Douglas Meester, the Air Force cadet accused of rape last year, settled his case with a reprimand and a fine of $2000 on Tuesday. As part of the plea deal, the original charges of rape, forcible sodomy, indecent assault and conduct unbecoming an officer for providing alcohol to minors were dismissed, reported the Colorado Gazette. These charges were replaced with dereliction of duty for providing alcohol to minors, conduct unbecoming an officer for having sex with a drunken woman and indecent acts for having sex as another male slept nearby. Had Meester been convicted, the Air Force Print News reported that he would have faced, at most, a life sentence, dismissal from the Air Force and a forfeiture of pay. The agreement will be reviewed in the next couple weeks by academy superintendent Lt. Gen. John Rosa Jr. for final approval.
Meester was 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. This was the first trial since the Air Force rape scandal two years ago, and Meester is so far the only cadet to face a court martial.
Believing the chances of conviction were slim and wishing to avoid the further anxiety and emotional upheaval of a formal court martial, the woman "tepidly endorsed the deal," reported the Colorado Gazette. Following the incident, she left the Air Force Academy voluntarily in November 2002. The Air Force Print News reports that Meester is still officially a cadet at the academy. However, he is currently attending college in Florida.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .