Connect with us

Crime/Court

$8-million civil suit filed against Shenandoah County Social Services Department

Published

on

On Monday, February 11, the attorney for a Shenandoah County couple announced the filing of an $8 million civil suit against seven employees of the county’s Department of Social Services related to their 2009 adoption of a child through the agency.

The suit alleges that named personnel of the Shenandoah County Department of Social Services withheld vital information about the then eight-year-old boy’s psychological and behavioral history prior to the adoption being finalized. And the suit names a third party witness to substantiate that claim.

A press release from the office of attorney Nancie Williams of the Front Royal law firm of Williams & Bell states of the basis of the civil claim that the cited employees failed “to disclose any information about a child to the adoptive parent and, in particular, concealed a report that was made to the Department about the child sexually molesting another child prior to the adoption being finalized.”

The plaintiffs are Gregory Gene Long & Anna Marie Long; the seven defendants are John T. Ayers, Mary Westcott, Judy Bell, Bridget Diehl, Michelle Cantner, Carla Taylor & Beth Dellulo/Oliff – all listed “In his/her personal capacity” with the Shenandoah County Department of Social Services.

The civil filing states, “This action arises from the illegal and fraudulent actions of the Defendants in their failure to properly disclose the background, psychological and medical records of Mason Long (formerly Mason James Steward) prior to his adoption and in their false representations, under oath, of the Circuit Court of Shenandoah County that they had made such disclosures,” adding that, “This action also arises from the Defendants actions in materially misrepresenting Mason Long’s needs during the adoption process thereby inducing the Plaintiffs into a contractual obligation with the Defendants. The action further arises from the intentional and continued actions of the Defendants which caused extreme emotional distress, loss of wages and other losses to the Plaintiffs.”

The complaint states that in the fall of 2009 the couple began providing short-term custodial care (respite care) to Mason, who was 8 years old at the time, while at the same time providing respite care to another child – “JS” – another minor in custody of county social services.

The suit alleges that after being approached in December 2009 by defendant Beth Oliff about a permanent adoption of Mason, that the couple asked Oliff and Mary Westcott about “relevant family and mental health” histories of the child”. The Longs were told that information was “confidential” and could not be disclosed, the suit states.

After another inquiry by the Long’s for “relevant information” about the child, including medical, psychological and family histories, the civil case states the couple was told “there was no information known to the foster parents, nor any information that had been provided by Shenandoah County DSS.”

Mason was then placed with the Longs on February 13, 2010 with the “goal of adoption”. The Longs soon noted “disturbing behaviors including but not limited to angry outbursts, temper tantrums and habitual lying” the suit continues.

Continued inquiries by the couple were met with the “confidentiality” response, or that “there as no relevant family history,” or that it was normal “trauma” behavior that would eventually subside.

Through February to October as the adoption process continued the Longs continued to provide respite care to the second child, J.S. And by November 2010 while seeing some positive behaviors, the couple was also noticing abusive, physically violent behavior by Mason toward family pets. During this period they also had the boy examined for Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders.

On June 23, 2011, an adoption order for Mason was entered by the court making the Longs his legal parents. Included in the adoption order is a statement noting that a court-ordered investigation into the adoption “shall include a statement by the child-placing agency or local director that all reasonably ascertainable background, medical, and psychological records of the child have been provided to the prospective adoptive parents.”

The complaint states to the date of the civil suit filing in 2019, SC DSS or its employees had provided no information regarding Mason’s background, medical or psychological records. Withholding of such information from adoptive parents in writing or under oath is classified as a Class 6 Felony, the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit alleges ongoing denial of funding for alternative treatment methods for the boy and a somewhat cavalier response to Mason’s parents concerns about the boy’s increasingly deteriorating and abusive behaviors. By 2015-16 when Mason was 14-15, that behavior included incidents of animal abuse, sexual contact with a neighbor’s horse, viewing of animal pornography in county public schools, and finally an admission of “inappropriate sexual contact” with another adopted child of the Longs identified as “GLJ”.

In June 2016 the Longs met with social services personnel at which they expressed “grave concerns” about the boy’s continued sexual contact with the neighbor’s horse and expressed a belief he could benefit from placement in a residential facility that specialized in sexual abuse behaviors.

