Uniformed Sexual Predators — The Incident at Duck Creek

Concern for Her Abuser’s Unborn Child

Prompts Victim to Come Forward

Abuse Allegedly Took Place Across 3 States Over 4 Years

Metro Officer Garrett Vandereecken

According to an arrest report released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, Officer Garret Vandereecken had been abusing the daughter of a family friend and former co-worker for as long as he had been a police officer. The report indicates  Vandereecken first abused a young girl on a camping trip to Utah in 2008, the same year he began his career with the LVMPD. The girl told authorities the abuse began in 2008, when she was just 11 years old,  on a Memorial Day camping trip to Zion National Park in Southern Utah. While the officer shared a tent with both the victim and his girlfriend, he allegedly touched the pre-teen inappropriately multiple times while Vandereecken’s girlfriend is said to have been asleep beside them.

The following day, Vandereecken apparently asked the girl, who admitted she was confused about what happened, if he “scared” her, and then told he how much trouble he would be in if she were to tell anyone. Claiming she did not fully understand that Vandereecken’s behavior was wrong, she kept silent. This was also the same year Vandereecken vowed to avoid all violence against women as part of the Safe Nest pledge. The abuse allegedly continued over the next three years.

During that time, Vandereecken, allegedly repeated the abuse in a series of escalating incidents, all during out-of-state family camping trips. The girl told authorities that she continued to spend time alone with the Metro officer because would play and swim with her when she was bored. She likened him to “her best friend.”  Vandereecken allegedly confided problems in his relationship with the teen, telling her he was unhappy with his girlfriend but “stuck with her” because of her pregnancy.

Officer Garret Vandereecken (upper right) during happier times cheering on fellow officers at the 2009 “Battle of The Brat.”

In August of 2011, during a trip to Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park, the girl claims Vandereecken’s sexual contact become more serious than his earlier groping. And a few months later, while attending a sexual assault class at her school she heard stories similar to hers. The girl also told police that it was at that time she learned the officer was expecting a child with his girlfriend and she was concerned the abuse would continue if they had a daughter.

After telling her story to a counselor, she told her father. Rather than contacting police, he decided to confront Vandereecken himself. During a public meeting arranged by the father and attended by the daughter and a mutual friend of the both the officer and the victim’s family, Vandereecken denied the allegations but, according to the father,  made several statements implicating himself. The officer claimed to have been under a great deal of stress, specifically from the 2011 rape and murder of Alyssa Otremba, although that event took place some three years after the victim first claims to have been abused.

According to the father, and corroborated by the mutual friend at the meeting, Vandereecken apologized for “hurting” the girl and then threatened to “end it all” by “blow[ing] his brains out.”

The girl and her father finally reported the incidents to police in February and, after the girl told her father about additional incidents,  filed a supplemental report in May.  Since the majority of the incidents took place during out-of-state camping trips, Metro does not have jurisdiction to investigate them. Whether or not details of these alleged crimes have been forwarded to the proper authorities, in Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and to Federal Prosecutors is unknown.

Duck Creek Park

The only incident Metro has been able to find that allegedly occurred with-in its jurisdiction took place in 2010 at Duck Creek Park in Henderson, about 19 minutes from the Rhodes Ranch home owned by Vandereecken and his girlfriend, Rebecca Gowing.  (The home ownership data we found was outdated, Rebecca Gowing is actually Vandereecken’s ex-wife and no longer co-owns the home). Vandereecken allegedly grabbed the teen’s breast while she was on the swings during the August encounter.

Detectives attempted to interview Vandereecken about this incident, but he referred them to his attorney, police said. A warrant was issued for Vandereecken’s arrest on a single count of lewdness with child under 14 years, stemming from the incident at Duck Creek.

Vandereecken voluntarily surrendered to detectives with Metro’s Juvenile Sexual Abuse Detail  and was booked into the Clark County Detention Center. He was released a few hours later after posting a $100,000 bond. He was relieved of duty without pay pending the outcomes of both the criminal and internal investigations.

