Saturday, April 30, 2005


Former Church Youth Group Leader Charged with Molestation

Good old safe, conservative Sacramento:

A former youth group leader with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Sacramento appeared in court Thursday on molestation charges.

Michael Woodbury, 36, is charged with one felony count of oral sex with a minor and 10 felony counts of sex with a minor. He did not enter a plea during his court appearance on Thursday. His next hearing is scheduled for May 26.

Woodbury was responsible for coordinating activities for teenage boys of the LDS church in the Rosemont area of Sacramento.


The Heartland's proud tradition

We hear much about the importance of "tradition" to southerners, but any objective look at southern history sees mainly a murderous society obsessed with slavery, lynching, Jim Crow, and continued racism.

Here's a reminder of one of the thousands of lynchings that make up that proud tradition:

WACO - Of the nearly 500 lynchings that took place in Texas before the crime abated in the 1930s, the "Waco horror" is among the most notorious.

On May 15, 1916, Jesse Washington, a retarded black farm hand, was mutilated, tortured and hanged over a bonfire in the Waco town square as a crowd of 15,000 watched and cheered. Minutes earlier, the 17-year-old had been convicted in a brief trial of the rape and murder of a white woman, a crime to which authorities said he confessed.

Neither the county sheriff nor presiding judge did anything to stop the mob from dragging Washington from the stately domed McLennan County Courthouse, according to historical accounts. The mayor and police chief watched the gruesome spectacle as Fred Gildersleeve, Waco's most successful commercial photographer, took pictures that he sold as souvenirs...

The article goes on to explain that some Texans are trying to come to terms with this murderous past-- which is truly a good thing. Still, not all are on that page, and we get this fact:

Despite a history of 492 documented lynchings in Texas between 1882 and 1930 — ranking Texas third in the nation — no city in the state has erected a public memorial acknowledging the racial violence.

Same as it ever was.


Women suing because they did not get to meet Jesus Christ

The polygamists are at it again:

SALT LAKE CITY -- Two women claim they were bilked out of their life savings by an apocalyptic religious group that promised them land and a face-to-face meeting with Jesus Christ.

Thanks to Mike.


Mother charged with stabbing son, daughter to death


Tonya Vasilev, a woman described by friends as kind, caring and godly, was accused Friday of slaying her two children in a frenzied attack at their Hoffman Estates home.

Vasilev, 34, was charged with two counts of first degree murder in the Wednesday night deaths of her children Christian, 9, and Gracie, 3. Each was stabbed more than 100 times, authorities said...

Assistant State's Attorney Richard Karwaczka described for the court the scene that Vasilev's husband found when he and a friend walked into the family's suburban Chicago home around 9:20 Wednesday night.

In the kitchen, Nikolai Vasilev spotted his 9-year-old son, Christian, lying on the floor in a pool of blood, Karwaczka said. The father scooped him up and carried him to the front door, where he frantically called 911. Then he and the friend started up the stairs.

At the top of the stairs, they found the Vasilevs' 3-year-old daughter, Grace, dead from stab wounds, the prosecutor said.

``Right next to Grace was the defendant, Tonya, sitting there with a knife,'' he said.

The 34-year-old mother was taken to the police station for questioning, where she ``admitted stabbing her son and daughter at their residence,'' Karwaczka said.

Thanks to Joe for the heads-up.


Friday, April 29, 2005


Every egg is sacred

Such perversity among Catholics:

The protocol of six Catholic hospitals run by Centura calls for rape victims to undergo an ovulation test.

If they have not ovulated, said Centura corporate spokeswoman Dana Berry, doctors tell the victims about emergency contraception and write prescriptions for it if the patient asks.

If, however, the urine test suggests that a rape victim has ovulated, Berry continued, doctors at Centura's Catholic hospitals are not to mention emergency contraception. That means the victim can end up pregnant by her rapist.


