INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — (DMN) – A former FBI agent who helped investigate the 9/11 terrorist attacks has been charged with possessing and distributing child pornography. Donald J. Sachtleben, 54, of Carmel, Indiana, is accused of trading pornographic images and videos of children from his laptop computer, said U.S. Attorney Joseph Hogsett in an announcement today. Acting on a tip, FBI and Indiana State Police investigators obtained a warrant and searched Sachtleben’s laptop, Hogsett said. “The mission of our Project Safe Childhood initiative is to investigate and prosecute anyone found to be engaged in the sexual exploitation of children,” Hogsett said today. “Today’s announcement underscores this serious commitment, and should make clear that no matter who you are, you will be brought to justice if you are found guilty of such criminal behavior.”
Investigators first learned of another child pornography suspect in September 2010, Hogsett said. They searched that individual’s computer and arrested a Roscoe, Ill., resident in January 2012, Hogsett said. Material found on the first suspect’s computer led them to several other suspects, Hogsett said, and as they obtained warrants to search computers, the number of suspects grew. Sachtleben was among those to whom the investigation ultimately led. After conducting surveillance for several days, investigators obtained a search warrant on May 3 and found Sachtleben to have approximately 30 images and video files containing child pornography on his laptop computer.
Sachtleben could face up to 20 years in prison for the distribution charge and up to 10 years for the possession charge, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen D. DeBrota in a release from Hogsett’s office. DeBrota is prosecuting the case against Sachtleben. Both charges also carry up to a $250,000 fine and lifetime supervised release. Sachtleben is in federal custody and scheduled for a hearing at 3:30 p.m. Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kennard P. Foster. Sachtleben has entered a preliminary plea of not guilty, said Kathleen Sweeney, one of Sachtleben’s two attorneys. “There’s never been any suggestion there was ever any type of inappropriate conduct during the course of his work as he has served this country,” Sweeney said, “There’s never been any suggestion he ever used his position in any way for anything dishonorable. These allegations are new, and they are just beginning. There is more information to come.”
Sweeney said it would be inappropriate for her to comment on evidence at such an early stage. “At this point they are just allegations,” she said. “We’ll know more Thursday at the preliminary hearing. . . . Our position is he’s made a plea of not guilty and we will proceed with that plea.” Sachtleben left the FBI in 2008. He is charged with distributing child pornography “on or about Oct. 25, 2011” and being found in possession of child pornography on Friday, when he was arrested. Many of the pornographic images found on Sachtleben’s computer depicted girls under the age of 11, according to a criminal complaint filed with the U.S. District Court.
Sachtleben’s FBI career was a distinguished one, according the web site columbusacademy.org, where Sachtleben is listed as part of a speakers’ bureau. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the site states, he helped investigate the scene of the crash of United Airlines flight 93 in Somerset County, Pa. In the summer of 2004, Sachtleben was promoted to coordinating forensic examiner for all evidence submitted to the FBI Laboratory in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. In 2007, the site states, Sachtleben transferred to the FBI field office at Indianapolis, where he served as the bomb technician coordinator for the FBI in the state of Indiana before leaving the agency the following year to form Raptor Consulting LLC. The company, according to the web site, provides training and security consultation to government agencies and private businesses in the areas of counter terrorism and bombing prevention.
Sachtleben’s background with the FBI will not help him avoid the consequences of any crimes he might have committed, Hogsett said. “He is subject like everyone else to the same standards,” Hogsett said. “If there is any reason to believe someone has violated federal law in this regard, that person will be prosecuted. There are no gray areas and no excuses. I’m sure the FBI feels that way, and that is the attitude of the United States attorney.” A spokeswoman for the FBI declined comment, saying the agency’s policy was to forward inquiries to the U.S. attorney’s office in cases in which an agent or former agent is arrested on federal charges.
INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana — (DMN) – An openly gay Indianapolis teenager who brought a stun gun to school to ward off bullies was attacked Friday night at the food court in a downtown shopping mall. The teen’s alleged attacker, Khyran R. Delay, 34, has been charged with battery. According to court documents, Delay told Circle Center Mall security officers that he recognized 17-year-old Darnell “Dynasty” Young from news coverage of his story and tried to talk to Young about it. He said Young got in his face and that he pushed Young. But Young and Donald Richardson, a janitor who witnessed the incident, told police that when Young walked past Delay’s table in the food court, Delay told Young to get away from him and used homophobic slurs. They said that Delay pushed Young and then hit him in the face, according to court documents. Richardson said he radioed for mall security, and then Delay came toward him because he was mad that Richardson had called security. Security officers arrived and detained Delay.
A police officer who investigated the case said he noticed redness in Young’s left eye where Delay allegedly struck him. Police arrested Delay, and the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Delay with a misdemeanor count of battery. Delay is currently being held in the Marion County Jail and is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.Young was expelled from Arsenal Tech High School last week for bringing a stun gun to school. His mother, Chelisa Grimes, said the school hadn’t done enough to help her son when he complained about bullying, so she gave him the weapon.
