National Roundup

Pennsylvania

Penn State to look at sexual misconduct cases

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - A Penn State task force is recommending the university change how it handles sexual misconduct, suggesting the school devote an investigator and other staff to the cases.

The university's Task Force on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment made its report public Thursday, saying all campuses should move away from the traditional hearing process and instead having a group of faculty and staff review an investigator's work.

The panel also suggests Penn State release more detailed data including student conduct sanctions, and that it replace a hotline with a better way for people to make reports and complaints.

The group also endorses improving staff training and expanding victim services at campuses outside University Park.

The recommendations are in the hands of Penn State president Eric Barron, who convened the task force.

Maryland

Family upset over inmate's death 1 week after release

DENTON, Md. (AP) - The family of a man found dead under a bridge a week after he was released from jail on Maryland's Eastern Shore is blaming the detention facility for contributing to his death.

The family of Scott deNagy, 49, say they believe a lack of communication and a lack of an inmate-release plan at the Caroline County jail played a part in deNagy's death this month. DeNagy's body was found under a bridge in Denton on Jan. 19, a week after he was released from the jail. Police say there were no signs of foul play.

Ruth Colbourne, the jail's warden, said she and the jail staff are sorry deNagy died, but that corrections officials aren't allowed to inform family of an inmate's release date. That's up to individual inmates, Colbourne told The Star Democrat.

Online court records show deNagy had been serving time in jail after he pleaded guilty to malicious destruction of property.

DeNagy's sister, Tracy Lea of Taneytown, said her brother suffered from mental illness and substance abuse issues that began after he was injured more than 15 years ago.

Lea said things had been looking up for deNagy in the past year after he finally got medical treatment and medication after the nation's new health care law went into effect. While in jail, DeNagy also got medication to control diabetes, high blood pressure, and for the first time in his life, depression, Lea said.

Lea had been working with a mental health clinic to assess deNagy ahead of his release to come up with a treatment plan and had secured a bed for him at a mental health recovery program in the area.

But then deNagy was released from jail earlier than expected, learning on Jan. 9 that he'd be released on Jan. 12.

DeNagy's family said that upon his release, he chose not to call them.

Instead, deNagy walked from the jail to the Maryland Department of Human Resources and said he needed a ride to the Salvation Army homeless shelter in Dorchester County.

Lea said officials the agency offered deNagy a free bus token to get to Cambridge, but he didn't want to take it. DeNagy then left the office, and that was the last known time he was seen alive.

His family members say they felt more should have been done to make sure deNagy made it somewhere safe.

"How do you put a guy to the curb when they know his family members are actively seeking beds?" John deNagy said. "We can do better than this - just putting a guy out without any kind of mechanism in place to help with his landing."

Although corrections officials may not notify anyone of an inmate's release, Colbourne said the jail bought shoes and socks for deNagy and allowed him to call relatives after his mother died on Nov. 24 while he was being held in jail.

"Everyone - staff and inmates at this detention center - are extremely sorry with regard to the demise of Mr. deNagy," she said.

DeNagy's was the sixth and youngest child of the late Georges and Florence deNagy. The couple adopted him when he was about 2 years old, and the family lived in Federalsburg.

Illinois

Professor who lost job offer over Twitter sues

CHICAGO (AP) - A professor who lost a University of Illinois job offer over his profane, anti-Israel Twitter messages has sued the university's board of trustees and key administrators to try to get that job.

Steven Salaita filed his lawsuit Thursday in Chicago.

In it he asks the court for an order letting him go to work at the University of Illinois' Urbana-Champaign campus. He also seeks unspecified monetary damages.

A university spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Salaita was offered a job teaching Native American Studies starting last August. The offer was rescinded after he wrote the Twitter messages. Some university donors complained they were anti-Semitic.

Salaita left a job at Virginia Tech University to come to Illinois but his hiring hadn't yet been approved by the trustees.

Missouri

Custody dispute cited in shooting at area pizzeria

ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) - A man was shot several times during his daughter's first birthday party at a Chuck E. Cheese's restaurant in suburban St. Louis, in a simmering custody dispute, police said.

A witness told police that the mother, Aesian Anunique Clay, said to her child, "Say your last goodbye to your daddy because he is going to die today," the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Police offered a chilling account of the shooting Monday night at the family-friendly pizzeria in St. Charles. The child's father was seriously injured after being shot several times in the lower body, but is expected to recover.

Clay, 20, is jailed on $50,000 bond on assault charges, though authorities say it was her boyfriend who pulled the trigger. Police say Clay refused to name him. Officers are searching for the boyfriend and others who were with him at the time of the shooting.

Clay was angry with the child's father because he failed to take her on a visitation day, police said.

Court documents indicate Clay told the father during an argument at the party that he better have a gun. She then called her boyfriend and told him to bring a weapon to the pizzeria, a witness told police.

Clay's boyfriend arrived a short time later with another man and a woman, and shot the child's father, police said. No one else was hurt.

Police searched Clay's phone and said they found several photographs of Clay with the gunman, including many in which the couple took turns holding a handgun with an extended capacity magazine. Police weren't sure if it was the gun used in the attack.

Published: Fri, Jan 30, 2015

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