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Sexual Assault

Former CA Teacher Sentenced to Prison for Underage Sex in China

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LOS ANGELES – An Aliso Viejo man was sentenced on Wednesday Oct. 30, to 180 months in federal prison for traveling to China to engage in illegal sexual activity with a 16-year-old boy who was under his care and supervision at the time, according to the US Attorneys Office.

Ezequiel Christopher Barragan, 53, was sentenced by United States District Judge André Birotte Jr., who said that Barragan abused his positions of trust to gain access to victims.

Barragan pleaded guilty in October 2018 to one count of travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and one count of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.

He previously taught middle school and high school students, coached youth baseball, and at one-time was a court-appointed mentor and foster parent for abused or neglected children.

Barragan admitted in his plea agreement that in August 2009 he traveled from the United States to China with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. While in China, Barragan engaged in illicit and sexually explicit conduct with the 16-year-old victim.

Barragan admitted he produced child pornography with the victim during this time.

In his plea agreement, Barragan admitted that, on numerous occasions between 1998 and 2012, he traveled from the United States to foreign countries where he engaged in illicit sexual conduct with boys between the ages of 13 and 16 years old.

He also admitted he often gave his victims food, cash and goods.

This matter was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, which received substantial assistance from the Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

         

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Sexual Assault

‘Involuntary Celibate’ Arrested on Cyberstalking Charges

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LOS ANGELES — Special agents with the FBI this morning arrested a San Gabriel Valley man and online promoter of the involuntary celibate (incel) subculture on a federal cyberstalking charge that he conducted an internet harassment campaign against two teenage girls who rejected his sexual advances.

Carl Bennington, 33, was arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint unsealed today in United States District Court in Los Angeles. Bennington will remain in federal custody pending the outcome of detention hearing scheduled for Thursday. His arraignment is scheduled for May 11.

The complaint alleges that, from at least February 2016 to March 2020, Bennington repeatedly used various social media accounts to harass young girls and women, including by sending hundreds of messages threatening to commit acts of physical and sexual violence against them if they did not submit to his sexual advances.

Neither victim ever met Bennington in person, according to the complaint. When one of the victims demanded that Bennington stop harassing her, Bennington replied that he was going to kill her and her family. 

Social media records show that, in addition to the threatening and harassing messages he sent to young women and girls, Bennington frequently made statements on internet groups promoting incel ideology. According to court documents, incels are persons who are unable to find a willing sex partner. Incel ideology promotes the view that women oppress men and have too much freedom to choose their own sexual partners. The ideology ranges in tone from sad and self-loathing to advocating the “absolute hatred” of women, according to court documents.

The complaint charges Bennington with cyberstalking, a felony offense that carries a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

The FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force investigated this matter.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney David T. Ryan of the Terrorism and Export Crimes Section.

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Prosecutions

Weinstein Gets New Sex Assault Charge for Bev Hills Hotel Incident

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Man in Handcuffs

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced today that film producer Harvey Weinstein was charged with an additional sexual assault count stemming from an incident that allegedly occurred at a Beverly Hills hotel in May 2010.

Case BA483663 was amended to add one felony count of sexual battery by restraint. Weinstein (dob 3/19/52) was charged in January with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force and sexual battery by restraint.

“We are continuing to build and strengthen our case,” Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “As we gather corroborating evidence, we have reached out to other possible sexual assault victims. If we find new evidence of a previously unreported crime, as we did here, we will investigate and determine whether additional criminal charges should be filed.”

The new charge alleges that Weinstein sexually assaulted a woman at a Beverly Hills hotel on May 11, 2010. The victim was first interviewed by law enforcement in October 2019 as a possible corroborating witness in the case. Last month, she provided detectives with information confirming that the assault took place within the 10-year-statute of limitation.

The original criminal complaint charged Weinstein with sexually assaulting two women during separate incidents in 2013.

If convicted as charged in the amended complaint, the defendant faces up to 29 years in state prison.

Prosecutors have initiated a request for the temporary custody of Weinstein from New Yorkthe first of several steps in the extradition process.

At this time, it is unknown when Weinstein will be transferred to Los Angeles County. Upon his arrival, he will be arraigned on the amended complaint. Once a court date is set, the public will be notified.

Prosecutors also announced today that two cases involving Weinstein were declined for prosecution because the victims did not want to testify against the defendant in this case.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Thompson of the Sex Crimes Division is prosecuting the case.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles and Beverly Hills police departments and the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.

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Sexual Assault

LAPD Seeks Additional Human Trafficking Victims of Arrested Pimp

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Photo: flickr

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Police Department’s Operations Valley Bureau-Human Trafficking Task Force is seeking additional victims of human trafficking.

On February 3, 2020, Operations Valley Bureau-Human Trafficking Task Force arrested Christopher Moss, 33-year-old from Dallas, Texas for Human Trafficking.

In February North Hollywood Area Officers responded to a domestic violence radio call. During the officers investigation it was discovered that the victim had been engaging in commercial sex acts at the demand of her trafficker.


Operations Valley Bureau Human Trafficking Task Force assumed the investigation and immediately went into action and was able to provide the victim with advocate services.

This investigation has lead us to working in collaboration with other cities and states who may have an investigative interest in this case.

As the officers continued the human trafficking investigation it was obvious more victims were involved and needed to be located. We are asking for the public’s assistance in locating any additional victims. Detectives believe there are additional victims who have not filed police reports.

The above photograph is a tattoo that was branded onto one of the victims. Often times a human trafficker will brand their victims as a sign of ownership in the pimp culture.

The crown represents royalty and when the victim has earned it, the human trafficker will brand them. This specific tattoo also had the letter ‘D’ and inside is the $ symbol.

Christopher Moss moniker is “Daddy Cash” and the ‘D’ represents Daddy and the $ symbol represents cash.

It is important to note that any victim that comes forward, will not be in any kind of trouble. We have resources available to victims that come forward.

Anyone with additional information regarding Christopher Moss, or anyone who may have been a victim are asked to call Operations Valley Bureau-Human Trafficking Task Force, Detective Cynthia Gonzales at 818-644-8091.

During non-business hours or on weekends, calls should be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (1-877-527-3247). Anyone wishing to remain anonymous should call the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477) or go directly to www.lacrimestoppers.org. Emails can be sent to 647tips@lapd.online as well.

Tipsters may also visit www.lapdonline.org, and click on “Anonymous Web Tips” under the “Get Involved-Crime Stoppers” menu to submit an online tip. Lastly, tipsters may also download the “P3 Tips” mobile application and select the L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers as their local program.

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