Both Vandereecken and his girlfriend have refused to speak with detectives, directing all questions to their attorney. However, a poster on the LVRJ.com using the screen name “Rebecca Gowing” defended Vandereecken on May 22nd (the day of his arrest) describing him as “one cop that did have a heart.” That was before Vandereecken was alleged to have described their relationship as his being”stuck with” her because of a pregnancy. She also warned the public, “Hope the hippie helps when you’re in need of actual ‘help’. ”

If convicted, Officer Vandereecken faces a sentence of  life, with the possibility of parole after 10 years, and a $10,000 fine.

According to Transparent Nevada taxpayers paid Garrett Vandereecken $104,651.10 in Total compensation in 2011.

So, how has Metro handled these two cases of alleged sexual misconduct with-in its ranks this year. Leave a comment and let us know what’s on your mind.

Uniformed Sexual Predators — Officer Garrett Vandereecken

Metro Officer Arrested,  Booked into the CCDC

Charged with Lewdness with a Child Under 14

Released on Bond Less Than Six Hours later.

Metro Officer Garrett Vandereecken charged with lewdness.

Metro’s Juvenile Sexual Abuse Detail arrested 43-year-old Officer Garrett Vandereecken earlier this afternoon last week. The four-year veteran of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is currently being held in the Clark County Detention Center, with a $100,000 bond was released from the CCDC in less than six hours after his arrest on a $100,000 bond. He was charged with one count of NRS 201.230  Lewdness with child under 14 years, a felony. Per LVMPD policy,  a felony arrest triggers an automatic unpaid suspension while the case is being adjudicated.

Vandereecken voluntarily surrendered to detectives downtown shortly before 3 p.m on May 22nd. and  was taken into custody without incident

Officials have not discussed the actions Vandereecken is being accused of, or what relationship he had with the alleged victim. If convicted, the officer faces a life with the possibility of parole after 10 years and a $10,000 fine.

Vandereecken has been employed with Metro for four years and was assigned to the Northwest Area Command, Patrol Division, according to a Metro official. Vandereecken was also part of the LVMPD’s winning team in the 2009, “Battle of the Bratwurst held at the El Cortez Hotel & Casino.

Metro Officer John Norman charged with open and gross lewdness in February.

This is the second time this year a Metro officer found himself facing lewdness charges. John Norman, a Metro Patrol officer, was arrested on felony charges of   NRS 207.190  Coercion and NRS 197.200  Oppression under color of office as well as misdemeanor charges of NRS 201.210  Open or gross lewdness. Norman’s arrest stemmed from allegations by two woman who claimed  that Norman forced them, on separate occasions, to expose their breasts during traffic stops.

According to Transparent Nevada taxpayers paid Garrett Vandereecken $104,651.10 in Total pay Pay & Benefits in 2011.

The Miracle at Shelter Island

A Tale of Disrespect for Human Life &

Contempt for the Constitution.

 Business as Usual for the LVMPD

Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie and his Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department would rather forget about 2011’s first officer involved shooting. In fact, Metro tried its best to make sure the public never found out about it at all. While hoping that a shooting not resulting in fatalities or injuries would go unnoticed by the public and the media,  Metro simply ignored long-standing policy and didn’t release details on the incident at all. For nearly three weeks, it seemed as if their plan might work.

Leonard Greer shows how his hands were positioned when shot at by officer

Leonard Greer shows how his hands were positioned when shot at by officer

No matter how hard they tried,  they couldn’t keep the public from finding out that to Sgt. Darrin Densley, being black was synonymous with being a criminal. Just because no one was injured in the shooting doesn’t mean Densley’s racist, aggressive and unconstitutional actions aren’t worth examining. Actually it is because no one died, that makes the evening of January 12, 2011 worth a closer look. How Metro handled this officer’s mistake speaks volumes about the mindset present within the department.

Greer said he first noticed Densely as one of four Metro officers gathered in the courtyard of Greers apartment complex on Swenson. Greer said he paid the officers no attention. After all, he wasn’t breaking any laws, just walking to his car with his girlfriend, Edna Williams, and her two cousins. The four were all in Greer’s Oldsmobile Bravada and he had just put his key in the ignition when he saw Densley standing near the windshield with a gun pointed at him. The officer ordered Greer out of his vehicle. Greer refused.

