Saturday, July 31, 2010

Officer Thomas Cupples - Ferndale PD [retired]





 



Former Ferndale police officer gets 71 months behind bars for sex assault
Published: Thursday, May 26, 2011
By ANN ZANIEWSKI
The Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/05/26/news/doc4dde6c0466fb0427471281.txt








An assistant prosecutor called Thomas Cupples “a man of great evil” before the former Ferndale police officer convicted of molesting a girl was sentenced Thursday to a minimum of 71 months in prison.

Cupples of Oxford did not make a statement when given an opportunity to speak in the tense and crowded courtroom. Through his attorney, he has denied any wrongdoing.

Cupples was accused of sexually assaulting the girl on different occasions, starting when she was 11 years old through the age of 13. Charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, he was convicted earlier this month of two counts of the lesser offense of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

In Oakland Circuit Chief Judge Nanci Grant’s courtroom, Assistant Prosecutor Jason Pernick had harsh words for Cupples, noting his background in law enforcement.

“The defendant has committed the gravest of crimes, legally and morally,” Pernick said. “Behind that mask of normalcy lies a monster.”

Pernick asked the judge to depart upward from Cupples’ minimum sentencing guidelines, which ranged from 36 to 71 months behind bars.

He cited several reasons, including that the guidelines do not take into account the impact Cupples’ actions have had on the girl’s family.

Defense attorney Elias Muawad said there were no substantial or compelling reasons to depart from the guidelines. He asked the judge to take into consideration the positive aspects of Cupples’ life.

During the trial, Muawad argued that there were numerous inconsistencies in the girl’s testimony and the testimony of other prosecution witnesses.

He said that the two cookies for pornographic websites found on Cupples’ computer came from an infected disc that Cupples had downloaded after he was asked to investigate potential pornography viewing by a municipal employee.

Prosecutors said the girl’s testimony was supported by other evidence, including DNA evidence that was found linking Cupples with the scene of the alleged assaults.

The victim’s mother told the judge during the sentencing hearing that Cupples’ actions will impact her daughter for the rest of her life.

“He assaulted her mind, body, soul, without remorse,” she said.

Grant told the girl that she found her to be eloquent and intelligent.

“You are not a victim in any sense of the word,” the judge said. “You have survived something, and that just makes you a stronger person.”

Grant sentenced Cupples to 71 months to 15 years behind bars. She also ordered him to have no contact with the victim and wear a tether for the rest of his life once he’s released from prison.

The courtroom was packed with supporters of the girl and supporters of Cupples, who sat on opposite sides.

People could be seen shooting dirty looks and heard quietly making negative comments. One of Cupples’ supporters called someone white trash at the conclusion of the hearing, and deputies kept both sides separated in the hallway afterward.

Muawad said in the hallway that he would have preferred to see Cupples get a sentence that started at the low end of his sentencing guidelines, but was happy that the judge did not depart upward from them.

He said Cupples maintains his innocence and plans to appeal on evidentiary issues.

“He denies any liability in this incident,” Muawad said.

According to reports, Cupples spent years at the Ferndale Police Department before leaving in 2005. He was hired in 2007 by Orion Township to serve as a code enforcement officer.

A township official said he was terminated in September after failing to attend work or contact the township about his employment.

               









Former officer convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct
Published: Monday, May 09, 2011
By ANN ZANIEWSKI
The Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/05/09/news/doc4dc82028a5698268292886.txt


Thomas Couples, former Ferndale Police Officer and Orion Code Inforcement Officer, on trial for molesting a girl. His trial is in Judge Nanci Grant's courtroom.

Supporters of Thomas Cupples broke into tears Monday when the former police officer accused of molesting a girl was found guilty of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony that carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.

While some people welcomed the verdict, Cupples’ defense attorney said there were multiple inconsistencies in the girl’s testimony and no evidence that his client had done anything improper.

“We were pretty disappointed with the verdict because of all of the inconsistencies and lies that we believe that the victim told,” attorney Elias Muawad said. “The verdict should have been not guilty on all counts.”

