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Red flag laws may prevent more suicides than mass shootings

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 19:10

Before her brother took his own life, Mary Miller-Strobel said she and her father begged every store in town that sold firearms to turn him away.

"'If he comes, call me,'" Miller-Strobel said her dad pleaded while waving her brother's picture at store managers in Charlotte, Michigan, in 2006. "'Just call me. I will come.'"

She said the responses were the same: "'Second amendment, sorry.'" Two months later, her brother, Ben, shot himself with a revolver.

Today, Miller-Strobel is 36 and a social worker in Wayne County. She said she still doesn't understand why her 26-year-old brother shot himself with a gun he legally owned.

She joined Michigan's chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America this year and became a champion for "red flag" legislation in Michigan, which would allow a resident's weapons to be taken if they are a danger to themselves or others.

"We were trying so hard and nobody wanted to help us," Miller-Strobel said. "If legislation like that were available, that would have been the golden ticket."

Interest in red flag laws has surged since a February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, left 17 people dead. Documents show that months before the massacre, school officials and police were so concerned about the mental stability of the suspect, Nikolas Cruz, that they wanted him forcibly committed. That never happened.

But statistically, the gun tragedy most likely to touch Americans is suicide. Nearly 60 percent of the 38,658 gun deaths in the U.S. in 2016 were people taking their own lives, compared to 37 percent homicides, 1.3 percent law enforcement encounters and about 1.2 accidental, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded. While tragic, mass shootings accounted for less than 500 deaths in 2016 and 2017, according to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive.

Research suggests the nation's first red-flag law — passed by Connecticut in 1999 after a disgruntled employee killed four executives inside the state's lottery headquarters — has become an important tool to prevent suicides. About two-thirds of the weapons seizures there were out of suicide concern, according to a 2017 study. It estimated that Connecticut's policy stopped one suicide per 10 to 20 gun seizures over 14 years.

"If finding that risky person is like finding a needle in a haystack, this gives us a much smaller haystack with a lot more needles," said Duke University professor Jeffrey Swanson, who led the study.

Rep. Robert Wittenberg, sponsor of the red-flag proposal introduced in Michigan last June, said preventing firearm suicide could be the bills' chief outcome.

"This could save lives, and that's why we're pushing it," the Democrat said.

However, National Rifle Association member Jerold Garland walked away from his 14-year-old son's suicide in 2016 with a very different conclusion.

The night Garland's son killed himself, the boy set his coiled headphones on his bed, right beside his glasses. The gun he used was taken from the family safe. Police found the chilling note, "I have everybody fooled," inside a notebook.

Two months later, Garland returned to teaching his concealed pistol license class.

"I knew I had to teach that class," the 47-year-old resident of Romulus, Michigan, said. "That was the hardest thing for me, because that's what brought it back."

Red-flag measures would not have applied to his son because the gun belonged to Garland. However, he said his son is proof that gun control does not thwart people already wanting to die.

"As a father who gave my son the knowledge and the ability, I have a hard time blaming the gun," he said.

The red-flag bills in Michigan would ban someone from purchasing or possessing a firearm for up to a year, provided a court deems the individual at risk of self-injury or harm to others. Law enforcement and loved ones as well as former partners, roommates or anyone with "a close relationship" may file a report. The proposal has stalled in the Republican-controlled Legislature despite support from GOP Gov. Rick Snyder.

Five states — California, Connecticut, Indiana, Oregon and Washington — had red-flag laws at the time of the Parkland shooting. The National Conference of State Legislatures counts at least 16 other states reviewing similar provisions. Since Parkland, Florida and Vermont have passed such laws.

A 2016 study on suicide attempts concludes that firearms increase risk of death by 140 times. In Michigan, 53 percent of suicide deaths were inflicted by gun, according to 2016 CDC data.

Cathy Barber, who directs the Means Matter Campaign that educates the public about firearm suicide prevention, said one thing is certain: People who want to take their own life usually do not remain so. Only 2.3 percent of people who tried to kill themselves die from another attempt, according to the previous study from 2016.

"It's an intense state that can flare up and then recede, sometimes after a matter of just hours," Barber said. "You don't get that opportunity when you've pulled the trigger."

Pat Gallinagh, 72, knows this firsthand.

In 1966, Gallinagh was a second-team All-Big Ten defensive tackle for Michigan State University. Five years later, he climbed on a chair, slipped a noose over his neck and lifted one foot in the air. He stopped himself mid-leap. Today, he is a suicide prevention advocate in Ironwood, Michigan, and supports red-flag laws.

He credits his survival to the lack of firearms in his home with his uncle that day.

"If I had access (to guns), we wouldn't be talking right now," he said. "I'm living, breathing proof that intervention works and there is a light."

Categories: Ohio News

Backpage and CEO plead guilty in California, Texas

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 18:39

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The chief executive of a website that authorities have dubbed an "online brothel" pleaded guilty to California money-laundering charges Thursday, while the company itself pleaded guilty to human trafficking in Texas.

