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Married private school teachers accused of sex with students in Alabama

Published: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 @ 10:42 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2016 @ 10:42 PM

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Within just days of one another, authorities arrested a husband and wife working at a private school in west Alabama on charges of having sex with a student, according to records from the Pickens County Sheriff's Office.

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Deputies arrested James Parker, 32, on one count of being a school employee and having sex with a student on Wednesday afternoon, according to PBSO. Two days earlier, deputies had arrested Parker's wife, Charli, on the same charge.

Both work at Pickens Academy in Carrollton. On the school's website, James Parker was listed as a math teacher and the boys' basketball coach.

James Parker works as the school's boys' basketball and football coach and teaches math. Charli Parker was listed as head coach for the girls' basketball team and taught physical education, computers and elementary school, according to She was no longer listed on the school's website Wednesday.

James Parker was accused of having sex with a former female student, the Trussville Tribune reported. He remained in custody at Pickens County Jail Wednesday night.

Authorities released Charli Parker, 30, on bond Tuesday afternoon, jail records show.

According to WCBI, prosecutors have tacked on an additional 10 counts against Charli Parker, who is accused of having sex with a male student.

The incidents involving Charli Parker did not take place on school grounds, according to prosecutors. Officials have not commented on where the incident involving James Parker took place.

Coach Charli, Coach Copland and Coach Jamie after the Induction

Posted by Pickens Academy on Thursday, December 3, 2015

In a statement to after Charli Parker's arrest, Pickens Academy Headmaster Brach White said she would be suspended immediately.

“The primary concern of Pickens Academy is the safety of our students,” he wrote. “Pickens Academy is very upset about the allegations against our employee. The employee will be suspended immediately and further action may be taken upon investigation. I request prayers for our school family and for all the families involved.”

Judge seals records in Miami County woman’s shooting death

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 1:12 PM

Randy Freels is being held in the Miami County Jail, accused of murdering his wife, Samantha Freels.
Contributing Writer
Randy Freels is being held in the Miami County Jail, accused of murdering his wife, Samantha Freels.(Contributing Writer)

TROY - Search warrants, affidavits and related information in the investigation into the death Friday of Samantha Freels, 52, of Union Twp., Miami County, have been sealed by court order.

RELATED: Witness saw husband, wife before her death, sheriff says

The warrants and related information used to justify the search of vehicles and the residence of Samantha Freels and her husband, Randy Freels, 57, were filed today in the Miami County Municipal Court. The documents include an inventory of what was seized by investigators.

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Detective Todd Cooper's request for the sealing from public view of the information was approved by the court. 

Randy Freels was charged with murder in the death. His bail was set Tuesday at $1.5 million by Judge Gary Nasal.

Stunt coordinator Joel Kramer who allegedly assaulted Eliza Dushku faces more allegations

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 12:12 PM

1. Eliza Patricia Dushku is an American actress and model. 2. She is known for her roles on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "True Lies." 3. Her "Buffy" character was so popular the showrunners extended her role. 4. Dushku works with an organization that helps survivors of war in northern Uganda. 5. In 2018, Dushku said she was sexually abused at 12 by the "True Lies" stunt coordinator.

Two more women have accused stunt coordinator Joel Kramer of sexual assault following similar allegations from actress Eliza Dushku.

Stunt woman Laura Albert told Deadline that she brought her 15-year-old sister and her sister’s friend, 16, to the set of “Virus” in early 1997.

In a written statement, Albert claimed that Kramer “had lured the girls to go swimming at the pool in his hotel” after a day on set and go-karting after production ended.

Albert, who said she heard the allegations a month later, claimed that Kramer then “pulled his d — k out and said, ‘You cannot handle this.’”

» James Cameron addresses Eliza Dushku’s claim True Lies stunt coordinator molested her

Her sister allegedly left, but the 16-year-old friend reportedly stayed and had sex with Kramer, who was 39 at the time.

The age of consent in North Carolina, where “Virus” was filmed, is 16.

Kramer denied inviting the two women to the pool, saying that they showed up on their own.

He also told Deadline that the 16-year-old went to his hotel room uninvited.

“She came in and we fooled around but no intercourse. She left about 1/2 hour later. I honestly did not know she was 17. Tattoos, and yes, pretty,” he said in a written statement.

“When I found out I was devastated. I also checked with the local laws and found out 16 was the consensual age. It bothered me for years. Yes all was consensual.”

Another stunt woman claims that Kramer forced her to perform oral sex on him in the late 1970s or early ’80s.

“When I got into Joel’s vehicle, instead of driving me to the other place, he drove us up into the hills on the south side of Ventura Boulevard into a quiet residential area. He pulled his vehicle over, unzipped his pants, pulled out his penis,” the unnamed woman told Deadline.

» Aziz Ansari responds to sexual misconduct allegations

“He grabbed me by the back of my head and forced my face down onto his penis and came in my mouth. He then released my head and cleaned himself up. I must have as well. I really don’t remember if he gave me tissues. I cannot remember if words were exchanged of any type, but he did drive me to the other place, where the group had gone.”

Kramer called the allegations a “fabrication” and claimed there was a “witch hunt” against him.