Cupples, of Oxford, was accused of sexually assaulting the girl on different occasions when she was 11 through 13 years old. He was charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and the jury decided to convict him of two counts of the lesser offense of second-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Oakland Circuit Judge Shalina Kumar, who took the verdict in the absence of presiding judge Nanci Grant, revoked Cupples’ bond. During the hearing, Cupples was seen turning around from his seat at the defense table and mouthing words to his family members. Later, he said, “I love you, too,” as he was being led out of the courtroom by deputies.

In her closing argument Friday, Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Tricia Dare told jurors that the testimony of the girl, who is now 14, was supported by other evidence.

Dare said DNA evidence was found linking Cupples with the scene of the alleged assaults and that a computer taken from his home had images of the girl and evidence showing that two sexual assault websites had been accessed.

Muawad questioned the credibility of the girl and other witnesses. He said the images on the computer showed nothing inappropriate. He also said that the two cookies for pornographic websites found on Cupples’ computer came from an infected disc that Cupples had downloaded after he was asked to investigate potential pornography viewing by a municipal employee.

In her closing argument Friday, Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Tricia Dare told jurors that the testimony of the girl, who is now 14, was supported by other evidence.

Dare said DNA evidence was found linking Cupples with the scene of the alleged assaults and that a computer taken from his home had images of the girl and evidence showing that two sexual assault websites had been accessed.

Muawad questioned the credibility of the girl and other witnesses. He said the images on the computer showed nothing inappropriate. He also said that the two cookies for pornographic websites found on Cupples’ computer came from an infected disc that Cupples had downloaded after he was asked to investigate potential pornography viewing by a municipal employee.

“Tom never downloaded anything improper,” Muawad told jurors at the beginning of the trial.

Will Amstutz, who is engaged to Cupples’ sister and watched the trial, said it was noteworthy to him that the girl said nothing bad had happened to her before the date in August 2010 that the allegations were disclosed.

“I know he’s innocent,” Amstutz, a resident of Beulah, said.

The courtroom was often tense during the trial, with supporters of Cupples and people who believed he was guilty filling benches on opposite sides of the courtroom.

“At least he’ll go away for a while. It makes me happy,” said one man after the jury’s verdict was announced.

Mark Shelton, an uncle of the victim, said he had been looking for a conviction of the more serious charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct but was still pleased with the outcome. First-degree criminal sexual conduct differs from second-degree criminal sexual conduct in that first-degree involves penetration and could bring up to life in prison.

“We believe that he did the crime, that he sexually abused this girl,” Shelton, of Clarkston, said.

According to reports, Cupples left the Ferndale Police Department in 2005 and was hired in 2007 by Orion Township to serve as a code enforcement officer. A township official said he was terminated in September after failing to attend work or contact the township about his employment; Cupples’ supporters said he was in jail for more than a month at that time.












No verdict yet in trial of former officer accused of molestation
Published: Friday, May 06, 2011
By ANN ZANIEWSKI
The Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/05/06/news/cops_and_courts/doc4dc49ebda30b2028742582.txt



Jurors weighing the fate of a former police officer accused of molesting a girl will return to court Monday after an afternoon of deliberations yielded no verdict.

Thomas Cupples, of Oxford, is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, with second-degree criminal sexual conduct as a lesser offense to each count. It is alleged that he had inappropriate contact with the girl, who is now 14, on different occasions when she was 11 through 13 years old.

In her closing argument Friday, Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Tricia Dare said jurors have more than enough to convict Cupples. She said the accuser is being truthful and her testimony is supported by other evidence.

Dare said DNA evidence was found linking Cupples with the scene of the alleged assaults and that a computer taken from his home had images of the girl and evidence showing that two sexual assault websites had been accessed.

She said that computer was missing for months before it was turned over to investigators, and that “there’s a high probability that the computer was cleaned up.”

“You can’t ignore the evidence in this case,” Dare said.

Defense attorney Elias Muawad said Cupples’ accuser’s statements had “major inconsistencies, which equate into lies.”

He said the images found on the computer show nothing inappropriate, and that the computer was never “cleaned.”

Muawad said two cookies for pornographic websites found on Cupples’ computer came from an infected disc that Cupples had downloaded after he was asked to investigate potential pornography viewing by a municipal employee.

