PRATTVILLE—A Prattville man pleaded guilty to child sex charges where the victim was a child with special needs under the age of 12.
Gavriel James Vadimas, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of sodomy, one count of sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 and three counts of possession of obscene material depicting images of persons under the age of 17. Vadimas was originally charged with 10 counts of possession of child pornography, courthouse records show. Seven of those counts were dismissed as part of the plea deal, said Dan Cowell, the assistant district attorney handling the case.
Vadimas is set to be sentenced by Circuit Judge Sibley Reynolds on Dec. 14. The state is recommending a 40 year sentence, courthouse records show.
As Cowell was telling Reynolds about Vadimas’ confession to Prattville police investigators, he went into graphic detail about what Vadimas told officers he did to the victim. Vadimas, clad in bright orange jail garb and restrained handcuffs, stood before the bench and stared ahead impassively.
Several inmates awaiting to appear before Reynolds sat in the jury box about 15 feet away. Many inmates began signaling each other, making obvious threatening gestures and either pointing or nodding their heads in Vadimas’ direction. Vadimas and Reynolds appeared not to see the activity in the jury box.
Larry Nixon, warden of the Autauga Metro Jail, was standing in the front of the courtroom and noticed what was going on. After the plea proceedings, Nixon told a Montgomery Advertiser reporter that Vadimas would be placed in segregation from the general population, for the safety of the jail, until he is sentenced and transferred to the Department of Corrections.
Vadimas’s decided to enter a guilty plea to help in the healing process, his attorney, Brad Hawley, said after the proceedings.
“Mr. Vadimas accepted responsibility for his actions and hopes his entry of a plea will allow healing for all impacted,” Hawley said. “The decision to plead guilty was the best decision for all involved.”
In a related development, Vadimas’ co-defendant, Shaun Patrick Stewart, 36, of Prattville, pleaded not guilty on charges of rape, sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12 and enticing a child for immoral purposes. The two men are brothers, Hawley said. Vadimas changed his name as an adult, Hawley said. He represents both men, and the victim in the Stewart case is the same victim in the Vadimas case, he said.
"From the very beginning of this case, Mr. Stewart has maintained his innocence," Hawley said.
Stewart’s trial is set for the week of Nov. 27, courthouse records show.
An Evansville man has been charged with 15 felonies after sexually abusing a child he knew for years.
Domingo Ramos, 31, was arrested on a warrant.
According to Evansville Police Department, Ramos also goes by the names Domingo Resendiz and Daniel Ramos. He is listed as Domingo Ramos Resendiz in Vanderburgh County Jail booking records and Domingo Ramos in official court documents.
Ramos forced multiple sexual acts on the child starting when the victim was 9 years old and continuing while they were a teenager.
The victim told investigators Ramos raped them, forced oral sex and inappropriately touched them in secret, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Ramos reportedly told the victim not to tell anyone and that it was “their secret,” an Evansville Police detective wrote in the affidavit. Investigators believe Ramos was at least 21 years old when the abuse began.
Police say Ramos admitted to the sexual abuse during the investigation and apologized to the victim.
He faces the following charges in Vanderburgh Circuit Court:
- 10 counts of child molesting as a class A felony;
- Four counts of sexual misconduct with a minor as a class B felony;
- And one count of child molesting as a class C felony.
Ramos’ initial hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday in Circuit Court. Court records show his bond was set at $20,000 cash.
What the charges mean
The charges against Ramos are categorized as felonies Class A through D, with A the most serious felony level, because the alleged crimes happened before July 2014. After July 2014, felonies were classified by Levels 1 through 6, with level 1 felonies the most serious.
Under Indiana law, child molesting charges apply when the alleged victim is younger than 14 years old. Sexual misconduct with a minor charges apply when the alleged victim is at least 14 years old but younger than 16.
Red flags for child abuse
- Depression, anxiety or suddenly having less self-confidence
- Attempts to run away
- Unusually aggressive, hyperactive or rebellious behavior
- Unexplained injuries, or injuries that do not match the child's explanation
- Sexual behavior or knowledge that is inappropriate for their age
For more information, see the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' child welfare website at childwelfare.gov.
To report child abuse or neglect, call law enforcement or the Department of Child Services’ child abuse hotline at 1-800-800-5556.
Albion Fellows Bacon Center offers a 24-hour hotline for sexual assault victims and their loved ones at 812-424-7273.
After years of sexual assault, an 11-year-old told a school counselor last month about having endured persistent abuse, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office records state.
The abuser — a 39-year-old man often trusted to care for the child and the child’s siblings — had been inappropriately touching the child since kindergarten, records state.
Leopoldo Flores Jr. of Port St. Lucie was arrested Oct. 27 on charges of child cruelty, obscene communication and public-order crimes. He is being held in the Palm Beach County Jail without the possibility of posting bail, court records state.
The child alleges that Flores’ physical abuse escalated over the years. In November 2016, with the permission of the child’s parents, Flores bought the child a cellphone, which he reportedly used to send the child sexually explicit messages and pictures through the application Snapchat. Messages sent on Snapchat delete after 10 seconds, unless they are saved.
He instructed the child to send him similar pictures nearly every day.
The child’s parents explained to authorities that Flores often babysat their children. He also would stay at their Palm Beach County home because he lived in Port St. Lucie but worked in Palm Beach Gardens.
Flores stayed with them for at least three days following Hurricane Irma, records state, because his home lost power.
The child didn’t report the abuse in part because of Flores’ threats, records state. He reportedly said that if the child’s parents found out, they’d send the child to boarding school.
The child also feared Flores because he had a gun. Records indicate he has a concealed-carry permit and frequently keeps a firearm on him.
NEW: Port St. Lucie man accused of sexually abusing child for years Olivia Hitchcock Palm Beach Post SNov. 9, 2017