Australia's senior Roman Catholic prelate and one of Pope Francis's top advisers has been charged with sexual assault, police in the Australian state of Victoria said Thursday. Cardinal George Pell became the highest-ranking Vatican official in recent years to face criminal charges involving accusations of sexual offenses. Pope Francis has instituted several initiatives to foster greater accountability after abuse scandals involving Catholic leaders had shaken the church around the world. This case will test those initiatives. Pell is the finance chief of the Vatican and has repeatedly denied accusations of sexual assault against him.
Should the U.S. rely so heavily on racial profiling?
1. Over the weekend, a former deputy police chief claimed that he was detained at JFK International Airport early this month simply because of his name. Hassan Aden had spent 26 years with the Alexandria Police Department before becoming chief of police in Greenville, North Carolina. He retired from the force in 2015. Aden was returning from Paris on March 13, when he was held in the airport for 90 minutes. Aden is not Muslim, but he said policies like President Trump's travel ban could lead to authorities being suspicious of him just because of his name.
2. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials say using racial profiling is just another tool in their arsenal to keep everyone safe. There are some stats to back up specific genders and races are more prone to committing different kinds of crimes. Often, a person's race, name or gender is used in combination with other factors and evidence to determine whether the person is a danger.
3. So, is racial profiling a good tool for law enforcement?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Uber's newest scandal
1.Uber is under fire, again. This time it’s for a sexual harassment scandal. Engineer Susan Fowler wrote a detailed blog post exposing several sexual harassment incidents, including being propositioned on the first day. According to Fowler, rather than addressing the situation, the HR department gave her two options: leave the team or stay on the team and possibly receive a negative performance review. Fowler left the team, but her HR reports didn’t stop. At one point, her harassment reports affected her positive performance review so much so she was no longer eligible fro Stanford CS graduate program sponsored by Uber. She left the company in January 2015.
2. This isn't Uber’s first ethical scandal and it’s affecting Uber's reputation as innovative tech company In 2014, Uber was accused of spying on customers. Senior vice president of business, Emil Michael suggested finding and spreading personal information of a female journalist. CEO Travis Kalanick resigned from Trump’s business advisory council. Uber also broke a taxi work’s strike against immigration polices in New York. Uber hired former attorney general Eric Holder to investigate Fowler's allegations of sexual harassment.
3. So, is Uber making change for the better?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
In a unanimous decision by a panel of three judges, a federal appeals court denied the reinstatement of President Donald Trump's immigration order. The executive order temporarily blocked people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. It also blocked any refugee relocation to the country. The ruling means that the ban is on hold and cannot be enforced. The court ruled that the Justice Department had not shown that keeping the ban on hold would cause "irreparable injury." On Twitter, Trump said, "SEE YOU IN COURT, THE SECURITY OF OUR NATION IS AT STAKE!" It is likely the case will be appealed by the federal government to the Supreme Court.
Former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates said she wasn’t convinced of the legality of President Donald Trump's Executive Order banning immigration from seven predominantly. Yates said the Department of Justice "will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.” A few hours later, Trump fired Yates for “betraying the Department of Justice” since she refused to defend his executive order.Yates has 27 years of experience prosecuting corrupt public officials.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has testified in court as a part of the proceedings in an intellectual property case regarding the Oculus Rift VR headset. Games publisher ZeniMax is suing Oculus, claiming that ZeniMax property was misappropriated and company secrets are being used to further Oculus' technology. Zuckerberg definitively denied this claim at trial. “We are highly confident that Oculus products are built on Oculus technology,” he said. “The idea that Oculus products are based on someone else’s technology is just wrong.”
Should Dylan Roof be sentenced to death?
1. Dylan Roof has been convicted of federal murder and hate crimes for killing nine people at a historically black church in Charleston, South Carolina. He became the first person convicted of a federal hate crime to get the death penalty. Some would say that Roof deserves to die, rather than live out the rest of his life in prison, for taking nine lives. He should face punishment that fits his crime.
2. But others disagree. As CNN reports, there are at least two family members of the shooting victims who don't want Dylan Roof dead. Ethel Lance's children, Esther Lance and Sharon Risher, both said they were conflicted about it. Esther said her mother would not have wanted Roof to die. Sharon said she is opposed to the death penalty because of her faith. Human rights expert Rick Halperin said that the death penalty is "the most fundamental human rights violation of any country in the world, including our own."