Oakland Circuit Chief Judge Nanci Grant is presiding over the trial

According to reports, Cupples retired from the Ferndale Police Department in 2005 and was hired in 2007 by Orion Township to serve as a code enforcement officer. A township official said he was terminated in September after failing to attend work or contact the township about his employment.


                   








Attorneys present closing arguments in trial of former officer accused of molesting girl
Published: Friday, May 06, 2011
By ANN ZANIEWSKI
The Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/05/06/news/cops_and_courts/doc4dc4146a67236028400616.txt



An assistant prosecutor told jurors this morning that there’s more than enough evidence to convict a former police officer of molesting a child.

The defense attorney for Thomas Cupples said the alleged victim is lying.

Cupples, of Oxford, is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, with second-degree criminal sexual conduct as a lesser offense to each count.

It is alleged that Cupples touched the girl inappropriately on different occasions when she was 11 through 13 years old. The girl is now 14.

In her closing argument this morning, Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Tricia Dare said there is a lot of evidence to support the girl’s testimony. She said DNA evidence was found linking Cupples with the scene of the alleged assaults and that a computer taken from his home had images of the girl and evidence showing that two sexual assault websites had been accessed.

Defense attorney Elias Muawad said Cupples’ accuser’s statements had “major inconsistencies, which equate into lies.”

Oakland Circuit Chief Judge Nanci Grant is presiding over the trial.

According to reports, Cupples retired from the Ferndale Police Department in 2005 and was hired in 2007 by Orion Township to serve as a code enforcement officer. A township official said he was terminated in September after failing to attend work or contact the township about his employment.

                 








Former police officer denies he sexually assaulted girl
Published: Thursday, May 05, 2011
By ANN ZANIEWSKI
The Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/05/05/news/local_news/doc4dc33fa3a85ca374485943.txt




A former police officer accused of sexually assaulting a girl took the witness stand in his own defense Thursday and denied wrongdoing.

“I was completely devastated,” Thomas Cupples said, describing how he felt when the allegations surfaced.

Cupples, of Oxford, is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, with second-degree criminal sexual conduct as a lesser offense to each count.

In her opening statement earlier this week, Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Tricia Dare told jurors that the girl said Cupples touched her inappropriately on different occasions when she was 11 through 13 years old. The girl, who is now 14, disclosed the alleged abuse in August 2010.

Dare said DNA evidence was found linking Cupples with the scene of the alleged assaults and that a computer taken from his home had images of the girl and evidence showing that two sexual assault websites had been accessed.

Defense attorney Elias Muawad said in his opening statement that Cupples’ accuser is lying and that investigators, not his client, were responsible for the various materials found on a computer. Muawad also said the girl won’t be able to identify Cupples as the perpetrator.

“You’ve got a lot of credibility problems with the story itself,” he said.

Muawad said Cupples worked as a mechanic before becoming a Ferndale police officer in 1978.

According to reports, Cupples retired from the department in 2005 and was hired in 2007 by Orion Township to serve as a code enforcement officer. A township official said he was terminated in September after failing to attend work or contact the township about his employment.

Muawad told the jury that Cupples received a number of accolades while working as a Ferndale police officer and had been involved in investigating cases of criminal sexual conduct.

Talking about a computer taken from Cupples’ home, Muawad accused the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office of “fraudulent conduct.” He alleged that the two websites referenced by Dare, as well as various images, were downloaded by investigators. He said the images show nothing illegitimate.

“Tom never downloaded anything improper,” he said.

Oakland Circuit Chief Judge Nanci Grant is presiding over the trial.











Trial opens for former officer accused of molesting girl
Published: Monday, May 02, 2011
By ANN ZANIEWSKI
The Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/05/02/news/cops_and_courts/doc4dbf628e8d71a883834719.txt

The defense attorney for a former police officer accused of sexually assaulting a girl said the accuser is lying and that investigators, not his client, were responsible for the various materials found on a computer.

“Tom never downloaded anything improper,” said attorney Elias Muawad, who is representing Thomas Cupples.

Cupples, of Oxford, is on trial charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, with second-degree criminal sexual conduct as a lesser offense to each count.