Rape and enforced Christianity, hand-in-hand at the Air Force Academy

From the LA Times:

Religious intolerance is systemic and pervasive at the U.S. Air Force Academy and, if nothing changes, it could result in "prolonged and costly" litigation, according to a report issued Thursday by a group advocating strict separation of church and state.

The 14-page report listed incidents of mandatory prayers, proselytizing by teachers, insensitivity to religious minorities and allegations that evangelical Christianity is the preferred faith at the institution.

...the academy — which is recovering from rape and sexual assault scandals that broke out there two years ago — has acknowledged that some individuals have gone too far in pushing their faith. There have been 55 complaints of religious insensitivity over the last four years, often made by cadets who feel evangelical Christians dominate the institution.


Mayer school board member arrested in molestation case

CORDES LAKES, Ariz. ) - A member of the Mayer District school board has been booked for investigation of child molestation after being accused of having sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl, authorities said.


Thursday, April 28, 2005


White Supremacist Runs for School Board

What is it with Montana today?

McGuire, who calls himself a "European American activist" and rejects the label of white supremacist, says he believes he has more support in the community than many think. And he says he is committed to reforming Bozeman schools.

He says the schools promote homosexuality, strip parents of control over their children, ignore white students and promote other cultures at the expense of figures like George Washington and other founding fathers.

"White children are often installed with guilt and a feeling of being ashamed because of the way that whites have dealt with minorities in the past, such as black slavery and the killing of Indians," McGuire said in a telephone interview. "Past discrimination should not result in present-day reverse discrimination against white kids."

Thanks to Cy Guy for the heads-up.


Fla. Agency Gets Teen's Abortion Blocked

Poster Kirill comments:

In yet another brilliant example of right wing wisdom, the Florida Department of Children and Families has successfully blocked a 13-year old girl who is currently living in a state shelter from getting an abortion stating that they believe that she "is too young and immature to make an informed medical decision". However, she is obviously not too young and immature to have and raise a baby by herself.

Full story is here.


Finance, Christian-based

(Near as I can tell, "Christian Financial Services" is a loose affiliation of holy mackeral types thinking people will flock to their business services because they call themselves "christian.")

Kalispell businessman Richard Dasen charged with 14 prostitution-related crimes

KALISPELL, Mont. - Attorneys in the sex-crime case of a Kalispell businessman laid out a road map of sorts Wednesday, providing jurors a rough guide to what they can expect to hear over the coming weeks.

In opening statements, prosecutors portrayed Richard Arnold Dasen Sr., 62, as a predator, saying "this was someone who was in the business of keeping prostitutes."

Defense attorney George Best, however, painted Dasen as a successful and philanthropic businessman, with years of volunteerism in the community. "He was stupid and he was an adulterer," Best said. "But he did not commit a crime."

Dasen is, however, charged with crimes - 14 to be exact. He faces more than 350 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Charges include raping a juvenile girl, compelling juveniles into prostitution, sexually abusing children, encouraging women to become prostitutes, and entering into sex-for-money relationships.

He has been accused of using his loan offices, Christian Financial Services, to provide money to the girls, then expecting debt payment in the form of sex...

"The money and the sex are related," prosecutor Lori Adams told jurors during her opening statement Wednesday. That conclusion, she said, was reached after lengthy investigation and review of evidence, including statements Dasen made to police following his Feb. 7, 2004 arrest.

Adams listed a handful of children, ages 15 to 17, with whom Dasen is accused of having sexual relations.

Some he had sex with, she said, leading to the charge of rape, as juveniles are not, by law, capable of granting consent for sexual relations.

Some he photographed in sexual encounters, leading to the charge of sexual abuse.

And some he enticed, with cash, into performing sexual "shows" for his pleasure, which led to the charge of coercing children into prostitution.

Dasen, she said, should have known there was a "high probability" the girls were underaged. In fact, Adams said, one of the girls told Dasen she could not obtain financial assistance from a credit bureau "because of her age," yet she said Dasen later paid her $3,500 to have sex.

