Jun 192015
 

sexual abuse issue 119 700 wide
She’s a ten-year old Key West girl. He, her stepfather, crawls into her bed, “grabs her hand and puts it on his penis.” He touches her breasts and at times he tries to touch her “private parts” but she fights him off when he does that. Sometimes she “gets sticky stuff on her hand.”

The whole thing is repulsive, heart-wrenching, and according to an FDLE investigation, it went on for over a year where he would come into her bed about once a week while the rest of her family slept.

She complained to her mother. The mother left her husband for a short time, but they soon got back together, after he promised to be good. But apparently, nothing changed.

When our little girl couldn’t wait any longer for her mother to control her husband, she found the courage to tell a school official who called the police. That stepfather was Henry Arroyo, Jr., a police officer who worked as a resource officer at Key West High.

So FDLE was called in. FDLE interviewed everyone, recorded the witness statements, including the victim’s, and built up a compelling case. Arroyo, Jr. was arrested. He posted bond, he got out of jail and… nothing.

The girl, now a teenager, signed an affidavit informing Catherine Vogel, the State Attorney, that she was not willing to testify in the case. Vogel dropped the charges. The official reason: the State didn’t want to force the child victim to testify.

This is the part where we are told that there’s no way such a case can be brought without the victim’s testimony; that a prosecution can’t rely on hearsay. The problem with that excuse is that it is just that, an excuse, and a lame one at that. In fact, the rules of evidence in Florida have been adapted to allow all credible statements made by a child victim of sexual abuse. Anything the child has said to a third person could, in fact, be used in court, whether the child testifies or not. It is called the ‘Child Victim Exception.’  F.S. 90.803(23)

FDLE had collected those taped interviews. Experts, school officials, detectives, doctors, had interviewed the victim. The record contains plenty of hearsay exception testimony; enough to allow a jury to send Arroyo up the river for a long time, if they were inclined to do so. Yet, somehow, the State Attorney cannot find it in her heart to go after him.

And it gets a lot worse. Arroyo resigned from his position at KWPD not long before he was officially charged but he was immediately hired as a security guard by the Key West Housing Authority. He works alongside his mother Frances Arroyo, Director of Management Services for KWHA and he’s now in charge of “Lease Enforcement” for all of KWHA’s properties.

We were interested in seeing just what the Housing Authority’s job description might be for an alleged sexual predator with a taste for little girls. After all, the public housing run by KWHA provides shelter to some of the most vulnerable children in our community. Many single mothers are struggling with low-paying jobs, with fathers missing or in prison. Families in these housing projects live at the absolute mercy of Housing Authority management. In 1990 the US Congress enacted a law giving public housing managers a nearly unfettered right to evict tenants, even based on simple hearsay offered by a fellow tenant about alleged drug use. Everyone lives in fear of summary eviction. As enforcer of this all-powerful and despotic system, the Housing Authority has chosen none other than, Henry Arroyo, Jr. He is now the “Prince of the Projects.”

The following are some of the elements found in Henry Arroyo, Jr.’s official KWHA job description:

Title:
LEASE ENFORCEMENT

Responsibilities:

“Conducts both exterior and interior inspections.”

Required Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

“Must be able to work alone and with minimal supervision.”
“Have experience in handling confidential matters.”

Is this the dream job for a child molester?

If the allegations are true, is there any chance he’s given up a taste for young girls that was so powerful that he preyed on his stepdaughter even after being caught?

The system has not only failed to protect Arroyo’s stepdaughter, it is also now failing the children and families in Key West’s public housing.

Last week The Blue Paper received information about another disturbing case. This may or may not be under investigation and we are not going to name any of the people involved.

A Monroe County judge apparently refused to allow testimony by a respected doctor who would have pointed out that a young girl was possibly being exposed to sexual molestation or at a minimum that there were legitimate concerns that she was being “groomed” for such to occur in the future. He would have told the judge that there were “significant red flags,” and that in his opinion it was not at all clear that the child was “free from potential harm’s way.” The judge rejected various attempts to bring the child into a less questionable, safer environment. His decisions in the case have recently been reversed by the 3rd District Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal admonished him for his apparent lack of concern for the best interests of the child and ordered an expedited full evidentiary hearing on the matter.

