National Roundup

School shooting suspect won’t be tried as an adult

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A prosecutor said Tuesday that a 13-year-old student accused of wounding a teacher and a classmate in a shooting at a suburban Indianapolis middle school will not be tried as an adult because of his age.

Hamilton County Prosecutor D. Lee Buckingham said the boy would have faced 11 counts in adult court, including attempted murder and aggravated battery. He said the teen’s case cannot be heard in adult court under current Indiana law because his alleged attempt to commit murder wasn’t successful.

Buckingham said someone as young as 12 can be tried as an adult for murder, but the statute has been interpreted to not include attempted murder.

Prosecutors filed a petition Tuesday alleging he is a delinquent child. He is to appear in court June 11.

He’s accused of shooting science teacher Jason Seaman and 13-year-old Ella Whistler on May 25 at Noblesville West Middle School. Seaman has been credited with helping to stop the attack.

Seaman was released from a hospital the following day.

Ella remains hospitalized and faces a lengthy recovery after being shot seven times, including in her face, neck and upper chest, her family said Monday. She also suffered collapsed lungs, significant nerve damage and several broken bones.

Authorities have said the boy was armed with two handguns when he entered Seaman’s classroom and began shooting.

The school is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Indianapolis.

Family of woman killed by police officer files suit

CHICAGO (AP) — The family of a 34-year-old woman fatally shot by a suburban Chicago police officer is suing, saying non-lethal devices were available to subdue her.

DeCynthia Clements was killed in March after a police chase and hourlong standoff. Officers say Clements set her car on fire and emerged with a knife. Elgin police Lt. Christian Jensen shot her three times.

The federal lawsuit filed Wednesday says the officers learned Clements was mentally ill during the standoff, and could have used a stun gun or rubber bullets instead.
The lawsuit names the city of Elgin, Jensen and other Elgin officers.

Lawyers say the police actions raise questions about racial profiling and demonstrate “blatant and unnecessary use of deadly force.” Clements was African-American.

Elgin officials say they will comment after reviewing the lawsuit.

Transgender librarian files suit over state health policy

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A transgender woman filed a discrimination lawsuit Tuesday against the state of Alaska, saying she was denied coverage for medically necessary surgical treatment.

The federal lawsuit, filed on behalf of Jennifer Fletcher, claimed the state health insurance plan excludes coverage for surgical treatment for gender dysphoria.

The lawsuit stated that because the only people who require medically necessary care to treat gender dysphoria are transgender, denying coverage discriminates against transgender people.

Fletcher, 36, works as a legislative librarian in Juneau. She has been forced to pay thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs for health care expenses not covered by her insurance plan, said the lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages.

The lawsuit also wants a judge to find that the state violated Fletcher’s rights.

Cori Mills, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Law, said in an email that the department will review the complaint and respond accordingly, once served.

Similar lawsuits have been filed in other states, including Wisconsin.

Fletcher’s lawsuit argues that an exclusion of coverage for transition-related care dates to at least 1979, “when understanding of transgender people was far more limited.”

Peter Renn, a senior attorney with Lambda Legal and one of Fletcher’s attorneys, called the policy “antiquated, irrational and downright cruel.”

“Imagine if you were limited to health care treatment from 40 years ago. That would be unthinkable,” he said. He noted the state medical  plan has recently started covering transition-related hormone therapy as medically necessary.

Convicted child rapist set for release facing new charges

BOSTON (AP) — A 70-year-old convicted child rapist from Massachusetts who was set to be released from custody after two experts concluded he was no longer “sexually dangerous” will remain locked up after he was arrested Wednesday for indecent exposure and lewd acts, authorities said.

The Massachusetts Department of Correction said the new charges for Wayne Chapman stem from acts Sunday and Monday at the prison where he’s being held. A lawyer for some of Chapman’s victims said she was told Chapman exposed himself to a nurse.

Chapman initially was convicted in 1977. He lured young boys into the woods by pretending he was searching for his missing dog and then sexually assaulted them, court records say. A court found Chapman had at least 50 victims, and Chapman has said he raped up to 100 children, said Wendy Murphy, an attorney for some of the victims.

“Today’s arrest provides the one point we have been trying to make all along, which is this is not an elderly man with a walker,” said Murphy, who filed an emergency petition with the state’s highest court Monday to keep Chapman locked up. “This is a very dangerous man who in his own words has raped up to 100 children.”

Chapman’s lawyer, Eric Tennen, said this week Chapman can’t live independently because of health issues and was seeking a bed in a facility that can address his medical needs. Tennen didn’t immediately return a phone message Wednesday from The Associated Press but told The Boston Globe he had not been made aware of Chapman’s arrest and had “literally no idea what is going on.”

Chapman’s impending release sparked outrage from Chapman’s victims and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker. Prison officials had said in court documents their hands were tied because two examiners found Chapman is no longer dangerous.

Chapman’s prison sentence ended in 2004, but Massachusetts, like many other states, allows officials to civilly commit certain inmates after their terms are over if they are deemed “sexually dangerous.”

Justice Scott Kafker of the Supreme Judicial Court said in a ruling released Monday that Chapman’s victims were “understandably upset and frightened” about his potential release, but he said Chapman had to be freed because the proper requirements were followed under the law.


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