The remaining charges, Adams told jurors, are related to Dasen's alleged sex-for-money relationship with young adult women. Most, she said, were methamphetamine addicts, "desperately poor single women."


'Internet evangelist' held on child rape charges

DELAND, FLA. -- A self-described Internet evangelist who has preached about everything from morality to spirituality on his family's Web site was arrested Wednesday and charged with raping a child younger than 12.

Charles Michael Balfe, 60, was picked up at his job site at 84 Lumber in DeLand, DeLand Police Cmdr. Randel Henderson said. He is being held at the Volusia County Branch Jail without bail.

Balfe, married and the father of three, is accused in three warrants of raping a child younger than 12, Henderson said. The remaining counts accuse him of sexual battery, lewd and lascivious molestation and domestic violence... includes information promoting prayer in schools, a What Would Jesus Do? checklist and a discussion about heaven and hell.

The Web site also features a family portrait of Balfe, his wife and their three children and includes the question, "Do you see guardian angels in this picture?"


Rise in Child Abuse Called National 'Epidemic'


Every year, hundreds of thousands of children are abused and neglected in the United States. Child welfare specialists say it's an epidemic caused by mental illness, drug addiction and poverty.

Thanks to Petra for the heads-up.


Sunday, April 24, 2005



Welcome Eschaton visitors, and thanks to Atrios for the link. I'll be traveling in Europe until April 24th, so the site may not be up-to-date, but I'll post when I can. Please continue to send in those heartland stories, and check back.


Monday, April 11, 2005


Lincoln man charged with raping his minor 'wife'

Not much concern for child molestation in Kentucky, apparently. It reminds me of a woman I discovered in Arkansas whose father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were the same person. He was living just down the street, without concern to the neighbors or authorities. Anyway:

Friday's court appearance by registered sex offender Clarence Virgil Robinson, 44, wasn't the first time he has faced charges of molesting young girls.

According to the Lincoln commonwealth's attorney's office, Pulaski County authorities brought charges against Robinson in 1986 for the alleged sexual abuse of a child under the age of 12, and in 1988, he was indicted there on additional charges of first-degree rape of the same minor, still under the age of 12. In both cases, the charges were dropped after the victim was found not competent to testify due to her age.

Ten years ago in Lincoln County, two charges of sodomy were amended down to sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 12 after that victim was also found not competent to testify due to her age.

On Friday, Clarence Robinson, now of 16265 Ky. 1247, Stanford, pleaded not guilty in Lincoln Circuit Court to the most recent charges of three counts of second-degree rape of a minor under the age of 14, three counts of third-degree rape of that minor while she was under the age of 16, and one count of first-degree rape of the same alleged victim. The charge of first-degree rape can be brought if the assault was by forcible compulsion or if the minor was under 12 years old.

Robinson's live-in girlfriend, Lisa Robinson, also pleaded not guilty to seven counts of complicity to rape. She is no biological relation to Clarence Robinson.

Clarence Robinson told Judge Robert Gillum that the victim was his wife.

"A minor child is your wife?" Gillum asked.

"She's supposed to be 16 when we got married, judge," Robinson said.

It was later discovered Robinson's bride was only 15 at the time of the marriage in Tennessee, one year below the legal age limit there, so the marriage was not valid. Also, the biological father of the girl, who held joint custody at the time, did not sign the marriage certificate.

He fathered three children with victim

Robinson fathered three children with the victim, according to DNA tests obtained by Lincoln Commonwealth's Attorney Eddy Montgomery's office. The victim was under the age of 19 during each of the three pregnancies.


Let's not forget...

Eric Rudolf, who was, after all, a darling of the heartland:

Eric Rudolph has agreed to plead guilty to carrying out the deadly bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and setting off three other blasts in a deal that allows the anti-government extremist to escape the death penalty, the Justice Department said Friday...