A police officer, the State Attorney, and now a Judge.

Does it seem as though at least some members of the local law enforcement network are not very concerned about the sexual exploitation of children?

DID YOU LIKE THIS STORY?  SUPPORT THE BLUE PAPER

Help us continue to bring you local investigative journalism…  Click on the image to make a donation [NOT tax deductible].

teamwork hands

Print Friendly
Arnaud and Naja Girard
Arnaud and Naja Girard, owners and editors of the new, digital, Key West the Newspaper (The Blue Paper) previously reported for the former Key West The Newspaper, Key West’s longest running independent weekly, published by Dennis Reeves Cooper, Ph.D., from January 1994 until November 2012. The Girards are perhaps best known for their discovery of and extensive research surrounding the US Navy’s 1951 claim of ownership of Wisteria Island but are also responsible for top investigative stories including breaking news coverage of the highly controversial in-custody-death of Charles Eimers on Thanksgiving Day 2013, the catastrophic police tasing of Matthew Shawn Murphy, and the property tax scandal involving Balfour Beatty to name a few. Arnaud and Naja have lived in Key West since 1986.

  22 Responses to “Protecting Sexual Predators”

  1. Arnaud & Naja,

    Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, another brilliant investigational piece of journalism, which is extraordinarily put together. Thank you.

    Your courage, goodness and steadfastness are stemming the tide of evil and injustice that appears to have taken hold of the state attorney’s office. It is horrifying to witness the incompetency, poor judgment and ineffectiveness of a state attorney, whom appears to exert enormous energy on finding any type of alibi or excuse that can be used, so not to prosecute serious crimes, alleged to have been committed by some KWPD officers.

    In this recent article, it appears that the state attorney’s office may have made some alarming decisions that might pose a threat to children. Some data indicates that there may be a twisted, convoluted and synthetic management style within said office, which does not meet the needs of some citizen/taxpayers, funding said operation.

    Of concern to some citizens, is the state attorney’s office inaction, when it comes to prosecuting the alleged violent and criminal conduct of some police officers.

    Sexually exploiting a child, raping (sodomizing) a young man anally in front of his relatives, lying under oath, and killing an unarmed and innocent man are all serious felonies; which frequently require a punishment of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

    Some evidence suggests that across the board; chaos, calamity and lawlessness are increasing in Key West. Lacking leadership, without an established behavioral standard and absent accountability; the quality of life and comfort levels for the city’s residents are declining. Remedial and corrective action are of the essence.

    Blessings & Respect

  2. This is a very disturbing case but thanks to The Blue Paper is now an on-going story. When I first read of this case I was shocked that the case was dropped, in fact I saved the article in hopes of running into some friend at the State Attorney’s office I might talk to about pursuing this case. Now learning that the State Attorney can re-open and begin a prosecution (without putting this little girl through more than she has already experienced) this is exactly what we the public expect – a court date.

    I have read in the past, in other states that often if a woman is abused by a husband or boyfriend and refuses to press charges, the state has the right to prosecute that alleged abuser. Probably because they KNOW he will do it again. And we now learn this is also the case in child sexual abuse.

    I think it is very important that we all know WHO THIS LOCAL JUDGE IS that sadly did not take this second case of abuse seriously. WE VOTE! And this judge evidently needs to go – he is not protecting our children.

    Mr. Arroyo needs to have his day in court. We are all assumed innocent until proven guilty. But if guilty, do we want him out on the streets and in our KW Housing Authority homes where he is able to prey on other innocent girls?

    The type of individual who commits these acts is sick. I don’t use this term ‘sick’ as some kind of slang, I mean they truly are ill – it is some kind of sickness that they think this behavior is not only OK, but that they have some kind of right to gratify themselves at the expense of an innocent young girl. I can tell you from personal experience – these predators do not stop with the first little girl – there will be more victims.

    Thank you Blue Paper.
    Now State Attorney please reopen this case – it is your turn to do the right thing – WE’RE WAITING! What if this was YOUR daughter.

  3. You have just the type of paper Key West needs. You report what the others hide. Am sure you’re not on the friends list with FDLE, or KWPD.