The contend defendants Judy Bell and Michelle Cantner responded that “if Mason did not want to go into treatment” they had “to respect his wishes.”

However after Mason’s admission to his parents and to a therapist Kelly Sharpes in Harrisonburg, the boy was admitted as a patient in September 2016 to the North Springs Behavioral Treatment Center (North Springs).

The suit cites the parents eventually asking for a “psychosexual polygraph” for Mason at the North Springs. Given in January 2017, the civil suit states, “Mason revealed numerous incidents of inappropriate sexual contact with siblings and foster children while in the custody of the Longs and prior to his adoption.”

The Longs then forwarded the result of the psychosexual polygraph to the Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office. On July 5, 2017, at age 17, Mason was charged in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court with four counts of Aggravated Sexual Battery of a child less than 13 years of age.

Then the civil suit drops its first alleged bombshell. The mother of one of the boy’s admitted past victims (J.S.) then reported in an interview with the sheriff’s office that “she had previously reported J.S.’s claims of sexual battery by Mason to Beth Oliff and Judy Bell with Shenandoah County DSS in early May 2011 … In said meeting she recounted in graphic detail her son’s claim that Mason had sexually molested him.” In May 2011 that meeting would have occurred about a month-and-a-half prior to the Longs’ adoption of Mason being finalized.

Bombshell allegation number two, the suit alleges victim J.S.’s mother told the sheriff’s investigator the two county social services personnel told her, “You are aware he is being adopted in a month” and “this meeting never happened.”

The civil suit notes that Mason pled guilty to all four counts of Aggravated Sexual Battery and was given “an indefinite term of confinement with the Department of Juvenile Justice where he now serves his time.”

It then references a newspaper article appearing at the time of the charges that listed the family’s street address. The publicity led to the Plaintiffs suffering “additional ridicule in their community and severe mental and emotional anguish.”

That anguish is the tip of the iceberg on the claimed damages, which include Anna Long having to quit her 25 to 30-hour a week job at the Valley Baptist Christian School and Greg Long having to utilize an average of a 144 missed work days per year classified as “sick leave” to deal with Mason’s issues. Consequently he had lost the ability to claim the unused sick leave hours in his retirement package.

The final of 123 specific items listed in the lawsuit prior to the counts alleged against the social services personnel in concealing known information about Mason states, “If the Longs had been told of the allegations of sexual misconduct by Mason prior to the adoption, they would not have completed the adoption due to their desire to have additional children.”

The civil action then alleges Fraud in DSS staff claims of no relevant background information, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Negligence, Fraud in inducement toward the adoption, and Breach of Contract in “refusing to provide necessary treatment and care for Mason” as his condition deteriorated as a part of the Long family.

Share the News:

Crime/Court

Two Dinwiddie, VA men arrested; firearms, felony assault, outstanding warrants & more

Published

on

On Sunday, June 28th at approximately 02:21 AM, Deputy C. Clatterbuck, and Deputy R. Burleson conducted a traffic stop on Fort Valley Road in the area of the Shenandoah County line. During the stop, it was found that the driver of the vehicle was wanted out of another jurisdiction.

Another vehicle arrived at the scene that was traveling with the vehicle on the traffic stop. While Clatterbuck was interacting with the second vehicle, Clatterbuck heard a series of gunshots in the woods near him. After a few minutes, Clatterbuck heard a second round of gunshots in the woods closer to him. After investigation, it was found that the gunshots came from a male occupant of the second vehicle.

Dakota M. Davis, 20, of Dinwiddie, VA. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

The male occupant, identified as Dakota M. Davis, 20, of Dinwiddie, VA, was taken into custody a short time later without incident. Davis was charged with 4.1-305 Underage Possession of Alcohol, 18.2-460 Obstruction of Justice, 18.2-56.1 Reckless Handling of a Firearm, 18.2-57 Felony Assault of LEO X2, and 18.2-388 Public Intoxication.

Michael C. Scites, 38, of Dinwiddie, VA. Photo courtesy of RSW Jail.

The male driver, identified as Michael C. Scites, 38, of Dinwiddie, VA, was taken into custody without incident. Scites was charged with 46.2-301 Driving Suspended/Revoked 3rd or subsequent offense, 18.2-250.1 possession of marijuana, and served with his outstanding warrants out of Henrico County.

Both Davis and Scites were held without bond and are currently at RSW Regional Jail. Warren County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by the Front Royal Police Department, Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Office and Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office we would like to thank these agencies for their assistance.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Crime/Court

Virginia Beach man arrested on charge of transmitting in interstate commerce a threat to injure or kill U.S. Senator

Published

on

Dylan Stephen Jayne, 37, of Virginia Beach, Va., was arrested yesterday on a federal criminal complaint and charged with one count of transmitting a threat via interstate commerce by leaving a voicemail message and threatening to kill a United States Senator. Photo courtesy of Western Tidewater Regional Jail.

A Virginia man, who allegedly transmitted a threat via interstate commerce to kill a United States Senator, was arrested yesterday in Virginia Beach on a federal criminal complaint. United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen and U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund made the announcement today following the defendant’s initial court appearance this afternoon.

Dylan Stephen Jayne, 37, of Virginia Beach, Va., was arrested yesterday on a federal criminal complaint and charged with one count of transmitting a threat via interstate commerce by leaving a voicemail message and threatening to kill a United States Senator.

According to court documents, on the morning of September 2, 2019, Jayne called the Abingdon office of United States Senator Mark Warner and threatened to kill the Senator regarding Jayne’s perceived lack of receiving Social Security payments.

The investigation of this matter is being conducted by the United States Capitol Police, and the Burlington, Vermont Police Department. The Virginia Beach Police Department and U.S. Marshals Service assisted in the apprehension of the suspect. Assistant United States Attorney Jennifer R. Bockhorst is prosecuting the case for the United States.

A criminal complaint is only a charge and not evidence of guilt. All defendants are considered innocent until proven guilty.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Crime/Court

Two Frederick County residents charged in Bealton murder investigation

Published

on

On Sunday, June 21, the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office announced two additional arrests in the suspicious death investigation of a woman found deceased in Bealton on June 18. As previously reported, on Saturday, June 20, Melody Dawn Glascock, 54, was arrested by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office on charges of 1st Degree Murder and Obstruction of Justice, concealing evidence of a felony. Glascock was initially being held without bond in Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren (RSW) Regional Jail.

Now lead investigative agency Fauquier County has announced that two Stephens City residents have been arrested by Frederick County authorities on charges related to the Bealton murder investigation.

James Samuel Embrey III, 20, and Maria Dawn Embrey, 40, have been charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder and are being held in the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.

James Samuel Embrey III, 20

Maria Dawn Embrey, 40

The Fauquier Sheriff’s release states that “It is alleged that Melody Dawn Glascock conspired with both James Embrey and Maria Embrey to commit the murder of Kelly Marie Gray,” the release states.

Previously the deceased Bealton individual had only been identified as a 40-year-old woman with severe trauma to her abdomen area. The Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office report on the response to Gray’s residence states, “On Thursday, June 18, 2020, deputies responded to Gray’s apartment where she was found by a family member suffering from severe trauma to the torso. The homicide investigation quickly revealed suspects.”

Melody Dawn Glascock

It was also announced that Glascock was transferred over the weekend to the Fauquier County Adult Detention Center in Warrenton, where she remains incarcerated without bond. She now faces a third charge, conspiracy to commit murder.

UPDATE: Fauquier Sheriff ties Warren murder arrest to Bealton investigation

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Crime/Court

UPDATE: Fauquier Sheriff ties Warren murder arrest to Bealton investigation

Published

on

According to the RSW Jail website, a woman, Melody Dawn Glascock, 54, was booked into the facility at 8:34 a.m. Saturday morning, June 20, on a charge of 1st Degree Murder, non-capital, and Obstruction of Justice – the destruction of evidence of a felony. The Warren County Sheriff’s Office was listed as the arresting agency.

More on this story as information becomes available.

UPDATE:
The Fauquier Sheriff’s Office has issued a press release tying the arrest of Melody D. Glascock in Warren County to their investigation of a suspicious death in Bealton on June 18. The release also notes that Glascock is a resident of Marshall, but did not add any detail to the circumstance of her arrest in Warren County.

Marshall resident Melody Dawn Glascock was apprehended in Warren County related to a Fauquier Sheriff’s Office investigation of a suspicious death in Bealton on June 18. – Photo/RSW Jail

Below is the Saturday morning, June 20 Fauquier release, followed by their June 19 release on the Bealton investigation:

FCSO NEWS RELEASE UPDATE
June 20, 2020 11:30 a.m.

UPDATE: An arrest has been made in the Thursday night homicide in Bealeton. MELODY DAWN GLASCOCK, 54, of Marshall, has been charged by Fauquier County detectives with 1st-degree murder and obstruction of justice. Glascock was apprehended this morning in Warren County and is currently held with no bond in the RSW Regional Jail. More information will be forthcoming.

FCSO NEWS RELEASE
June 19, 2020

BEALETON HOMICIDE UNDER INVESTIGATION

Deputies responded to a suspicious death at approximately 7 p.m. on Thursday night, June 18, 2020. Upon arriving in the 6300 block of Village Center Drive deputies located a deceased female in an apartment. The 40-year-old victim was apparently found when a family member returned home.

The victim suffered severe trauma to the torso. An autopsy will be conducted at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Manassas, VA, on Friday, June 19, 2020, to determine the exact cause and manner of death. This incident is currently under investigation as a homicide.

Further information will be provided as it becomes available. Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to contact the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office at 540-347-3300.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Crime/Court

Rappawan, Campbell Realty civil hearing date set; April Petty, Jesse Poe pre-trial hearing request under consideration by court

Published

on

Although neither she nor her attorney was present live or virtually for scheduled Economic Development Authority civil case hearings Thursday morning, June 18, Jennifer McDonald’s presence was apparent throughout defense motion’s hearing arguments in the cases of defendants April Petty and Jesse Poe.

Prior to those arguments a hearing date of July 30, beginning at 8:30 a.m. was set for pre-trial motions in the cases of Rappawan Inc., and principal William Vaught Jr. and Century 21, Campbell Realty Inc., and principals Walter and Jeannette Campbell. Attorneys for those defendants were among the few physically present in the older, larger Warren County Circuit Courtroom with Judge Bruce D. Albertson Thursday morning.

The Campbells were represented by Warrenton attorney Peter Hansen; Rappawan and Vaught by local real estate attorney Joseph Silek Jr., though it appeared Hansen might also have a hand in the Rappawan case. However, he said he would defer to Silek on the availability of the July 30 date for that client.

It was noted that coming motions reply dates were July 10 for a plaintiff response to defense motions, and July 24 for a defense reply to the plaintiff’s assertions in their reply.

‘They didn’t know’
In arguing for a pre-trial plea in bar hearing for his clients, April Petty and Jesse Poe – the latter not to be confused with fellow civil defendant Donald Poe – attorney William Shmidheiser III repeatedly told the court he was not disputing lead civil defendant Jennifer McDonald’s embezzlement of the amounts of money cited in real estate home purchases McDonald achieved for his clients, rather he was asserting his clients had no knowledge that that money (totaling $410,000) had been embezzled.

While not directly involved in Thursday’s EDA civil hearings, Jennifer McDonald, left with then EDA Board Chair Patty Wines, cast a long shadow over two defendants’ arguments for a pre-trial hearing chance to plead their innocence. Their arguments, who would have suspected a successful local real estate agent and Economic Development executive of criminal embezzlement? Royal Examiner File Photo/Roger Bianchini

So, Shmidheiser told Judge Albertson his clients should have the right to present their cases to him at a plea and bar hearing prior to the primary civil trial alleging a conspiracy among all 15 defendants to benefit from McDonald crimes, admitted or alleged, in an amount totaling over $21 million dollars.

The amount of embezzled money he cited involving his clients was $125,000 in Petty’s transaction and $285,000 in Jesse Poe’s. Their attorney said his clients recruited McDonald to be their real estate agent for home purchases from knowing her through family connections. Poe dated a niece of McDonald’s at the time, his attorney said; and Petty knew McDonald as the successful “golden child” of relatives she knew socially.

