National Roundup

While husband lies nearby, wife freezes to death

EATONTON, Ga. (AP) — Authorities in central Georgia say a 74-year-old woman froze to death after she tried to help her wheelchair-bound husband outside their home.

Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills tells local news outlets that Maria Riffe died Thursday while her immobile husband laid about 20 yards from her, both unable to help each other.

Eighty-six-year-old Roy Riffe was in a motorized wheelchair going down the concrete walkway at their home when he ran off the walkway and fell out of the wheelchair.

Sills says Maria Riffe, who relied on a walker, fell while trying to help her husband, leaving both helpless.

Investigators say Roy Riffe was likely able to survive the night because he was wearing a jacket and fleece pants. His wife was only wearing a dress.

Officer on leave over Facebook post on protests

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The St. Paul Police Department has put an officer on leave while it investigates allegations that he made a post on Facebook urging drivers to run over protesters who rallied against the police killings of two black men in the Twin Cities last year.

The social media message said, "Run them over," and told people how to avoid being charged with a crime if they struck someone during the Martin Luther King Day march and rally on a bridge linking St. Paul and Minneapolis, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

Mayor Chris Coleman issued a statement saying he was "outraged and disgusted" and had directed officials to investigate.

"There is no room in the St. Paul Police Department for employees who threaten members of the public. If the allegation is true, we will take the strongest possible action allowed under law," Coleman said.

The Pioneer Press posted a preview story about the protest on its Facebook page Friday night. The suspended officer allegedly posted a comment in reply, under a different name, that said: "Run them over. Keep traffic flowing and don't slow down for any of these idiots who try and block the street." The post gave advice for avoiding charges and said anyone hit who sued would probably lose a jury trial.

Andrew Henderson, who runs the Minnesota Cop Block Facebook page, which focuses on police accountability, spotted the comment early Saturday and immediately reported it to police. He then filed an internal affairs complaint Sunday and turned over the evidence he believed showed that post really came from the officer.

The head of the internal affairs unit, Senior Cmdr. Shari Gray, said the department treated the post with "grave concern" because of the scheduled protest.

"If we needed to change tactics or operational security on the event, we needed to do it," Gray said. "And then, two, make sure that if indeed this was one of our officers, that it's addressed quickly."

Former pastor arrested for raping teenager

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (AP) — Police say a married Pennsylvania pastor wanted on charges he raped and impregnated a teen girl is back in the United States and in custody.

West Whiteland Township police tell WCAU-TV that Jacob Malone arrived Monday at New Jersey's Newark Liberty International Airport from Ecuador. He was arrested by customs agents and is awaiting extradition to Pennsylvania.

The 33-year-old Exton resident was charged earlier this month with rape, institutional sexual assault and other crimes. Police say it began in September 2014, when the girl was 17.

The Rev. Bill Bateman says Malone worked at Calvary Fellowship in Downingtown for about 18 months before he resigned in November. Bateman says Malone resigned after church leaders learned the girl was pregnant and heard allegations that Malone had an inappropriate relationship with another female in another state.

Lawyers for fired band director to remain on case

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Attorneys for fired Ohio State marching band director Jonathan Waters said Tuesday they will continue to defend him until it's determined whether his federal case will go to trial.

Attorney David Axelrod told a judge he's delaying the request to withdraw as Waters' counsel as a result of university lawyers' objections. Waters' attorneys say he can't meet his financial obligations in this case, and in a separate defamation case against the university.

Waters was terminated in July 2014 after a university investigation determined he had ignored a "sexualized culture" of questionable rituals, suggestive games and other traditions inside the storied band. Waters has argued the report distorted the situation.

U.S. District Court Judge James Graham complimented Axelrod's decision during Tuesday's hearing, which he attended via a live video feed from a Florida courthouse.

"A lot of time and effort has been devoted to this case, on both sides — and by the court, for that matter — and it certainly would be in the interest of justice to complete the last final tasks headed into summary judgment," he said.

A trial is scheduled in the case this summer.

Waters' lawsuit alleges he was a victim of gender discrimination. It cites a similarly situated female who got a second chance, a university cheerleading coach. The university says Waters and the coach weren't similarly situated and that it was free to terminate Waters for any reason.

Graham rejected a university request Tuesday to designate that the coach was not similarly situated to Waters, for various reasons including that she was fired by the university's athletic director and Waters was fired by University President Michael Drake.

It's a nuanced legal matter that the judge said he wants to see fully briefed before he makes a decision.

Graham also was asked to decide whether Waters' attorneys should be allowed to interview a representative of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, which settled an ongoing sexual discrimination investigation against Ohio State shortly after Waters was fired.

The judge strenuously questioned what deposing the civil rights official would add to Waters' claim. He said he would give it some additional thought and decide later.

University counsel Mike Carpenter disputed Axelrod's characterization of Waters' firing in helping settle the investigation as a positive development for the school.

He said there was nothing positive about having to fire Waters, calling it "a subject of national publicity and national angst" for Ohio State, a flagship university for the state with a national reputation.


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