    With such a case this man needs to be removed from his job NOW. Suspend him until after his trial. Hopefully this girl will testify now and has been moved out of harms way.

    Sadly what I am seeing is voters that do not care about homeless and poor. Your so called Paradise is looking like HELL. Maybe when your tourists stop spending money and property values drop it will get fixed.

    Key West is looking like a very corrupt town to the rest of the world. You still have a cop that is a murderer on the payroll and a police chief that condones perjury and police brutality. Who is running this town ? Or better question is why you have such people getting paid. Vote every dam one of them out and that includes such a judge.

    Just maybe the FBI needs to be looking at far more than just the Eimers case and likely are reading the Blue paper.

  4. Despicable handling of this case! I am disgusted with the powerful protecting criminals because they wear a police uniform. I second everything that the two previous commenters said. It’s as if Key West law enforcement from the State Attorney to the judge to the Chief of Police have forgotten what they were hired to do. It sure as hell shouldn’t be to protect pedophiles!

  5. This is an important issue for our community, and the State Attorney MUST reopen this case. Otherwise, sexual predators and their victims are sent the message that the legal system simply looks the other way. Open season for the predators; no point in reporting by the victims.

    Published academic research indicates at least 25% of women and girls in this country have been sexually molested. And whatever you may think about increased openness and advancement of victims’ rights, it doesn’t apply in these cases. There’s too much denial going on — both within families and within our society. Shhhh. It’s everyone’s dirty little secret.

    My stepfather followed the Arroyo script when I was nine. He instructed me to tell no one — that he was “having a dream”. But it became a recurring dream for him… and a recurring nightmare for me. Feeling ashamed and confused, I carried that psychological burden for decades before finally seeking counseling.

    Sexual molestation is a control issue — a power trip, and the perpetrators are sick. Feeling rejected? Boss on your case? Find a defenseless child.

    Left undeterred, Mr. Arroyo and those of his leanings will strike again and again. The State Attorney MUST reopen this case.

  6. Up north, I am warning everyone I can to NOT vacation in Key West. No one in law enforcement or the court system can be counted on to provide due process. Tourists risk being murdered by the police, the mayor and city commission will look the other way, the prosecutors will not investigate, and the judges are fixed.

    You would think that the tourism interests would begin to push for an honest legal system and demand the removal of murderers and pedophiles on the police force. But if the political and legal insiders are so corrupt that they will not act, why should tourism?

    I will ask others up here, travel agents and newspapers, to spread the word. I’m sorry that Key Westers live in a fourth-world country.

  7. Doesn’t this new job raise an issue of nepotism at the KWHA?

  8. I am very disappointed in KWTN. Before you find someone guilty in the court of public opinion, you ought to have all the facts. You clearly don’t.
    Did you find out that the alleged victim had changed her narrative many times? There were many versions of her story and none of them made much sense. That her own brother was in the room where and when the violations were to have taken place?
    Did you know that Officer Arroyo had, as a police officer, worked with kids at the high school and had helped kids to work out at the police gym? And that there were never any complaints. And when this story was first seen in the Key West Citizen, no other children or parents came forward to corroborate or complain.
    Is it possible there was no trial because there was nothing to go on and the hearsay evidence was inconsistent?
    I have always appreciated the Blue Paper’s willingness to go the last mile in investigative journalism. But you didn’t do that here and have ripped into a man whose life was already in pieces without evidence.
    Even in the press, a person should be innocent until proven guilty.
    Greer Nolan

    • We appreciate that Mr. Arroyo has friends who support him, as he should. And certainly hurting Henry Arroyo, a man who is clearly suffering from this, is a very unpleasant part of this job. However, the point is being made that there was most certainly probable cause to move forward with a child sexual molestation case and it is for a jury to decide what did or did not happen- not for you, or the Blue Paper, or the State Attorney. Child sexual molestation IS a serious affair and most people believe that as a society we must protect our children with great care. The reason for not prosecuting Arroyo – which would allow a jury to decide his guilt or innocence – was given to the public by the State Attorney’s office. There was no mention of non-credible testimony on the part of the victim. There was, however, an investigation conducted by FDLE and MCSO (both reports are attached to our article so everyone can see for themselves) and what was found by investigators is quite alarming and does not (at all) leave an impartial person with the distinct impression that a child was lying (afraid yes – lying no) and a man was behaving as though he was innocent after being confronted. As for the brother, I’ve known many young boys who “slept like a rock” – that issue would of course be something a jury would hear about. But then again, in this case, there won’t be a jury… so, if we believe protecting our children from sexual predators is of prime importance then shouldn’t our SAO and KWHA proceed “in an abundance of caution” and move forward with a trial and not use taxpayer funds to place this person in the midst of vulnerable children and families? How can it make more sense to move forward on the belief that the child MAY have been lying? Anyone truly interested in this issue should read the reports for themselves.

      • Dear Editors:
        Thank you for pointing out that the FDLE file was attached. I read it twice and still don’t see anything that absolutely convinces me one way or the other.

        Perhaps it would have been better if this case had gone to trial. Unfortunately our system of justice puts a great financial burden on any accused person. Whether someone is found guilty or not guilty, he or she has to pay his lawyer’s fees. Yes, there are Public Defenders who are overworked and underpaid and often don’t have the time to conduct their own thorough investigations. Ever wonder why the rich always walk and the poor don’t?

        It seems to me that if the hearsay evidence was as strong as you seem to think, the State’s Attorney would have proceeded with the case even without having the child testify in court. I can’t believe they would have let it go- Mr Arroyo is not such a powerful player in this town and certainly the child’s parents would have wanted to prosecute.

        What bothers me most about your story is the appalling cartoon at the top of the page- it suggests that this was a picture of Mr, Arroyo and that those were his thoughts. The whole article presumed that a child molester was getting off free and that is just not fair.
        Greer Nolan

  9. It will take time but as word travels tourist will stop attending. Then property values drop. This could all be halted by firing chief Lee for a start and start action on the perjury cases. You must begin by fixing the problem. Show the public you’re taking action.

    What you just might see this Fantasy Fest is some dressed as Eimers or Lovette. Won’t that be some ugly viewing to future tourist. Wait and see how things turn out when the FBI is finished. Our plans on buying any property in such a corrupt town are on hold.

    Why in the hell would you even have accepted such a statement from a 10 year old ? You know who forced her to do this.

    Don’t be surprised if others come forward with charges. Just what Key West needs , another child molester and law breaker.

  10. This is a sad story, only because it is so common, I don’t like saying that but I hear stories all of the time from women who lived through it. This sick behavior tears families apart and destroys lives more than any other behavior. But yet we don’t do anything about it! We just talk. If anyone should decide to take some sort of action on this, call me. Thank you for bringing it out in the open.

  11. http://www.local10.com/news/former-key-west-police-officer-accused-of-molesting-girl/25143516

    $100,000 bond sounds like a judge took it serious.

    It needs to go to trial and not another cover up for KWPD

  12. Oh, come now. Did you not read this article by one of the top liberal professors in the country?….

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/06/opinion/pedophilia-a-disorder-not-a-crime.html?_r=0

    Mr. Arroyo just needs some gentle love and understanding for his mental/emotional disorder. You people are so judgmental!

  13. Sadly that might all be true. But then what we need to do is get such a person as far away from kids as we can. Working as a cop at a school or as an inspector of public housing of any type must be off limits.

    What scares me is the type of people Key West hires as cops. Tourists and residents need to be worried about safety from cops as well as the criminal world.

    This is Paradise and offers more than almost any other place in the USA. So why are we not attracting the very best? Would it not be your desire to have a police chief , mayor, city manager, counsel members that are people you are proud of serving your town ? This is a real shame to have cops that molest kids, beat up and kill locals and tourists. Why have they never fired any cops or found them ever at fault for anything?

    I have never heard of so much corruption in any town. What a hell of a setup that includes everything from state attorney, FDLE all the way down to cops. Investigate yourself. Show the world that theses people laugh at perjury and destroying evidence.

    How in the hell did your voters let it get so far out of control?

    Did this cop molest the girl ? Her story broken up with details is very likely if it started at 10. Why did her mother not put a stop to it ? Hard to believe she made it all up. Now that she is older I hope she understands why she must testify. If for some reason it was all made up then let the courts free his name. Would I ever trust him ? No chance.

    • I hope you picked up on my sarcasm, Jiminkeywest. ALL violence perpetrated against another stems from mental disorder, does it not? The disorder, perpetrated by the cult running this planet of which the above professor is a member, is the notion that there is no right or wrong and that there is no TRUTH. Moral relativism runs the show while murderers, rapists, liars and thieves hide behind it…and our youth pay the price. May the perpetrators of this agenda and those that back, deny and justify these evil deeds, reap what they sow.

      • I very much understand that they have a mental issue. Some are sexually attracted to underage kids and they don’t even see anything wrong with it so they go untreated. All any of us can do is try and get them removed out of the way of being near kids. Usually that means prison. And even that does little good because they get released in 5 to 10 years and then it is just a matter of time till they get CAUGHT again. Very unlikely they will ever change. Yes it is a mental issue but they are a danger. I hope he gets the plenty of love and understanding from bubba in the prison.

        Seen this happen to my niece by her own father. She was about 9 when it started. He did 10 years and within months found another victim a bit older but still way under age. He is back in prison where kids are safe from him. The result for her is at mid 30’s will not even date a man.

        What scares me is that cops, teachers and others working with kids are not screened better.

        This poor man needs love and understanding LOL

  14. what neither the blue paper nor any of the reader commenters so far have said is, maybe the people who could or should have done more in the two cases covered in the blue paper article, didn’t do more because they either themselves were victims of child molestation, or were perpetrators of it.

    I have heard from time to time, and the angels do not say otherwise, that about 1/2 of children are sexually abused before they become adults.

    I have seen angels heal people, who were sexually abused when they were children. Angel healing is very different from how mental health practitioners and healers go about it. Very different.

    Maybe healing is more important for people who were sexually abused in childhood, than prosecution of the abusers.

    Maybe prosecution of child molesters is more important for society, and for people within society.

    However, I doubt the incidence of child molestation will decrease because of prosecutions, even as I know, for a fact, that people who were sexually molested in childhood can be healed by angels.

    Meanwhile, I imagine a healthy percentage of homeless people were sexually molested in childhood. And, I imagine a healthy percentage of drug addicts and people with mental illnesses were, too.

    • Jiminkeywest, I called myself submitting this yesterday, after I had submitted my first comment yesterday under this molestation article:

      “sexual molestation of children, karma, prosecution, healing – Key West currents and under currents” – http://goodmorningkeywest.com/?p=30874 , 6/21/2015

      In my article, I reported that I myself, at age 15, had molested my 5-year-old sister and that it really had affected her poorly as her life progressed; and my much later in life unsuccessful attempts to persuade her to seek professional help; and the karma I experienced for that I did to her, which suddenly onset when I was 26, around my sister’s birthday, a terrible disorder in my intestines, which wrecked my life then and thereafter and still; and I tried everything imaginable to be cured, mainstream and alternative and spiritual, and there was no cure for my ailing intestines. It was not until 2012 that the angels finally told me why I was so sick in my intestines.

      Dreams night before last showed me I would write about all of that yesterday, and that the blue paper had a parallel article on child molestation. I wrote in my post at goodmorningkeywest.com yesterday that I was reluctant to interject under the blue paper article my own sorry record, because Sister had attacked me about it several times and I did not wish to distract from Naja and Arnaud’s important article. However, I went ahead and made the comment yesterday under the blue paper’s article, and I make more comments today under the blue paper article.

      What I did not cover in yesterday’s post at goodmonringkeywest.com, perhaps I messed up by not doing it, was late in my life, at age 56, the angels took me through a terrifying healing of my having been molested in my crib by my mother, of which, of course, I had no conscious recollection. The angels explain what had happened and what I was being given, which came on 2-3 times a day for about 20 minutes each session, and induced screaming, sobbing, begging, and terror inside and out of me, as, apparently, I relived each infraction, emotionally. Then, the sessions stopped.

      The angels did nothing to treat the karma from what I had done to my sister, even though there was discussion of that back then between them and me, and between me and them and a friend of mine who was getting treated by the angels as well for other kinds of troubles, and he wasn’t having any fun either.