The accusations come days after Dushku claimed that Kramer sexually assaulted her on the set of “True Lies” when she was 12 years old.

Jamie Lee Curtis, who starred in both “True Lies” and “Virus,” said Dushku had shared the same allegations about the stuntman several years ago.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also starred in “True Lies,” said Monday night that he was “shocked and saddened” by Dushku’s claims.

“I am also proud of her — beyond being a great talent and an amazing woman, she is so courageous,” he tweeted.

Inmate slept on toilet; jail staff hoped to protect him from himself

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 12:49 PM

            David Cooper
David Cooper

David Cooper wore only a gown as he slept sitting up on a toilet in a Montgomery County Jail cell visible from an area lighted and air conditioned 24 hours per day, according to statements made in court Wednesday.

Cooper, 35, who was determined to be a suicide risk by jail personnel, slept without a blanket in that condition — or on a concrete floor — for much of his four-month stay at the jail in 2012, according to an opening statement by his attorney, John Helbling.

“Is he a prisoner of war someplace?” Helbling asked the 8-person jury Wednesday morning during Cooper’s civil rights trial against Montgomery County in Dayton’s U.S. District Court. “The conditions of his confinement were horrific.”

RELATED: Jury selected in federal jail mattress case

County defense attorney Anne Jagielski said the jail hadn’t had an inmate like Cooper before his stay and hasn’t had one like him after it.

“Mr. Cooper was a unique and an exceptional inmate in the Montgomery County Jail,” said Jagielski, who noted that Cooper had a history of mental illness and harmed himself by swallowing a door hinge, cutting himself with utensils and eating part of his mattress while in general population. “The evidence will show Montgomery County did everything to protect Mr. Cooper.”

Helbling said his client challenged jail staff to get him a “suicide mattress” and a blanket for his stay in the glass-walled “fishbowl” cell.

RELATED: Trial to start of inmate suing for not getting mattress in jail

Helbling said Cooper’s confinement was an insult to the jail system and the Constitution. “His condition was so desperate that the only good night’s sleep he could get was if he went to the hospital.”

Jagielski said many meetings were held regarding Cooper and that things Cooper could use to hurt himself were taken away from him.

The trial’s first witness, sheriff’s office Maj. Daryl Wilson, was the jail commander from 2008 through 2012.

RELATED: County spending on lawsuits passes $1 million

Wilson testified that he was aware that inmates’ clothes, mattress and blankets could get taken away when they were in the “suicide cells” near the booking area.

Wilson said he didn’t know about any written policies on the removal of items and, until Cooper’s stay, he wasn’t aware of any “bargaining process” used by jail and/or medical staff as a way that inmates may get items back.

Wilson said he did discuss Cooper’s stay with Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, Capt. Chuck Crosby and medical/mental health staff.

JUSTICE IN THE JAILHOUSE: Lawsuits, accusations plague region’s county jails

The civil lawsuit is the first of several filed against jail staff in recent years for alleged abuse and/or neglect to go to trial.

Four other cases have settled for $888,000 plus the county spent another $444,000 on outside legal counsel and litigation costs, according to county records. Other cases are pending.

The Cooper trial is scheduled to continue until early next week.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow Mark Gokavi on Twitter or Facebook

Standoff suspect served 4 years for firing gun into a crowd of 30

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 11:07 AM

            Donald Gazaway BUTLER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

A 31-year-old Cincinnati man facing multiple felony charges from a 30-hour standoff at a Liberty Twp. apartment complex last weekend has been involved with the court system before.

Donald T. Gazaway, 31, of the 1600 block of Cedar Avenue, was let into a residence in 700 block of East Hamilton Place late Friday night, according to detectives. He then demanded thousands in cash, pulled a gun and took a 10 year-boy hostage.

MORE: ‘Why are you doing this to me?’: How this weekend’s standoff unfolded in Liberty Twp.

During the standoff that ended peacefully Sunday morning, deputies say Gazaway shot at them in excess of 20 times and used the boy clad in Snoopy pajamas as a human shield.

Gazaway was released from prison in July after serving four years for felonious assault in Hamilton County. He shot a gun into a crowd of 30 people at a party, according to court documents.

Twice Gazaway filed motions in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court asking for early release with letters from his fiance and a Cincinnati pastor in support.

MORE: New trial denied for ex-Fairfield teacher convicted of sex crime

In a letter to Judge Dennis Helmick in August 2014, Gazaway wrote, “throughout being incarcerated, I have put (forth) a great amount of effort to make accomplishments to better myself to society. The progress that I have made has changed me drastically and has made me very family-oriented.”

Gazaway said in the letter he wanted to remain a law-abiding citizen for the sake of his fiancee and his daughter.

He had much the same to say in a letter to Judge Leslie Ghiz, dated April 24, 2015.

“(My) plan when I enter into society is to continue what I have started here in bettering myself and continuing to reiterate the positive attributes of living a structured life. I have a family, a home, and a great network of support when I enter back into society,” Gazaway wrote. He also pointed out training and courses he completed in prison.

Both judges denied early judicial release. Gazaway has a history of arrests dating back to 2004, according to court records.