Carl Ferrer will cooperate in prosecuting Backpage.com's creators and will serve no more than five years in state prison under a California plea agreement. He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and three counts of money laundering in California.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the company pleaded guilty to human trafficking in Texas.

Ferrer also agreed to make the company's data available to law enforcement as investigations and prosecutions continue. The guilty pleas are the latest in a cascade of developments in the last week against the company founded by the former owners of the Village Voice in New York City, Michael Lacey, 69, and James Larkin, 68.

The company founders were among company officials indicted by a federal grand jury in Arizona, while Ferrer, 57, was noticeably absent from the indictment. The U.S. Justice Department also seized and shut down the website used to prominently advertise escorts and massages, among other services and some goods for sale. Authorities allege the site was often used to traffic underage victims, while company officials said they tried to scrub the website of such ads.

Attorneys for the company and the three men did not respond to multiple telephone and email messages from The Associated Press.

"Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and it is happening in our own backyard," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement announcing the plea deal. "The shutdown of Backpage.com is a tremendous victory for the survivors and their families. And the conviction of CEO Ferrer is a game-changer in combatting human trafficking in California, indeed worldwide."

Larkin remains jailed in Arizona while he awaits a hearing Monday on whether he should be released after pleading not guilty to federal charges alleging he helped publish ads for sexual services. Magistrate Judge Bridget Bade said Thursday that attorneys have agreed on the terms of release, but other details must be ironed out.

Four employees and the site's founders pleaded not guilty to the federal charges.

Lacey and Larkin also earlier pleaded not guilty to the California charges after Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Larry Brown last year allowed the state to continue with money laundering charges. Prosecutors allege Backpage's operators illegally funneled nearly $45 million through multiple companies and created websites to get around banks that refused to process their transactions.

But Brown threw out pimping conspiracy and other state charges against Backpage's operators. Brown ruled that the charges are barred by a federal law protecting free speech that grants immunity to websites posting content from others.

President Donald Trump this week signed a law making it easier to prosecute website operators in the future.

Paxon called Thursday's pleas "a significant victory in the fight against human trafficking in Texas and around the world."

Texas state agents raided the Dallas headquarters of Backpage and arrested Ferrer on a California warrant after he arrived at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport on a flight from Amsterdam on Oct. 6, 2016. The Dutch-owned company is incorporated in Delaware, but its principal place of business is in Dallas.

Categories: Ohio News

Ohio State’s Kelsey Mitchell selected 2nd overall in WNBA Draft

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 17:18

Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell was selected 2nd overall by the Indiana Fever in the WNBA Draft on Thursday.

Mitchell, from Cincinnati, is a three-time Big Ten player of the year and was named Big Ten Most Outstanding Player in 2018.

This past season, she led the nation in total points with 849. She averaged 24.3 points per game which was good for third in the country.

She is Ohio State’s all-time leading scorer with 3,402 points. She is second all-time in NCAA scoring.

Categories: Ohio News

Dom & Dave: CBJ playoffs begin, Ohio State spring game in jeopardy

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:43

You've seen them yell at each other in a poorly lit room on a shaky cell phone feed, but now, it's time to step it up.

Dom Tiberi and Dave Holmes are teaming up to discuss the top sports stories of the day among other topics.

Watch Dom & Dave every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 6:45 p.m. on 10TV.com or the 10TV Facebook page.

Thursday, April 12 Topics

  • Preview of the Columbus Blue Jackets playoff series against the Washington Capitals
  • Big Ten losing spring games left and right, will Ohio State play on Saturday?
  • What is your favorite movie cameo by an athlete?

Categories: Ohio News

CDC investigating E. coli outbreak now in 7 states, including Ohio

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:24

(CBS NEWS) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating an outbreak of a particularly nasty strain of E. coli that's sickened people in seven states. The illnesses from Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O157:H7 has landed six people in the hospital.

So far, the CDC reports 17 people have been affected in Washington, Idaho, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Health officials have not yet been able to identify the source of the outbreak.

"It can be very difficult to determine where someone got sick," officials from the New Jersey Department of Health said in a statement. "Individuals could have eaten a number of meals in a number of places before becoming ill. They could have eaten at several restaurants, at home or eaten food purchased at a supermarket. Sometimes the food source associated with illness is never determined."

People typically get sick three to four days after eating food contaminated with the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria. Symptoms include diarrhea, which can be bloody, severe stomach cramps and vomiting. The illness usually clears up within a week but sometimes can linger longer.

Severe cases can lead to a type of kidney failure called hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Signs of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, pale skin tone, fatigue and irritability, small, unexplained bruises or bleeding from the nose and mouth, and decreased urination. These complications are more common in young children under 5, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.

Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.

Officials are in the early stages of investigating the cause of the current outbreak, which involves lab tests and interviewing patients who became ill.

"They are like detectives. These detectives who are called epidemiologists will go and start investigating, they will look at all patients," Dr. Raj Kapila, a professor in the department of medicine at Rutgers University in New Jersey, told CBS New York. "They will take a detailed questionnaire, saying, What did they do? What did they eat? Where did they go? Even, did they wash their hands?"