As part of the deal, Rudolph provided authorities with the location of more than 250 pounds of dynamite buried in the mountains of North Carolina. Family members of bombing victims said they were angry that Rudolph will not get the death penalty but said they grudgingly went along with the deal in part to protect others from the explosives...

Rudolph, thought to be a follower of a white supremacist religion that is anti-abortion, anti-gay and anti-Semitic, was charged with carrying out a series of blasts in Georgia and Alabama in the late 1990s that killed two people and injured more than 120.


What is it with "radio personalities"?

Here's another one, in conservative Fresno:

A former Fresno radio and television personality may spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted on child molestation charges.

Nicholas Fanady, known as Nick Ryan, to listeners, was convicted yesterday of sex crimes against three boys.

The 62-year-old Fanady confessed on the witness stand to molesting one child and pleaded guilty to six misdemeanor counts of annoying or molesting young boys at a local park.


Former Cosmosphere director indicted on chrages of stealing space artifacts

This story is worth the list of missing items alone:

WICHITA, Kan. – Max Ary, the former director of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center has been indicted on charges of stealing artifacts from the space flight museum in Hutchinson, Kan., and selling them.

In an 11-count indictment, Ary is charged with two counts of wire fraud; three counts of mail fraud; two counts of theft of government property; and three counts of interstate transportation of stolen property. In an 11th count, the government seeks the forfeiture of any proceeds Ary obtained from the alleged crimes...

The list of artifacts Ary is alleged to have sold includes:

A nose cone.
A NASA silk screen
A photographic spot meter
An RX3 spacesuit component.
Apollo 8 silk screens.
An Apollo 11 silk screen.
An Apollo13 bus bar battery cable that had been flown in space.
A sextant crown assembly that had been flown in space.
An in-flight crew shirt.
An Air Force One control panel.
A Noun 70 Code panel, loaned to the Cosmosphere by NASA that had been flow in space. It sold for $3,400. On April 4, 2001, Ary signed a report to NASA falsely stating the panel was still in the museum's collection.
An Apollo 12 water shut-off valve that had been flown in space.
A rotation controller.
A purge valve for a spacesuit.
A film canister.
An Apollo 15 DDR tape that was loaned to the Cosmosphere by NASA. Ary sold the tape for $2,200. Ary later signed documents and submitted them to NASA falsely indicating that the tape was still in the museum's collection.

Thanks for the heads up from Ken, who notes, "Mr. Spock has a case of Vulcan redass and is pissed at BoBo."


Thursday, April 07, 2005


Gunman Shoots Texas H.S. Football Coach

CANTON, Texas - The father of a high school football player shot and wounded the team's coach with an assault rifle Thursday and fled in a pickup loaded with weapons, claiming to have a hit list, state officials said.

(Thanks to TJW)


Banned in Arkansas

BoBo dosn't like free speech. (Thanks to ICONICKI for the tip.)


Girl locked in room declared child in need of assistance

More Iowan family vaules:

A 10-year-old girl who was locked in her bedroom with no light, no furniture and no food on and off for more than a year will remain in state custody, county officials said.

The girl's father, Jon Neely, 38, and his girlfriend, Kimberly Holtmyer, 36, who have pleaded not guilty to charges of child endangerment, signed documents agreeing to leave the girl in foster care, Madison County Attorney Martin Ramsey said Wednesday....

The children were placed in foster care in February after authorities visited the home and found Neely's daughter locked in a room emptied of furniture, except for a television cabinet. There was no carpeting, aluminum foil covered the windows and light bulbs had been removed.

When found, she weighed just 59 pounds, 30 pounds below average weight for a child her age.


"Family relationships in the case are complex."

Indeed. (Thanks to Linda for the heads-up.)

The case of a teenager charged with two counts of first-degree murder for setting a fire that killed her brother and sister got more complicated when her mother acknowledged she is a bigamist.

Debbie Street said Tuesday that at the time of her marriage to Brian Street, who is charged with 10 counts of sex abuse in the case, she already was married to Steve Grothe. Street said she is still married to Grothe...

