National Roundunp

Mom gets 723 years for sexually abusing children

DECATUR, Ala. (AP) — A Georgia woman convicted of sexually abusing her daughters has been sentenced to more than 700 years in prison, authorities said.

Lisa Marie Lesher, 41, of Carrollton, Georgia, was sentenced Monday to 723 years in prison, the maximum allowed by law in the case, Morgan County District Attorney Scott Anderson said.

Lesher was convicted Oct. 1 of two counts of first-degree rape, four counts of first-degree sodomy, one count of second-degree sodomy, one count of sexual torture and one count of first-degree sexual abuse. Testimony at trial revealed that Lesher and her husband, Michael, abused her daughter and stepdaughter for several years when they lived in Falkville, Alabama, WIAT-TV  reported.

Lesher was sentenced to 99 years on each count of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, and sexual torture. She received a 20-year sentence for second-degree sodomy and a 10-year sentence for first-degree sexual abuse. Judge Stephen F. Brown ordered each count to run consecutively, for a total of 723 years in the Department of Corrections.

Michael Lesher was convicted in the case last year and sentenced to 438 years in prison.

“We are thrilled with the sentence in this case,” Assistant District Attorney Courtney Schellack said. “The victims suffered for years living with these monsters, and have suffered with the consequences of their actions for over a decade. The sentence, in this case, was well deserved, and gives the victims a sense of closure.”

Chicago-area sportswear chain to pay $420,000 to settle suit

CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago area chain of sportswear stores has agreed to pay $420,000 to settle a civil rights lawsuit that alleged the company refused to hire more Blacks and Hispanics and promote those who already worked there.

In its 2017 lawsuit, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleged that City Sports gave preferential treatment to Korean candidates and subjected two Black employees to racial slurs and other harassment. The lawsuit covers City Sports stores in Chicago and its stores in the suburbs of Bolingbrook, North Riverside, Harvey and Crest Hill.

The Chicago Tribune reports that Palm USA, which does business as City Sports, denies the allegations but told reporters in a written notice that it decided to settle to avoid more legal costs.

Besides paying the money to 19 current and former employees, the company has agreed to hire a human resources consultant to help make sure race, ethnicity and national origin are not considered in hiring decisions. The settlement also calls for the company to provide all employees anti-discrimination and anti-harassment training.

City to pay $2.5M to settle police corruption claims

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore officials are set to approve nearly $2.5 million in payments to resolve claims that officers in a rogue police unit brutalized, robbed and falsely arrested residents.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the city’s Board of Estimates is scheduled Wednesday to approve payments to 11 people in a second round of settlements related to the police department’s corruption-plagued Gun Trace Task Force. The latest round of payments would raise the total to $2.7 million for 21 people who sued.

“It’s high time that they atone for the city’s behavior,” said Baltimore attorney Latoya Francis-Williams, who represents a man set to receive a $500,000 settlement.

Her client, Garfield Redd, was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison in 2007 for a firearm-related conviction. His lawsuit claims police planted a gun on him. Redd remains in prison.

“We’re grateful that Mr. Redd is able to put this portion of his tragic event behind him, but he is still on the path to clearing his name,” Francis-Williams said.

City Solicitor Dana Moore’s office said in a statement included on the Board of Estimates’ agenda that it believes the settlements are “in the best interest of both the city and the plaintiffs who may have been harmed.”

“As with all lawsuits, the law department analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of each case upon receipt of the complaint,” the city’s attorneys wrote.

Eight former members of the task force were convicted of racketeering and sentenced to federal prison.

Judge orders church to stop indoor services

A California judge Monday ordered a San Jose church to stop holding weekly indoor services for hundreds of people, granting county officials a restraining order against the church that has accrued more than $350,000 in fines for violating coronavirus shutdown orders.

Santa Clara County last week filed for a restraining order against Calvary Chapel San Jose and Pastor Mike McClure over the weekly services that attract about 600 people who don’t wear masks or social distance.

Under the county health order, indoor gatherings for religious or any other purposes are limited to 100 people, face coverings must be worn, and social distancing requirements must be followed. The San Jose-based church has been hosting weekly indoor church services with approximately 600 people who do not wear face coverings or socially distance from one another.

“The Court agreed with the County that Calvary’s manner of hosting indoor gatherings poses a threat of a large outbreak, and it explained that Calvary must comply with the same set of rules that apply to the rest of the community,” county officials said in a statement.

County officials spent months trying to work with church representatives to get them to come into compliance voluntarily and issued fines when they refused, official said.

“The County fully supports the right to worship, and the health orders create a pathway for religious institutions to do so in a safer manner that helps protect the community’s wellbeing during a pandemic,” said Santa Clara County Counsel James Williams.

Mariah Gondeiro, an attorney representing McClure and the church, said the ruling was disappointing and that shutting down the church is unnecessary.

“The reality is, the church has not experienced one known COVID-19 case,” Gondeiro said. “Pastor Mike McClure’s church has been a refuge for so many hurting people suffering from anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of suicide.”