National Roundup

Delaware
Police: Man assaults, ­kidnaps ­octogenarian couple

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. (AP) - Police in Delaware say an 82-year-old man obliged a stranger's request for a glass of water, only to end up bundled in a trunk.

Citing a Delaware State Police release, news outlets report 28-year-old Steven Snell entered a Rehoboth Beach Yacht and Country Club home on Saturday and asked if he could use the phone and have a drink of water. Court documents say he then assaulted the man and his 81-year-old wife.

Authorities say Snell drove the couple to an ATM and made the woman withdraw money before fleeing with the man still in the trunk. The wife called police, who located Snell's car and the man.

Snell was later arrested and charged with multiple offenses. It's unclear whether he has lawyer.

The woman was uninjured, and the man was treated at the scene.

Pennsylvania
Bucknell drops references to Moonves in wake of allegations

LEWISBUG, Pa. (AP) - Bucknell University has removed references on its website to alumnus and CBS chief executive Les Moonves amid sexual harassment allegations against him.

The New Yorker magazine published the allegations from several women Friday.

PennLive.com reports Bucknell President John Bravman said in a letter to the university community that the school "will not stand for sexual misconduct - on campus or beyond."

According to the school's website, Moonves, a 1971 graduate, gave the school's commencement address in 2016.

Links to stories on the speech and other news mentioning Moonves appeared on the website Monday morning, but the stories had been removed.

Moonves has acknowledged he may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances years ago, but that he never misused his position to hinder anyone's career.

North Carolina
Entire police force suspended after chief charged

SOUTHPORT, N.C. (AP) - All police operations have been suspended in a North Carolina town in the aftermath of public corruption charges levied against its chief and an officer.

Southport Mayor Jerry Dove tells WECT-TV that he and the city board last week asked the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office to assume all law enforcement functions until further notice. Brunswick County District Attorney Jon David said Thursday that Police Chief Gary Smith and Lt. Mike Simmons had a "habitual and repeated pattern" of leaving their police posts for work at a trucking company.

They were arrested Thursday, the same day multiple search warrants were executed at the police department, town hall and trucking company.

The department's website says six others make up the force.

David says some officers were whistleblowers. All officers are on paid administrative leave.

Montana
Judge allows ­lawsuit against Crow nursing home to proceed

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A federal judge will allow a woman's lawsuit, which claims that the leaders of the Crow tribe's nursing home conspired to fire her for reporting that a patient had been molested, to proceed.

U.S. District Judge Susan Watters' order on Wednesday denied the Montana tribe-owned Awe Kualawaache Care Center's attempt to dismiss the lawsuit on grounds that the federal court has no jurisdiction over Tammy Wilhite's claims.

Wilhite is a former nurse at the 40-bed nursing home in Crow Agency who was fired on March 29 by the center's board of directors for having a gun in her car, according to the lawsuit.

That was a pretext, wrote Wilhite attorney Michael Eakin.

"The true reason for the discharge was (Wilhite's) report to law enforcement authorities concerning patient abuse," Eakin said in the lawsuit.

A patient told Wilhite that he had been molested by a nursing home employee while he was being transported, and Wilhite told the home's administrator, according to the lawsuit.

The administrator, Carla Catolster, told other staff not to speak of the accusation and an employee threatened to kick the patient out of the home, the lawsuit said.

Wilhite then reported the allegations to the state Department of Public Health and Human Services, which is responsible for investigating nursing home abuse, the lawsuit said.

Wilhite was later locked out of the apartment the center rented for her, according to the lawsuit. On March 29, the board called her to a meeting where they fired her for having a gun in her car, which she denied.

A person who answered the phone at the nursing home said Catolster no longer works there. The new administrator, board member and defendant Paul Littlelight, declined to comment while the lawsuit is pending, he said Friday.

A report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid found that nursing home staff failed to act on a patient's allegations of sexual assault in July 2017 by a staff member who had a criminal history of assault, according to the Billings Gazette.

The report said the man needed transportation services from the home because he was wheelchair-bound, and that the employee rubbed his genitals as she was buckling his seat belt.

The report concluded that the nursing home failed to implement and uphold the policies and procedures to prevent abuse and neglect, but corrected the deficiencies as of April 20.

That employee denied the allegations and she remained on the staff until March, according to the report. She drove the patient to appointments at least twice in the following months, the report said.

Wilhite has filed civil racketeering charges against the nursing home, Catolster, Littlelight and three other board members, on grounds that they conspired to retaliate against her for reporting a crime to law enforcement.

Nursing home attorney Michael Rausch claimed that tribes are exempt from federal racketeering charges and that the matter should be litigated in tribal court, not federal court.

But Watters said in her order that Rausch was mistaken in his reading of the law, and that her court does have jurisdiction over Wilhite's claims.

Published: Tue, Jul 31, 2018

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