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HEAR THIS HOUR'S UPDATE

Friday
Nov182011

Fla. Man Murdered in Ohio in Alleged Craigslist Job Scam, Two Arrested

Giorgio Fochesato/Vetta/Getty Images(CALDWELL, Ohio) -- An apparent job-seeking scam on Craigslist has left one man dead and another man injured. Two men have been arrested in Ohio for the crimes.

The two victims, one from Florida and one from South Carolina, responded to an ad on Craigslist for a job working on an Ohio cattle farm, according to ABC News' Cleveland affiliate WEWS-TV. The men were told to bring all of their belongings, as they would be living on the farm.

The man from South Carolina was shot, but managed to escape and inform authorities. As police investigated the shooting, they found the body of a missing man from Florida in a shallow grave outside Caldwell, Ohio, about 80 miles east Columbus. Authorities believe robbery was the motive.

Authorities took two suspects into custody on Wednesday, but would not release their names. ABC News' Columbus affiliate WSYX identified the men as 16-year-old Brogan Rafferty and 52-year-old Richard Beasley.

Beasley's mother, Carol Beasley, 70, told ABC News that she was shocked when she picked up her newspaper Friday morning and read about the murder. Though the paper did not specifically name her son, it identified a 52-year-old man from Noble County who was arrested Wednesday, just like her son was.

"In my wildest dreams, I just couldn't imagine him harming someone," Beasley said. "I never imagined he would do the things he did."

She knew her son had been arrested Wednesday morning as he walked down the street but believed it was related to failure to appear in court for two previous charges -- aggravated trafficking in drugs and compelling prostitution.

When asked about Brogan Rafferty, Beasley said that she has known him since he was 8 years old, since they go to the same church. Beasley called Brogan a "really nice kid" and said he struggled a bit in school and with his parent's divorce.

"They were friends," Beasley said. "Richard tried to mentor him, get him into history."

Beasley said her son had been struggling financially to make ends meet, working as an unpaid chaplain, and had other problems. She said he had spent time in jail and desperately did not want to go back.

Rafferty is being held at the Muskingum County Juvenile Detention Center, and Beasley is in custody at the Summit County Jail on a $1 million bond.

On Friday, a judge imposed a gag order so that no further information about the case could be released. An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday, but the results have not yet been released.

Craigslist, an online marketplace that hosts ads for a wide variety of sales and services, has been blamed for a number of crimes and deaths, including the 2009 murder of a New York masseuse allegedly killed by a Boston medical student she met through the website, and the 2010 murder of a Tacoma, Wash., man in a home robbery committed by people pretending to be interested in a diamond ring he'd advertised on Craigslist.

Craigslist did not respond to ABC News' requests for comment on Friday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov182011

Penn State Scandal: NCAA Launches Investigation

Patrick Smith/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- A new investigation was opened Friday into Penn State following allegations of child sexual abuse involving a former assistant football coach.

In a letter to the university the NCAA calls the allegations against Jerry Sandusky and their potential cover-up "deeply troubling."  The behaviors and failures described, it says, try the integrity of the university and all of college sports.

Penn State has promised to cooperate with the NCAA investigation.

No potential consequences have been mentioned, but some have suggested Penn State forego a bowl game or cancel next year's football season.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov182011

Former Ball Boy Accuses Syracuse Basketball Coach of Molesting Him

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- Syracuse University's longtime assistant men's basketball coach Bernie Fine is under investigation for allegedly molesting a ball boy for at least 12 years.

ESPN reported Thursday that 39-year-old Bobby Davis is claiming that Fine began abusing him in 1983 -- a year before he started his six-year tenure as the team's ball boy.

Davis, who alleged that the abuse continued into the 1990s, says that Fine molested him at his home, at the university's facilities and on road trips.

Fine has been put on administrative leave while Syracuse Police investigate the allegations.  He is been at Syracuse University for 35 years.

According to ESPN, Davis did not tell head basketball coach Jim Boeheim about what he alleges Fine did to him, even though he says Boeheim saw the two of them together often.

Boeheim later issued a statement that said, ‘I have known Bernie Fine for more than 40 years.  I have never seen or witnessed anything to suggest that he would have been involved in any of the activities alleged.  Had I seen or suspected anything, I would have taken action.  Bernie has my full support.”

Meanwhile, Syracuse University issued a statement that it conducted an investigation of Davis' claims in 2005 and found no one who could corroborate his allegations.  ESPN said it also investigated Davis' allegations in 2003 but decided against airing the story, also citing no independent corroboration of his story.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov182011

Columbia’s Marching Band Allowed Back on the Field

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Columbia University’s marching band, booted from the field after it mocked its own team, will now be allowed to play during the team’s last game of the season against Brown University.

The decision to allow the band to play was a reversal of the school’s policy after the band played, “We always lose, lose, lose, by a lot, and sometimes by a little,” during halftime of last weekend’s loss to Cornell. The loss put the Columbia Lions' record at 0-9.

The band, known on campus for its sometimes politically incorrect sense of humor, altered the lyrics to the school’s fight song, offending some of the Columbia rooters in the stands. Nevertheless, the sarcastic lyrics were ultimately in line with the college’s principles of free speech, Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, director of intercollegiate athletics and physical education, told the Columbia Spectator.

The prank, and the punitive measures that followed, had provoked passionate reactions on both sides. Some were pleased to see the band finally taking some flak for its “sophomoric antics,” the school newspaper reported, while others said the ban was an assault on free speech.

The Athletics Department reversed its decision late Thursday night.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov182011

Oklahoma State Basketball Coaches Killed in Plane Crash

Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision(PERRY COUNTY, Ark.) -- Oklahoma State women's basketball head coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna were among four people killed in a plane crash Thursday night in Arkansas.

The two other people on the plane -- including the pilot -- were not affiliated with the school, officials said.

"The Oklahoma State family is devastated by this tragedy," OSU president Burns Hargis said Friday in the statement. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims.

Thursday's fatal crash comes less than a year after the 10th anniversary of a plane crash that killed 10 members of the men's basketball program.

School Vice President Jim Littell will assume interim head coaching duties, according to ESPN.

The school has canceled both of its games scheduled for this weekend.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov182011

Occupy Wall Street Rolls into 'Action' Across US; Hundreds Arrested

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Two months to the day that a small band of protesters first set up camp in lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park, the Occupy Wall Street movement on Thursday staged a national "day of action" to remind the richest Americans and corporations that it's time to share the wealth.

Demonstrations were held in cities throughout the country, most notably in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where protesters took to the streets to disrupt business as usual in the country's three busiest metropolises.

One of the planned main events in New York City was the actual occupation of Wall Street just as people were beginning to arrive at work at 7 a.m.  The marchers attempted to stop Wall Street workers from getting to their jobs while cops cleared streets in the narrow area of Manhattan.

Despite some heated confrontations between protesters and police in riot gear, the Financial District remained open and the opening bell rang as usual at 9:30 a.m.

Occupy Wall Street protesters continued their day-long activities through the city's boroughs, at one point converging on 16 main subway hubs to spread their message to New Yorkers, many of whom were sympathetic to their cause.

Others weren't as supportive, yelling at the protesters to "Get a job."

The final act of Thursday's two-month commemoration of the movement was a march on the Brooklyn Bridge as thousands of members of unions and community groups joined in.  Their demonstration proceeded without incident as a heavy police presence insured that protesters would not block traffic.

Police reported over 250 arrests from all the locations, while several cops were sent to the hospital with injuries that included officers who were apparently sprayed in the eyes with vinegar.

