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Austin Scott files lawsuit against Penn State
Oct-20-2009 2030 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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ap Apr-19-2014 56 0
It may be a few years before the first daughters head to college, but Michelle Obama is already brainstorming a dorm room checklist while encouraging high school students to dream big about their education beyond graduation.

The first lady told a group of students Thursday that a high school diploma is not enough in today's global economy.

"No longer is high school the bar. That is not enough," Mrs. Obama told the crowd. "You have got to go to college or get some kind of professional training."

Before her remarks, the first lady toured a Howard University residence hall with high school juniors and seniors from her hometown of Chicago. "How do you get a single room," Mrs. Obama asked the tour guide, as the students chuckled. He replied: "There is a slight price difference."

The campus visit is a part of Mrs. Obama's push to promote higher education, especially President Barack Obama's "North Star" goal. By 2020, America would once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

After the tour, the first lady led a discussion moderated by rapper and TV host Bow Wow in a university cafeteria, the Punch Out. Mrs. Obama shared her own college experience and said she wanted to support the high school students because "this transition-- for some of you-- may be a little scary."

"The only reason I saw a dorm was because I visited my brother once when he was in college," she said. "That was the only exposure."

Mrs. Obama added that she had applied to Howard, "one of the finest universities in the country," along with Northwestern University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison when she was considering higher education. She went on to attend Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

"We have to have a hunger for education like we had when our parents and grandparents were fighting for us to have a right to come to these schools and get the education," she said. "So now it's up to you all to take that baton and do the very best you can with it."

The high school students will also attend classes with their hosts and meet with university officials as part of their four-day visit.

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Apr-19-2014 40 0
Even though he's being held in California, retired NFL star Darren Sharper was denied bail Thursday by a judge in Phoenix, Arizona, a spokesman for the Maricopa County Attorney's office said.

Sharper, a five-time Pro Bowl player, faces five counts of drugging and raping three women in Scottsdale, Arizona, in November.

Sharper has been in jail in Los Angeles since February 27 facing similar charges. Thursday's ruling in Arizona makes it more likely that Sharper will be denied bail in the California case as well.

Sharper, 38, was being held on $1 million bail connected with charges of drugging and raping two women in the Los Angeles area, but Judge Renee Korn removed the bail and ordered him to remain in jail in March when an Arizona grand jury indicted him.

The alleged rapes in California occurred in January and last October, authorities said.

Sharper is due in a Los Angeles courtroom on Friday.

Authorities have said Sharper is under investigation in three other states -- Louisiana, Nevada and Florida -- in cases of alleged sexual assault. So far, he has been charged only in California and Arizona, and he maintains his innocence in those cases.

New Orleans police have issued an arrest warrant for Sharper but he has not been extradited to Louisiana to face charges.

The application for the arrest warrant says New Orleans detectives interviewed two women who said they were raped on September 23. The two accusers told police they were so impaired they don't recall "the entirety of the sexual intercourse," and that they never agreed to have sex.

Shaper's attorneys have said that he had consensual sex with the women.

Sharper played for the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and New Orleans Saints from 1997 through the 2010 season. The five-time Pro Bowl player intercepted 63 passes in his career, tying for seventh all-time. He is tied for second all-time in interceptions returned for touchdowns with 11, according to Pro-Football-Reference.com.

He was recently fired as an NFL Network analyst.

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Authorities say a Wyoming college student who jumped to his death from a Denver hotel balcony ate more than the recommended serving of a marijuana cookie.

Police reports released Thursday said 19-year-old Levy Thamba Pongi consumed a little more than one cookie that his friend purchased from a pot shop.

The reports say a clerk told his friends to cut it into six pieces and eat one piece at a time. The friends did so, but it's unclear from the reports whether Pongi heard the advice.

The reports say a clerk told his friends to cut the pot-stuffed cookie into six pieces and eat one piece at a time.

Pongi's friends told investigators he began speaking erratically in French and pulling things off walls. Authorities say he then jumped to his death.

An autopsy report from the March 11 incident lists marijuana intoxication as a significant contributing factor in the death.


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Apr-19-2014 73 0
A young boy kidnapped from his Atlanta home sang a gospel song for nearly three hours until the suspect kicked him out of the car.

The man used cash to lure little Willie Myrick close enough for him to grab and shove into his car the night of March 31. The boy, now 10 years old, repeated the song "Every Praise" during the hellish ride.

The tune sent the suspect into a cursing fit and he stopped the car near East Point.

"He opened the door and threw me out," Myrick told a television station in Atlanta, WXIA-TV. "He told me not to tell anyone."

The suspect is described as a man in his mid- to late-20s with dreadlocks. He was driving a gray Honda Civic. A $10,000 reward is being offered for his arrest.
Atlanta Police

A $10,000 reward is being offered for the suspect's arrest.

Myrick did the opposite and told the world what happened.

The song Myrick chanted over and over again belongs to Hezekiah Walker, a Grammy-award winning gospel singer. When the artist learned of the alleged kidnapping, he hopped on a plane from New York City to Atlanta.

"I just want to hug him and tell him I love him," Walker told WXIA-TV.

The singer met with Myrick and his friends, family and whole congregation at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in southwest Atlanta on the boy's 10th birthday. They all sang the life-saving song together as tears rolled down Myrick's cheeks.

The meeting was also attended by organizers of a coalition on the hunt for the suspect, who is still on the loose. The group of churches, civic organizations and businesses handed out flyers with a sketch of the perp.

The meeting was a celebration, but also a town hall meeting and warning to parents and children of the dangers still roaming the streets.

"Our concern is not just the city of Atlanta boundaries," organizer Michael Langford told WSB-TV earlier this week. "It's the society in general. It's metro Atlanta. We've seen a number of attacks."

Langford is worried about a repeated spree of missing and murdered children cases that happened in Atlanta in 1979 and 1980, he said.

"We want to say to folk, if you harm our children, not only will the police be looking for you, the community will be on your trail, too," Langford added.

A $10,000 reward is being offered on the arrest of man, described as a male suspect in his mid- to late-20s with dreadlocks. He was driving a gray four-door Honda Civic with no interior carpeting and an exposed metal floor.


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Deborah Hastings / Apr-18-2014 122 0
Texas inmate with the critical thinking ability of a first-grader has been waiting some 34 years for a new trial. And now he'll wait some more.

In a recent ruling, a judge decided that Jerry Hartfield's constitutional right to a speedy trial had not been violated — despite being imprisoned since 1980 on a murder conviction that had been overturned — because, in essence, Hartfield did not ask for a new trial.

Judge Craig Estlinbaum found the state had been negligent in failing to retry the 56-year-old man, and that his ability to adequately defend himself had diminished over time, but he ultimately ruled Hartfield was responsible for his own incarceration because he failed to seek a new trial.

The decision is the latest in a series of confusing and baffling proceedings that have kept the Bay City man behind bars since his 1976 conviction for robbing and killing a bus station worker in 1976.

Hartfield, whose IQ has been estimated at 51, claims he is innocent and that police used a false confession against him. He was sentenced to death, but his conviction was overturned in 1980 by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeal, which ruled a juror had been improperly dismissed for voicing concerns about capital punishment.

Prosecutors twice tried to persuade the court to reconsider that ruling, but failed.

Mr. Hartfield should have had a new trial. But he didn't get one.

And then things began to legally fall apart for Hartfield.

Then-Gov. Mark White, at the urging of prison officials, commuted Hartfield's sentence from death to life imprisonment in 1983. Whether he had been informed that Hartfield's conviction had been overturned is not known, according to Hartfield's current attorney, Jeffrey Newberry of the Texas Innocence Project.

What is now known, however, is that the governor's commutation was issued in error, Newberry said.

"He couldn't commute the sentence because there was nothing left to commute," Newberry told the Daily News Friday. "Mr. Hartfield should have had a new trial. But he didn't get one."

He didn't get one because he had no legal counsel after his trial.

"So he just sat there," Newberry said.

Fast-forward to 2006, when a fellow inmate told Hartfield that he should have received a new trial after his conviction was overturned.

"Someone helped him write documents on his own saying 'Hey, I never got my new trial,''' Newberry said. Eventually, his handwritten legal filings resulted in him receiving a court-appointed attorney while he fought to be released.

Over the next eight years, his case bounced from federal court to state courts. Meanwhile, the murder weapon, a pick-axe, has been lost and witnesses have died.

In a jailhouse interview last year, Hartfield said he was not angry about what happened to him.

He became a Christian behind bars, he said. “Being a God-fearing person, he doesn’t allow me to be bitter,” Hartfield said. “He allows me to be forgiving.” Newberry said he is appealing last week's most recent ruling in Hartfield's case.

He disputes Judge Estlinbaum assertion that no evidence was submitted of Hartfield's mental incapacity. He also disputes the logic of the decision, saying the judge essentially ruled "Mr. Hartfield's right to a speedy trial had not been violated … because the fact that he waited (to request a new trial) was an indication that he didn't want a new trial," Newberry said.

Separate proceedings to retry the criminal case are also underway, the attorney said. A hearing on that matter is scheduled for next month.


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Apr-18-2014 72 0
More than a half-dozen African-American pastors and about 70 supporters gathered outside City Hall Thursday to protest what they described as a lack of diversity in Mayor de Blasio’s top appointments.

“This is an insult to us,” said the Rev. Dennis Dillon, pastor of the Brooklyn Christian Center, unveiling a study that claimed only 10% of de Blasio’s high-level appointees are black.

“The mayor made promises; we gave him our votes. . . . There is probably some regret with all of us. We want to believe his heart is in the right place; his actions are obviously all wrong.”

The mayor made promises; we gave him our votes.

However, the study had flaws.

For example, it counted officials who were appointed by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and had left office.

And it included in its count holdover commissioners heading agencies where de Blasio has yet to make his own appointments.

A Daily News tally found that 24% of the deputy mayors and agency commissioners appointed by de Blasio are African-American.

A study cited by Dillon, which claimed only 10% of de Blasio’s high-level appointees are black, counted officials who were appointed by then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and had left office.

“Mayor de Blasio has kept his promise to build an effective administration that looks like New York City,” said spokeswoman Marti Adams.

“By any measure, Mayor de Blasio’s appointments have made this, by far, the most diverse administration that the city has seen in decades.”


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TMZ Apr-17-2014 103 0
Mike Epps may have gotten a real life fright at the after party of “Haunted House 2” on Wednesday night.

According to TMZ, the actor was accused of punching a woman in the face at the party, held at Lucky Strike in Downtown L.A.

The gossip site reports that LAPD sources said a woman filed a report after claiming that the 43-year-old comedian punched her in the face.

The police, TMZ reports, saw no sign of injury on the woman and Epps denied assaulting her. She supposedly claimed to have been previously romantically entangled with him.

Epps, according to the site’s sources, insists that the woman was a fan who became hostile after he asked her for privacy.

The police, TMZ reports, are referring the case to the domestic violence division.

A representative for Epps did not immediately respond to the Daily News’ request for comment.


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Apr-17-2014 71 0
The New York Times unleashed Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Walt Bogdanich on the Tallahassee police department’s investigation of a rape allegation against star Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and the results are what you might expect.

The NYT “found that there was virtually no investigation at all, either by the police or the university.”

Winston, who will be a sophomore this upcoming season, is one of college football’s most famous and talented players. As a freshman he became the youngest Heisman Trophy ever and led the Seminoles to a national championship.

Winston’s fame may have affected investigators’ zeal during their investigation. The chief investigator in the rape case, who also does private security work for the Seminole Boosters, the primary financier of Florida State athletics, allegedly said testing the star quarterback’s DNA “might generate [unwanted] publicity.”

The New York Times story uncovers more disturbing facts:
•FSU knew about the rape allegation in January of 2013, about a month after the Dec. 6, 2012, incident and a full year before the Seminoles won the national championship, but did not question Winston.
•After the championship game in 2014, FSU asked Winston to answer questions about the allegations but he declined.
•Police did not follow “obvious leads that would have quickly identified the suspect as well as witnesses, one of whom videotaped part of the sexual encounter.”
•Police did not ask for security video from a bar where the alleged victim said she met Winston.
•Police said they had “no lead” on the rape suspect for about a month, but the accuser called a detective and identified her alleged attacker by name Jan. 10, saying she saw him on campus.
•Once Winston was identified as a suspect, police did not attempt to interview him for two weeks and never obtained a DNA sample.
•Police contacted Winston by phone, which is highly unusual, and Winston said he could not talk to them because of baseball practice. He hired a lawyer and never spoke to police.
•The detective handling the case suspended his inquiry without informing the accuser.
•Winston’s accuser filed an internal-affairs complaint, saying Tallahassee police investigated her instead of the football player and prematurely dropped the case. That complaint was dropped.
•When the prosecutor eventually got the case, important evidence, including the video of the sexual act, had disappeared.
•Prosecutors were forced to conduct much of the investigation that police failed to accomplish, including getting a DNA test, which indicated sperm found in the bruised woman’s underwear was from Winston.

Sexual assault charges were eventually dropped because prosecutors did not believe a trial would result in a conviction.

Florida Chief Assistant Attorney Georgia Cappleman told the Times, “I believe that Mr. Winston cannot be convicted. I don’t necessarily believe that he’s innocent.”

Winston’s Atlanta-based attorney, David Cornwell, told the Times, “We don’t need an investigation … to know that Jameis did not sexually assault this young lady.”

How about a third quote by a person who died thousands of years ago?

“Laws are like spider webs, which catch the little flies, but cannot hold the big ones,” the philosopher Anacharsis allegedly said circa 600 B.C.

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Michael Walsh Apr-16-2014 149 0
An Arizona man admitted to shooting his son-in-law with a flare gun and trying to stab him with a folding pocket knife, authorities said.

George Brown, 66, who allegedly confessed he was "fixin to kill him," was arrested Saturday morning and charged with attempted murder, assault, aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, according to local media.

A domestic spat escalated to a brawl earlier that day outside the victim's home in the city of Chandler near Phoenix, reported KNXV-TV.

Brown punched his son-in-law in the face three times before reaching for the flare gun.

Witnesses say they heard Brown, from nearby Mesa, yell that he wanted to shoot the victim and watch him burn to death, according to court documents.

The shot stuck the victim's abdomen and left him with an open wound and burns, said KTVK. His wounds were treated at the scene.

Police say there is a history of violence between Brown's son-in-law and the rest of his family.

Brown is being held in lieu of $20,000.


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