E. coli is often spread via what health officials delicately call the "fecal-oral route," meaning bacteria from feces gets into food or utensils a person puts in their mouth. The germs can also be left behind on surfaces touched by an infected person who didn't wash their hands.

The CDC recommends the following steps to help prevent infections from E. coli:

  • Wash your hands after using the restroom or changing diapers, before and after preparing or eating food, and after contact with animals.
  • Cook meats thoroughly to kill harmful germs. Steaks and roasts should be cooked to at least 145˚F and let rest for 3 minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove. Cook ground beef and pork to at least 160˚F. Use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the meat.
  • Don't cross-contaminate food preparation areas. Thoroughly wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating, unless the package says the contents have been washed.
  • Avoid raw milk, other unpasteurized dairy products, and unpasteurized juices.
  • Don't prepare food or drink for others when you are sick.
Categories: Ohio News

Body cam footage shows Columbus police officer receiving Narcan during drug arrest

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 15:00

10TV has obtained police body camera footage of a drug arrest where a Columbus police officer had to be administered Narcan.

The video shows an officer questioning a suspect about what his partner might have touched.

Officer: What is that? What is that that you have? No, No, No, what is that that you have in the car?
Suspect: She called it ICE, I swear to God that's what she called it.
Officer: Is there Fentanyl in it?
Suspect: Not that I know of.
Officer: OK, well we have an officer having an effect right now.

Immediately after that, the officer sprang into action. He and another officer opened up their field kits, getting the Narcan ready.

Narcan is squirted into the nose and is normally used to save someone who has overdosed. In this case, it was used as a precaution in case the officer was exposed to a deadly drug.

Categories: Ohio News

Investigators ask for tips about dogfighting

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 14:50

Columbus human agents believe people living in Columbus would be surprised to learn dog fighting is prevalent.

The crime was exposed on April 5, 2016 when humane agents executed five search warrants in west Columbus. Agents seized 46 dogs along with cages, treadmills, and heavy chains and collars.

The investigation resulted in the federal prosecution of four Columbus men, including 42-year old Charles A. Granberry. He's currently serving five years in prison.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Marous said the court takes the crime seriously.

"Much of our civilized society finds this repulsive," said Marous.

The U.S. Attorney's office shared never before seen photos with 10TV showing dogs isolated, tethered by heavy chains, some carefully concealed in the defendant's attic.

Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Heather Robinson also prosecuted the case and said most fighting dogs live their lives in training to build up endurance, bite strength and aggression.

"They were raised essentially their entire lives in solitary confinement," said Robinson. "They had a horrible existence even before the fighting began."

Investigators said the underground world of Columbus dog fighting is as organized as it is secretive. An undercover Columbus Humane Agent who asked not to be identified described a typical, organized dogfight. The animals are introduced in a square pit.

"They're kept in their own separate corners very similar to a boxing ring or an MMA match. Upon release they're going to charge headfirst at each other," said the humane agent.

The dogs rarely fight to the death, but often later die from the severity of their injuries or infection.

The humane agent said the average fight can last about 45-minutes but have been recorded to endure for as long as five hours.

Prosecutors say greed is the motivating factors. It's estimated during a large-scale dogfight, $20,000-30,000 can change hands.

"Because they're betting, just like they're at a casino or somewhere else They're betting on the outcome," explained Marous. "There's some perverse entertainment for watching the animals fight until they're injured," he added.

Investigators said Granberry purchased his prizefighting dog, Escobar, for $4,500. Humane agents say they had no choice but to euthanize Escobar, along with 31 of the 46 dogs rescued during the raid. The animals were either aggressive or suffering medical issues.

The undercover humane agent said it's easy to spot the signs of dog fighting in your neighborhood.

Dogs are often kept on heavy chains to help strengthen neck muscles for fighting. The investigator said she once rescued a 30-pound dog dragging a 30-pound chain.

The humane agent said to keep an eye out for out of state tags frequently taking dogs to and from a residence, and if the number of "pets" living next door frequently changes, 15 dogs one week and five dogs the next, it should send up a red flag.

Columbus human says people with information about dog fighting in Columbus can leave an anonymous tips by calling 614-777-7387, extension 250.

Categories: Ohio News

Police investigate shots fired east of downtown; school bus not hit by gunfire

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 13:43

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Columbus police said a school bus with Columbus City Schools was not hit by gunfire after it was initially believed to have been shot.

Police were called to the 350 block of North Monroe Avenue around 3 p.m. Thursday.

Police said there was at least one shot fired in the area and the bus was nearby.

As police investigated, it was determined the bus was not damaged.

A spokesperson with Columbus City Schools said about 10 students and the driver were on the bus.

They were being brought home from Columbus Africentric.

Categories: Ohio News

Distracted driving survey shows increasing problem

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 13:36

A new survey says distracted driving is actually worse than previously thought.

The survey, conducted by Zendrive, looked at driving behavior of 4.5 million drivers over 7 billion miles on the road.

A tracking device from the company was used in a variety of phone apps, that allowed Zendrive to know anonymously when a car is moving.

The data found habitual phone users use their phones for three minutes, 40 seconds every hour.

This is 10-seconds longer than Zendrive's 2017 study.

Ohio ranked the 29th least distracted driving state.

The company says Ohio drivers are using their phones while driving seven percent of each hour every day. Ohio had 1,016 traffic deaths in 2017, yet only three cell phone related fatalities were reported, according to the survey.

"In 2018 we found that Ohio drivers are spending about seven percent of their time on their phones and I'm sure as you know Ohio does not have a ban on driver's handheld phone use so there's not much to discourage people from this risky behavior," said Noah Budnick of Zendrive.

Of the sixteen states that ban drivers from using handheld phones, only one, Vermont, saw a reduction in driver phone use.

Zendrive researchers also found that during an hour-long trip, drivers spent an average of 3.5 minutes using their phones.

That's concerning especially when you consider that a two-second distraction is long enough to increase your likelihood of crashing by over 20 times.

In other words, that’s equivalent to 105 opportunities an hour that you could nearly kill yourself and/or others.

Categories: Ohio News

Study: 41% of millennials don't know 6 millions Jews were killed in Holocaust

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 13:26

More than one-fifth of millennials in the U.S. -- 22 percent -- haven't heard of, or aren't sure if they've heard of, the Holocaust, according to a study published Thursday, on Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day. The study, which was commissioned by The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany and conducted by Schoen Consulting, also found that 11 percent of U.S. adults overall haven't heard of the Holocaust or aren't sure if they did.

Additionally, 41 percent of millennials believe two million Jews or fewer were killed during the Holocaust, the study found. Six million Jews were killed in World War II by Nazi Germany and its accomplices.

Two-thirds of millennials could not identify in the survey what Auschwitz was.

"The survey found there are critical gaps both in awareness of basic facts as well as detailed knowledge of the Holocaust," said a news release on the findings.

A majority of American adults surveyed -- 70 percent -- agreed with a statement reading: "Fewer people seem to care about the Holocaust as much as they used to." And 58 percent of Americans believe that something like the Holocaust could happen again, the survey found.

The study on Holocaust awareness and knowledge in the U.S. was conducted between February 23 and 27 and involved 1,350 interviews with American adults 18 and older.

"This study underscores the importance of Holocaust education in our schools," Greg Schneider, executive vice president of the Claims Conference said in a statement. "There remain troubling gaps in Holocaust awareness while survivors are still with us; imagine when there are no longer survivors here to tell their stories."

Israelis stood still on Thursday for a nationwide moment of silence in remembrance of the Jewish victims, as a two-minute siren wailed across the country and the nation paid respects to those systematically killed. As every year on Holocaust Remembrance Day, buses and cars halted on streets and highways and Israelis stepped out of their vehicles, standing with heads bowed in solemn remembrance.

The somber day is also marked by ceremonies and memorials at schools and community centers. Restaurants and cafes in the ordinarily bustling streets of Tel Aviv shutter, and TV and radio stations play Holocaust-themed programs. Dignitaries laid wreaths at Yad Vashem, the national Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.

A third of the world's Jews were murdered in the Holocaust. Israel was established afterward in 1948, and hundreds of thousands of survivors fled to the Jewish state.

Categories: Ohio News

"Tell my mom I love her": Ohio teen calls 911 before being found dead in minivan

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 12:44

An Ohio county prosecutor has opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of a teenage boy who became trapped by a minivan bench seat.

WCPO-TV reports Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Thursday his office is seeking experts to help investigate 16-year-old Kyle Plush's death Tuesday in the parking lot of Seven Hills School in Cincinnati.

Deters says the teen died of positional asphyxia.

The teen called 911 at 3:16 p.m. Tuesday saying he was in "desperate need of help" and later asked a dispatcher to "tell my mom I love her if I die."

Authorities say officers searched but didn't find the minivan. A relative found the teen and the minivan nearly six hours later.

Cincinnati police and the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office also are investigating.

Categories: Ohio News

Ohio State evaluating forecast for Spring Game; lacrosse matchup moved to Friday

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 10:59

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Due to predicted weather that shows thunderstorms in the Columbus area on Saturday morning, the Ohio State-Michigan men’s lacrosse game has been moved to Friday, April 13 at 7 p.m.

Ohio State says they are evaluating the weather forecast for Saturday and will be making a final decision on the 2018 LiFE Sports Spring Game at a later time.

The lacrosse game will still air live on the Big Ten Network. It was originally scheduled for April 14 at 11 a.m., before the Spring Game.

The university says tickets previously purchased tickets will be honored for the new date and time. Fans who are not able to attend the rescheduled date may obtain a refund or an unused ticket will be honored at any remaining men’s lacrosse or baseball game this season.

Categories: Ohio News

New Charges: Chiropractor now accused of sexually assaulting 47 patients

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 10:20

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus City Attorney's Office announced 31 new counts of sexual imposition against Clintonville chiropractor Dr. Ryan Smith.

Smith was already charged with 35 counts, bringing the total to 66 counts, involving 47 accusers.

City Attorney Zach Klein said Smith sexually assaulted female patients during medical exams at his Clintonville office. Klein said the women told consistent stories of Smith groping their breasts and rubbing his genitals against them during exams. Klein said in several cases, Smith misdiagnosed patients with shoulder injuries in order to grope them.

10TV has documented a history of complaints against Smith, dating back to 2007, including two letters of warning for sexual misconduct from the Ohio State Chiropractic Board. The Board permanently revoked Smith's license last week, after accusing him of "sexually demeaning conduct, gross immorality, and gross malpractice."

Klein's office says each misdemeanor count of sexual imposition is punishable by up to 60 days in jail. Under Ohio law, Klein says, the aggregate maximum possible sentence cannot exceed 18 months.

Categories: Ohio News

Police investigate deadly fight in northeast Columbus

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 08:46

COLUMBUS - Columbus police said one person died after a fight in northeast Columbus.

Officers were called to the 5400 block of Cameron Ellis Drive around 7:30 Thursday morning.

One person was pronounced dead at 8:30 a.m. Police describe the victim as a black man in his 20s-30s.

No other details were immediately available. Anyone with information is asked to call CPD at 614-645-4730.

HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION: At 7:36am today, April 12, 2018, patrol officers responded to a fight in the 5400 block of Cameron Ellis Dr. (NE Columbus/Westerville area) The victim was pronounced deceased at 8:30am. The investigation is underway. #CPD pic.twitter.com/vXZXUmeSzn

— Columbus Ohio Police (@ColumbusPolice) April 12, 2018

Stay with 10TV for updates on this developing story.

Categories: Ohio News

Trump: Syria attack 'very soon or not so soon at all!'

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 08:38

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Thursday that an attack on Syria could take place "very soon or not so soon at all," arguing he had never signaled the timing of retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack that he had suggested was imminent a day earlier.

The president made his latest statement in a tweet Thursday morning. Trump on Wednesday had warned Russia to "get ready" for a missile attack on its ally Syria. But on Thursday, Trump tweeted: "Never said when an attack on Syria would take place."

At stake in Syria is the potential for confrontation, if not outright conflict, between the U.S. and Russia, former Cold War foes whose relations have deteriorated in recent years over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, its interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and, most recently, its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Russian lawmakers have warned the United States that Moscow would view an airstrike on Syria as a war crime and that it could trigger a direct U.S-Russian military clash. Russia's ambassador to Lebanon said any missiles fired at Syria would be shot down and the launching sites targeted — a stark warning of a potential major confrontation.

Trump, who has often said a commander in chief should never telegraph his military intentions, apparently did so himself, tweeting that missiles "will be coming" in response to the suspected chemical attack that killed at least 40 people near Damascus.

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria," Trump wrote. "Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, however, indicated that evidence of what happened was still being studied. At a photo-taking session during a Pentagon meeting with his Dutch counterpart, Mattis was asked by a reporter whether he had seen enough evidence to blame the Syrian government.

"We're still assessing the intelligence, ourselves and our allies," Mattis said. "We're still working on this."

Trump suggested Monday he had little doubt that Syria was to blame, but neither he nor other administration officials have produced hard evidence. This is in contrast to an incident one year ago in which the U.S. government had video and other evidence of certain aspects of an actual attack by Syrian aircraft, which involved the use of sarin gas. Trump responded then by launching dozens of Navy cruise missiles at a Syrian airfield.

Asked whether the U.S. military was ready to conduct an attack in Syria if ordered, Mattis replied, "We stand ready to provide military options if they're appropriate, as the president determined."

In the past, Trump has condemned others for forecasting military plans, repeatedly blistering President Barack Obama during the 2016 campaign. During one speech, he said, "We must as a nation be more unpredictable. We are totally predictable. We tell everything."

Asked about Trump's tweet about an impending attack on Syria, former Defense Secretary William Cohen, who ran the Pentagon for President Bill Clinton, said on CNN that it "compromises the mission somewhat."

Trump did not detail what a strike on Syria would look like, or whether these would be U.S. missiles. U.S. officials have been consulting with France, Britain and other allies on a possible joint military operation, but the timing remained in doubt Wednesday. Trump canceled a foreign trip in order to manage a crisis that is testing his vow to stand up to Assad.

Shortly after his tweeted warning to Russia, Trump took a more conciliatory tone in lamenting that the U.S.-Russia relationship "is worse now than it has ever been." There is no reason for this, he wrote, adding that "Russia needs us to help with their economy, something that would be very easy to do, and we need all nations to work together."

Syria's Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that Trump's threats to attack are "reckless" and endanger international peace and security.

Trump's administration has sought to show toughness on Russia, with a series of economic and diplomatic actions, including new sanctions last week against government officials and oligarchs. Trump has largely avoided criticizing Russian President Vladimir Putin by name, though he singled him out in a tweet over the weekend for supporting Assad.

The U.S., France and Britain have been in extensive consultations about launching a military strike as early as the end of this week, U.S. officials have said. A joint military operation, possibly with France rather than the U.S. in the lead, could send a message of international unity about enforcing the prohibitions on chemical weapons and counter Syria's political and military support from Russia and Iran.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday said France has proof that the Syrian government launched chlorine gas attacks and that France would not tolerate "regimes that think everything is permitted."

The Syrian government denies responsibility.

The French president does not need parliamentary permission to launch a military operation. France is already involved in the U.S.-led coalition created in 2014 to fight the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. Multiple IS terror attacks have targeted France, including one last month.

Categories: Ohio News

SWAT situation ends at Westerville apartment complex; suspect in custody

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 08:35

WESTERVILLE, Ohio – A man is in custody after a barricade situation unfolded at an apartment complex in Westerville.

Multiple law enforcement agencies responded to the scene Thursday morning.

Sunbury Police was called to an altercation overnight in Sunbury. Officers say 30-year-old Steven Farley was involved in the altercation, resisted arrest and fled the scene.

Authorities tracked down a vehicle connected to the man at The Ravine -- an apartment complex on Sunbury Road near Central College Road.

Farley was located inside an apartment and refused to come out, according to Westerville Police. A SWAT team was then called to the scene.

Authorities say Farley was arrested without incident around 9:30 a.m.

He was charged with felony fleeing and assault on a police officer.

Categories: Ohio News

Investigation of Ohio pastor accused of inappropriate contact with minor ends

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 08:15

Father James Csaszar, who was a member of the Church of the Resurrection in New Albany, took his life on December 20, 2017. He was 44-years old.

Father Csaszar was under investigation at the time by the New Lexington, Ohio Police Department regarding stolen funds at the St. Rose Parish in New Lexington as well as inappropriate conversations with a minor child.

According to a statement released Wednesday from the Diocese, the investigation into Father Csaszar is concluded and the following was substantiated:

*Inappropriate communication had taken place between the minor child over a period of time.

*The minor stated that while texting conversations with Father Csaszar became "weird" and at times minor felt bullied and blackmailed by him, no inappropriate physical contact had taken place.

*Father Csaszar stated in one text messages that he was in possession of a nude photo of a minor.

According to the letter sent to members of the Church of the Resurrection, Father Csaszar was approached by Reverend Frederick Campbell, Bishop of Columbus about the allegations regarding the minor child.

"He admitted wrongdoing...including possession of a nude photo of a minor that was sent to him by an allegedly unknown person or persons. Father Csazar never reported the photo to the minor’s parents, law enforcement or the Diocese,” according to the Bishop.

After that conversation, the church says they placed Father Csaszar on leave of absence until the police investigation was completed.

The Diocese says it fully cooperated with police.

The investigation also found "financial irregularities" at the Perry County Consortium of the Parishes. It was never determined how much money was missing, according to police.

According to the letter sent to church members, Father Csaszar "admitted to stealing money while serving as Pastor in Perry County."

According to a second letter left by Father Csaszar he “blamed no one for taking his own life.” Father Csaszar said he "did not sexually abuse any minors."

"I want to reaffirm our commitment to building and maintaining safe environments for all our young people, The work of protecting minors, in particular, is critical and the Diocese of Columbus remains absolutely steadfast in its commitment to undertake every effort possible in this regard," Reverend Frederick Campbell, said.

Categories: Ohio News

Speaker Paul Ryan on his "very candid dialogue" with President Trump

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 07:20

A day after announcing he would not be seeking re-election, House Speaker Paul Ryan said that rumored "fatigue" created by President Trump did not play a role in his decision to resign.

In an interview with "CBS This Morning" co-anchor Gayle King on Thursday, Ryan credited Trump for advancing much of the agenda that he accomplished as he looks to leave office.

"We have advanced a very impressive agenda, we ran on an agenda in 2016, we won the election and we've been executing it ever since. So I'm very proud of the accomplishments, but it really is a phase of life," Ryan said.

He added of President Trump, "Obviously we've had our differences and we've disagreed privately and publicly but I really do believe I've been doing things in the best interest of the country."

Ryan disagreed when asked if Trump had made his job as speaker and ultimately his decision to leave "difficult" for him.

"He gave us the ability to get historic things in law that we've been trying to get for a generation," Ryan said. "That's not making things difficult, that's actually facilitating real reform."

Ryan said he has a much more effective relationship with Trump by having "personal dialogues" with him rather than talking about him in public.

"I always act in a way that I think is in the best interest for the country to move us forward and I've always found, especially with my relationship with the president, we have very good, very candid dialogue, and I find it's better to talk to the president instead of talk about the president on the TV and on media."

He added, "That may score points, that may make people happy but I don't see how that gets anything done."

Ryan is now looking ahead to the work yet to be done and the road ahead for the Republican party as he aims to retire from his role in Congress in January. Despite leaving the House, Ryan says he's not leaving politics altogether.

"I'm not going away from life, I'm going to keep being involved on inclusive, aspirational politics, I'm going to keep fighting for the things I believe in and that's among the things I want to do," said Ryan.

He added, "I'm not going anywhere any time soon. I'm running through the tape."

As for whether he feels like he's abandoning the majority? "I don't feel like I'm jumping ship -- we have a fantastic leadership team we can transition to easily they already know how to do that, more importantly, I don't anyone's particular race is going to hinge on whether or not Paul Ryan is Speaker of the House or not."

Categories: Ohio News

$30,000 rumor? Tabloid paid for, spiked, salacious Trump tip

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 05:09

NEW YORK — Eight months before the company that owns the National Enquirer paid $150,000 to a former Playboy Playmate who claimed she'd had an affair with Donald Trump, the tabloid's parent made a $30,000 payment to a less famous individual: a former doorman at one of the real estate mogul's New York City buildings.

As it did with the ex-Playmate, the Enquirer signed the ex-doorman to a contract that effectively prevented him from going public with a juicy tale that might hurt Trump's campaign for president.

The payout to the former Playmate, Karen McDougal, stayed a secret until the Wall Street Journal published a story about it days before Election Day. Since then curiosity about that deal has spawned intense media coverage and, this week, helped prompt the FBI to raid the hotel room and offices of Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen.

The story of the ex-doorman, Dino Sajudin, hasn't been told until now.

The Associated Press confirmed the details of the Enquirer's payment through a review of a confidential contract and interviews with dozens of current and former employees of the Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc. Sajudin got $30,000 in exchange for signing over the rights, "in perpetuity," to a rumor he'd heard about Trump's sex life — that the president had fathered an illegitimate child with an employee at Trump World Tower, a skyscraper he owns near the United Nations. The contract subjected Sajudin to a $1 million penalty if he disclosed either the rumor or the terms of the deal to anyone.

Cohen, the longtime Trump attorney, acknowledged to the AP that he had discussed Sajudin's story with the magazine when the tabloid was working on it. He said he was acting as a Trump spokesman when he did so and denied knowing anything beforehand about the Enquirer payment to the ex-doorman.

The parallel between the ex-Playmate's and the ex-doorman's dealings with the Enquirer raises new questions about the roles that the Enquirer and Cohen may have played in protecting Trump's image during a hard-fought presidential election. Prosecutors are probing whether Cohen broke banking or campaign laws in connection with AMI's payment to McDougal and a $130,000 payment to porn star Stormy Daniels that Cohen said he paid out of his own pocket.

Federal investigators have sought communications between Cohen, American Media's chief executive and the Enquirer's top editor, the New York Times reported.

Cohen's lawyer has called the raids "inappropriate and unnecessary." American Media hasn't said whether federal authorities have sought information from it, but said this week that it would "comply with any and all requests that do not jeopardize or violate its protected sources or materials pursuant to our First Amendment rights." The White House didn't respond to questions seeking comment.

On Wednesday, an Enquirer sister publication, RadarOnline, published details of the payment and the rumor that Sajudin was peddling. The website wrote that the Enquirer spent four weeks reporting the story but ultimately decided it wasn't true. The company only released Sajudin from his contract after the 2016 election amid inquiries from the Journal about the payment. The site noted that the AP was among a group of publications that had been investigating the ex-doorman's tip.

During AP's reporting, AMI threatened legal action over reporters' efforts to interview current and former employees and hired the New York law firm Boies Schiller Flexner, which challenged the accuracy of the AP's reporting.

Asked about the payment last summer, Dylan Howard, the Enquirer's top editor and an AMI executive, said he made the payment to secure the former Trump doorman's exclusive cooperation because the tip, if true, would have sold "hundreds of thousands" of magazines. Ultimately, he said the information "lacked any credibility," so he spiked the story on those merits.

"Unfortunately...Dino Sajudin is one fish that swam away," Howard told RadarOnline on Wednesday.

But four longtime Enquirer staffers directly familiar with the episode challenged Howard's version of events. They said they were ordered by top editors to stop pursuing the story before completing potentially promising reporting threads.

They said the publication didn't pursue standard Enquirer reporting practices, such as exhaustive stake-outs or tabloid tactics designed to prove paternity. In 2008, the Enquirer helped bring down presidential hopeful John Edwards in part by digging through a dumpster and retrieving material to do a DNA test that indicated he had fathered a child with a mistress, according to a former staffer.

The woman at the center of the rumor about Trump denied emphatically to the AP last August that she'd ever had an affair with Trump, saying she had no idea the Enquirer had paid Sajudin and pursued his tip.

The AP has not been able to determine if the rumor is true and is not naming the woman.

"This is all fake," she said. "I think they lost their money."

The Enquirer staffers, all with years of experience negotiating source contracts, said the abrupt end to reporting combined with a binding, seven-figure penalty to stop the tipster from talking to anyone led them to conclude that this was a so-called "catch and kill" — a tabloid practice in which a publication pays for a story to never run, either as a favor to the celebrity subject of the tip or as leverage over that person.

One former Enquirer reporter, who was not involved in the Sajudin reporting effort, expressed skepticism that the company would pay for the tip and not publish.

"AMI doesn't go around cutting checks for $30,000 and then not using the information," said Jerry George, a reporter and senior editor for nearly three decades at AMI before his layoff in 2013.

The company said that AMI's publisher, David Pecker, an unabashed Trump supporter, had not coordinated its coverage with Trump associates or taken direction from Trump. It acknowledged discussing the former doorman's tip with Trump's representatives, which it described as "standard operating procedure in stories of this nature."

The Enquirer staffers, like many of the dozens of other current and former AMI employees interviewed by the AP in the past year, spoke on condition of anonymity. All said AMI required them to sign nondisclosure agreements barring them from discussing internal editorial policy and decision-making.

Though sometimes dismissed by mainstream publications, the Enquirer's history of breaking legitimate scoops about politicians' personal lives — including its months-long Pulitzer Prize-contending coverage of presidential candidate Edwards' affair — is a point of pride in its newsroom.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, the Enquirer published a string of allegations against Trump's rivals, such as stories claiming Democratic rival Hillary Clinton was a bisexual "secret sex freak" and was kept alive only by a "narcotics cocktail."

Stories attacking Trump rivals or promoting Trump's campaign often bypassed the paper's normal fact-checking process, according to two people familiar with campaign-era copy.

The tabloid made its first-ever endorsement by officially backing Trump for the White House. With just over a week before Election Day, Howard, the top editor, appeared on Alex Jones' InfoWars program by phone, telling listeners that the choice at the ballot box was between "the Clinton crime family" or someone who will "break down the borders of the establishment." Howard said the paper's coverage was bipartisan, citing negative stories it published about Ben Carson during the Republican presidential primaries.

In a statement last summer, Howard said the company doesn't take editorial direction "from anyone outside AMI," and said Trump has never been an Enquirer source. The company has said reader surveys dictate its coverage and that many of its customers are Trump supporters.

The company has said it paid McDougal, the former Playboy Playmate, to be a columnist for an AMI-published fitness magazine, not to stay silent. McDougal has since said that she regrets signing the non-disclosure agreement and is currently suing to get out of it.

Pecker has denied burying negative stories about Trump, but acknowledged to the New Yorker last summer that McDougal's contract had effectively silenced her.

"Once she's part of the company, then on the outside she can't be bashing Trump and American Media," Pecker said.

In the tabloid world purchasing information is not uncommon, and the Enquirer routinely pays sources. As a general practice, however, sources agree to be paid for their tips only upon publication.

George, the longtime former reporter and editor, said the $1 million penalty in Sajudin's agreement was larger than anything he had seen in his Enquirer career.

"If your intent is to get a story from the source, there's no upside to paying upfront," said George, who sometimes handled catch-and-kill contracts related to other celebrities. Paying upfront was not the Enquirer's usual practice because it would have been costly and endangered the source's incentive to cooperate, he said.

After initially calling the Enquirer's tip line, Sajudin signed a boilerplate contract with the Enquirer, agreeing to be an anonymous source and be paid upon publication. The Enquirer dispatched reporters to pursue the story both in New York and in California. The tabloid also sent a polygraph expert to administer a lie detection test to Sajudin in a hotel near his Pennsylvania home.

Sajudin passed the polygraph, which tested how he learned of the rumor. One week later, Sajudin signed an amended agreement, this one paying him $30,000 immediately and subjecting him to the $1 million penalty if he shopped around his information.

The Enquirer immediately then stopped reporting, said the former staffers.

Cohen, last year, characterized the Enquirer's payment to Sajudin as wasted money for a baseless story.

For his part, Sajudin confirmed he'd been paid to be the tabloid's anonymous source but insisted he would sue the Enquirer if his name appeared in print. Pressed for more details about his tip and experience with the paper, Sajudin said he would talk only for in exchange for payment.

"If there's no money involved with it," he said, "I'm not getting involved."

Categories: Ohio News

Police: Mother of girl who died used super glue to close son's wound

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 04:38

FITCHBURG, Mass. – The mother of a 6-year-old girl found dead in a Massachusetts home Tuesday told her 9-year-old son not to call 911 and used super glue to close a wound on his neck, police said Wednesday.

Thirty-seven-year-old Shana Pedroso and 38-year-old Marvin Brito were charged with two counts of reckless endangerment of a child at Fitchburg District Court Wednesday. Pedroso was separately charged with assault and battery, while Brito was charged with permitting substantial injury to a child.

Both pleaded not guilty.

District Attorney Joseph Early told reporters that police responding to a call at the Fitchburg home Tuesday found the injured boy and non-responsive girl. The girl was transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead, reports CBS Boston.

The boy was found with serious injuries and bruising to his face, but the wounds were not life-threatening, the station reports.

Police say the boy told first responders that he and his sister were attacked by bullies. Prosecutors also say Pedroso instructed the child not to call 911 even though he was injured and his sister "couldn't drink," the station reports. Fitchburg police say Pedoroso beat the girl for not drinking water, according to CBS Boston investigative reporter Cheryl Fiandaca.

Police say the children's mother kept notes saying the children were "bad," so they were "beaten." Police did not describe the children's injuries or say how the girl died. A district attorney earlier called the death suspicious.

Brito and Pedroso are being held without bail. A hearing is set for April 18.

Categories: Ohio News

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