In her opening statement Monday afternoon, Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Tricia Dare told jurors that the girl said Cupples touched her inappropriately on different occasions when she was 11 through 13 years old. The girl, who is now 14, disclosed the alleged abuse in August 2010.

Dare said DNA evidence was found linking Cupples with the scene of the alleged assaults and that a computer taken from his home had images of the girl and evidence showing that two sexual assault websites had been accessed.

Muawad said the girl is not telling the truth and won’t be able to identify Cupples as the perpetrator.

“You’ve got a lot of credibility problems with the story itself,” he said.

Muawad said Cupples worked as a mechanic before becoming a Ferndale police officer in 1978.

According to reports, Cupples retired from the department in 2005 and was hired in 2007 by Orion Township to serve as a code enforcement officer. A township official said he was terminated in September after failing to attend work or contact the township about his employment.

Muawad told the jury that Cupples received a number of accolades while working as a Ferndale police officer and had been involved in investigating cases of criminal sexual conduct.

Talking about a computer taken from Cupples’ home, Muawad accused the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office of “fraudulent conduct.” He alleged that the two websites referenced by Dare, as well as various images, were downloaded by investigators. He said the images show nothing illegitimate.

Muawad said he plans to call his own computer expert to testify, as well a number of witnesses who can vouch for Cupples’ character.

Cupples himself is also expected to take the witness stand in the trial before Oakland Circuit Chief Judge Nanci Grant.


                










 Jury picked in trial of Orion code enforcement officer
Published: Monday, May 02, 2011
By ANN ZANIEWSKI
The Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/05/02/news/local_news/doc4dbeeea524dad156752356.txt

A jury was picked this morning in the trial of Thomas Cupples of Oxford.

The former Orion Township code enforcement officer who previously for the Ferndale Police Department isvcharged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, with second-degree criminal sexual conduct as a lesser offense to each count. The alleged victim was younger than 13.

Attorneys are expected to present opening statements shortly.

Oakland Circuit Judge Nanci Grant is presiding over the Cupples case.

                   









Trial for former Orion code enforcement officer accused of sexual assault moved to April
Published: Thursday, March 03, 2011
By ANN ZANIEWSKI
The Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/03/03/news/cops_and_courts/doc4d6fcecf021d7266489877.txt

The trial of a former Orion Township code enforcement officer accused of sexually assaulting a girl has been pushed back to next month as investigators go through a computer’s voluminous hard drive.

Thomas Cupples of Oxford is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, with second-degree criminal sexual conduct as a lesser offense to each count. The alleged victim was younger than 13.

A pre-trial hearing in the case was held Thursday in the chambers of Oakland Circuit Chief Judge Nanci Grant.

Defense attorney Elias Muawad said the trial was adjourned until April 18 because Oakland County Sheriff’s Office investigators are examining a large computer hard drive taken from Cupples’ home.

Muawad said the computer was used by Cupples’ entire family.

He also said that his own computer expert had examined it and didn’t find anything that would be significant in the case.

According to reports, Cupples retired from the Ferndale Police Department in 2005.

He was hired in 2007 by Orion Township to serve as a code enforcement officer. Orion Township Supervisor Matt Gibb said Cupples was terminated Sept. 3 after failing to attend work or contact the township about his employment.













Judge denies motion to suppress evidence in criminal sexual conduct case
Published: Thursday, February 03, 2011
By ANN ZANIEWSKI
The Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2011/02/03/news/cops_and_courts/doc4d4b5de1dd044835790679.txt

A judge has denied a motion to suppress evidence taken from a home as part of an investigation into an Orion Township code enforcement officer accused of sexually assaulting a girl who was younger than 13.

Thomas Cupples of Oxford is charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, with second-degree criminal sexual conduct as a lesser offense to each count.

Oakland Circuit Chief Judge Nanci Grant said in an opinion issued this week that Cupples’ wife did not abandon her authority over the marital property when she vacated the home and was legally entitled to consent to the police’s search of the premises. Police took carpeting and bedding as evidence.

