An Influential French Director Is Accused of Sexual Abuse. The Reaction Has Been Muted.

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Slain Boy’s Father Sat Front Row in Court to Face Accused Murderers: ‘I Wanted Them to Look at Me’

Benjamin Eastman headed to court on Monday with a purpose: to look straight at the people accused of sexually assaulting and murdering his 16-year-old son after luring the boy into the woods.

Eastman sat in the front row of the courtroom gallery in Chehalis, Washington, alongside a friend and his mother, local TV station KOMO reports. He “leaned in” on the railing dividing the public from the defendants so that he could not be avoided.

“I wanted them to look at me,” Eastman told KOMO of suspected killers Jonathan Adamson and Benny Marquez. “I wanted to look them in the eye.”

Adamson, 21, and Marquez, his 16-year-old brother, are both charged with first-degree rape and murder as well as tampering with physical evidence and unlawful disposal of remains in the beating death of Eastman’s son, Ben.

Of the accusations, Eastman said, “When I heard they were charging them with rape and that process, that really blew me hard.”

Still, he said, “It’s easy to get caught up in the negative aspect of this, but I remember my son and his smile.”

Ben was last seen alive on June 23 before his body was found in a “shallow grave” on June 28 on a remote parcel of land owned by Marquez’s relative, according to authorities. Ben had been reported missing a day earlier, on June 27.

According to KOMO, Eastman said he wasn’t initially concerned that he hadn’t seen his son for a few days because the boy traveled between his home, in Randle, and his mother’s home and another relative’s residence.

RELATED: Wash. Teen Was Lured into Woods for Camping Trip Before Friend Allegedly Raped, Killed Him

According to charging documents obtained by PEOPLE, Marquez, who is being prosecuted as an adult, was a childhood friend of Ben’s. He and his brother allegedly lured Ben into the woods for a camping trip on June 24, but then knocked him to the ground and assaulted him for up to 45 minutes.

The charging documents allege that Adamson told police he and Marquez sexually assaulted Ben with a stick while Ben was still alive.

Before burying Ben along with his clothes and the shovel they used to dig his grave, the brothers beat him in the head with a rock to ensure he was dead, authorities suspect.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

A motive in the attack is unclear.

Adamson and Marquez remain in custody in lieu of $ 10 million bail each, jail records show. They have not pleaded to their charges. Information about whether they retained attorneys who could comment on their behalf was not immediately available.

They are reportedly set to return to court on July 12.

Speaking to KOMO, Ben’s dad described him as a joyful, happy teenager and said the two enjoyed camping, fishing and dirt biking together. He said Ben was his best friend.

“You’d be in a bad mood and he’d just walk in — you’d just be mad as mad as you could be and he’d just crack a smile and make you giggle just over anything, always,” Ben’s brother Derek Dunaway told KOMO.

According to local station KIRO, hundreds gathered on Tuesday for a vigil at the White Pass Junior and Senior High School in Randle, where Ben was a rising junior. Principal Chris Schumaker said it was fitting the service began in the gym because Ben loved sports so much and was always in the gym.

“When you lose a brother or sister, everybody in a family closes ranks and that’s what we did our education family closed its ranks,” Schumaker reportedly said.

Ben and his family were fans of the Miami Dolphins, KIRO reports, and during the vigil relatives released aqua and orange balloons representing the team colors.

Said one attendee, Jessica Gleason, after the vigil: “Today gave me a chance to look and see and notice how many people I think are better people because of him.”

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House of Horrors Parents: What We Know About David and Louise Turpin, Accused in Abuse of 13 Children

Many people who crossed paths with David and Louise Turpin believed the couple was strange. But nobody could have predicted they were capable of the evil acts they are accused of carrying out against their 13 children.

“Never in a million years did I think were being chained to beds,” a neighbor told PEOPLE within days of the Turpins’ Jan. 15 arrests as the case quickly gained infamy. “I thought maybe they weren’t being properly taken care of but I never had anything to go off of; it was just a mom’s stomach feeling that something wasn’t right there.”

David, 56, and Louise Turpin, 49, were arrested after their 17-year-old daughter climbed out a window of their Perris, California, home and used a disconnected cell phone to call 911, alleging that she and her 12 siblings were being abused and held captive by their parents.

Each parent is being held in lieu of a $ 12 million bond and face numerous criminal charges in the alleged abuse of their kids, who ranged in age from 2 to 29 at the time of the parents’ arrest. The charges include torture, false imprisonment and abuse. Only the youngest child appears to have been somewhat spared from the alleged abuse, according to prosecutors.

Authorities entered their house to find an allegedly horrendous scene of malnutrition and squalor, with some of the children shackled to their beds. Prosecutors allege the Turpins denied their children food — while eating healthy amounts themselves — and only allowed them to take one shower a year. Most of the siblings were unfamiliar with how to use a toothbrush.

Both parents are scheduled to return to court for a hearing on May 4, when the parties could possibly agree on a date for the preliminary hearing for the impending trial.

As the case proceeds through the judicial system, here are four things to know about the couple.

The Turpins

1. When They Got Married, David Was 23 and Louise Was 16

The Turpins were married in Pearisburg, Virginia, on Feb. 11, 1985, when he was 23 and she was just 16. David and Louise reportedly grew up in nearby Princeton, West Virginia, just over the state line.

Louise’s half-brother Billy Lambert spoke with PEOPLE and said his sister met David at church. The two “ran away” to get married, Lambert explained, but they returned home to West Virginia after police caught up with them. At that point, Louise’s disapproving father reluctantly signed off on the union.

They would eventually move to Texas, where David worked as an engineer and Louise would have their first child at the age of 20. After 17 years in Texas, they moved to California, and were planning another move at the time of their arrests.

2. They Distanced Themselves From Relatives, and Renewed Vows to Each Other 3 Times

During heir marriage, the Turpins renewed their vows at least three times, according to the Las Vegas Elvis impersonator who presided over each ceremony.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

As the years passed, the Turpins slowly started to distance themselves from relatives — in some cases, becoming estranged. One estranged relative, Louise’s sister, Teresa Robinette, described some of the couple’s rebellious behavior during an interview with Megyn Kelly in January.

Robinette said the Turpins felt they missed out on some of the fun their friends without kids had, so they started acting differently after having several children.

David and Louise Turpin

As Louise was approaching 40, the couple stopped attending church and “said they were experimenting with different religions.” They also allegedly started going out to bars when, before, they had never even taken a sip of alcohol.

“The very weird thing to me, that I would never do, is she told me her and David met a man online from Huntsville, Alabama, and that they were on their way to meet him,” Robinette said. “She was going to sleep with him, and David was okay with it. I told her I thought it was a mistake. But I know that she met this man at a motel and slept with him in Alabama.”

A year later, Robinette said the couple returned to the hotel, spending the night in the same room on the same bed.

3. Louise Wanted Another Child

Lambert also told PEOPLE that Louise was interested in having another child with David, noting his half-sister had “always wanted a big family.”

According to Lambert, Louise admired reality TV mom Kate Gosellin, of the Kate Plus 8 show, who was the mother of sextuplets and twin daughters.

“She had mentioned the Kate Plus 8 show, that it was a cool reality show,” Lambert recalled. “I think deep down that is what she wanted. The last conversation we had on the phone she had mentioned David is looking into a school bus because their 15 seat van is filled up.”

The Turpins have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. They face up to life in prison if convicted on all charges.

The Turpins

4. Relatives Allege Louise Is In Denial Over Severity of Allegations

Elizabeth Flores, Louise’s sister, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and described a prison visit with both parents, and said her sister appeared “almost at peace” and “in a daze,” as if “something’s not clicking right in the head … It’s all ‘woe is me.’”