Family relationships in the case are complex.

Debbie Street's mother, Diane, is married to Brian Street's father. Brian Street's father also was once married to Dixie Shanahan Duty's mother.

Dixie Duty was convicted of second-degree murder by a Shelby County jury in 2004 for the shotgun slaying of her abusive husband, Scott Shanahan. Duty, who was remarried as she awaited trial, left her husband's body in a bedroom of their Defiance home for more than a year after she killed him in August 2002.

Diane Street said her husband and Dixie Duty's mother were married for 15 years, but Dixie and Brian did not grow up together.

"They're not related," Diane Street said of Duty and her stepson who also is her son-in-law. "They weren't raised together."

Steensland, Dyess' attorney, also represented Duty.

In addition, Diane Street said Tuesday that Kaleb Dyess, the dead 6-year-old, is the biological son of Debbie Street's adopted daughter, Tina Bombar. Diane Street said Debbie considered Kaleb her son.


Cop killer tells jury he acted 'out of patriotism'

Red Bluff is in Califonia's Central Valley, often refered to as "the Midwest of California," because its rural society reflects the patriotism and religious conservatism of the heartland.

The convicted killer of Red Bluff police officer David Mobilio testified Wednesday that he committed the murder to make a political statement against the erosion of American civil liberties, especially the right of citizens to bear arms.

"I did this out of patriotism," 26-year-old Andrew Hampton Mickel said, offering for the first time under oath a motivation for ambushing Mobilio while the officer was refueling his patrol car at a Red Bluff gas station in the early morning hours of Nov. 19, 2002.

"Our liberties are under attack," added Mickel, who shot Mobilio twice in the back and once in the head.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005


School Board VP Charged With Prostitution

ROUND ROCK, Texas - A school board member and prominent lawyer has been charged with prostitution, accused of offering legal services in exchange for sexual favors. Steven C. Copenhaver, 56, was released from jail Thursday on a $750 bond.

An arrest affidavit said Copenhaver offered to represent a woman's husband if she and her sister-in-law would perform sex acts with him and each other.


Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Military rape

Speaking of institutions that mishandle allegations of rape, here's an article about the Air Force rape scandal:

Confidentiality became a major issue of the Air Force Academy sexual assault scandal in 2003. Dozens of female cadets said they had been sexually assaulted, but that academy officials discouraged them from pursuing their cases and some found their names exposed when they reported to a cadet sexual assault hot line.

Many victims stopped reporting assaults at the academy...


Pastor resigns amid sexual misconduct complaint

Mike Fehlauer led one of the largest evangelical churches in Texas, and made his career lecturing about sex addiction...

A minister who wrote about how he overcame an addiction to prostitutes and pornography has resigned as senior pastor of a 4,000-member church after a woman accused him of sexual misconduct, church leaders said.

The resignation of Mike Fehlauer, senior pastor of The Tree of Life Fellowship, was announced to the congregation Sunday in an hourlong sermon delivered by Ted Haggard, president of the 30 million-member National Association of Evangelicals.

Haggard said a married woman wrote a letter about two weeks ago to the church board, detailing her allegations. Since there was only a lone accuser and no proof, the church board decided to dismiss the complaint and drop the investigation, he said.

However, the woman threatened to sue the church if Fehlauer did not resign, Haggard said.

"So that is when Mike confessed to misconduct and offered his resignation in exchange for the woman not pursuing legal action against the church," Haggard said. No lawsuit has been filed.


Ex-priest indicted on rape charges

The church covered up the crimes for ten years, and the priest went on to rape more children....

A former Massachusetts priest, who has served three years in prison for sexually abusing a child in New Hampshire, was indicted yesterday by a Suffolk grand jury in the alleged rape or sexual assault of five boys under age 10 beginning in the 1980s, prosecutors said...

The abuse allegedly occurred from the early 1980s through the early 1990s. After family members of the alleged victims approached church officials in 1991, the archdiocese dismissed Burns from his position as a priest, Conley said. Several of the alleged victims had served as altar boys.

Shortly after, Burns moved to New Hampshire and took a job in the real estate industry, said David Deakin, an assistant district attorney who investigated the Massachusetts allegations.

In 1996, Burns pleaded guilty to sexual assault in New Hampshire, where he served three years for indecent assault of a child and is now listed on the sex-offender registry, prosecutors said.

Three years later, around the time he finished serving his sentence, the Vatican officially defrocked Burns.

Prosecutors first learned of the allegations in 2002...


Middle America church mentoring

In Fort Wayne, Indiana:

An Allen Superior Court judge denied a sentence reduction request by a 34-year-old man convicted of having sex with a teenager whom he mentored through church and who had baby-sit his children...


And in other other Catholic news...

Is Alaska the American heartland? Well, it votes like it is. Regardless, on top of all native people's other problems, and despite denials, it looks like the Catholic church had a policy of sending "problem" priests to work with indigenous people in the frozen north:

The Roman Catholic Church said Monday it has reached a settlement with a woman who accused a Nome priest of molesting her in the 1970s.

The Rev. John D. Whitney, provincial supervisor of the Society of Jesus, Oregon Province, acknowledged that the Rev. James Poole had abused a victim. Whitney apologized on behalf of the church...

Attorney Ken Roosa said early last month that the church had settled the case with his client, Elsie Boudreau, who now lives in the Anchorage area. Roosa repeated Monday that the settlement was for about $1 million...

Boudreau accused Poole of kissing and fondling her dozens of times, starting in 1978 during summer visits to Nome and lasting until she was 16. The abuse included heavy petting and having her lie on top of him, according to her lawsuit.

Poole, 81, founded KNOM radio in Nome. He arrived in Alaska in 1948 as a seminarian. He was assigned to Holy Cross, Pilot Station, Marshall, Mountain Village, St. Marys, Barrow and Nome over a 40-year career. Poole now lives in a Jesuit retirement community in Spokane, Wash...

[Whitney] said Jesuits never knowingly sent abusive priests to rural Alaska.

"We do not believe that the Society of Jesus ever intentionally send problem priests to Native villages," he said. "We recognize that in the last 100-plus years Jesuits have been in Alaska, some of the 300 who have served here failed in our relationship with Native peoples — failed not just in matters of sexual abuse, but in cultural sensitivity and support, as well."

The church has tried to grow and learn with the Native communities, he said.

The Oregon Province covers Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Alaska. In the past 50 years, 16 priests have been accused of misconduct with minors out of the more than 600 Jesuits in the ministry, Whitney said.


Sunday, April 03, 2005


Meanwhile, in other Catholic news...

Fort Worth diocese settles molestation case

Church will pay $1.4 million to man who accused priest

FORT WORTH, Texas — The Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese has reached a $1.4 million out-of-court settlement with a Texas man who alleged that a priest molested him when he was a minor.

The lawsuit, filed against the dioceses of Fort Worth and Worcester, Mass., contends that Fort Worth Bishop Joseph P. Delaney knew that the Rev. Thomas Teczar posed a threat to children because of a “sexual interest” in adolescents, according to court documents.

Before moving to the Fort Worth area, Teczar had worked as a priest in the Worcester Diocese, where he was forced out after being accused of inappropriate behavior with a teenage boy.


Saturday, April 02, 2005


Pastor accused of affair with 12-year-old

Apparently, child rape means "affair" to this Texas headline writer...

A Grand Prairie pastor faces seven counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child after a 12-year-old Arlington girl told her mother that she had been involved with the man, police said.

Jerry N. Castle Jr., 25, was Dallas County Jail with bail set at $350,000. He is pastor of Faith Tabernacle Church on Aggie Drive in Grand Prairie.

On Sunday, police investigating a suspicious vehicle call found Castle kissing a 12-year-old girl in the 2000 block of Hunter Place Court in north Arlington. Castle was arrested on traffic warrants and the girl was released to her mother, said Detective John Brimmer, a Grand Prairie police spokesman.

Castle was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of sexual assault after the girl told her mother they had been having sex at his Grand Prairie home during spring break.

"She was adamant that it was consensual. As you know, 12-year-olds can not legally give consent," Brimmer said.


Another church choir director arrested for child molestation

Again, in Texas:

A Catholic summer school teacher and volunteer church choir director has confessed to sexually abusing two brothers — including at least one incident in a classroom — over a period of nearly 10 years, Harris County Sheriff's officials said Friday.

Stuart Alan Murphy, 57, who volunteered as a choir director for Annunciation Catholic Church in downtown Houston and taught summer school at the Cardinal Newman School, faces two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and four counts of indecency with a child, according to court records...

According to probable cause affidavits, the brothers were 6 and 12 when the alleged abuse began. The two are now 14 and 22.


A subculture of sex

Dakota Ridge High School , in Colorado is the kind of place the values crowd dreams about. But the real story comes out:

A handful of teachers used their positions to "groom" young female students for eventual sexual relationships, according to a 300-page report of witness statements compiled by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office into accusations against a single teacher.

The investigative report, obtained this week by the Rocky Mountain News, contains reports of teachers drinking at parties with students, of girls visiting the rooms of coaches during out-of-town trips and of teachers developing platonic friendships with students that became sexual relationships shortly after graduation.

The investigation resulted in the conviction of former Dakota Ridge teacher and tennis coach Kevin Ponis, who is serving a prison sentence of 11-years to life for having had an ongoing sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student.

Two other former students told investigators they also had trysts with Ponis after they turned 18 but had fallen under the coach's spell while they were still minors.

Although Ponis was the only teacher charged, his pattern of luring students into eventual sexual relationships was shared by at least two other teachers, according to the report. They no longer have jobs with the school district.

Others also were accused of similar behavior in the witness statements, but those charges could not be substantiated.


Friday, April 01, 2005


Child rape as a family affair

In Wichita, Kansas:

Family charged in sexual assaults

A father, a mother and two of their sons face criminal charges in relation to the sexual assaults of three younger girls in their family.

The charges of rape and abuse that came out this week in Sedgwick County District Court involve a divorced couple, their 18-year-old son and his 16-year-old brother.

The brothers stand accused of raping their three sisters. The father also is accused of raping the girls. Two are twins, now 14 years old. The other is 12.


Priest is suspect in double-murder

In Hudson, Wisconsin:

After more than 2,000 interviews in three years, Hudson police say they are close to finishing a double-murder investigation. They plan to meet with prosecutors and go public about the case in mid-April. Dan O'Connell and James Ellison were shot to death at the O'Connell Family Funeral Home in February 2002...

Late last year, police turned their attention to Father Ryan Erickson. He worked at St. Patrick's Church in Hudson in 2002. Not long after police interviewed Father Erickson, he committed suicide.


Augusta legislator's son charged with child molestation

In Georgia:

The son of an influential Augusta lawmaker is in the Richmond County Jail on child molestation charges.

William Wesley Burmeister, 23, of Clayton County was arrested in an aggravated child molestation case Wednesday afternoon, said Richmond County sheriff's Maj. Ken Autry.
Burmeister is the eldest of four children of Rep. Sue Burmeister (R-Augusta).

The lawmaker, a conservative Christian, has carried some of the Republican Party's most important legislation, including HB 188, requiring the publication of photographs of convicted sex offenders in local newspapers. Burmeister ushered that bill to final passage Thursday.


Ind. Business Told to Hide Nude Statues

For comic relief, I suppose:

Edinburgh, Ind. (AP)

The Venus de Milo had better wear a top and Michelangelo's David should put on some pants if they're going to be seen at a yard art business.

Bartholomew County officials told the business near Interstate 65 that it must move cement copies of the classical statues — and about 10 others — out of public view because they are obscene under Indiana law.


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