“I don’t think there’s any question in the defense’s mind that the wife had no intent to move back into that property or live there,” said defense attorney Elias Muawad, who asked that the evidence be suppressed. “One of the elements to give consent is joint occupancy.”

Muawad also filed a motion to quash the charges. He said that he does not believe that the prosecution was able to establish that penetration occurred. Grant disagreed, saying that the evidence provided to date is sufficient to enable Cupples to meet the charge.

“We disagree with the opinion and we’re looking at our appellate rights,” Muawad said.

According to reports, Cupples retired from the Ferndale Police Department in 2005. He was then hired in 2007 by Orion Township to serve as a code enforcement officer.

Cupples is now on leave from that job, Muawad said.

A trial has been scheduled for Feb. 22.













Former police officer ordered to stand trial on sexual assault charges
Published: Monday, August 30, 2010
By SHAUN BYRON
The Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2010/08/30/news/cops_and_courts/doc4c7bd582dcd36014203019.txt



A former Ferndale officer will stand trial on allegations of sexually assaulting a minor, a judge has ruled. Thomas Patrick Cupples of Oxford will be arraigned at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 7 in Oakland County Circuit Court before Judge Leo Bowman.

Cupples is being held on a $1 million bond for four criminal sexual conduct charges.

He is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct; first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving someone younger than 13; second-degree criminal sexual conduct; and second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving someone younger than 13. Cupples had retired from the Ferndale Police Department in 2005. He was hired in 2007 by Orion Township to serve as a code enforcement officer. He was arrested earlier in month and arraigned Aug. 13 in 52-3 District Court, Rochester Hills. A preliminary examination was Aug. 27 before Judge Lisa Asadoorian. The examination resulted in Asadoorian’s decision that the testimony and evidence supported the allegations and he was bound over for trial, according to court officials.













Accused Orion Township official’s job status uncertain
Published: Monday, August 16, 2010
By SHAUN BYRON
The Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2010/08/16/news/local_news/doc4c69ebd1b7898082171300.txt



No decision has been made as to whether an Orion Township code enforcement officer will keep his job after being arrested on accusations of molesting a girl.

Thomas Patrick Cupples of Oxford was arraigned Friday on charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving someone younger than 13, second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving someone younger than 13.

Cupples, a retired police officer, was hired in 2007 to serve as a full-time code enforcement officer for the township.

Orion Township Supervisor Matthew Gibb said it is too early to make any determination on Cupples’ employment status.

Gibb said Cupples has a reputation of being a dedicated and well-prepared township employee.

“We will take it very seriously to protect the public trust we have,” he said. “I can’t speak as to what the decision process will be. We were as caught off guard as everyone else.”

Prior to working for the township, Cupples was a police officer in Ferndale from 1978 to 2005, when he retired.

He is being held in the Oakland County Jail on a $1 million bond and his next court date is 8:30 a.m. Aug. 26 in 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills.













Orion Township employee, former Ferndale cop held on $1 million bond, charged with molestation
Published: Friday, August 13, 2010
By SHAUN BYRON
The Oakland Press
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/articles/2010/08/13/news/local_news/doc4c65aebd2a382914214613.txt


An Orion Township code enforcement officer and former Ferndale policeman is being held on a $1 million bond on four criminal sexual conduct allegations involving a child younger than 13.

Thomas Patrick Cupples of Oxford was arraigned on video Friday in 52-3 District Court in Rochester on charges of having sexual contact with a minor.

Cupples is being charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct; first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving someone younger than 13; second-degree criminal sexual conduct; and second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving someone younger than 13.

In 2007, Cupples was hired by the township to serve as a full-time code enforcer, being paid $16.07 an hour, according to minutes from a township board meeting.

Cupples also says on his LinkedIn web profile that he worked as a law enforcement command officer in the Metro Detroit area and spent 28 years in law enforcement.

Ferndale Police Lt. Gary Whiting said Cupples started with the department in 1978, was promoted to sergeant in 1996 and retired in 2005.

“Our concern, of course, is with the family of the victim and his family as well,” Whiting said.

Cupples also listed that he has an associate’s degree in criminal justice from Oakland Community College and certifications from Michigan State University, Oakland Community College and Eastern Michigan University.

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