Posted: Jun 22, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: Jun 23, 2012 4:01 AM
Ex-Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky convicted of 45 counts in sex abuse trial
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) For years, the children Jerry Sandusky had preyed upon kept quiet about what the former Penn State assistant football coach did to them in echoing shower stalls, empty hotel rooms and the muffled confines of his basement bedroom.
Late Friday, after a swift trial and less than two days of deliberations, a jury issued an emphatic verdict: Sandusky was guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse, meaning the man once considered a successor to coach Joe Paterno will likely die in prison.
The verdict is not the end of the scandal that took down beloved football coach Joe Paterno and deeply shook the state's most prominent university. It will play out for years in courtrooms and through a set of ongoing investigations.
But the trial did present one piece of finality: Sandusky was taken away in handcuffs to the county jail. Sentencing will be in about three months, but mandatory minimums will keep him behind bars for life.
"One of the recurring themes in this case was, 'Who would believe a kid?'" said Attorney General Linda Kelly. "The answer is, we in Bellefonte, Pa., would believe a kid."
Pa. monsignor becomes 1st US Catholic official convicted for covering up abuse complaints
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Monsignor William Lynn helped the Archdiocese of Philadelphia keep predator-priests in ministry, and the public in the dark, by telling parishes their priests were being removed for health reasons and then sending the men to unsuspecting churches, prosecutors argued in a landmark clergy-abuse trial.
A jury agreed, making Lynn the first U.S. church official branded a felon for covering up abuse claims.
The 61-year-old Lynn was convicted of child endangerment but acquitted of conspiracy Friday. He served as secretary for clergy from 1992 to 2004, mostly under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua.
"Many in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia hierarchy had dirty hands," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said. "They failed to realize that the church is its people."
Williams said he did not have sufficient evidence last year to charge other officials, including Bevilacqua, who died in January at age 88.
Obama a key factor in former governors' faceoff in tossup Virginia Senate race
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) The dominant figure in a Virginia Senate race that could determine the direction of Congress next year is President Barack Obama even though both candidates for the seat are former governors well-known to voters.
Republican George Allen, trying to redeem his political career and win back the Senate seat he lost six years ago in a chaotic, slur-stained campaign against Democrat Jim Webb, has a simple strategy: If Obama falls, Democrat Tim Kaine falls with him.
Kaine, like Allen a former governor, was Obama's hand-picked chairman of the Democratic National Committee for two years. Their fates in November are linked in a battleground state that both parties consider critical to winning the White House as well as controlling the Senate.
That makes Virginia the perfect spending target for the super political action committees on each party's side, a chance to bag two opponents at once using the same dollars. As go Obama and Republican Mitt Romney in the president race, so go Kane and Allen.
Allen denies Kaine even the Virginia courtesy of addressing those who've held their office as "governor," calling him instead "Chairman Kaine," a derisive reference to his two years as head of the Democratic Party, one of them during his final year as governor. An Allen billboard in rural areas is even blunter: "Obama's senator, not Virginia's."
Hill bargainers closing in on deal heading off July student loan interest rate increase
WASHINGTON (AP) Congressional bargainers appeared to be closing in on a compromise that would head off a July 1 doubling of interest rates on federal loans to 7.4 million college students and end an election-year battle between President Barack Obama and Congress.
Senate aides from both parties said Friday the two sides were moving toward a deal on how to pay the measure's $6 billion price tag, the chief source of partisan conflict.
The goal is to push legislation through Congress next week so the current 3.4 percent interest rate on subsidized Stafford loans can be preserved for another year. A 2007 law gradually reduced interest rates on the loans but required them to balloon back to 6.8 percent this July 1 in a cost-saving maneuver.
On another front, the two sides were also close to an agreement to overhaul federal transportation programs, according to House and Senate aides from both parties. Negotiations were expected to continue through the weekend, with votes expected next week on either a major transportation bill or an extension of current programs, said the aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the talks.
For weeks, Obama has ridiculed Republicans for not moving quickly to prevent student loan interest rates from doubling, a stance that Democrats have hoped will boost his support among young voters who broadly backed him in the 2008 election. With college costs and student debt growing steadily, the issue ties directly into concerns about the economy and jobs that polls show dominate voters' worries.
Ex-Tampa Bay area principal charged in fatal rampage; fired 5 years ago over drug arrest
LEALMAN, Fla. (AP) After Anthony Giancola was arrested five years ago for buying crack cocaine at the Tampa Bay-area middle school that he oversaw as principal, he told reporters that he needed to make some changes.
"I need to get my life together, and then maybe from that other people will learn not to, you know, make the mistakes that I've made," Giancola, who lost his job, told WFLA-TV in February 2007.
