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Austin Scott files lawsuit against Penn State
Oct-20-2009 2451 0

A former Parkland High School star football player removed from Penn State's team two years ago amid rape allegations has filed a federal lawsuit against the college, prosecutors and his accuser alleging they destroyed his chances for an NFL career.

Austin Scott's lawsuit claims authorities should not have filed the charges, which were eventually dropped, because they knew his accuser, Desiree Minder of Pottsville, had previously made false rape allegations against a student at Moravian College.

South Whitehall attorney John P. Karoly Jr. filed the multimillion-dollar lawsuit Tuesday in federal court in Williamsport, and it was posted to the court's online database this morning.

Karoly, who has succeeded in winning multimillion-dollar awards against Lehigh Valley police departments for excessive force claims, promised two years ago he would file a suit on Scott's behalf. At that time, Karoly compared the investigators to "lynch mobs." Scott is black and his accuser and the prosecutors are white.

Just as Karoly has attacked the inner workings of police departments, the lawsuit raises questions about the motives of the prosecutors and Penn State University Police Force investigators and questions the abilities of their supervisors.

The case was ready to go to trial and a jury had been selected in October 2008. But the prosecutors dropped the charges when the judge decided evidence could be presented showing the woman had a pattern of making such allegations. Four years earlier, she had accused a Moravian College student of rape. A Northampton County jury acquitted him.

In the lawsuit, Karoly says the accuser told Centre County authorities "within the first two minutes" of a conversation that she had been raped before. The lawsuit claims authorities and the accuser all conspired maliciously to go forward with the prosecution, violating Scott's civil rights.

Karoly claims the main prosecutor in Scott's case, Centre County Assistant District Lance Marshall, pursued the case to "to curry favor" with Scott's accuser.

The suit further claims Centre County District Attorney Michael Madeira knew of Marshall's "proclivities prior to the unlawful arrest and prosecution of Austin Scott."

Marshall resigned from his job in December amid allegations he made inappropriate sexual advances toward a victim of domestic violence, and Madeira is seeking re-election, according to the Centre Daily Times.

Marshall and Madeira, as well as seven members of Penn State University's police force involved in the investigation, are named individually as defendants.

The lawsuit says they all conspired in the October 2007 arrest of the then 22-year-old Scott and, as a result, diminished his potential "earning capacity" in the NFL.

The lawsuit claims Scott was slated to be a third- or fourth-round draft pick for the National Football League prior to the false allegations and false arrest, which prompted his removal from Penn State's team.

Scott was one of the greatest high school football players in the Lehigh Valley's history, leading Parkland to a state championship in 2002. His career at Penn State was mixed, partly because of injuries, and is remembered mostly for fumbling in the red zone in a game against Michigan. He was removed from the team after the female student accused him of raping her in his campus apartment Oct. 5, 2007. Scott said the sex had been consensual just as the man at Moravian College had four years earlier.

Scott has not played a full football season since.

Last year, Scott was invited to attend the Cleveland Browns training camp and played in the preseason games. But he was cut from the roster before the NFL's regular season.

Scott, 24, of East Stroudsburg, remains an unsigned free agent.

His attorney, meanwhile, is on trial for money laundering and mail fraud charges in federal court in Allentown.

The case revolves around allegations that Karoly tried to avoid paying taxes by creating a nonprofit organization.

Karoly pleaded guilty in July to willfully filing false tax returns and not paying income taxes on $5.2 million.

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Rosemary Rossi Aug-27-2016 80 0
Pastor Ken Adkins, who infamously said the victims of Orlando's Pulse nightclub shooting got "what they deserve," was arrested Friday on a charge of child molestation, according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

According to The Florida Times Union, the arrest stems from allegations made by a young male former member of his congregation. Special Agent Stacy Carson said the investigation is focused on suspected molestation in several locations in the Brunswick, Georgia area, including at Adkins' church, a vehicle and a victim's home.

Adkins' wife, Charlotte, told the paper, "This young man was part of our teen ministry. Ken and I have treated him like family, as has our church. He is a deeply troubled young man, to be sure, but our thoughts and prayers remain with him even now."

The preacher spoke out after the June 12 shooting at the nightclub that serves a mostly gay clientele, where 49 people were killed and another 53 injured when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire. Local authorities and the FBI investigating the incident at the time called it the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

In a June 16 tweet on Adkins' now-private Twitter account, he wrote, "Been [sic] through so much with these Jacksonville Homosexuals that I don't see none of them as victims. I see them as getting what they deserve!!"

