National Roundup

North Carolina
History teacher suspended for stomping on flag

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - A North Carolina high school teacher says he has been placed on leave after students say he stepped on an American flag as part of a history lesson.

The Fayetteville Observer reports Massey Hill Classical High School teacher Lee Francis said he was informed of his status by the Cumberland County Schools human resources department. Francis said he's scheduled to meet with system officials on Thursday to discuss the incident stemming from a lesson in his history class.

News media outlets quote students as saying Francis asked students for a lighter or scissors, and when no one produced them, he put the flag on the floor and stomped on it. Reports quote Francis as saying on his Facebook page that he was discussing a court case involving flag desecration.

New York
U.S. prosecutors charge guards in inmate beating

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Federal prosecutors have charged three New York prison guards with participating in the bloody beating of an inmate two years ago and falsifying documents to cover it up.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara alleges in an indictment that two guards and their sergeant violated the civil rights of Kevin Moore, who never physically threatened them, at Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill.

The indictment says a group of correction officers "brutally beat him for an extended period ... with fists, boots and batons, causing many life-threatening injuries, including five fractured ribs, a collapsed lung and facial fractures in multiple places."

Moore was being held at the Hudson Valley prison on Nov. 12, 2013 for transfer to New York City's Rikers Island.

State corrections officials didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Maryland
Judge reverses conviction of civil rights activist

BALTIMORE (AP) - A judge has reversed the sole conviction against a Baltimore activist accused of unlawfully using a megaphone while protesting the mistrial of a police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man was fatally injured while in police custody.

The Baltimore Sun reports a Circuit Court judge on appeal Monday dismissed 22-year-old Kwame Rose's conviction of failing to obey a law enforcement order.

Rose had been found guilty on the charge in March, but found not guilty of three underlying violations.

Police said Rose had unlawfully continued to talk Dec. 16 on a megaphone while a deputy was giving orders on his own megaphone outside a downtown courthouse on Dec. 16 following a mistrial in the case against Officer William Porter. Porter was one of six officers charged after Gray was fatally injured while in a police van.

South Carolina
Records ordered turned over in harassment suit

CONWAY, S.C. (AP) - A judge has ordered the Horry County Police Department to turn over records in a lawsuit stemming from allegations of sexual misconduct by a former department officer.

The state grand jury last week indicted for four former department officers, including former Detective Allen Large. The indictments allege the former officers coerced women into sex or ignored nearly 100 cases they were supposed to be investigating.

Several women have sued the department alleging sexual harassment by Large.

News outlets report that on Tuesday, Circuit Judge Roger Henderson ordered the department to produce copies and internal files on all citizen complaints about sexual advances or sexual assaults by police officials for the past decade.

Personnel files for two former officers also must be produced.

New Hampshire
Court to take up issue of murder victim's privacy

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - The New Hampshire Supreme Court will be deciding whether or not a murder victim's sexual past should remain private.

Elizabeth "Lizzi" Marriott, of Westborough, Massachusetts, was a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of New Hampshire when she was killed in 2012. Seth Mazzaglia was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life, but he is pursuing an appeal.

In June, the New Hampshire Supreme Court ruled that information about Marriott's sexual activity that had been sealed during the trial should be made public during the appeals process, prompting objections from prosecutors and Marriott's family. The court will hear oral arguments Wednesday on that issue.

Texas
Judge rules11 children to remainin state custody

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) - A West Texas judge has decided 11 children of a couple who've faced child welfare investigations in three states will remain in state custody for now.

The ruling Tuesday came after a hearing in which William A. and Claire Rembis disputed Child Protective Services' allegations of neglect, which included that some of the children regularly climbed into trash bins and scavenged for food behind their Lubbock home.

Court records and testimony show the parents have also been investigated for similar allegations in New Jersey, Michigan, and Plano, Texas, since 2001. None of the cases led to criminal charges.

The children range in age from 16 months to 17 years old.

Judge Kevin Hart said the couple had disregarded CPS' efforts to investigate, calling the couple "defiant." He told them the issues are "fixable" if the couple cooperates with the agency's pending service plan.

He cited some of the couple's children roaming the alley unsupervised and getting into the garbage bins, the instability of housing, and, "most significant," the condition of the inside of the home, where investigators reported not enough beds, a lack of food, and an odor of feces or urine.

The couple is appealing an eviction notice issued last week by a different judge. They told Hart they may move to Colorado, which he said would complicate the situation.

One investigator has suggested they may be moving to avoid child welfare investigations, which are difficult to track across state lines. The parents deny the allegations.

The children were taken into state custody in late August, after child welfare workers discovered 10 of them had been taken to Colorado. Two of the children also were briefly removed from the family's home in Plano in 2013, and all were removed in a separate case there last year.

In Michigan, child welfare officials received five complaints between 2007 and 2012, including one about unsupervised children eating out of garbage cans. In New Jersey, the couple was investigated after their oldest son, who was about 2 at the time, was found wandering alone in 2001, according to testimony in the Lubbock case.

Published: Thu, Sep 22, 2016

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