Flores said she was “shocked” during the visit that Louise did not ask how her children were, and said it was almost as if Louise feels “everything’s going to be alright.” She said she thought her sister was “living a fantasy and she wants to keep it all hidden. She’s playing a game.”

David acted in a strikingly different manner than his wife. He sobbed during the encounter, Flores said.

“When I went in there, I immediately saw that he knew he had done wrong, he was remorseful, he cried the whole entire time. It wasn’t fake.”

David was like “a little boy that was ready to confess everything he had done,” Flores said.

“He kept saying, ‘I wish I could tell you about what we’ve done, what happened.’ … He had been advised not to,” she alleged.

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House of Horrors Dad Accused of Lewd Act on Child as Couple Plead Not Guilty to Abuse Charges

The California couple who allegedly abused and held captive their 13 children pleaded not guilty Thursday to torture, abuse, and false imprisonment charges.

David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louis Anna Turpin, 49, of Perris, were charged with 12 counts of torture, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult, six counts of child abuse or neglect and 12 counts of false imprisonment, Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin said in a press release.

David Turpin was also charged with one count of lewd act on a child under the age of 14 by force, fear, or duress.

Both of the Turpins — who wore dark suits and, according to CBS News, showed no emotion at their arraignment — are next due in court Feb. 23.

If convicted, each faces up to 94 years to life in prison.

RELATED: Prosecutor Details Alleged Abuse in House of Horrors: Beatings, Starvation, Showers Once a Year

The Turpins were arrested after their 17-year-old daughter, who had allegedly been planning her escape for two years, climbed through one of the windows of their home early on Sunday and called 911 using a disconnected cell phone she had found, authorities have said.

Police allege that the 13 Turpin children — ranging in ages from 2 to 29 — were found living in squalor, with some “shackled” to furniture.

At a news conference Thursday, authorities alleged that the children were allowed to shower no more than once a year and were regularly fed very little. They alleged the kids were restrained by ropes and later chains as a form of punishment.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Malnutrition apparently stunted their growth, Hestrin said. One of the victims, 12, has the weight of an average 7-year-old, police said. The 29-year-old victim weighed just 82 pounds when found.

Medical officials treating the siblings say they face a long recovery.

“In more than 20 years as a prosecutor in Riverside County, this is one of the most disturbing cases I’ve seen,” Hestrin said in his press release Thursday. “We are fully prepared to seek justice in this case and to do so in a way that protects all of these victims from further harm.”

RELATED: Parents Arrested After Their 12 Children—Ages 2 to 29—Allegedly Found Shackled and Malnourished

Meanwhile, authorities said two Maltese terriers found in the home are healthy and trained.

“The animals, one white and one black, appear healthy and friendly and are leash-trained, according to Christina Avila, a senior animal control officer,” a press release from the City of Perris said of the two female one-year-old dogs, who are siblings.

Authorities released images of the two seemingly well-fed dogs, who are being put up for adoption.

Expecting high interest in the pair – who must be adopted together – the City of Perris will hold a raffle to place the dogs in a new home, according to the release.

Prosecutor: ‘It is a Horrible Case’

Speaking to reporters after their court hearing on Thursday, attorneys for David and Louise declined to comment beyond broad reactions about the allegations against them.

“It doesn’t get much more serious in terms of severity of the conduct being alleged and also the exposure in prison,” said Jeff Moore, Louise’s attorney.

He tells PEOPLE, “The allegations carry life in state prison. In terms of possible sentences this is about as serious as it gets.”

Echoing that, David’s attorney, David Macher, says, “It is a very serious case. Anytime you are talking about a century of imprisonment is a very serious case.”

Prosecutor Kevin Beecham says, “It is a horrible case. It is unfortunate for everyone involved. Thank goodness they are out now.”