Shmidheiser said that if his clients could be proven to not have been involved in the larger conspiracy alleged by the plaintiff in a pre-trial plea and bar hearing, it would serve the “judicial economy” in simplifying and speeding up the primary case.

Arguing for the plaintiff EDA after being introduced to the court over phone connection by lead Sands Anderson/EDA attorney Cullen Seltzer, was Sean Hudson. Hudson countered the defense “judicial economy” argument, noting that Schmidheiser’s clients weren’t denying that embezzled funds had been used in their real estate transaction, only that they weren’t aware it was embezzled at the time of their home purchases with former EDA Executive Director McDonald acting as their real estate agent.

EDA attorney Hudson also noted that neither Petty nor Poe had offered to return the embezzled money utilized in their home purchases; adding his firm had not yet been able to depose either defendant, a conversation between plaintiff and defendants that could lead to a pre-trial settlement offer.

Defense counsel Shmidheiser countered that once involved, he had offered multiple dates for depositions of his clients but that an impasse with Sands Anderson over a location for those depositions – the law firm’s Richmond home base or Warren County where the case will be heard – had occurred.

Their attorney also noted that neither April Petty nor Jesse Poe had been indicted by the EDA Criminal Case Special Grand Jury after testifying before it, in Petty’s case at least, multiple times. That indicated the grand jury believed his clients’ stories, Schmidheiser asserted to the court.

The Warren County Courthouse is cranking back up toward a late-pandemic caseload, though still partly by remote hook up and masked, social distancing inside.

“She would like some closure. She has a lot at stake,” her attorney said, pointing to her federal emergency management job.

As the arguments concluded, Judge Albertson returned to the oft-touched topic of “fairness” and asked plaintiff counsel if he thought it “fair” that the court is allowed to at least “consider a pre-trial resolution for two or more defendants”.

After a long pause, Hansen offered that he thought keeping the defendants in the primary civil action would achieve the best chance of a pre-trial settlement, ultimately serving to streamline the case to the desired “judicial economy”.

Judge Albertson then took the arguments under advisement.

Share the News:
Continue Reading

Crime/Court

Update: State Police add detail on Saturday night high-speed pursuit

Published

on

In a press release issued Wednesday, June 17, shortly before 3 p.m. the Culpeper Office of the Virginia State Police added detail to the circumstance of the high speed chase through three counties the previous Saturday evening. As reported in Royal Examiner, that chase and apprehension led to multiple charges, criminal and traffic, against 33-year-old Bryan Douglas Walters of Luray.

Walters is currently being held without bond in the Rappahannock-Shenandoah-Warren County (RSW) Regional Jail.

Bryan D. Walters – Photo/RSW Jail

The full text of the VSP release, which varies slightly on information gathered from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office on Front Royal Police involvement, is presented below:

“A Luray, Va. man is behind bars on multiple charges in two counties after he fled law enforcement Saturday (June 13, 2020). Virginia State Police have charged Bryan D. Walters, 33, in Warren County with two felony counts of assault on law enforcement, one felony count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, and one misdemeanor count of obstruction of justice. In Frederick County, state police have charged Walters with one felony count of eluding law enforcement, and one count of driving while revoked.

“The pursuit Saturday was initiated by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office. As it continued north on Route 11 entering Frederick County at approximately 8:29 p.m., state police took over the pursuit and continued behind the fleeing 2012 Jeep Patriot, until it finally crashed into the median on I-66 at the 2.8-mile marker in Warren County. The driver, Walters, was taken into custody without further incident. Walters was transported to RSW Regional Jail and held without bond.

“During the course of the pursuit Walters struck two state police cruisers. One of the state police troopers suffered minor injuries in that crash.

“The pursuit reached speeds of up to 100 mph.

“Please contact the Warren County Sheriff’s Office for details on why/how the pursuit was initiated and their charges.”

Luray man held without bond following lengthy high-speed chase

Share the News:
Continue Reading

King Cartoons

Front Royal
88°
Partly Cloudy
5:58am8:38pm EDT
Feels like: 90°F
Wind: 5mph SSE
Humidity: 43%
Pressure: 29.79"Hg
UV index: 10
SunMonTue
88/64°F
86/63°F
88/63°F