Sexual Battery Charges Against Air Force Officer Dropped
A charge of sexual battery against Air Force officer Jeffrey Krusinski was dropped on Thursday. He is instead being charged with assault and battery and could still face jail time.
Krusinki was the Air Force officer in charge of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program when he was accused of approaching a woman in a parking lot and grabbing her breasts and buttocks. The prosecutor, Theo Stamos, told Rueters that "after a closer investigation of the facts and a review of the status of the case law, the more appropriate charge is the assault and battery, not the sexual battery charge."
Both charges come with the same penalty of up to a year in prison and/or heavy fines. Krusinskiís current charge, however, denies that there was any sexually violent nature to his crime. Krusinki's lawyer, Barry Coburn, stated that "the reason this matter became newsworthy in the first place is because he was charged with a sex offense."
Krusinki's trial coincides with a number of recent sexual assault scandals within the ranks of the Air Force. At the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, close to 60 victims have come forward with reports of sexual abuse. In the ongoing investigation, 17 training instructors and drill sergeants were charged with misconduct. Additionally, Col. James Wilkerson was convicted of aggravated sexual assault last year, and was sentenced to a year in prison. Lt. Gen Craig Franklin, however, overruled the sentence and reinstated Wilkerson into the Air Force.
Prosecutors in Krusinski's case expect to present to a grand jury on August 19.
Media Resources: Rueters, 7/18/2013; Stars and Stripes, 7/18/2013; Business Week, 7/18/2013; Huffington Post, 5/6/2013; Stars and Stripes, 5/6/2013
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .