Florida State Officials Face Possible Charges in Rape Case
Several Florida State University officials face possible charges after evidence was revealed that suggests at least one official had discouraged an alleged rape victim from reporting the incident to the police. Notes taken by FSU Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Coburn and obtained by the Orlando Sentinel suggest that Associate Athletic Director Pam Overton advised the rape victim not to go to the police. School officials also attempted to broker an agreement between the accused football player and the woman in which the male student would admit to no wrongdoing but leave school until August, according to the Sentinel. FSU officials say that the agreement was requested by the woman and the football player, but the agreement was emailed to the woman five days after she decided to report the alleged assault to the police, according to the Tallahassee Democrat. The football player was acquitted of all charges on Thursday by a jury in Tallahassee.
Leon County State Attorney William Meggs noted last week that the involvement of both Coburn and FSU President T.K. Wetherall was unusual, but the school insists they were not giving the case any special treatment just because it involved a starting football player, the Sentinel reports. FSU has received increased scrutiny recently because earlier this year a law enforcement investigation concluded that coaches and administrators were lax in a campus gambling investigation involving a former quarterback. In June, a university investigation found that "investigations were not properly documented" and there are "serious questions about the investigative processes within the [athletic] department," according to the Miami Herald.
Meggs told the Herald that at this time, he has no plans to file charges against any school official in this case. He is waiting to discuss the matter with senior prosecutors in the state, according to the Sentinel.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
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. . . .