Military Court Convicts U.S. Army Sgt. in Germany of Rape
U.S. Army Sgt. Paul Fuller of the Darmstadt Germany training center has been convicted by a military court of raping a subordinate, indecent assault, and three counts of forcible sodomy. Though Fuller could have faced life in prison for the rape charge alone, he was sentenced to only five years in prison and given a dishonorable discharge. A second rape charge was downgraded to the indecent assault charge, and Fuller was also found guilty of three counts of cruelty and maltreatment, fraternization, kidnapping and a reduced charge of unlawful entry. Another count of rape and an indecent exposure charge were dismissed on technicalities earlier this week. Six soldiers sat on the jury.
Fuller denied all charges, and his lawyers argued that the sex was consensual while prosecutors said Fuller used his rank to intimidate the women. Last week, the same military court cleared another soldier at Darmstadt of six counts of rape but sentenced Sgt. Julius Davis to two years in prison on a conviction of multiple counts of indecent assault. Davis also was reduced in rank and got a bad-conduct discharge. Fuller, Davis, and a third sergeant also under investigation have been relieved of their duties at Darmstadt.
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. . . .