“I said, ‘No, I’d done nothing wrong,’ and that I lived there,” he told reporters. By law, officers may only demand citizens comply with such demands if certain criteria had been met. This criteria, set forth in Terry v. Ohio, mandates officers must have a reasonable, articulable suspicion that someone is engaged in or about to engage in a crime in order to detain a person. Densley’s next request cast serious doubt as to whether or not he had such suspicion. The officer demanded some proof that Greer was a resident of the complex. Since no one had accused Greer of trespassing, this request doesn’t make any sense under the Terry decision.

Greer was simply paying his rent when approached the officer who eventually shot at him.

Greer was simply paying his rent when approached the officer who eventually shot at him.

Luckily, Greer has paid his rent a short time before the confrontation and still had his receipt in his pocket. With his left hand on the steering wheel, he used his right hand to pull it out of his pocket. He then put his right hand, clutching the receipt, back on the steering wheel.

That’s when Densley fired, Greer said. The bullet fired from Densley’s handgun should have pierced the driver’s side window of his car and ended up in Greer’s body. Instead it glanced off the window and fell down into the driver’s door of Greer’s sport utility vehicle.

At this point Greer had not acted in an aggressive manner and all the occupants of the vehicle had their hands in the air, as neighbor Paul DePrizio witnessed. While Greer was owed a major apology from the officer, what happened after he was almost killed by Densley’s reckless, unconstitutional behavior is even more vile and should be remembered whenever Metro offers up their unsubstantiated version of events surrounding future shootings.

Rather than bite the bullet and accept blame for Sgt. Densley’s actions, Metro converged down on Greer with a fury. Greer, who had broken no laws, had already been illegally detained at gunpoint and nearly shot was immediately treated, not as the victim he was, but as a suspect. Metro thoroughly searched his vehicle, and when that produced nothing to justify an officer opening fire on him, they conducted a search of his home as well. That’s right, after illegally detaining a law-abiding citizen, demanding he provide proof of his residence, and then almost killing him, Metro felt the most appropriate course of action wasn’t to apologize profusely, it was to search his home. Why? Well they were desperate to find something they could pin on Greer. Finding a gun would have been optimal, but they would have settled for any evidence of a crime.

One can only imagine what Metro’s story would have become had Greer been fatally shot while unarmed if they had found a firearm locked safely away in his home. Would it have found its way into the vehicle? We would  hope not, but Metro’s actions here are more than suspicious and raise significant doubt.

Searches of Greer’s vehicle and home turned up nothing, so you would think that  after being unlawfully detained, shot at, and his Fourth Amendment rights violated,  Greer would have received an apology? Not quite. Instead, he received a misdemeanor citation for obstructing a police officer. That charge was quickly dismissed by the courts.

Sgt. Densley

Sgt. Darrin Densely, a 22-year police veteran, was placed in paid administrative leave following the shooting. The Use of Force Board found him justified in firing at the unarmed Greer in the course of a never-explained “police activity,”  and he returned to active duty.  According to Transparent Nevada, taxpayers paid Densely $177,002.20 in total compensation in 2012.

A Look Back — Michael Ramirez — LVMPD’s Insistent Voyeur

The Rape Model Created by Law Enforcement 

“Obey, Submit, Comply”

Was in use as far  back as 1996

In the fall of  that year, Las Vegas Metro Officer Michael Ramirez spotted  Norma McKee and Michael Healy gazing up at the stars in a car parked at the  Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Dressed in plain clothes, Ramirez approached  the couple, displayed his  badge and gun, and asked them to get out of the car.

Former LVPD officer Michael Rameriz

According to testimony McKee  gave to a grand jury, Ramirez shined a flashlight at her genitals  as  climbed out if the car and then inquired as to whether she was wearing underwear. He then ordered her to pull up her dress and  fondled her vaginal area, according, she told the jury. Then  under the threat of framing them for a crime, Ramirez ordered the couple to have sex while he watched.

Healy told the grand jury he then performed oral sex on McKee while the officer watched, because Ramirez implied the two would be arrested if they didn’t comply with his wishes.

After the couple filed a complaint with LVMPD, Ramirez was was arrested on charges n charges of sexual assault, open and gross lewdness and oppression. Ramirez’s case drug on for two years, during which time he lost his job and home. When he entered his guilty pleas to two counts of oppression under the color of office, admitting he used his badge, gun and the indirect threat of arrest to force the couple to engage in sex in front of him,  the  30-year-old was living in Phoenix, working as a plumber. Ramirez was sentenced to a combination of probation and house arrest.