National Roundup

Teen’s locker-room rape case to be sent to juvenile court

DAMASCUS, Md. (AP) — The case against one of four Maryland teens charged as adults with rape in a Damascus High School locker room attack is now being sent to juvenile court.

The Washington Post reports Friday’s ruling is the first of requests by the teens attempting to have their adult cases sent to the juvenile system.

Authorities say the teens restrained four 14-year-olds before an October football practice and raped them or attempted to rape them with broomsticks. A fifth teen was charged with rape as a juvenile.

Judge Steven G. Salant said Friday that the 15-year-old believed the attack was an acceptable prank within the school’s sports program. He said he would’ve kept the case in the adult system based on the allegations, but state law recognizes that juveniles differ from adults.

North Carolina
Group takes on death penalty in friend-of-the-court brief

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A former Superior Court judge is among those asking the North Carolina Supreme Court to find the death penalty unconstitutional because its rare use means it serves no purpose.

In a friend-of-the-court brief , the group also argues that the death penalty is “cruel or unusual” under the state constitution.  The Promise of Justice Initiative filed the brief Friday.

The American Civil Liberties Union said in a news release that former Superior Court Judge Leon Stanback signed the brief, as did former District Attorney Rob Corbett and former Wake County Chief Homicide Detective Steve Hale.

The group filed its brief in the case of Rayford Burke, a North Carolina death row prisoner who’s challenging his sentence under the state’s Racial Justice Act. Legislators repealed the act in 2013.

Supreme Court: Defendants must be allowed to present cases

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The state Supreme Court says defendants must be allowed to present their cases in court.

The ruling involves a 2016 Milwaukee case. State officials alleged a man identified as Mr. K in court documents had abandoned his children and should be stripped of his parental rights.

The state presented its arguments during a bench trial. Before Mr. K could present his case, Judge Christopher Foley ruled he had abandoned the children and later that day terminated his rights.

The Supreme Court ruled 4-2 on Tuesday that denying Mr. K a chance to present his case is a structural error so harmful that it warrants automatic reversal.

Man admits killing 13-year-old while he was high on meth

ASHTABULA, Ohio (AP) — Prosecutors say a convicted sex offender who admitted killing a 13-year-old Ohio girl while high on methamphetamine has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Ashtabula County Prosecutor Nick Iarocci says the plea spares 48-year-old John Richard Bove from a potential death penalty but also spares Kara Zdanczewski’s family from a recounting of her 2017 murder.

Bove pleaded guily Friday to charges including aggravated murder and rape.

Messages seeking comment were left with Bove’s attorneys.

WEWS-TV reports a police affidavit indicates Bove told investigators he took the girl intending to trade her back to her family in exchange for a drug debt her father owed.

Her body was later found in a field roughly 50 miles (80 kilometers) northeast of Cleveland.

Boys’ dares lead to sex battery reports at schools

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities say male students at Casper-area middle and high schools have been daring each other to inappropriately touch female classmates, leading to about 15 reports of sexual battery.

Casper Police Sgt. Scott Jones tells the Casper Star-Tribune that the boys have been singling out girls in a “game” that involves touching them in their “intimate” areas.

Jones says the victims have ranged from sixth-graders to high school seniors. He says there are likely more victims who have not come forward yet.

The Natrona County School District alerted parents and the community of the behavior in an email last week.

District spokeswoman Tanya Southerland says some schools have already disciplined students.

Jones says police have issued court summons to several male students. Sexual battery is a misdemeanor offense.

Sex assault ­victims prompted to waive rights to ­investigation

TOWSON, Md. (AP) — A Baltimore Sun survey found Baltimore-area police departments prompted sexual assault victims to waive their rights to an investigation more than 200 times in 2017 and 2018. The newspaper reports that the practice is contrary to guidance from experts and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault Executive Director Lisae Jordan called the practice “totally and completely inappropriate,” citing the impaired decision-making and memory that often accompanies recent trauma.

Of the 223 waivers, Baltimore County reported the highest number at 172. The newspaper reported that in one instance, a victim signed a waiver while still under the influence of alcohol. She has joined a class action lawsuit alleging county authorities have a systemic indifference to sexual violence.

Baltimore County police say they’re ending the practice.

Newspaper calls for resurgence of KKK

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A small Alabama newspaper is advocating for the resurgence of America’s most feared white supremacist terrorist organization, the Ku Klux Klan.

An editorial published last week by The Democrat-Reporter of Linden, Alabama, begins with the line: “Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again.”

The editorial says Democrats and “Democrats in the Republican Party” are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama, so the Klan should raid the “gated communities” where they live.

The editor and publisher of the paper, Goodloe Sutton, tells the Montgomery Advertiser that he wrote the Feb. 14 opinion piece and stands by it.

During an interview, Sutton suggested lynchings as a way to clean up Washington. Sutton also questioned whether the KKK is violent, saying it “didn’t kill but a few people.”