3. So, should Dylan Roof be sentenced to death?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Michigan's attorney general charged four officials in connection with the Flint water crisis on Tuesday. Among the people charged are the highest-ranking officials implicated in the investigation of lead contamination in the city. About 100,000 people were affected by the water contamination. Those charged could face up to 25 years in prison. Darnell Earley and Jerry Ambrose were both emergency managers of Flint. Both were appointed by Governor Rick Snyder. Snyder, so far, has not been charged in connection to the Flint water crisis.
Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof was found guilty. A jury convicted Roof on nine counts of hate crimes resulting in death, three counts of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, nine counts of obstructing the exercise of religion resulting in death, three counts of that charge with an attempt to kill, and nine counts of using a firearm to commit murder during a crime of violence. Roof opened fire during an evening bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church on June 17, 2015. He planned for six months before the massacre and wrote out his plans in a racially charged manifesto. The jury meets January 3 to decide whether he will be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.
A South Carolina case of a police officer accused of killing a black motorist was declared a mistrial after after four days of deliberating left the jurors undecided. Former police officer Michael Slager is the maxium penalty of life in prison for the killing of Walter Scott in 2015. The jury was also considering a manslaughter charge. On Friday afternoon, only one juror was undecided. But by Monday, the jurors requested an explanation of various legal terms and multiple jurors were undecided. Video of the shooting was replayed. Scott was running away from Slager when the first shot of eight shots were fired. Fifty-five witnesses were called over the course of a month. It’s unclear if there is going to be a retrial.
The accused South Carolina church shooter, Dylan Roof, will represent himself in a death penalty trial. He will not be hiring a lawyer to represent himself in court. In June 2015, nine black worshippers were shot dead at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston. Roof is a self-proclaimed white supremacist. He will be facing 33 charges against him in court.
A federal judge will hear arguments Friday to delay the civil fraud suit against Trump University. The trial is currently set to begin on November 28. President-elect Donald Trump is expected to testify. U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel had made it clear that Trump will testify at trial, even if it's over a video connection. Trump's attorneys have argued that the president-elect's schedule is too hectic to appear before the inauguration. Lawyers representing the plaintiff argued that Trump's schedule will become more unpredictable once he is sworn in to office.
49 people were killed in the Orlando nightclub shooting — the worst mass shooting in United States history. Each estate of every slain victim will receive $350,000 from a donation fund. The OneOrlando Fund has raised almost $30 million for the shooting victims. An official with the fund said at least half of the deceased victims have loved ones who are fighting over the claim.
Sandra Bland's family will receive $1.6 million as part of a wrongful death suit settlement. Bland was arrested for a traffic violation in July 2015 and booked into jail. Three days later, her body was found hanging in her cell. Her death was ruled a suicide. Jail guards failed to complete timely checks on inmates. The settlement also includes jail procedure changes to ensure timely cell checks and to provide medical support on all shifts.
The NCAA moved seven scheduled championship events out of North Carolina in response to a controversial state law. The law prevents counties and cities from passing protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Public schools also must require bathrooms and locker rooms are designated for use by a person's biological sex — not another gender identity. The NBA moved its All-Star game out of North Carolina for the same reasons.
Fox News will pay former network anchor Gretchen Carlson $20 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. Carlson sued the network two months ago, accusing then-Chairman Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. Carlson said her refusal of sexual advances led to a pay-cut and a move to an afternoon show. Two weeks after the lawsuit was filed, Ailes stepped down from his position. Fox News has also agreed to issue a "highly unusual public apology" as part of the settlement.
Georgetown University officials announced Thursday that the institution would atone for its past involvement in the slave trade. Nearly two centuries ago, the University profited from the sale of 272 slaves. Georgetown's president offered a formal apology, said he would create an institute for the study of slavery and erect a memorial to the slaves who worked for Georgetown. The president also said that descendants of the slaves will have priority during admissions — similar to legacy students. Many other older universities have acknowledged their involvement in the slave trade, but Georgetown's preferred admission policy is unprecedented.
Two American Olympic swimmers were pulled from their flight out of Rio de Janiero to the United States. Their passports were also seized following their report of a robbery. Ryan Lochte was a part of the group that reported the robbery, but has already returned to the United States. Accounts surrounding the incident have been called into question. A Brazilian newspaper reported that the swimmers were involved in a fight and vandalized a gas station, according to security footage. The authenticity of the video has not yet been confirmed.
A federal report released Wednesday criticized Baltimore police offers for using excessive force and discriminating against blacks. The report is the result of a year-long investigation following the death of Freddie Gray — a 25-year-old black man whose neck was broken while he was handcuffed and shackled in the back of a police van. The Baltimore police commissioner fired six officers who committed egregious violations. The Justice Department and Baltimore police agreed to negotiate court-enforceable reforms.
