National Roundup

Penn State ex-president reports to jail in Sandusky scandal

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — Former Penn State president Graham Spanier has reported to jail early to begin serving his sentence for child endangerment in a case stemming from the Jerry Sandusky child sexual abuse scandal.

Spanier reported to Centre County Correctional Facility, several miles from the Penn State campus, on Monday morning, the warden, Christopher Schell, said Thursday.

A judge upheld Spanier’s sentence last month and ordered him to begin serving at least two months in the county jail by July 9 for a single misdemeanor conviction of endangering the welfare of children.

After Spanier is released, he will spend two months on house arrest with electronic monitoring.

Spanier’s attorney declined comment.

Spanier was charged over his response to a 2001 report that Sandusky, a former Penn State assistant football coach, had been spotted showering alone with a boy in a team locker room.

Spanier has said the abuse of the boy was characterized to him as horseplay. He and other top administrators did not notify police, and Spanier wrote in an email at the time that “the only downside for us is if the message isn’t ‘heard’ and acted upon, and we then become vulnerable for not having reported it.”

Spanier was charged in 2012 and was convicted by a jury in 2017, but appeals had allowed him to stay out of jail.

Spanier, 72, did not testify at his trial, but spoke at sentencing, telling the judge that he regretted not intervening more forcefully.

Two other former Penn State administrators pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child endangerment and served similar jail sentences.

Sandusky is serving 30 to 60 years for sexually abusing children.

City reaches $600K settlement in police killing

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Lawyers for the family of a 24-year-old man announced this week that they’ve reached a settlement with the city of Portland for a police shooting in 2017 that left Terrell Johnson dead.

The $600,000 settlement must still be approved by the Portland City Council, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

On May 10, 2017, Portland Police Officer Samson Ajir shot and killed Johnson at a MAX light-rail station in Southeast Portland. At the time, Johnson was experiencing a mental health crisis, according to the family’s attorney Juan Chavez. The city’s attorney has disputed that.

The U.S. Department of Justice sued the city of Portland in 2012 over its use of force against people experiencing a mental health crisis. The two governments have entered into a settlement agreement.

A bystander at the light rail station that day called officers, concerned about Johnson after he allegedly chased a 17-year-old. The teen later said Johnson had a knife. When police arrived, Johnson ran and Ajir chased him.

When Ajir was a few feet away, Johnson turned around holding a box cutter and slashed at Ajir, according to a 2019 report by the OIR Group, which the city hired to review police shootings.

Ajir unholstered his gun while walking backward, hit a curb and started to fall backward according to the OIR report.

“According to Officer Ajir’s statement, he fired one shot as he was falling, and the subject continued to slash out and move toward him.” Ajir fired a total of four times and struck Johnson with three bullets, two in the back.

Johnson died at the scene. The family filed a civil lawsuit in 2019.

Gym teacher accused of rape files counterclaim

DUXBURY, Mass. (AP) — A former Massachusetts middle school gym teacher, accused in a lawsuit of raping a student years ago, has filed a counterclaim against the parents who sued him.

John Blake, a former Duxbury Middle School teacher, in his counterclaim alleges that Joseph and Melissa Foley engaged in a campaign of “character assassination” against him, caused him to lose his job and be held up to “scorn” and “ridicule,” The Patriot Ledger reported Thursday.

Blake, who was also the varsity boys hockey coach at Duxbury High School for nearly two decades, was placed on administrative leave in November after the Foleys alleged that he sexually assaulted their son while he was in middle school in the mid-2000s.

The Foleys filed a $1 million lawsuit against Blake and the school district.

Their son, Joseph Parker Foley, died of an accidental drug overdose last October at age 27.

Blake was fired in early April. He does not face any criminal charges and has repeatedly denied all allegations.

The school district in a response to the counterclaim said an independent review found that the allegations against Blake were credible.

Joseph Foley told the newspaper that he did not want to comment on the counterclaim.

Police officer charged with assaulting homeless people

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California police officer has been charged with threatening and striking homeless people while on duty in two separate incidents last year, prosecutors said.

Kevin Dinh, a 12-year-veteran of the Garden Grove Police Department, has not been arrested and is on administrative leave, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

The 37-year-old officer faces multiple charges including attempted criminal threats, battery and assault, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said.

Prosecutors said Dinh struck a homeless man on the head and threatened to knock out his teeth outside a restaurant last September.

A month later, Dinh struck a handcuffed man on the head and pulled his hair while investigating a package theft at a home, prosecutors allege. The man was later released.

It wasn’t known Thursday if he has an attorney who could speak on his behalf. The Garden Grove Police Association, the union that represents the city’s officers, didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

In a statement, the police department said Dinh was immediately placed on administrative leave after another officer reported an inappropriate use of force to a supervisor related to the second alleged assault. The department later began a criminal investigation.

Both incidents were recorded by body-worn cameras, police said.

Dinh is scheduled to be arraigned July 21. He faces a maximum sentence of four years in jail if convicted on all counts, the newspaper said.