If you have any information about this family or these alleged crimes, please call Senior District Attorney Investigator Wade D. Walsvick  at 951-955-5400.

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Microsoft Accused of Copying Fan’s PUBG Artwork, Pulls Advert

Microsoft has pulled down a PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds advert from its social media channels, after the creator of a fan concept complained about striking similarities to their work.

Reddit user Macsterr had created a concept advert for the Xbox One version of PUBG that garnered tens of thousands of views – then noticed that Microsoft’s social channels had posted an advert with near-identical ideas. You can see both in the gallery below:

Seeing no credit offered, Macsterr pointed out the similarities on Reddit, which caught the attention of Microsoft’s Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb a day later.

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Woman Who Accused Bill Cosby of Sexually Assaulting Her at Playboy Mansion Arrested on Heroin Charges

A woman who accused Bill Cosby of sexually assaulting her in 2008 was arrested on Sunday after allegedly bringing heroin to a California jail, reports say.

Chloe Goins, 27, faces charges of possessing a controlled substance and bringing alcohol or drugs in prison after police allegedly found her outside the George F. Bailey Detention Center in Otay Mesa with a drug believed to be heroin in her car, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

She was booked into the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility on $ 25,000 bail, according to NBC San Diego. It wasn’t immediately clear if she has entered a plea or retained an attorney.

Goins was parked outside the jail that night when a deputy approached her about an alleged vehicle violation, a police spokesman told the Associated Press.

It is unclear Goins went into the buildings with the drugs police allege she had, the official said.

Judge Declares Mistrial in Bill Cosby Sexual Assault Case After Jury Says They Are ‘Hopelessly Deadlocked’

The model alleged that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her at a Playboy Mansion party in 2008 when she was 18. She claimed she felt dizzy and sick to her stomach after Cosby allegedly gave her a drink. She alleged the embattled comedian escorted her to a room where she lost consciousness before waking up with her clothes off to find Cosby biting one of her toes.

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Cosby denied the allegations. Goins ultimately dropped her civil suit against him.

Goins was just one of dozens of women who accused Cosby of sexual misconduct; Cosby has denied all the allegations. He stood trial earlier this year after being accused of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, mansion in January 2004.

In June, a Pennsylvania judge granted a mistrial after the jury had announced that they were “hopelessly deadlocked” for the second time in the trial — the first trial ended with a hung jury.

A judge has since scheduled a retrial to begin on Nov. 6.

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Jennifer Lopez Hits Back At Haters Who Accused Her Of Photoshopping Ab Photo

Jennifer Lopez clapped back at the haters who accused her of Photoshopping one of her most recent Instagram photos. 

On Thursday, the performer shared the photo below: 

A post shared by Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) on

If you weren’t distracted by how amazing J.Lo looks, you may have noticed what appears to be a smudge just under her sweatshirt on the right. Plenty of people in the comments claimed the mark was a result of an unsuccessful attempt at altering the pic, but Lopez wasn’t having any of it. 

The “Shades of Blue” star replied to the comments and then shared a screenshot of her response in her Instagram story. 

“Omg…Just a smudge on the mirror…lol…not photoshop. #lordblessthehaters #gymrat #youshouldtryit #wishtherewasphotoshopforhaters,” the 47-year-old star wrote.  

Is it really so hard to believe that Jenny from the Block, a celebrity who no doubt has a trainer, a chef and a very specific diet, looks so good? No. It’s not. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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Accused By Dozens, Bill Cosby Heads To Trial Over Single Incident


Bill Cosby’s long-awaited criminal trial on charges that he drugged and molested a friend in his home begins Monday in Norristown, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. 

The 79-year-old comedy legend faces three counts of aggravated indecent assault involving a 2004 visit to his suburban home by Andrea Constand. If convicted, he faces up to a decade behind bars. 

Constand, who worked for the Temple University women’s basketball team, claimed that Cosby inappropriately touched her after she took a pill he said would help her relax. Cosby, who’s pleaded not guilty, has claimed he provided her with Benadryl and that they had a consensual encounter. 