In Chicago, hundreds of protesters braved the sharp winds and cold to hold one of their biggest rallies since they began their protests weeks ago.  Their target was to shut down the LaSalle Street Bridge just north of downtown, but before they got down there, police diverted traffic.  About 50 people wound up getting arrested when they refused to get off the bridge.

On the West Coast, the events in Los Angeles involved the largest contingent of Occupy Los Angeles supporters with a gathering of about 1,000 people.  Some of their attempts at civil disobedience included blocking a bridge near the downtown financial district and setting up tents in the middle of one busy street.

They also managed to slow traffic on freeways surrounding Los Angeles with arrests for the day totalling around 76.  Overall, however, police said the protests were peaceful.

There were other demonstrations in solidarity with the "day of action" in Philadelphia, Dallas, Seattle, Denver and Portland, Oregon.  Moveon.org, which supports the Occupy Wall Street movement, claims there were some 460 protests across the country Thursday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov182011

Army Successfully Tests Top Secret Hypersonic Weapon

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Should President Obama want to strike any target in the world from the U.S. in just a couple of hours, that capability could soon be at his fingertips thanks to a top secret weapon successfully tested on Thursday, the Army said.

The Army's own version of a hypersonic, long-range weapon system blasted off from the Pentagon's Pacific Missile Range Facility in Kauai, Hawaii, early Thursday morning and -- in less than half an hour -- reached its destination approximately 2,500 miles away at Kwajalein Atoll.  The Army would not say exactly how fast the weapon can go, but does describe it as a hypersonic weapon, meaning it reaches speeds of at least five times the speed of sound, or Mach 5.

It was the first ever test for the Army's Advanced Hypersonic Weapon (AHW), part of a Conventional Prompt Global Strike capability in development by the military.  The AHW is described by the Department of Defense as a "first-of-its-kind glide vehicle" that uses a three-stage booster system to launch the glider slicing through the air.

"The objective of the test [today was] to collect data on hypersonic boost-glide technologies and test range performance for long-range atmospheric flight," the Department of Defense said in a statement.  "Mission emphasis is aerodynamics; navigation, guidance, and control; and thermal protection technologies."

A Defense spokesperson would not say how similar the Army's AHW program is to the hypersonic jet tested -- and momentarily lost -- by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in August.  That jet was designed to travel at a blistering Mach 20, fast enough to travel from Los Angeles and New York in just 12 minutes.

According to an environmental report from June describing the test flight for the Army's AHW, the weapon is meant to "provide the President , Secretary of Defense, and Combatant Command with the ability to quickly destroy, delay, or disrupt key enemy targets within a few hours."

The Defense spokesperson said that due to the project's sensitivity, no images of the weapon will be made public, but the environmental report, first referenced by the DefenseTech blog, shows what appears to be a computer-generated rendering of the craft.  Based on that image, the design appears much different from DARPA's version -- more in the shape of a cone with stabilizing fins, rather than the arrow-head style of the DARPA project.

The Department of Defense said that the results from DARPA's failed test in August, along with a previous test in April 2010, were used in the planning for Thursday's flight.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov182011

Justice Department Investigates Miami Police Shootings

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department is opening an investigation into the Miami Police Department and its policies concerning the use of deadly force after eight young men have been killed by department officers since July 2010.

The investigation, known as a “pattern and practice” investigation, is being launched by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to examine the police shootings that, in two cases, involved unarmed individuals.

“In the past 16 months, we have seen nine police-involved shootings that are of concern and are the premise of our investigation,” said Tom Perez the Justice Department’s assistant attorney general for civil rights.  “Since July 2010, MPD officers shot and killed eight young men and critically wounded a ninth man.  By comparison, the country’s largest police force, the New York City Police Department, had one fatal shooting for every 4,313 officers in 2010, while Miami had one fatal shooting for every 220 officers.”

The Justice Department had been reviewing the shootings in a preliminary investigation after the last shooting occurred in February of this year, but has decided to launch a full investigation to determine if federal laws have been violated.

The chief of the department, Miguel Exposito, was fired in September after a disagreement with city leaders over staffing issues.

“Of the shootings since July 2010 until the last shooting in February 2011, all but one occurred within the proximate neighborhoods of Little Haiti, Overtown and Liberty City, in northeast Miami,”  Perez said in prepared remarks.  “In two of the shootings, the subject was unarmed.  Six out of the eight fatal shootings were by MPD officers in specialized units like the gang unit, SWAT, tactical robbery unit and the canine unit.”

The investigation will involve Justice Department officials from Washington and investigators from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Miami working with law enforcement experts to review the police department’s policies.  The investigators will review documents and conduct extensive interviews with officers and staff.

The Justice Department is expected to notify the Miami Police Department of any changes that should be made in real time as the review proceeds.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov182011

New Legislation Seeks to Alter Reporting of Sexual Assault in Military

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- “Despite 25 years of task force recommendations, of Pentagon studies, of Congressional hearings, rapes and sexual assaults in the military continue unabated,” said Representative Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who unveiled legislation Thursday at the National Press Club to change the current procedures of reporting sexual assault in the military.

Currently, the power to pursue a sexual assault case lies completely at the discretion of the unit commander.

“They can decide whether it’s true or not… It’s the judge and the jury,” Speier said.

According to the Department of Defense, only 13 percent of sexual assaults in the military are reported and they estimate that in 2010 alone more than 19,000 incidents occurred.

“Men and women who have been sexually assaulted in the military have come to realize that military justice is an oxymoron,” Speier said.  “They are forced to live…in secret and that leads to a second act of victimization.  They suffer while their attackers go unpunished.”

Speier’s newly presented legislation would change the fundamental order of how sexual assaults and rapes are dealt with in the military branches.  A new autonomous group -- the Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office -- comprised of both civilian and military experts, would handle the prosecution, reporting, investigation and all other aspects of a sexual assault case -- taking it out of the hands of commanding officers.

In addition, the new Office, which will be within the Department of Defense, will also create a sexual assault database that will share information with civilian databases.  Currently, sexual offenders convicted within the military are not always required to register with their states sexual offender database.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov172011

Second Mile Staffers Quit over Penn State Sex Abuse Scandal

Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General(STATE COLLEGE, Pa.) -- The outrage over the Penn State sex abuse scandal has spilled over into anger at the management of the Second Mile charity, prompting an exodus of some furious board members and volunteers.

The Second Mile, founded by accused child molester Jerry Sandusky, refused to say how many of its board members have resigned, although the group's former CEO, Jack Raykowitz, was forced to resign last week.

The anger has rippled out from its headquarters in State College. At least three members of the Second Mile's south central chapter in York, Pa., said they have quit in recent weeks over their outrage that Sandusky was allowed to still be involved with the organization although executives knew about sexual child abuse allegations against him.

"I'm certain that you can appreciate the anger and betrayal that my former board member colleagues and I now feel," an ex-board member who quit last week told ABC News. "When the grand jury presentment was published on Nov. 4, our spirits were crushed."

The board member, like several others interviewed by ABC News, requested that their names be withheld. They said they had been instructed by the Second Mile's headquarters to direct all questions to the state office in State College. Messages left there went unreturned.

Sandusky, 67, has been accused of molesting eight boys over the last 15 years, and the grand jury presentment suggested that he had used the Second Mile as a way to prey on children and groom them for his alleged purposes. The report also noted that the Second Mile's top executives had been informed of the allegations against him in 2002 and earlier in 1998.

Some reports cite as many as six board members resigning from the Second Mile. Board members who have quit and spoken to ABC News said they were upset that key officials of the charity were aware of the ugly charges against Sandusky, but continued to include him in their awards and fundraising events.

One board member, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was told by the group's headquarters only that Sandusky was under investigation, and that he had denied the allegations.

The board member said he was later outraged to learn that the investigation involved 40 counts of child molestation.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio