The Air Force Academy last week announced a decision by Brigadier General Johnny Weida to court-martial Douglas Meester, 20, the first cadet to be tried since the rape scandal erupted last year. Weida's move-counter to a recommendation by investigator Major Todd McDowell not to send the case to trial-was applauded by victim advocates. "Clearly, the fact that the judicial process is moving forward, regardless of the outcome, indicates that these cases are being taken more seriously," Dick Wadhams, spokesman for US Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) told USA Today.
Meester is accused of raping a female cadet last October after she had been drinking with upperclassmen in his dorm. The woman reported the incident to her cadet commander and academy administrators but was instead disciplined for violating rules against having sex with upperclassmen and faced reprimands for illegal drinking, according to the Denver Post.
Should the judge and jury determine that the woman was "asleep, unconscious or intoxicated to the extent that she lacked the mental capacity to consent" to sexual intercourse, Meester could face a maximum sentence of life in prison and dismissal from the Air Force, reported the Denver Post. No trial date has been set.
Media Resources: Reuters 7/2/03; USA Today 7/3/03; Denver Post 7/3/03, 7/6/03; Feminist Daily News Wire
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. . . .