Now, the 45-year-old Giancola faces the possibility of life in prison after authorities say he went on a drug- or alcohol-induced rampage on Friday, stabbing several people killing at least two before driving his car into a crowded porch and brutally attacking a couple at a motel they ran.
"You'll be very proud of me, I just killed 10 drug dealers," Giancola told his mother afterward, according to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
The sheriff said Giancola was bloody and "apparently high on drugs, intoxicated."
Hamas' mini-state in Gaza functioning, but authoritarian; Islamists dig in after 5 years
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) In five years of rule in the Gaza Strip, Hamas has established a functioning, authoritarian mini-state with a strong Islamic flavor, so firmly in control that nothing short of an unlikely Israeli military takeover seems capable of dislodging the militants.
The Islamists of Palestine were once respected as a supposedly honest alternative to corrupt secular rivals, the Western-backed Fatah group led by the late Yasser Arafat. But that luster has mostly been lost as miserable Gaza becomes even poorer and more aid-dependent. The corruption of the Fatah days is perceived to have persisted into Hamas' rule, as Audis, Porsches and Hummers are driven around potholed streets by a newly wealthy class of black market traders who benefit from the regime.
For those inclined to fight Israel, even that appeal was lost as Hamas has mostly stuck to a truce in recent years.
On the streets of Gaza, bitterness seems prevalent.
"I am not saying Fatah was better, but when I voted for Hamas I voted for change," said Fahmi Khamis, 42, a vendor who sells made-in-China household goods in Gaza City's outdoor market. "This did not happen. Instead, we lost a lot."
Palestinians push for World Heritage status for Church of the Nativity, despite naysayers
PARIS (AP) The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem is becoming the church of contention, with a bid by the Palestinians to use their position as the newest members of the U.N.'s cultural arm to obtain World Heritage status for the iconic Christian site and perhaps boost their own campaign for legitimacy.
The effort by the Palestinian Authority, like its overall efforts for global recognition for an independent Palestinian state, is drawing resistance. And it may fail at the World Heritage Committee meeting that starts Sunday.
An experts committee has turned down the emergency bid to quickly confer on the Church of the Nativity, and its pilgrimage route, the status as an endangered World Heritage site, saying the application needs more work. Even custodians of the holy site, the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian churches are opposed, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.
The church which drew some 2 million visitors last year and parts of which are 1,500 years old stands above the grotto that Christians believe was the birthplace of Jesus. The Palestinians' application asks for recognition as a site of "outstanding universal value" urgently in need of attention.
There is concern by the United States and others that the Bethlehem holy site and the integrity of the World Heritage process risk falling victim to the politics that for decades have torn the region asunder, with the Palestinians using their foothold in the U.N. system to grab symbolic recognition of their elusive bid for statehood in a long-disputed land.
Nobody's happy at the Rio+20 environmental summit
RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Nobody is happy in Rio.
Not the legion of bleary-eyed government negotiators from 193 nations who met in a failed attempt to find a breakthrough at the United Nations conference on sustainable development.
Not the thousands of activists who decried the three-day summit as dead on arrival. Not even the top U.N. official who organized the international organization's largest-ever event.
"This is an outcome that makes nobody happy. My job was to make everyone equally unhappy," said Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of the conference, nicely summing up the mood.
In the end, this conference was a conference to decide to have more conferences.
Beady eyes, short snout propel 'Mugly' to victory at annual World's Ugliest Dog contest
PETALUMA, Calif. (AP) A Chinese crested's short snout, beady eyes and white whiskers earned it the title of World's Ugliest Dog at the annual contest in Northern California on Friday.
Competing for fame, $1,000 and a year's worth of dog cookies, Mugly won the honor by beating out 28 other ugly dogs from around the world.
The 8-year-old rescue dog from the United Kingdom will also be invited for a photo shoot and will receive a VIP stay at the local Sheraton.
"I couldn't speak when they announced Mugly's name," said Bev Nicholson, the dog's owner. "I didn't know which way to look. I was shaking as much as the dog."
It's not the first time Mugly has been recognized for his unattractiveness. Nicholson said he was named Britain's ugliest dog in 2005.
Oilers pick first in NHL draft for third straight year, take speedy Russian F Nail Yakupov
PITTSBURGH (AP) The Edmonton Oilers are getting tired of going first in the NHL draft and Nail Yakupov knows part of his job is to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Edmonton, picking No. 1 for the third straight year, grabbed the speedy Russian forward with the top pick on Friday. The Oilers believe the dazzling 18-year-old can join Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins the No. 1 picks the previous two years in returning the once proud franchise to relevance.
Yakupov certainly thinks they can.
"I think it's going to be a great team," he said after becoming the first Russian taken No. 1 since Washington selected Alex Ovechkin in 2004.
Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov give the Oilers the kind of core to build around, but even as they celebrated Yakupov's rise, they caught a glimpse of how nothing lasts forever in the NHL.