CORONA, CA -- An officer from the Corona Police Department is facing a charge of failing to report suspected child abuse of a 13-year-old boy by three men affiliated with a local church.
Tuesday the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office filed the single misdemeanor count against Corona police corporal Margaret Bell.
Bell surrendered herself and appeared at the Hall of Justice in Riverside today and was arraigned on the charge. She entered a plea of not guilty and now has a trial readiness conference scheduled for Aug. 7, 2012.
“The Corona Police Department requested that the DA’s office investigate any possible criminal culpability by Bell after the department was told that she had been advised of suspected child abuse of a 13-year-old boy by three men affiliated with a church in Corona, including its pastor, Lonny Lee Remmers,” the DA’s office reported today.
Bell allegedly had been told of the suspected abuse prior to Corona police being advised on March 29, 2012.
“The investigation determined that Bell was told by at least one church member of the suspected child abuse but she failed to report it to law enforcement authorities as she is required to do under the law,” the DA’s office reported today.
Remmers and the two other men affiliated with the Heart of Worship Community Church, Nicholas James Craig and Darryll Duane Jeter Jr., were arrested by Corona police and have been charged in case. All three have pleaded not guilty. The trio had a felony settlement conference today and now have a preliminary hearing scheduled for Sept. 7, 2012.
According to an April 5 article in The Press-Enterprise, Craig and Jeter drove the boy to the desert on March 18 and “forced him to dig a grave, threw dirt on him and beat him with a belt.”
Remmers later used a pair of pliers to inflict pain on the boy, according to the Press-Enterprise report.
The boy’s mother turned her son over to the three Heart of Worship Community Church members “for intervention" because she believed her boy had been involved in "sexual misconduct,” The Press-Enterprise reported.
Remmers, who served federal prison time prior to his arrest this year, had applied to be a Corona police chaplain last year and was involved in the city’s mayor’s task force on youth safety, The Press-Enterprise reported.