Adkins, who does double-duty as political consultant in the Jacksonville area, is being held at the Glynn County Jail.
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CBS News Aug-27-2016 134 0
Chicago police say a woman pushing a baby in a stroller was fatally shot on the city’s South Side.

Authorities say the 32-year-old victim was killed when two males walked up and fired shots at a third man about 3:30 p.m. Friday. Police say the woman was not the intended target.

She was identified in local media as Nykea Aldridge, a cousin of NBA star Dwyane Wade, who tweeted his reaction Saturday night:

Police and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office say she suffered gunshot wounds to her head and an arm.

Family spokesman Pastor Edward Jones says Aldridge was a mother of four and was walking to register her children for school. He says the family recently moved to the neighborhood.

Police say one of the males who fired shots was being questioned Friday evening.

Police say the baby wasn’t hurt, and a relative has taken custody of the child.
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Fox 4 Aug-26-2016 60 0
The leader of the Next Generation Action network is back in jail and will remain there for the next two years because of a probation violation.

Dominique Alexander’s attorney confirmed he had his probation revoked Friday and was sentenced to two years in jail effective immediately. The violation is believed to be associated with a 2009 case of serious bodily injury of a child. Alexander pleaded guilty to the charge in 2011 and was given seven years probation.

He was arrested earlier this month for having 10 outstanding warrants. He was taken into custody shortly after disrupting a Dallas City Council meeting and ignoring Dallas Police Chief David Brown's requests to stop protesting in Downtown Dallas.

Alexander's lawyer told FOX4 she believes his new jail sentence has nothing to do with probation violations and is an effort to silence his criticism of police.

Court records show Alexander was arrested in Dec. 2015 for not paying his court-ordered fines, completing anger management classes or finish community service. He also traveled out of state to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia and to Baton Rouge, La.

Alexander is the man who organized the police protest on July 7, which ended with five officers dead in an ambush attack. His organization was not connected to the attack.

Alexander was sent back to jail on the second anniversary of the NGAN.
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John Marzulli Aug-26-2016 126 0
It may not have been a justified shooting after all.

The police shooting of a Brooklyn teen nearly three years ago is now being compared with that of Tamir Rice — after surveillance video reveals the 15-year-old posed no threat at the time.

Keston Charles, who had been wielding a BB gun, was shot three times by Officer Jonathan Rivera — who fired 16 times at the teen — during a foot chase.

Unlike Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was shot to death by Cleveland police while holding a pellet gun in November 2014, Charles was lucky to survive.

Charles’ lawyers insist the teen was shot in the buttocks while fleeing from the cop on Dec. 9, 2013 — and twice more in the side and chest after he’d dropped the gun and was surrendering with his hands above his head.

“I put up my hands, they was still shooting,” Charles said in a sworn deposition.

But the city and Charles’ lawyers each argue that the video — exclusively obtained by the Daily News — proves their case.

Both sides are awaiting a decision from Manhattan Federal Judge Kevin Castel on whether the lawsuit filed by the teen’s family should be dismissed or put before a jury to decide whether there was excessive force used.

“The officer’s claim that this young man repeatedly took aim at him with an unloaded toy gun not only defies logic, but it is blatantly contradicted by the video,” lawyers David Shanies, Phil Smallman and Michael Colihan said in a statement.

“What happened to Tamir Rice was a tragedy, and both cases are painful reminders of the urgent need to stop unjustified shootings of young African-Americans.”

Charles is accused of grabbing a BB gun from a friend during a fight with rivals from the neighborhood — and of pointing the weapon at another boy.

Officers Rivera and Kevin Franco spotted the confrontation and chased the teen.

Rivera then fired 16 shots in three separate volleys — a hot pursuit that ended at the front door of Charles’ apartment building in the Brownsville Houses, a chase caught by various surveillance cameras.

But Elissa Jacobs, a lawyer for the city, argued in court papers that Rivera fired because Charles had turned — or “bladed” his body sideways — toward the cops three times. She argued that Charles “did not put his hands up to surrender before any round of shots.”

But the video clearly shows Charles running with his back to the cops — merely glancing over his shoulder as he ran, limping on after he was hit in the buttocks, then stumbling as he tried to reach his building.

The video also shows Charles putting his hands up in the air — with no weapon in his hands — as Rivera continues to fire at him.

“(Rivera’s) bullets hit the building and created visible clouds of debris,” Shanies argued in court papers. “(Charles) turned around with his hands on his head surrendering. . . . One of Officer Rivera’s bullets struck (Charles) in the flank and another struck him in the chest.”

Charles then collapsed on a nearby fence outside the building’s entrance.

The teen was placed in a medically induced coma for three weeks, underwent surgery and later pleaded guilty in Family Court to possessing a fake pistol.

