attention has been on Miramonte Elementary School, where two teachers have been arrested and it is likely that dozens of students were abused over several years.  Many of the students are children of Latino immigrants, and some worry that parents were reluctant to report the allegations to the police because of their legal status.


Mark Berndt, 61, who has taught at the school for 32 years, has been charged with committing lewd acts on 23 children aged between six and 10.  Martin Springer, 49, has been charged with three felony counts of lewd acts upon a child. 


After their arrests, many parents at the school said that they were worried for the safety of their children and that administrators had failed to fulfill their basic responsibility.  


District superintendent John Deasy, responded by replacing the entire Miramonte staff and shutting the school for two days. It has been noted that the rapid removal of a school’s entire staff is unprecedented nationally.  The old staff will remain at an unopened school until investigations by the sheriff and school district are completed.


There are allegations that the school fostered an environment conducive to child sex abuse, with its lax supervision policies and negligent response to reports of alleged child molestations, pedophiles were able to abuse children for years without facing any or little consequences.  The school had received reports of sexual abuse for several years but failed to take such reports seriously and failed to investigate to any of the allegations.  In fact, some of the reports never reached law enforcement, a violation of the California penal code   some individuals are required by state law to report suspicion of child abuse.   A firm response to earlier reports or more active supervisory practices could have prevented the sexual abuse and predators like Berndt and Springer may have been taken out of the school system much earlier.


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