A new report has confirmed a state-sponsored doping program was run by Russia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The report was issued by the World Anti-Doping Agency after a two-month investigation. The Agency has recommended that all Russian athletes be banned from competing in this year's Olympics. At least 312 results were falsified and the state-run program lasted from 2011 through to at least last year's world swimming championships. This report likely increases pressure on the International Olympic Committee to discipline Russia and its athletes before the Rio Olympics.
Is Disney to blame for alligator attack?
1. A two-year-old boy was pulled into a lagoon by an alligator near a Walt Disney World hotel in Florida. He was found dead Thursday. The boy was wading in the lagoon before the alligator took him underwater. "No swimming" signs were posted at the resort. While gators are common in Florida, attacks are rare.
2. There is some debate online as to who is really at fault: Disney or the child's parents. Some blame the parents for not watching their child closely enough. He was the only member of the family in the water at the time of the attack. Others argue that "no swimming" signs aren't enough and the lagoon should have been fenced off.
3. So, is Disney to blame for the alligator attack?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Things keep getting worse for Brock Turner, the former Stanford swimming star who will serve just three months in jail after being convicted of three felonies, including the intent to commit rape. Turner's victim, who's identity has been kept under wraps, penned a viral letter to Turner that grabbed national headlines and even warranted a response from Vice President Joe Biden. USA Swimming has instituted a lifetime ban against Turner, which all but concludes the Olympic hopeful's career. As members of Congress call to overturn Turner's sentencing, the swimmer's controversy furthers the national debate surrounding the prosecution of sex crimes across college campuses.
Should the Cincinnati Zoo's gorilla been killed?
1. A Cincinnati Zoo gorilla was shot and killed after a 3-year-old child fell into its habitat. The child fell into a moat and was dragged through the water by the gorilla. A special response team that feared for the boy's safety killed the gorilla. The child was admitted to a hospital and released the next day.
2. The zoo is standing by its decision, but many people are outraged at the death. The gorilla, named Harambe, is a member of an endangered species. Some believe the gorilla was protective of the boy and was no threat. Many say the parents should have been more watchful of the child and stopped him from falling into the habitat. The family is under investigation by Cincinnati Police.
3. So, should the gorilla have been killed?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Over the weekend, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died from a heart attack at a West Texas ranch. Scalia, easily the court's most conservative justice, was 79. Without Scalia on the bench, the Supreme Court is left in a precarious position. As only eight justices are on-hand for upcoming decisions, the court can easily reach a dead-locked verdict. President Obama has vowed to act quickly in nominating Scalia's replacement, even after top GOP congressional members expressed their dissent. Most experts point to Sri Srinivasan, a U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the District of Columbia circuit, as Scalia's possible replacement.
Does El Chapo belong in the United States?
1. After a deadly police raid, and near escape, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, the Mexican drug kingpin who broke out of prison last year, was finally recaptured by Mexican authorities. As Guzman's elaborate escape was considered an embarrassment to the Mexican government, the United States has requested to extradite the criminal to face charges across the border.
2. While the U.S. certainly has grounds to charge El Chapo, that doesn't make the extradition process any easier. According to an attorney with the Mexican government, El Chapo's legal team could drag out the extradition process for years.
3. Is El Chapo's extradition worth years of legal battles?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
Was 'affluenza' teen's parole a mistake?
1. Remember Ethan Couch, the 16-year-old who evaded any serious charges after killing four people while driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs? Couch's lawyers argues that his "affluent" nature was to blame, thus introducing the world to the term "affluenza." Couch's lax conviction made national news, enraging many.
2. If you were hoping that Couch would use the incident to turn his life around, keep holding your breath. After a video of Couch playing beer pong surfaced on the Web, the now 18-year-old has been on the run from authorities. With a warrant issued for his arrest, Couch may finally see the inside of a jail cell if captured.
3. So, was Couch's parole a mistake?
Your Thoughts?Weigh In.
The hits keep coming for the Chicago Police Department. After a video of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald's shooting surfaced, officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder. Protests ensued, calling for city leaders involved in the investigation, or lack thereof, to resign. As a result, police Superintendent Gary McCarthy was given the boot. If that wasn't enough to handle, now the Department of Justice is investigating the CPD for civil rights violations. Full details of the probe, which was urgently requested by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, are to come later this week. Not everything blows over in The Windy City.