Case Studies

Current as of 3/20/17 - Updates will occur periodically


Behind Closed Doors: A Truly Evil Person
Stacy Burke, Kristen Sharpe
 This case study will take you behind the scenes of the investigation and prosecution of a Misty Rae Hopkins, who with her husband, continuously abused, manipulated, silenced, and isolated their five biological children for years. The presenters will explain how the couple hid behind their religion and taught the children how to behave in a way that protected their unimaginable secret, and did so successfully for 14 years. This complex delayed disclosure case included conflict amongst the four siblings who came forward, including convincing one brother to testify who carried such shame he had no desire to proceed with prosecution. The presenters will discuss Hopkins’ attempt to blame her husband for his constant teachings of submission and obedience to him as the leader of the Church and the house, and a defense of a mental breakdown. Lastly, they will discuss how they overcame these defenses and obtained a conviction with five life sentences for Hopkins.
See this link: 
Misty Rae Hopkins


Geronimo Aguilar: The Grooming of a Congregation (Part 1 & 2)
Eric Nickols, Kerri O’Brien, Mike Weber
Geronimo Aguilar was a youth minister at a small church in Fort Worth, Texas in the late 90s. During this time he lived with a family that included two sisters whom he groomed and molested. Aguilar later moved to Richmond, VA where he built the fastest growing church in America, according to one religious publication. His sexual abuse continued openly, against an underage girl and adult female members of the congregation. In this case study, the presenters will discuss the failure of police agencies, fellow clergy and members of his congregation to step forward and stop the abuse. Eventually a Richmond reporter broke the story, which led to the re-opening of the investigation and a successful prosecution for the Texas offenses, then almost 20 years old. The presenters will discuss the extensive investigation and long road to justice for not only the Texas victims, but for the congregation that he groomed and victimized in Richmond, VA.
Target Audience: 
LE, Pros, Probation, Parole, VA, Medical, FI, Therapist, CPS, CAC

See this link: Geronimo Aguilar


Hiding in Plain Sight: The Steven Sherwood investigation
Pedro Arroyo, Mary Nguyen, Brent Pucci
This case study will take you behind the scene of the five-month investigation into the sexual abuse perpetrated by Steven Sherwood on multiple victims. An email sent to a detective turned into the largest child molestation case in Solano County history. Sherwood, a handyman by trade with access to vacant homes in the Fairfield, California area, used his bilingual skills and personality to insert himself into the homes and lives of undocumented Mexican nationals. Sherwood gained the trust of the parents while grooming their children ages five to 15 before sexually abusing them. The presenters will guide you through the many hurdles encountered during the investigation and prosecution of the case. Among the issues they will discuss are the difficult task of gaining the trust of the families; the multi-agency coordination between State and Federal agencies to obtain Visas and return victims to the United States for their testimony; trial complications; legal issues, and the problems encountered with having eleven child-victims testify at trial.
Target Audience: LE, Pros, Probation, Parole, VA, Medical, FI, Therapist, CPS, CAC
See this link: 
Steven Sherwood


Intrafamilial Sexual Abuse: The Monster Within
Susie Striegler, Ann Marie Willoughby
This presentation details the case study of "Kelly." Kelly was abused by a family member beginning at age six. This abuse lasted until she ran away at age 17. This presentation will discuss Kelly's struggle with familial abuse from her father and how the abuse was able to continue for over a decade because of fear, deceit, shame, denial and retribution. Bringing awareness and recognition to the signs of abuse within a family is discussed in this presentation as is techniques used to manipulate and "groom" victims of all ages. Secondary victimization is often associated with familial abuse. This type of abuse is also discussed. Finally, a road map describing how Kelly survived the abuse from her father and later became a victim advocate and devoted her life to helping others to overcome and survive a life of sexual abuse by a trusted family member.
Target Audience: LE, Pros, Probation, Parole, VA, Medical, FI, Therapist, CPS, CAC


The James McCurdy Investigation: Adoption Champion to Sexual Predator
Suzanne Owens, Mary Howell Sirna
This case study will detail the investigation and successful prosecution of James McCurdy for multiple counts of child sexual abuse. Prior to being convicted, McCurdy worked as a school bus driver, was a Boy Scout leader and foster parent, and unsuccessfully ran for the local school board. In addition to his employment involving children, McCurdy taught adoption classes, was named “Adoption Champion” for the Ames area, and was the adoptive father of three boys. This presentation will detail how McCurdy’s years of grooming, and sexual abuse of children, came to light only when a young victim came forward to express his concern over other children’s’ victimization. It will detail the complex investigation that was undertaken, and the multi-disciplinary approach involving: law enforcement, DHS, advocacy, forensic interviewers and prosecution that ultimately led to this sexual predator’s demise. The presenters will also share investigative techniques, pre-trial motions and trial strategy.
Target Audience: LE, Pros, FI, CPS


Jean Marston: Female Incest Offender 
Corrine Moulton, Nancy Oglesby
This case study will take you through the investigation and prosecution of Jean Marston, a female sex offender and adopted mother of the victim. The victim entered the social services system because his biological parents lost custody of him and his four siblings. This caused the children to be separated and placed in foster care. The victim was adopted into an upper middle class family by the offender and her husband. This presentation will describe Marston’s grooming and bribery of the victim to keep silent about the sexual abuse. This included lack of parental supervision, a continuous flow of gifts, and producing, selling, and using drugs. After years of being sexually abused, he became involved in the juvenile court system and lacked respect for authority. He disclosed the abuse and then recanted and had one jurisdiction refuse to prosecute his case. The presenters will discuss the unique challenges of dealing with a male teen incest victim and how an extensive investigation led to a successful prosecution despite the obstacles presented.  
Target Audience: LE, Pros, VA, Therapist, CPS, CAC


Karl Barnes: Prosecuting the New-Age Pedophile (Part 1 & 2)
Tony Godwin, Mark Sims, Brandie Wade
This case study details the investigation and prosecution of a diagnosed pedophile, who began abusing children at the age of seven and continued until he was sentenced to 99 years in prison at age 26. Karl Barnes sexually assaulted an 8-year-old boy who he photographed and videotaped, then shared those images of online. The presenters will cover how a thorough forensic interview pointed detectives to the evidence they needed to collect. Included will be a discussion on the noncustodial and custodial interviews of the defendant, how to overcome possible suppression issues, the search of the defendant's electronics and how to present those findings to a jury. The presenters will discuss how the defendant’s “suicide note” led to additional victims, and how to present victims who do not remember their abuse. Lastly, the presenters will discuss juvenile probation records, and how they can be a wealth of information.  
Target Audience: LE, Pros, Probation, Parole, VA, FI, CAC


Kenneth Stokes: Web Master and Child Molester
James Holdman
This case study details the investigation of Kenneth Stokes, a registered sex offender living in the Philippines, who produced and distributed large amounts of child pornography all over the world and sexually abused children daily. The presenter will discuss his initial contact with Stokes through a Craigslist ad and the chats that set the hook on an evil monster. What followed was distribution of child porn to Missouri and a six-month online conversation that led to Stokes inviting the presenter, in an undercover capacity, to his highly-secured compound on Cebu Island, Philippines. The case study will discuss the coordination with numerous agencies, both in the United States as well as other countries. Lastly, the presenter will discuss deportation versus extradition, evidence collection in foreign countries and the additional charges filed in Missouri that led to a 120-year sentence for Stokes who admitted to sexually abusing children for almost 60 years.
Target Audience: 
LE, Pros, Probation, Parole, VA, FI, Therapist, CPS, CAC

See this link: 
Kenneth Strokes


Phillip Bruinsma: “I Didn’t Marry You for Love”
Jeanne Parker
This case study will walk you through how an offender developed relationships with women to have access to their children and how he hid in plain sight while he molested, assaulted and stole countless victims’ innocence for more than 30 years. The presentation will walk you through how an offender can manipulate a criminal justice system and how the resources of ICAC’s along with various partnerships with multiple agencies worked together put an end to Bruinsma’s career of traumatizing and victimizing children. The presenter will detail how Bruinsma avoided detection, manipulated victims and used various forms of technology to produce and disseminate child pornography. Included in the presentation will be how to reach out to partner agencies including federal agencies, state agencies, NCMEC and CAC’s to collect, investigate and document evidence.
Target Audience: All attendees
See this link: Phillip Bruinsma


Predators on the Dark Net (Part 1 & 2)
Jonathan Rouse, Joe Sullivan
Technology both assists and inhibits law enforcement efforts to police child exploitation on the Internet. Investment in training officers to understand and utilize new technologies is vital, however, of equal importance is the necessity to comprehend the perpetrators of sexual crimes against children on the internet. This presentation outlines a successful police investigation and prosecution of a webmaster on the dark net. We then present a debrief of the offender and highlight some of the key learning points from his account.
Target Audience: LE, Pros, Probation, Parole, FI


A Sister's Pact: The Successful Prosecution of a Grandfather Despite All Odds
William Pitmon
This presentation will detail the successful criminal investigation into the continuous sexual abuse of two sisters by their step-grandfather over the span of several years. The presenter will explain the struggle to overcome disbelieving prosecutors and colleagues, uncooperative victims, and a family as wealthy in their finances as they are in denial. This case study will examine the mindset of the dedicated criminal investigator that stopped at nothing to reveal the truth about the sexual abuse that two young girls had endured. This case study will also describe what obstacles were overcome to reach the conviction resulting in lifetime incarceration for an evil man hidden deep in high society’s clothing.  
Target Audience: LE, Pros, VA, FI, Therapist, CPS, CAC


Torture as a Form of Child Abuse: System Failures and a Little Boy’s Survival Against the Odds
Douglas Faini, Cecelia Gregson, Francesca Nix, Rebecca Wiester
This presentation will examine the multi-disciplinary response to the systematic and prolonged torture of a 6-year-old boy by his parents. The case involved issues of complex police and medical investigations and employed an innovative medical analysis of child torture and the physical, mental, and emotional indicia thereof. The presenters will detail the investigation, and the systemic failures that enabled the abuse to continue uninterrupted. Lastly, the presenters will discuss the three month trial where resulted in the defendants being convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison resulting termination of parental rights.
Target Audience: All Attendees
See this link: 
Child Torture


U.S. v. John Abrams: Overcoming Repeated Failures While Surviving the Pro Per Defendant
Carla Higginbotham
This case study will explain how bias against sexual assault victims coupled with a sociopath con-man permitted a dangerous sexual predator to perpetrate sex crimes for over three decades without ever being prosecuted. John Abrams kidnapped two 15-year-old victims, one of whom he repeatedly raped. These crimes could have been prevented had investigators and prosecutors taken previous reports of sexual assault by Abrams seriously. This presentation will describe the investigation and prosecution that finally led to Abrams’ conviction and 40-year sentence. The presenters will provide various insights and tips related to prosecuting a case of kidnapping when the victim was initially complaint, overcoming a deficient investigation, and most of all, how to deal with a defendant who elects to represent himself.
Target Audience: LE, Pros
See this link: 
John Abrams


When the Criminal Justice System Fails: The Repeated Sexual Abuse of a Child 
Lindsay Campeau, James Isaacs
Mwangi Mumpfield was convicted in 2008 of sexual assault of his eight-year-old step-daughter. After his incarceration, he was legally not allowed near children; however, the child’s mother allowed him access. Over the next eight repeatedly sexually assaulted the same child and videotaped it. This case highlights the failure of the justice system to stop the sexual abuse of a child abuse, in spite of the "red flags" exhibited by the victim. This presentation will discuss the failures of law enforcement, CPS and forensic interviewers to identify the abuse. The presenters will also discuss the investigative technology used to apprehend the suspect and the bifurcated prosecution through efforts from federal and state law enforcement leading to the both the offender’s conviction for sexual assault and the mother’s conviction for her role in not preventing the abuse.
Target Audience: All attendees
See this link: 
Mumpfield


Zachary Garrett: Pimp Daddy and His Two-Year-Old Daughter
James Holdman
This case study details the investigation of Zachary Garrett, a father of a 2-year-old daughter and 6-month-old son who was advertising on Craigslist looking to find individuals and couples to take part in various sex acts to fulfill his fantasies. He was offering to "bring his two-year old daughter into the mix" to be sexually abused. The presenter will explain how he contacted, communicated and eventually met Garrett in an undercover capacity to verify the criminal activity. During the meeting, Garrett offered to allow the presenter the opportunity to sexually abuse his daughter. The presenter will discuss what should have been be an easy prosecution and the rescue of two children, but was not. What did occur was declination of prosecution by federal authorities in Kansas and state charges filed by a Kansas Prosecutor with a suggestion of probation for Garret. The presenter will explain how he was able to secure federal charges on Garrett in the Western District of Missouri in an attempt to prevent a guilty plea on state charges in return for probation. Lastly, the presenter will discuss the Kansas State Prosecutor who got assigned to the case and made it her mission to send Garrett to prison for 25 years.  
Target Audience: LE, Pros, Probation, Parole, VA, FI, Therapist, CPS, CAC    
See this link:
Zachary Garrett