Natonal Roundup

Parents drop ­lawsuit ­challenging transgender ­bathroom access

CHICAGO (AP) - An effort to restrict transgender bathroom and locker room access at a suburban Chicago high school has ended.

U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso on Monday approved the dismissal of a lawsuit at District 211 in Palatine.

Students and Parents for Privacy argued sharing bathrooms with transgender students caused "embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety, fear and "loss of dignity." Their attorney, Christiana Holcomb of Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom, noted two transgender students who were allowed to use the girls' locker rooms when the lawsuit was filed in 2016 have graduated.

The controversy over bathroom and locker room rights dates to 2013, when a transgender student filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. She was seeking full access to the girls' locker room.

The lawsuit's dismissal means transgender students can continue to use facilities that correspond with their gender identity.

Court rejects bid to save ­Confederate monument

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A judge was right when he cleared the way to remove a Confederate monument at a north Louisiana courthouse, a federal appeals court has ruled. A local official applauded the decision but said the case probably isn't over.

The case involves a monument erected in 1906 in a parish known as "Bloody Caddo" during the Reconstruction era.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans again rejected claims Monday from the United Daughters of the Confederacy's Shreveport chapter.

"We definitely applaud the decision," Caddo Parish Commissioner Steven Jackson said in a telephone interview from Shreveport. He was in the majority on the commission's 7-to-5 removal vote in 2017.

The commission respects the Daughters of the Confederacy's right to continue in court, he said. The chapter is considering its options and hasn't decided its next step, attorney Dick "Dave" Knadler said in an email.

The group could ask the full 5th Circuit for a rehearing. It could also ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case.

A federal judge in Monroe threw out the lawsuit last year, ruling that the group failed to prove it had any "private property interest" in the spot where the monument stands. Judge Robert James also rejected arguments that the commission had violated the group's rights to equal protection under law and free speech.

A 2009 U.S. Supreme Court ruling states, "placement of a permanent monument in a public park is best viewed as a form of government speech," he noted.

A three-judge panel upheld that 20-page opinion, calling it "exhaustive and well-reasoned." On Monday, the judges declined to reconsider.

When the commission voted in October, two members cited the parish's post-Civil War reputation as "Bloody Caddo" as a reason to remove the monument from courthouse grounds, The Times reported .

The parish was the most violent in a violent state, with less than 3% of Louisiana's population but 16% of all homicides in the state during Reconstruction, university professor Gilles Vandal wrote in a 1991 history article.

"It's time for us to remove the curse of Bloody Caddo for blacks who were slaughtered," Commissioner Stormy Gage-Watts said before the vote.

The monument, erected in 1906, features a statue of a young soldier on a pedestal, surrounded by busts of four Confederate generals on lower pedestals. A life-sized figure of Clio, the muse of history, points to a book of remembrance that bears the words "Love's tribute to our gallant dead."

Jackson said the Daughters of the Confederacy seem inclined "to run the course as much as they can. That's the judicial procedure. Sometimes it's long for a reason. We respect that."

The commission wants to give the group the choice of moving the monument wherever it chooses, he said.

"I don't know that we really have a particular preference where we would like it to be moved. We just feel that it doesn't belong in front of the courthouse," he said.

Police: Man offered $200 to beat ­transgender woman

DALLAS (AP) - Investigators in Dallas say a man was offered $200 to beat a transgender woman in an attack that was recorded as a crowd gathered to holler and watch.

A police affidavit released Monday says the woman accidentally backed into a vehicle before the driver of that vehicle pointed a gun at her and refused to let her leave unless she paid for the damage.

Police say that as a crowd gathered, someone offered $200 to 29-year-old Edward Thomas to beat the woman, who suffered a concussion, fractured wrist and other injuries.

Thomas was being held Tuesday at the Dallas County jail on a charge of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury. Jail records don't indicate whether he has an attorney.

Police say a second person stomped on the woman's head in Friday's attack but hasn't yet been charged.

Man charged with counts of first-degree rape

PINEVILLE, La. (AP) - A 71-year-old Louisiana man has been charged with 100 counts of first-degree rape over allegations of criminal sexual conduct involving minors.

The Rapides Parish Sheriff's Office tells news outlets the allegations against Harvey Joseph Fountain date to the 1970s.

The sheriff's office says deputies received a tip on April 1 that Fountain was sexually involved with juveniles, and an investigation found evidence supporting the allegations.

Fountain was arrested on 50 counts of first-degree rape on April 9. Days later, additional victims were identified -- the sheriff's office isn't saying how many -- and 50 more counts were added.

Deputies say the investigation is ongoing and more arrests are possible. It's unclear if Fountain has a lawyer.

Jail: Zombie movie actor made woman taste his blood

ROME, Ga. (AP) - A zombie movie actor is accused of beating two women and forcing one of them to taste his blood.

The Rome News-Tribune reported Saturday that 30-year-old Eliot Ryan Rutledge has been charged with false imprisonment and aggravated assault.

Rutledge allegedly trapped a woman inside his home in Rome, Georgia, between June 2017 and October 2018. The paper says Floyd County Jail reports accuse him of picking her up by her neck, slamming her into the ground and choking her.

He's also accused of hurting and choking another woman in January, choking and biting her and forcing his cut hand into her mouth to make her taste his blood. credits Rutledge with producing and acting in the 2017 short films "Gangsters and Zombies" and "Gangsters and Zombies II."

Published: Wed, Apr 17, 2019