Young took out the stun gun and fired it in the air April 16 when he said a group of students approached him during a passing period and threatened to beat him up. Young’s story has received national attention, and Young and Grimes have appeared on CNN and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Some of Young’s supporters have organized a rally to raise awareness about bullying Tuesday night before an Indianapolis Public Schools school board meeting.
The FBI reports today that seventy-two law enforcement officers in the U.S. were slain in the line of duty in 2011, an increase of 16 over the previous year. The report does not include reasons for the rise. The statistics collected by the FBI from police agencies across the nation reflects the varied nature of the killings. Fourteen of the victims were slain in unprovoked attacks. Eleven were killed while pursuing or stopping suspect vehicles. Six of the officers died while engaging in tactical operations. Five were slain in entrapments or ambushes, five others were killed while conducting investigations, and another five were killed after responding to robbery calls. “Each of these losses is devastating,” FBI Director Robert Mueller said in a statement, “and each one reminds us that the safety and freedom we enjoy come only at great cost.”
The suspects used firearms in 63 of the 72 killings. That includes 50 by handguns. Seven were killed with rifles and six with shotguns. The largest number of slain officers, by region, occurred in the South (29). A final report including analysis of these killings, and the number of assaults on officers last year, will be released this fall in the annual uniform crime report. The FBI figures were released at the beginning of Police Memorial Week. Many thousands of officers are expected to come to Washington to honor officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. Among the events scheduled Monday is a ceremony at the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives (ATF) Memorial Wall honoring William Henderson Foote, a Treasury officer who in was killed in the line of duty in Mississippi in 1883. Foote was the first African-American federal officer slain in the post-Reconstruction era.
For those of us who live on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, the season of trepidation is upon us. The 2012 Hurricane Season is just around the corner. Already the National Hurricane Center is tracking two pre-season storms in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans today. The stronger of the two is located in the Pacific about 550 miles (885 kilometers) south-southwest of Acapulco, Mexico and has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression in the next day or two, according to a bulletin from the center in Miami.
The other storm that has caught the eye of forecasters is 460 miles west-southwest of the Azores in the Atlantic, a bulletin said. That system has a 20 percent chance of becoming a sub-tropical storm in the next two days. The systems have developed prior to the official start of both the eastern Pacific and Atlantic hurricane seasons. The eastern Pacific season starts on May 15 and the Atlantic begins on June 1. Forecasting teams are calling for the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season to be slower than normal, although not by much.
AccuWeather.com predicts 12 named storms, including five hurricanes, two with sustained winds greater than 110 mph. Weather Services International, or WSI, a part of the Weather Channel, projects 11 named storms, including six hurricanes, two of those intense. Both forecasts would translate to a slightly slower than normal season: On average, there are 12 named storms, including six hurricanes, three of them major. In early April, Phil Klotzbach and William Gray of Colorado State University predicted 10 named storms, including four hurricanes, two of those major. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will release its seasonal outlook May 24.
Climatologists expect Atlantic sea surface temperatures to be cooler than over the last several years. They also say El Niño, the atmospheric pattern that suppresses storm formation, might emerge over the summer. “There is still uncertainty regarding the development of El Niño,” said Todd Crawford, WSI chief meteorologist. “If the chances of El Niño development increase, our forecast numbers will likely go down even further in future updates.” If the predictions are on target, 2012 would be considerably slower than the previous two years. 2010 and 2011 saw 19 named storms each, tying them with 1995 and 1887 as the third-busiest seasons on record. While not specifying where storms might hit this year, Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather’s lead long-range forecaster, said atmospheric conditions indicated that storms might rise up in the western Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. And he said “another big storm is possible for the East Coast” in the wake of Irene, which struck the U.S. last August. Hurricane season starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30.
I lived on the Florida coast several years ago and have made the upper Texas coast home for nearly a decade. I defer to the experts at Accuweather and KTRK-TV when it come to hurricanes, however, I can tell you that going through one is not fun. When Category 5 Rita, the fourth most intense hurricane in recorded history, threatened Houston in 2005, we witnessed the largest peacetime evacuation in American history. Houstonians, en mass, went north. Rita turned at the last minute sparing the Bayou City but the message was clear. You just don’t want t dance with a Cat 5.
In 2008, I stayed with some friends during Hurricane Ike. Nowhere near the intensity of Rita, Ike made direct landfall at Galveston before downing power lines, destroying structures and causing havoc over Houston. What I took my Ike is this. Being without power for two weeks sucks…beyond belief. No matter how prepared you think you are, you are still not ready for every nuance. KTRK-TV is reporting today that at a news conference Monday at Houston Transtar headquarters, emergency management leaders unveiled a total of 15 digital billboards in four counties with the purpose of telling people what to do in an emergency, and they can be updated in real time.