      Later, a woman was brought to me for help, she said she felt she was going to die if I could not help her, a professional psychic friend of mine had referred her to me, the psychic did not know the woman felt she was dying. Shortly after the woman called me and read some stuff I had written, which I sent to her in Ohio, where she lived, I lived in Alabama, our conversations were only by telephone, she went silent a few days. Then she called to tell quite a report.

      She was in her living room one morning, and she saw and felt Jesus and Archangel Michael in the living room with her, and then onto the wall of her living room, as if from a slide projector, appeared:

      INAPPROPRIATE
      BEHAVIOR
      FATHER

      Whereupon, she said, her home started shaking, the walls started bending, demons flew out of the fireplace and around the room and throughout her home and in and out the windows, as she stood terrified/frozen/plastered against the opposite wall from the slide projection. This went on 5 minutes, maybe longer, and then that part of it stopped, and she was told by Jesus and Michael that she and her father had had sex from when she was age 3 until she left her parents’home at age 18.

      She said she actually had left her parents’ home at that age, she knew she had to but not why, and she never went back there. She had no conscious memory of the incest.

      Then, the healing started, in sessions done by Jesus and Michael on her when she was on the phone with me. The sessions freaked her out, as I, in effect, held her hand long distance and talked to her while the sessions lasted and for a while afterward.

      That went on about 2 weeks, 3 times a day, on average. Then it stopped.

      She was a New Age healer, using foot reflexology as a modem into her client’s aches and pains and life issues. She had a big practice. She and her clients had never experiencen, nor heard, of anything like what she experienced with Jesus and Michael. It changed her view of … everything.

      She never remembered the incest while I knew her.

      We were paired as a couple and were together about a year and 2 months. She’d never before had an orgasm via intercourse her entire life, but after the healing by Jesus and Michael, she had orgasms when we made love.

      I’m interjecting all of this into this discussion, because it is my impression, and I have some experience in this arena beyond what I have reported here, that mainstream methods of healing, or trying to heal, molestation of children, are rudimentary compared to what angels can provide.

      And because my observation is, that when this topic is aired, most of the emphasis tends to be on catching and punishing the perpetrator, and the victim is left having to lead that charge for the prosecution, and that is thought to be necessary for the victim to heal.

      Obviously, there are different views on how to process such awful trauma and its aftermaths. I’m presenting alternative views, which I have personally experienced and observed others experience.

  15. The way I see this is by knowing they will be spending time in prison that just maybe they won’t attack a child. The system does not have the money or time to help the victim. Not likely you can change the mental thinking of a molester. In this case it was a badge that kept it out of court. Same as the one that lets a murderer keep his badge and walk the streets of Key West looking for his next victim to BOMB.

    This girl will need years of help but likely not get any.

    Bet he will walk free too.

  16. Jiminkeywest, based on the high incidence of molestation of children, which is a serious crime, punishable by prosecution and imprisonment, this ex-practicing lawyer does not personally think the threat of prosecution and imprisonment is all that much of a deterrent.

    The statistics on molestation of children are based on people who were molested in childhood coming forward and telling what happened to them. Not everyone who remembers being molested is willing to come forward. And perhaps half of the people who were molested don’t even remember it. So, the statistics considerably understate the actual numbers of children being molested.

    While I am not a fan of State Attorney Catherine Vogel, I can understand her unwillingness to prosecute a case when the victim of child abuse is old enough to participate in the prosecution and declines to do so. That will influence any jury, I imagine, to not convict.

    However, if the victim is still a young child, and the “legalized hearsay” evidence is compelling, then prosecution should proceed, and, separately, the child should be protected by family services, if the accused perpetrator still has access to the child.

    It does appear, in the main case in the blue paper article, the smell test was flunked. What all went on behind the scenes, what might still be going on, may never be known.

  17. And by not even letting a jury have a chance to convict how do we stop this from happening again ? Take a serious look at what cases she does not try. The message is clear she will not go after cops. People get convicted every day with dam little evidence. Are we to believe this girl was not molested ? Or just maybe she was pressured into letting it go unpunished. She might still be too young to understand why she needs to testify. Can’t undo the past but she could prevent him from hurting another child. Very nice setup they have in Key West. Get a job as a cop and you can and will get away with anything. Only hope is in the FBI .