Asked at his deposition why he did not drop the BB gun while being chased, he replied, “Because I was scared for my life. I was trying to get away. I never been shot at before.”

Dr. Michael Baden, the renowned former New York City chief medical examiner, reviewed the evidence for Charles’ lawyers and concluded that “the bullet trajectories are consistent with Keston holding his arms up with his hands on top of his head as indicated in the video when he was shot in the chest.”

The NYPD firearms discharge review board found the shooting was justified and within department guidelines for the use of deadly force.

The officers involved in the shooting were never disciplined.

A spokesman for the Law Department said there would be no comment from the city while the litigation is pending.

Shanies said the lawsuit’s excessive-force claim is based on the amount of shots fired by Rivera — he emptied the clip in his 9-mm. service weapon.

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that officers cannot shoot a suspect in the back “just for running away.”

If the suit is allowed to proceed, a jury will decide whether at any time during the incident Charles pointed the toy gun at the cop — which the plaintiff’s lawyers say “never happened.”

The number of shots fired was justified, according to the city’s papers, because Charles was hit only three times out of 16 indicating “how fast he continued to move and that the threat to public safety had not been abated.”

Rivera continued firing until there was no longer an imminent threat, the city has argued.
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BY CHRISTIAN RED Aug-25-2016 222 0
Former NFL safety Darren Sharper made another court appearance in Louisiana Thursday and again apologized to the more than half a dozen female victims he was accused of drugging and raping in four different states, as a judge sentenced Sharper to 20 years in prison.

"There's a lot more to my life than this situation," the 40-year-old Sharper said in New Orleans Parish Criminal District Court Thursday, according to the New Orleans Advocate. "I am not a monster. I am not."

Thursday's sentencing stems from the state charges brought against Sharper, but the sentence will run concurrent with the 18-year sentence that Sharper received last week in New Orleans federal court. Sharper will receive credit for the two and a half years he has already been detained. He was originally arrested in January, 2014 in Los Angeles and charged with drugging and raping two women there.

One of Sharper's victims spoke in the same New Orleans courtroom Thursday, and said that Sharper has a "sickness."

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"And you deserve much more punishment than you have received, I am sure," the woman said, according to the Advocate.

Judge Karen Herman called Sharper’s behavior “such an epic disappointment,” The Associated Press reported, and told him that his sentence would’ve been much more harsh had his case gone to a trial by jury. He pleaded guilty to two charges of second-degree rape and one of third-degree rape on Thursday.

Last year, Sharper's legal team negotiated a global settlement where Sharper would serve nine years in prison. The settlement addressed all rape and drug charges in four different states — Louisiana, Arizona, California and Nevada. Sharper faced both state and federal charges in Louisiana.

But the public backlash was severe, with critics claiming the punishment was far too lenient for the alleged heinous crimes Sharper committed. Earlier this year, a federal judge rejected Sharper's plea deal, paving the way for the 18-year sentence he was given last week. He still awaits formal sentencing in California and Nevada, and civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred — who represents two of Sharper's victims — said last week that she and her clients were looking forward to those court dates when Allred's clients would be able to make victim impact statements in front of Sharper.

Sharper was originally jailed in California while the different legal processes played out, but after he appeared in Los Angeles court last year and pleaded guilty to rape charges in the Arizona case and no contest to charges in the California case, he was moved to a federal prison in Louisiana. He will be moved to another federal facility outside of Louisiana to serve the remainder of his sentence.

Sharper was a Super Bowl champion with the Saints, and also played for the Packers and Vikings.
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TOBIAS SALINGER Aug-25-2016 73 0
The armed man shot by Indianapolis police after reporting a carjacking is home from the hospital, his attorney said Thursday.

Carl Williams, 48, dialed 911 around 4:30 a.m. Tuesday to alert cops a man with a rifle forced his wife to give him her car keys then drove off with her car, according to Indianapolis police. Yet Officer Christopher Mills wound up shooting Williams in the stomach, investigators said.

Williams, a black Air Force veteran who has worked as a postal employee for the past 16 years, was recuperating Thursday at his family’s eastern Indianapolis home, his lawyer Richard Hailey said in a statement.

“With eight years in the military serving our country as a military police officer, Mr. Williams is in a unique position to understand the challenges faced by our men and women in blue but he also recognizes that training and caution are the key to avoiding unintended tragedies,” Hailey said.

Williams’ family thanked everyone who reached out with well wishes and said they “would like to acknowledge the professionalism shown by the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department during the investigation of this horrible event.”