It was only a couple of years ago that Cosby held the status of a respected elder in the entertainment industry. He was an early mainstream African-American star, remembered fondly for his clean stand-up comedy act and a string of television programs from the 1960s to 1990s, including “I Spy” and the top-rated “The Cosby Show.”  But he’s largely kept out of sight since at least 60 women have accused Cosby of drugging, sexually assaulting or initiating unwanted contact with them, according to The Washington Post.

Despite the volume of accusations, only Constand’s complaint yielded a criminal case. Investigators have cited the statute of limitations and lack of evidence in declining to file charges over alleged incidents that span half a century. 

As the trial neared, Cosby participated in limited interviews with a black newspapers group and satellite radio host Michael Smerconish. Cosby told Smerconish that the dozens of accusers were “piling on” and that racism “could be” a factor affecting his case. His daughter, Evin Cosby, became part of the public relations campaign by writing an essay last month that defended her father against “the cruelty of the media.”

Still, most public support for Cosby has evaporated, according to Angela Nelson, an associate professor in Bowling Green State University’s department of popular culture. 

“It has not helped at all. People said: ‘You are a hypocrite,’” Nelson said. 

In recent court appearances, Cosby has used a cane and often had help walking. He’s reportedly in failing health and losing his sight. 

A previous district attorney investigated Constand’s claims and declined to charge Cosby. In turn, Constand sued and eventually reached an undisclosed settlement with Cosby.

A deposition from the lawsuit is hotly contested evidence in the criminal trial. Judge Stephen O’Neill has ruled that jurors can hear excerpts in which Cosby admitted that he’d given Quaaludes to women while sexually pursuing them. The defense sought to block the deposition, saying that Cosby answered the questions only because then-District Attorney Bruce Castor agreed not to press charges. 

“His deposition testimony is really the most damaging because it does really corroborate the witness’s testimony,” Delaware Law School professor Judith Ritter said, referring to Constand. 

The defense and prosecution had also argued over how many other accusers may testify against Cosby. O’Neill decided that only one accuser, known as Prior Alleged Victim Six in court filings, may testify about an alleged assault in 1996. Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, who campaigned by promising to prosecute Cosby, had wanted to present the accusations of 13 women. 

Perhaps most important will be Constand’s testimony. She waited until 2005 to lodge a complaint against Cosby, but until then they had continued some contact. Ritter expects the defense to focus on these points. 

“It will be so much about how it comes across to the jury,” said Ritter. “If she stands up under cross-examination, they [the prosecution] have a really good chance at prevailing.”

Cosby is not expected to take the stand in the trial, which is expected to last about two weeks. 

The jury is made up of seven men and five women, Two jurors are black and the rest are white. The jury was chosen from Pittsburgh after the defense argued it would be too difficult to find impartial jurors in Montgomery County. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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‘Saturday Night Live’ Accused Of Plagiarizing ‘Picture Perfect’ Sketch

Once again “Saturday Night Live” has landed in an awkward spot. The show was accused of plagiarizing a popular sketch, “Picture Perfect,” that appeared in the Reese Witherspoon-hosted episode last weekend. The sketch featured a “Win, Lose Or Draw” parody that asked participants to draw the Prophet Mohammed and somewhat referred to Charlie Hebdo. It was widely praised when it aired.

But some viewers noted that it seemed similar to one that appeared on Canadian show “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” in January, featuring nearly identical plot points and jokes. One of the show’s writers Bobby Kerr tweeted about the resemblance:

Here’s the “SNL” version:

And the original “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” sketch:

NBC had no comment on the allegations of plagiarism.

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Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Tim Zickuhr Arrested: ‘Ice Road Truckers’ Star Accused of Kidnapping And Beating Prostitute

Tim Zickuhr, one of the drivers on History’s reality TV show “Ice Road Truckers: Deadliest Roads,” is accused of kidnapping, beating and threatening to kill a Las Vegas prostitute named Snow White, according to multiple media reports.

Zickuhr, who appears in the second season of the “Ice Road Truckers” spinoff, allegedly hired the prostitute in December and gave her his ATM card, telling her to withdraw the money for her services, The Hollywood Reporter said, citing court papers.

But she reportedly took out too much money.

I only withdrew the $ 80 I was supposed to and an additional $ 120 that I wasn’t,” Snow White, real name Lisa Cadeau, said in an email to the New York Daily News.

Zickuhr allegedly went door to door looking for Cadeau, she said in her email. When he finally caught up to her, Zickuhr demanded $ 1,000, she said.

At various points during the ordeal that followed, Zickuhr allegedly beat her, tied her up with backpack straps, poured cold water over her from a mop bucket, locked her in a closet and forced her to jump from a second-floor window and onto a carport, according to a police report cited by multiple media outlets.

She told the Daily News that she gave him $ 300. When she couldn’t pay the rest, he demanded the number of someone who could. That’s when Cadeau, who had been a “citizen source” for police, gave him the number of a cop who had told her to call if she was ever in trouble, the Las Vegas Sun reports.

Zickuhr, not knowing he was speaking to a police officer, said that if he didn’t get the money, “he was going to go to Mexico to kill Snow White,” according to an arrest report cited by KVVU-TV.

Then, he put Cadeau on the line.

“Help me, he’s going to kill me,” she reportedly said.

Police say that when arrested, Zickuhr “immediately admitted that he made a mistake,” adding that he had planned to put an ad for her on Craigslist and force her to have sex for money for his benefit, according to the Sun.

Cadeau suffered injuries to her face and arms as well as cuts on her wrist where she had been tied up.

In a promotional video for “Ice Road Truckers: Deadliest Roads,” Zickuhr described himself as “an adrenaline junkie” and said “the action is the juice for me.”

He also called himself an “outlaw,” something that could soon be true in a very literal sense as he faces charges of kidnapping, extortion and coercion.

His next court appearance is scheduled for May 6.

Entertainment – The Huffington Post
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Terry Richardson Accused Of Offering Photo Shoot For Sex

WARNING: This post contains graphic language and imagery.

Terry Richardson is yet again being accused of sexual harassment.

Model Emma Appleton tweeted a picture on Sunday of what appeared to be a text message from Richardson offering a Vogue photo shoot “if i can fuck you.”

She later deleted the tweet, but told BuzzFeed that she stands by her claim. Appleton said that the message came from Terry Richardson’s Facebook account.

More of Appleton’s tweets can be found here.

Richardson’s reps denied the incident, telling BuzzFeed that, “This is obviously a fake. Terry did not send this text.”

A spokesperson for Vogue told BuzzFeed that “we have no plans to work with him in the future.”

Richardson has been accused of sexual assault and harassment a multitude of times.

Former model Charlotte Waters told Vocativ that he groped her and exposed himself during a photoshoot. Model Jamie Peck claimed that he demanded that she touch his penis. Jezebel assembled a laundry list of accusations against Richardson here.

Richardson has repeatedly denied these claims.
Style – The Huffington Post
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Salah Salahadyn, Universal Knowledge Allah Accused Of Stealing $5M Stradivarius

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Prosecutors say it was the suspect’s “dream theft”: to simply snatch an expensive Stradivarius violin from an unsuspecting musician.

Never mind that Salah Salahadyn, 41, had already tried and failed at art theft. The Milwaukee man pleaded guilty in 2000 to trying to resell a $ 25,000 statue to the art gallery owner from whom it had been stolen in 1995, and his ex-girlfriend told investigators that while he hadn’t stolen it himself he did plot the theft. Salahadyn was sentenced to five years in prison for that crime. Now he could face up to 15 years in prison for a separate theft, after he and another suspect were charged Friday in connection with the January heist of a 300-year-old Stradivarius violin valued at $ 5 million.

A confidential source told police that Salahadyn talked about stealing high-end art, the criminal complaint said.

“Salahadyn explained that his dream theft was a Stradivarius violin because of its potential value and the fact that it could be snatched from the hands of a musician as they walk down the street,” the complaint quoted the source as saying.

Salahadyn and a second man, Universal Knowledge Allah, 36, appeared in Milwaukee County court Friday on charges of being a party to robbery. Allah is also charged with possessing marijuana.

Court Commissioner Katharine Kucharski ordered cash bail of $ 10,000 for Salahadyn, citing a lengthy criminal record that includes theft and bail jumping, and $ 500 for Allah, whose record is clean.

Allah’s defense attorney, Paul Ksicinski, noted that the criminal complaint says his client wasn’t at the scene of the robbery. The complaint filed Friday does say Allah bought the stun gun used in the attack.

Salahadyn’s public defender, Alejandro Lockwood, left through a door inaccessible to reporters.

Many Stradivarius violins, crafted by renowned Italian luthier Antonio Stradivari, are owned by private collectors who lend them to top violinists to be played in symphonies. Experts say a Stradivarius violin degrades with disuse but remains in good condition when played regularly.

Experts estimate 600 to 650 Stradivarius instruments remain — about half of what the master produced — and they can be worth millions of dollars apiece.

It wouldn’t be hard to find one. Symphonies that feature a Stradivarius often play up the fact in brochures, advertisements and local media. For example, Frank Almond, a concertmaster at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, gave newspaper and magazine interviews about the Stradivarius, built in 1715, that was loaned to him by a private owner, and he’s discussed the instrument in podcasts.

Almond had just completed a performance Jan. 27 and was putting the violin in his vehicle when a man shocked him with a stun gun, Almond told investigators. Almond fell to the ground, and by the time he recovered the thief’s van had sped away.

Violin thefts are generally rare, perhaps because thieves know the easily identified instruments would be hard to sell. But the robberies seem to be increasing, and musicians should be more cautious, said David Bonsey, a New York-based violin maker and appraiser.

“It’s just one of these really unfortunate things where there’s really a loss of innocence,” Bonsey said Thursday. “We’ve seen a lot of this in recent years.”

Police found the stolen violin late Wednesday night in a suitcase in the attic of a Milwaukee home of Salahadyn’s acquaintances. Police said the homeowner didn’t know what was in the suitcase.

The music industry breathed a sigh of relief when police said the violin appeared to be in good condition. But the theft also rekindled conversations about how to balance keeping the violins safe and making sure the public has a chance to enjoy them.

Kerry Keane, an international consultant for musical instruments from Christie’s, said his clients who own Stradivarius violins are rethinking what to do with them. Many bought the violins with the philanthropic intent of lending them to top virtuosos, he said, but as the violins increase in value, so does the risk.

“One client is considering buying a lesser grade of violin he can lend out,” Keane said. “That’s my greatest fear — that this will add hesitance to the philanthropists who buy them so they can be played in public.”


Associated Press writer M.L. Johnson contributed to this report.


Dinesh Ramde can be reached at
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Triangle Club Accountant Accused Of Embezzlement At Princeton

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — A defense lawyer says a former employee accused of embezzling $ 100,000 from a famous Princeton University musical-comedy group maintains his innocence.

Lawyer Robin Lord declined to comment further about charges against Thomas John Muza. Authorities announced theft charges Monday against the 55-year-old, saying he stole from the accounts of the Triangle Club, where he has served as a part-time accountant for 20 years.

He was fired last week from that job and suspended from his main position as general manager of the McCarter Theatre.

The Triangle Club’s alumni include F. Scott Fitzgerald, Jimmy Stewart, José Ferrer and Brooke Shields.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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