It’s called the Gulf Coast Emergency Communications Network. During a major emergency like a hurricane, having a way to reach the public is critical to local government. It’s a lesson learned during Hurricane Ike when 4.5 million people lost power after the storm came ashore at 2:10am in September 2008. In a scenario like that one, residents driving around town before and after the storm would now see digital signs like these run by Clear Channel, giving them up-to-date information about the storm, access to their homes, and other vital information. That information will come from the offices of emergency management in Harris, Galveston, Fort Bend and Brazoria counties. The digital billboards operate via satellite, and within minutes of contacting Clear Channel, county leaders can tell their residents exactly what they need to know.
“If the message needs to go out to the public based on the type of event we’re facing, a hurricane in the Gulf, and we need to prepare this message to the public, I would then authorize that through the system based on the code that we have so that Clear Channel understands it’s an accurate message from the local emergency management, so that would be posted to the boards within our jurisdiction,” said Mark Sloan, Harris Co. Emergency Management Coordinator. Eleven of the billboards are up already with four more being added this month just in time for hurricane season. This is all done free of charge by Clear Channel which runs advertising on the billboards when they’re not being used for emergency announcements. Emergency leaders estimate they can reach 260,000 people using these signs.
Accuweather, the National Hurricane Center and KTRK-TV contributed to this report.
BERLIN, Germany — (DMN/Deutsche-Welle) – Chancellor Merkel’s conservatives are braced for their worst-ever result in Germany’s most populous state. Federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen has quit his regional post, and is under fire from foes and friends. Provisional results suggest that the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens have comfortably won Sunday’s election in the battleground state of North Rhine-Westphalia, with an absolute parliamentary majority in Dusseldorf regional assembly likely but not quite guaranteed.
The usually-reliable official forecasts put state premier Hannelore Kraft’s SPD on 39.1 percent of the vote, with a further 11.3 percent for the third-placed Greens – almost exactly 50 percent when combined. “We have met all of our election targets with a strong SPD, and the alliance with the Greens in North Rhine Westphalia will continue,” Kraft told her supporters, referring to the previous minority coalition government she had headed in Germany’s most populous state since 2010. Prior to the vote, Kraft had said her target was a center-left allliance with a clear majority to govern. The SPD leader, who enjoys high personal popularity, according to surveys, dismissed suggestions that she might become a potential opposition candidate to Chancellor Merkel in next year’s federal election. “The situation remains unchanged, I have an important political task here (in NRW),” Kraft told German ARD public television.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) suffered their worst result in NRW, recording a projected 26.3 percent of the vote – compared to 34.6 percent in the 2010 ballot. The CDU’s defeated lead candidate, federal Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, resigned his chairmanship of the regional CDU on election evening. “This result means that it is necessary that I give up the party leadership within this state,” Röttgen said. “It is an unmistakable, clear defeat that we have suffered today. The defeat is bitter, it’s clear, and it really hurts all of us – obviously me included.” “I have lost here, this was my election campaign, and it also concerned my talking points,” the environment minister added.
Röttgen awoke Monday to considerable criticisms, not just from the opposition but from high-ranking party colleagues – many of whom questioned his ability to juggle responsibilities in Berlin and the state capital Düsseldorf. “It would have helped the CDU, if Norbert Röttgen had clearly decided in favor of Düsseldorf before the campaign – and without any if’s or but’s concerning the position to which voters would be appointing him,” CDU politician and chairman of the German interior committee Wolfgang Bosbach told the Colonge’s Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper on Monday. Similar comments emerged in the same article from leading party member Michael Fuchs.
Bosbach added, however, that he did not think Röttgen’s twin tasks were “decisive” in the election outcome, complaining instead of additional party-internal debates ” with which we worried the voters.” That criticism also appeared aimed at Röttgen, renowned as a Christian Democrat who would occasionally defy the party line. Among other issues, the environment minister had opposed CDU plans to reduce solar power subsidies in the run-up to Sunday’s poll. His more ecologist image was thought to be one of the reasons he received the environment portfolio in the first place.
The Green party’s federal co-leader Claudia Röth, meanwhile, called on Röttgen to also consider quitting Merkel’s cabinet. “The question is entirely justified: How on earth can he now hope to remain a good minister at the federal level?” ecologist Röth asked in an interview with Bavarian public radio. Röth’s Greens look set to again become Kraft’s coalition partner, with over 11 percent of the vote. Merkel’s national allies, the pro-business Free Democrats, scored 8.6 percent – a moderate success compared to their recent electoral disasters in states like Berlin, Saarland, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt.
The upstart Pirate party, meanwhile, also cleared the 5-percent threshold in the Düsseldorf parliament, winning 7.8 percent of the vote. That’s the fourth state election since September in which the relatively new Pirates have won seats for the first time in a state assembly. The Left Party did not clear the 5-percent hurdle – as they did last time out in 2010 – scoring a projected 2.5 percent.
Der Spiegel contributed to this report.