“They also ask that the entire community pray not only for them but also for the police officers involved,” Hailey said.

The police department placed Mills, a nine-year officer, on administrative leave. The man who police said had stolen Williams’ wife’s car before the shooting remained on the loose Thursday night. Investigators described the suspect as a black man with light complexion who was wearing a red and white jacket and a dark baseball cap Tuesday morning.

Williams told the 911 dispatcher that the carjacker demanded his wife’s keys then drove off from his family’s home in her black car, police said. He then yelled “is that him?” and hung up the phone, not answering immediate calls back, according to cops.

Mills and the other responding officer arrived to the Foxtail Drive home moments later to find another black car backed into the driveway with its lights on. Police said the officers took cover, and Mills shot Williams when he came out of the garage carrying his gun.

It’s unclear whether Williams raised his weapon. Police said Williams was hit once but no one else fired any shots.

"Our homeowner, the individual who was trying his best protect himself and his wife from any other harm, was shot mistakenly by our officers," Indianapolis police Maj. Richard Riddle said Tuesday, according to the Indianapolis Star.

"This incident occurred within a few seconds, and those judgment calls are made within a few split seconds. She was victimized, and unfortunately now, her husband was victimized as well."

Williams doesn’t intend to speak publicly about the shooting until after the investigation is complete, but Hailey announced a news conference scheduled for Friday afternoon at New Beginnings Fellowship Church in Indianapolis.

“There’s not much known about who he is,” Hailey told the Daily News. “He’s a real solid citizen.”
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Brittney Martin Aug-23-2016 118 0
Black Texas women are more than twice as likely as white women to die within a year of their pregnancies ending, a new report shows.

Though black women delivered only 11.4 percent of babies in Texas from 2011 to 2012, they accounted for 28.8 percent of pregnancy-related deaths.

A task force commissioned by state lawmakers in 2013 to study pregnancy-related deaths and complications recently released its first report detailing the leading causes of maternal death and offering recommendations for legislators to consider next year.

The report was released on the heels of a national study that showed that pregnancy-related deaths surged in Texas in 2011, with the rate nearly doubling from 2010 to 2014. The state's report doesn't say what caused the dramatic increase.

Heart disease, high blood pressure, bleeding and infection are all commonly recognized causes of maternal death, but the task force found that 11.6 percent of recently pregnant women died due to drug overdose from 2011 to 2012.

"This finding is alarming and may represent an ongoing shift in maternal causes of death," the report says. "Indeed, prescription drug deaths are rising in the United States and have been identified as a major public health crisis."

The task force recommends increasing access to health care for women in the year after they give birth, including screening for and referrals to mental health and substance abuse treatment options.

"Among the 19 women with Medicaid insurance during pregnancy who later died of drug overdose, 14 (73.7 percent) died after the 60 day post-delivery mark, after Medicaid coverage typically expires," the study says.

The task force used different data sources and methodologies than the national study, set to be published in the September issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, which caused differences between the findings.

The task force studied case files of women who died within a year of the end of their pregnancies, while the national study limited its scope to the World Health Organization's definition of maternal death, which is death during a pregnancy or up to 42 days after due to causes related to pregnancy.

While the task force excluded non-pregnancy-related cancers from its maternal death total, the national study counted them. Drug-related deaths were included by the task force, but not in the national study.

"Data problems notwithstanding, the important take-home message is to recognize that both studies found that maternal mortality is a major problem in Texas, and that steps need to be taken to reduce it," said Marian MacDorman, the researcher who led the national study.
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CNN Aug-23-2016 59 0
President Barack Obama is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Tuesday and is touring the flood-ravaged city that quickly became a political football.

Obama is set to see firsthand the damage in the state's capital that has caused more than 106,000 residents and households to register for assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency. More than 60,000 homes were damaged, officials said, and 13 people were killed.

Obama is expected to meet with family members of police officers killed in last month's Baton Rouge attack, a source with knowledge of the President's schedule told CNN. According to the source, the families are expected to meet with him at one location during his trip. Three Baton Rouge area police officers were killed last month when they were ambushed by a gunman. That gunman, Gavin Long, was shot and killed by police.

Given the financial and human cost that has already taken its toll, the President's visit is too late for some Republicans -- and some Louisianans.

The city's newspaper "The Advocate" originally criticized the President for not ending his vacation in Martha's Vineyard immediately to visit the region.

His reluctance to do so made for offensive optics in the eyes of some Republicans: Obama enjoying rounds of golf with comedians like Larry David and basketball stars like Alonzo Mourning, while a state thousands of miles away faced devastation.

But the editorial board praised his decision to arrive Tuesday.

"We welcome news of President Barack Obama's planned visit to Louisiana today to survey flood damage, which should help to advance relief and recovery in the disaster area as a national priority," the editorial board wrote.

Press secretary Josh Earnest said on Air Force One that Obama will be visiting a neighborhood in East Baton Rouge Parish, and defended the timing of the trip, saying the "President is used to people trying to score political points even in situations where they shouldn't."
Earnest said that $120 million in aid has already been approved and is starting to be paid out to flood-impacted residents.

Trump, who visited the state shortly after the floods, called Obama's visit "too late."
"Tuesday's too late," Donald Trump, told Fox News this weekend. "Hop into the plane and go down and go to Louisiana and see what's going on, because it's a mess."

That's exactly what Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, did late last week as part of a visit meant to fill what they saw as a leadership vacuum. The Republican ticket toured the flood damage, met with church groups, and distributed supplies at a nearby high school. The visit was well-received by local officials, and for a moment it gave Trump a chance to reveal a presidential timber that he insists he has.

"Because it helped to shine a spotlight on Louisiana and on the dire situation that we have here, it was helpful," said John Bel Edwards, the state's Democratic governor.

Edwards, who greeted Obama when he landed Tuesday, had previously said that he hoped the President would wait a few weeks before making his visit to the state, given the entourage and Secret Service personnel that comes with presidential trips that would have strained resources while officials were coping with the floods.

Baton Rouge's city newspaper last week had called on Obama to cut his vacation short.
"A disaster this big begs for the personal presence of the President at ground zero," read a editorial in The Advocate on Thursday, a day before the Obama trip was announced. "The President's presence is already late to the crisis, but it's better latter than never."

Hillary Clinton, Trump's Democratic opponent, said Monday that she too plans a trip to the flood site -- but used similar reasoning to delay her trip. Her campaign said in a statement that she would come to the state at an unspecified time in the future.

"This month's floods in Louisiana are a crisis that demand a national response," she said. "I am committed to visiting communities affected by these floods, at a time when the presence of a political campaign will not disrupt the response, to discuss how we can and will rebuild together."
Obama's vacation ended Sunday, and the White House has maintained that he has been regularly briefed by senior staff on the situation on the ground and top administration officials also were sent to the Louisiana. Yet his response has earned some comparisons to how George W. Bush handled another natural catastrophe in a Louisiana city, New Orleans, during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Obama has traveled to disaster sites in recent years, touring communities in Oklahoma and Arkansas destroyed by tornadoes along with New Jersey towns hit by Hurricane Sandy.
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REUVEN BLA Aug-21-2016 113 0
George Curry, a reporter who advocated for black Americans and headed Emerge magazine, died on Saturday. He was 69.

Curry suffered an apparent heart attack Saturday evening in Washington D.C., according to a Facebook post by the Constituency for Africa.

"It was a shock to our family and we are dealing with the news, as best we can. R.I.P. brother George Curry," his sister, Christie Love, told TheRoot.

At Emerge, Curry famously ran a photo of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas wearing an Aunt Jemima knot on his head and as a lawn jockey for hardcore conservatives. Curry said the provocative covers “were effective because in the minds of many Blacks disgusted with Thomas’ voting record, that’s exactly what he is. And we had the temerity to say it.”

Curry was born in Tuscaloosa, Ala. where his mother worked as a domestic and his father was a mechanic, according to a biography posted on TheHistoryMakers.

Curry's father left the family when he was 7 years old, forcing the youngster to help support his mother and three sisters.

He moved to New York in 1966 and teamed up with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for a year.

In 1970, he began to work at Sports Illustrated, where he stayed for two years. He then took a job as a beat reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch where he stayed until 1983.

During that period, he also founded the St. Louis Minority Journalism Workshop, an instructional program to help younger aspiring writers.

Curry moved to the Chicago Tribune where he served as Washington correspondent from 1989 until 1993. In that position, he covered Jesse Jackson's 1984 presidential run.

Later, he became the editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine, a publication which won more than 40 national awards.

Recently, he was trying to move the publication online after the print version stopped publishing in 2003.

That same year he won Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. The group also lists him on its roster of "Most Influential Black Journalists of the 20th Century."

"This is a tragic loss to the movement because George Curry was a journalist who paid special attention to civil rights because he lived it and loved it," Dr. Bernard Lafayette, chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, told TheRoot.

Civil rights leaders mourned his death.

"I am saddened beyond words upon hearing of the death of George Curry, Publisher of Emerge Magazine," tweeted Rev. Al Sharpton. "He was a giant and trailblazer. RIP."
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