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Thursday
Sep302010

Missing Hiker Found Alive; Expected To Recover

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(PALM SPRINGS, Calif.) -- Edward Rosenthal, a 64-year-old missing Los Angeles real estate broker, was found alive Thursday, six days after leaving for a daylong hike in Joshua Tree National Park.

He was taken to High Desert Medical Center and is expected to recover from heat exhaustion and other minor injuries. 

Authorities don't know how he got so far off course or how he survived the week.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Thursday
Sep302010

Two New Orleans Police Officers Charged With Perjury In Federal Civil Suit

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday that "two officers with the New Orleans Police Department have been charged with committing perjury and obstructing justice during the course of a federal civil suit related to the shooting death of civilian Danny Brumfield in September 2005." 

A statement from the Department of Justice added, "The six-count indictment alleges that Officers Ronald Mitchell and Ray Jones gave false deposition testimony during the course of a federal civil lawsuit filed by Danny Brumfield’s wife against the city of New Orleans."

According to the indictment, Mitchell falsified his sworn testimony in November 2007, when he alleged that Brumfield lunged at him with a shiny object before he shot Brumfield in self-defense.  Mitchell also testified that he checked Brumfield's vital signs directly after the incident. However, the indictment claims Brumfield did not lunge at Mitchell with a shiny object, nor did Mitchell check on him.

In June 2007, Jones testified that he "covered the crowd" while Mitchell checked on Brumfield. The indictment alleges that Jones did not cover the crowd.

Officers Mitchell and Jones face a maximum penalty of up to 20 years in prison if convicted.  However, the release states that the "indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty."


Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep302010

President Carter Released from Hospital

Photo Courtesy - The Carter Center/Knudsen Photos(CLEVELAND) -- President Jimmy Carter was discharged from a Cleveland hospital Thursday after recovering from a gastric viral infection.

"He will resume his schedule with a meeting this week in Washington, D.C.," according to a statement released by the Carter Center.

The former president spent two days at the MetroHealth Medical Center after experiencing stomach pain aboard a Cleveland-bound flight.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep302010

Bishop Long's Ex-Wife Claimed 'Vicious' Abuse During Divorce

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(ATLANTA) -- The ex-wife of the Atlanta mega-church pastor accused of sex abuse by four young men once claimed the exalted church leader had a "vicious and violent temper" and beat her while she was pregnant with his son.

In court documents filed during the couple's 1985 divorce, Dabara Houston, then Dabara Long, said she was terrified of Bishop Eddie Long and that she fled their home with their son "in order to ensure their safety," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Long's attorney, Craig Gillen, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep302010

Storm Dumps Heavy Rain Along East Coast

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(CAROLINA BEACH, N.C.) -- Heavy rain fell along the East Coast Thursday, as what's left of Tropical Storm Nicole dumped inches of rain and prompted flash flood warnings in some areas.

"The heaviest rain is through eastern North Carolina into eastern Virginia and southeastern Pennsylvania," said Michael Eckert, a senior forecaster at the National Weather Service. "We're seeing rainfall of anywhere from two to three inches an hour in a few spots."

The storm is expected to last through Thursday, Eckert said. "We could see some areas in excess of 10 inches of rain before this is all over with."

In Carolina Beach, N.C., ABC News weather anchor Sam Champion forecasts the storm to bring heavy winds along the coastline.

"We expect there will be lots of power outages here," Champion said. "About 40 to 60 mile an hour winds expected as this thing wraps up."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep302010

Las Vegas Hotel Knew of Pool 'Death Ray' in 2008

Photo Courtesy - CityCenter Las Vegas(LAS VEGAS) -- A solar glare specialist who was denied a contract by a Las Vegas hotel to help it solve an intense sunlight issue -- now dubbed a "death ray" by employees there -- says the casino ignored his advice and went with a cheaper fix.

"It is one thing to ask experts in their relative field for advice; it is another to ignore their advice without justification," glass film manufacturer Nichols E. Ashton wrote the builders of the Vdara hotel back in November 2008.

Today, guests lounging at the Las Vegas pool reportedly are getting burned by concentrated sun rays strong enough to melt plastic drink cups and plastic newspaper bags.

Ashton is president of SSAF International, which ultimately did not get a contract for a protective window film to fix the problem.

"They didn't like the information. They didn't want to spend the money," Ashton told ABC News. "They thought the issue would go away. They thought nobody would get hurt."

Gordon Absher, a spokesman for the hotel's owner, MGM Mirage, said the company placed a reflective film over the windows that blocks about 70 percent of the light. "This is hardly a unique situation," he said.

Ashton blamed the problem on poor design, saying the building was placed in the wrong position. He said there are no "sour grapes" over being denied the contract.

Absher said the company is well aware of the lingering problem. This was the first summer of operation and he said Vdara is investigating steps to solve the solar convergence.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep302010

U.S. Olympic Committee Tackling Sexual Abuse in Sport

Photo Courtesy - USOC(Colorado Springs, Colo.) -- The United States Olympic Committee has announced it will lead governing bodies of Olympic sports in unprecedented efforts to prevent sexual and physical abuse that could affect millions of athletes across the country.  This issue has been in the spotlight after a sexual misconduct scandal at USA Swimming.

