Driver Charged with DUI, Endangering a Child and Other Offenses After Routine Traffic Stop

A driver was charged with driving under the influence, endangering a child and other offenses after a routine traffic stop in Harrington, police said today.

When officers patrolling U.S. 13 near Midway Shopping Center stopped Helen M. Zerrad, 36, of Felton, on Jan. 31 for failing to obey a traffic device, Harrington Police Lt. Earl K. Brode said, “she appeared to be under the influence of narcotics.”

The officers also found a 13-year-old on the floor of the back seat area, he said.

Zerrad was given field sobriety tests and taken to Milford Memorial Hospital to have blood drawn for further testing, Brode said.

She then was taken to Harrington Police Department, where she was charged – in addition to the traffic violation – with driving under the influence, endangering the welfare of a child while driving under the influence, failure to carry proof of insurance and failure to have motor vehicle occupants in seating positions and using proper restraints.

She was arraigned by video through Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Lewes and released on $1,701 unsecured bail.

Harrington Police Charge Magnolia Man with Fourth Driving Under the Influence

Harrington police charged a Magnolia man with a fourth driving under the influence offense, authorities reported today.

Joseph D. Pierce, 54, was stopped Saturday by officers on U.S. 13 for a traffic violation, Harrington Lt. Earl K. Brode said.

He said the officers detected an odor of alcohol coming from Pierce’s car, and a computer check determined Pierce’s driver’s license was revoked and he had three previous DUI arrests.

Brode said Pierce was given a field sobriety test and taken into custody on the DUI and related charges.

He was arraigned and committed to Sussex Correctional Institution in lieu of 3,600 secured bond, Brode said.


Dover Man Charged with Child Sexual Abuse and Other Offenses by City Police

A Dover man has been charged with child sexual abuse and other offenses, city police said Wednesday.

Some of the charges against Thomas Spicer, 40, of the first block of Par Haven Drive, stem from allegations he threatened the child with a knife and forced the child to consume drugs and alcohol, Dover Police Capt. Tim Stump said.

Investigation determined that the assaults occurred in 2010-11 in a home in the 800 block of Woodcrest Turn in Dover, Stump said.

Police did not disclose how or when the allegations surfaced, or release other details of the allegations.

Spicer, arrested Tuesday, was charged with four counts of sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust, unlawful sexual contact with a child younger than 12 years old, aggravated menacing, terroristic threatening, endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of unlawfully administering drugs.

He was committed to Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna after failing to post $112,000 secured bail.

Syndicated from The News Journal

Two Millsboro Men Indicted on Two Dozen Counts Each of Dealing in Pornography

Two Millsboro men were indicted last month on two dozen counts each of dealing in pornography, authorities said marking the beginning of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.

Harry K. Roche, 42, and Mark A. Stramacchia, 49, who both lived together in the 200 block of Main St., were arrested separately by members of the Delaware Child Predator Task Force.

Roche — who was convicted of using a computer to unlawfully depict a child engaging in a prohibited sexual act in 2004 — is a registered sex offender. He was charged with 24 counts of dealing in child pornography following a Jan. 31 raid on his home during which police seized multiple computers, a cell phone, storage devices and other digital evidence, said Jason Miller, spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office.

During a Jan. 31 raid of the apartment, officers confiscated two external hard drives that were later connected to a second occupant in the home.

Stramacchia, who was arrested Feb. 12, was charged with 25 counts of dealing in child pornography.

The pair was indicted on the charges March 18 by a Sussex County Grand Jury.

“Every time an image or video of child pornography is exchanged and viewed, it re-victimizes the child,” said state Attorney General Beau Biden.

The state’s Child Predator Task Force, now in its sixth year of operation, was formed to protect kids from sexual abuse at the hands of predators who use the internet and other technology to solicit and exploit children.

Investigators from Delaware and law enforcement agencies across the country submit copies of seized child pornography videos and images to the National Center for missing and Exploited Children for identification of child victims.

“It takes the continued vigilance and specialized investigative techniques of our Child Predator Task Force to track down predators who would harm kids,” Biden said.

Roche remains jailed in the Vaughn Correctional Institution in lieu of $600,000 secured bail.

Stramacchia is being held in the Sussex Correctional Institution after failing to post $250,000 secured bail.

Syndicated from The News Journal

Bear Man Charged with Groping a Girl and a Woman at Battery Park in New Castle

After a police chase down Del. 9, a Bear man was charged with groping a teenage girl and a woman at Battery Park in New Castle, police reported this morning.

The incident unfolded about 4:30 p.m. Saturday when New Castle City officer Paul Allston, on patrol in the area, was alerted by a woman who called 911.

The woman pointed to a man she said fondled a 16-year-old girl’s buttocks moments earlier on the park’s walking path as well as grabbing a 44-year-old woman around the waist, Lt. Adam P. Brams said.

The man, identified as Gregory S. Byerly, 43, of the 1700 block of Barbara Circle, got in his truck and maneuvered around the officer’s vehicle and fled, striking a parked vehicle, Brams said.

He said Byerly refused to pull over and drove recklessly until he was boxed in and stopped on Del. 9 near Federal School Lane after striking the rear of a police vehicle. No one was injured.

Byerly was charged with unlawful sexual contact, offensive touching, disregarding an officer’s signal, aggressive driving, leaving the scene of an accident and other traffic offenses.

He was being held in Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $5225 secured bond pending a preliminary hearing.

New Child Porn Charges Against a Registered Sex Offender from Georgetown

New charges were filed last week against a registered sex offender from Georgetown recently arrested in January on child pornography charges, authorities said.

David M. Pennington, 70, of the 19000 block of Substation Way, was charged Friday with two counts of dealing in child pornography after investigators reviewed forensic evidence in the case that showed Pennington had received, reviewed and commented on images of child pornography he had received, Jason Miller, spokesman for the state Attorney General’s Office, said today.

Pennington, who has had three prior convictions for sex crimes against children that included one for child pornography possession, was committed to Sussex Correctional Institution after his January arrest after he failed to post $50,000 cash bail, Miller said.

He was arrested in January along with two other men after the trio were linked to a child pornography distribution ring in Delaware, authorities said.

The three men, who included Rogelio A. Cordero, 55, of New Castle, and 63-year-old William D. Zimmerman, also of Georgetown, are accused of swapping child pornography with each other.

Pennington is continuing to be held in Sussex Correctional Institution on an additional $120,000 secured bail.

In a separate case, Jerry L. Whiteman Jr., 34, of Smyrna, was arrested Feb. 28 on 10 counts of dealing in child pornography online after detectives from the Child Predator Task Force raided his home in the 1700 block of Joe Goldsborough Road, Miller said.

Seized in the raid were two computers and other assorted digital storage devices that revealed illicit images of child pornography, Miller said.

Whiteman is being held in Vaughn Correctional Center after failing to post $600,000 secured bail, Miller said.

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Milford Man Accused of Sexually Soliciting a Teenage Girl

MILFORD, Del.- Authorities have arrested a 57-year-old Milford man accused of sexually soliciting a teenage girl.

Milford police said Walter L. Webb was taken into custody Tuesday for an incident that allegedly occurred last month on Bay Road. According to police, detectives discovered that Webb had forced a 15-year-old girl to remove her shirt and expose herself to him.

As a result of the investigation into the alleged incident, Webb was charged with sexual solicitation of a child under 18 years of age and endangering the welfare of a child. He was released on $20,000 unsecured bond.


Former Laurel Area Women Having Sex with Boy

A woman who allegedly had sex with a 14-year-old friend of a relative over 10 months last year has been charged with 10 counts of third-degree rape, Delaware State Police said Thursday.

Katheryn L. Carmean, 35, now of Berlin, Md., but formerly of the Laurel area, also faces charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child and endangering the welfare of a child, Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said.

A warrant was issued for Carmean’s arrest Wednesday, and state police took her into custody at her job at Seaford Middle School at 500 East Stein Highway in Seaford, where she works as a para-educator assisting with handicapped students, according to court records.

The victim confided to his mother earlier this week about the sexual relationship, and she notified state police.

When interviewed by detectives, the boy told them that they knew each other because they attended the same church in Seaford and began having sex in November 2011, when he was 14, police said in court records.

The two continued meeting once a week for sexual encounters until August, the victim told police.

The boy said “he would spend the night at Carmean’s Mt. Zion Road home in Laurel” with the young relative and have sex with her. The victim also said he had “sex in her car” at parks and parking lots around Laurel, according to court records.

When Carmean was interviewed Wednesday, she acknowledged the relationship to detectives and estimated the two had engaged in sex about “40 times” during that 10-month period that ended in August when the victim was 15 years old, police said in court records.

According to court records, Carmean got married Jan. 31.

Carmean currently is suspended from her job pending the outcome of the investigation, said Stephanie Smith, spokeswoman for the Seaford School District.

She was being held at Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution after failing to post $57,000 secured bail pending a Feb. 14 court hearing.