A top USOC official said recommendations from a task force led by four-time Olympic skier Nina Kemppel will be implemented within six months, including the centralizing and standardizing of background checks for coaches, staff and volunteers working with athletes.

"The issue does merit more haste, and I think you'll see meaningful progress from us long before six months comes and goes," said USOC Chief Executive Officer Scott Blackmun.

An ABC News-20/20 investigation in April revealed that 36 swimming coaches had been banned by USA Swimming for allegations of sexual misconduct, including molestation and hidden videotaping of children in locker rooms. San Jose swim coach Andy King, 62, abused more than a dozen teen female victims over three decades and still had a clean background screening from USA Swimming in 2008, despite allegations against him and a police investigation. USA Swimming, the governing body of the sport in the U.S., is facing at least five lawsuits by swimmers who accuse the organization of failing to protect them from predatory coaches and allege cover-up at the top.

Kemppel, the Olympian who led the task force that was convened shortly after the 20/20 investigation, said she didn't anticipate the emotional impact that speaking to athletes who had been victimized had on her.

"I will tell you that it's enough of an issue in sport that people would call me up and explain their story, whether they be athletes or parents or coaches who have been involved in some way in the incidents we're talking about," Kemppel said.

She said athletes can be particularly vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse because of "very unique relationships between athletes and authority figures" and "venues that promote more contact than some other venues outside of sports."

To address problems with criminal background checks, Kemppel's group recommended the USOC work with national governing bodies of Olympic sports to establish a "preferred provider network" and standardize the set of background search criteria across all sports and how to address violations.

In addition, the group recommended the USOC provide sports organizations with standardized training and education resources, including pre-hire screening "so that there is no club-to-club or sport-to-sport jumping," said Kemppel. Other recommendations that the USOC plans on implementing include a centralized online toolkit for sports groups to adopt and customize.

Despite calls for a centralized database of coaches across all sports with allegations of sexual or physical abuse of athletes, the task force ultimately decided not to recommend such a system right now, Kemppel said, although she hopes in the future it will become a reality.

"I think the practicality of doing this right now across all [national governing bodies] would be very difficult," said Kemppel.

"At this point, it would be very difficult for us to require some of the very small sports organizations to keep the kind of records and track the kind of data that would be required to truly keep a unified nationwide database possible and viable," she added. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep302010

Test Shows Times Square Bomb Could Have Been 'Devastating'

Photo Courtesy - Department of Justice(WASHINGTON) -- The bomb planted in Times Square last spring could have been "devastating" and killed or injured dozens of people, according to an assessment of a government explosion of a mock "bomb" based on Faisal Shahzad's failed device.

Video of the Joint Terrorism Task Force's explosion, released this week, shows how much damage a successful device could have caused.

Bomb experts said while it is unlikely the resulting blast would have taken down any buildings, glass and twisted metal shooting out from the vehicle housing the bomb would have formed deadly shrapnel.

People in close proximity to the car could have been injured or killed by the fire and blast force, the experts said. In addition, it is possible there would have been injuries from broken glass and falling debris from adjacent buildings.

The bomb test was revealed in the Justice Department's sentencing memorandum for Shahzad, filed Thursday.

"On June 29, 2010, the JTTF conducted a controlled detonation of its bomb after it was placed in the back of a vehicle identical to the one Shahzad used," the memorandum said. "The JTTF also placed other vehicles nearby in order to measure the explosive effects of the bomb. While it is impossible to calculate precisely the impact of Shahzad's bomb had it detonated, the controlled detonation conducted by the JTTF demonstrated that those effects would have been devastating to the surrounding area." 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep292010

Violence Against the Homeless: Is It Growing? 

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Image(WASHINGTON) -- Increasing incidents of violence against the homeless in recent years has alarmed advocates for the homeless and law enforcement groups, who want the federal government to begin formally tracking the crimes.  Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, have introduced a bill that would add attacks on homeless people to the list of crimes required to be reported to the Justice Department and FBI. The government currently collects crime data on race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability and gender and gender identity.  "We need to have consistent information collected by the FBI so we know the extent of the problem," Cardin said. "The homeless, just because they're homeless, are being victimized and that has to stop in America."  Critics of the legislation, however, say tracking crimes against the homeless is unnecessary and that the problem is overstated. While David Muhlhausen of the conservative Heritage Foundation believes "crimes against the homeless, like all other street crimes, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law," he notes that more than 15, 000 murders occurred last year across the U.S., according to the FBI.  The 43 homeless individuals killed is less than one percent of that total.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Wednesday
Sep292010

UPDATE: Former President Jimmy Carter Still Recovering from Tuesday's Illness

Photo Courtesy -- Louise Gubb | The Carter Center(CLEVELAND, Ohio) -- A written statement from MetroHealth System confirmed that "former President Jimmy Carter is continuing to recover from the stomach distress that was reported earlier.  His medical team at MetroHealth Medical Center has determined that the likely cause was a viral infection that is now clearing up."  A MetroHealth official added, "President Carter thanks all those who have expressed concern and sent greetings to him."  As reported earlier, the former president became ill on a flight and remained hospitalized Wednesday in a Cleveland Hospital with an upset stomach.

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