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Sexual Assault

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An Associated Press investigation found a woman informant was allegedly raped twice during an undercover drug sting last year in which her law enforcement handlers left her unmonitored and unprotected. Details of the sting conducted by sheriff's deputies in the central Louisiana city of Alexandria showed authorities never considered such an attack could happen, didn't provide the woman with recording devices that could transmit in real time and continued to charge her with drug crimes despite her cooperation. The case highlights the perils police informants face around the country seeking to “work off” charges in often loosely regulated, secretive arrangements.

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A rape victim whose DNA from her sexual assault case was used by San Francisco police to arrest her in an unrelated property crime is suing the city. Attorney Adante Pointer says the woman filed the lawsuit Monday under the alias of Jane Doe to protect her privacy. The woman’s DNA, submitted as part of a rape case, was tied to a burglary in late 2021 during a search of a San Francisco Police Department crime lab database. Then-District Attorney Chesa Boudin said in February that her DNA was collected as part of a 2016 domestic violence and sexual assault case. The shocking revelation raised privacy concerns and prompted a national outcry among law enforcement, legal experts, lawmakers and advocates of sexual assault victims.

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Some leaders in states with strict bans on abortion say exceptions for rape or incest victims aren’t needed because emergency contraceptives can be used instead. But medical professionals and advocates for rape survivors say that while emergency contraception is a helpful tool, it’s not always foolproof, and getting access to these emergency measures in the short time in which they would be effective may not be realistic for someone who has just been assaulted.

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The man charged with killing a Tennessee teacher is facing new charges. Cleotha Henderson has been indicted in connection with an alleged separate kidnapping from 2021. Henderson was rebooked Friday on charges of aggravated rape, especially aggravated kidnapping and unlawful carrying of a weapon. Media outlets report that details of the newest allegations against Henderson weren't immediately available. The indictment was issued Thursday. It came days after Henderson’s arrest in the death of Eliza Fletcher. Henderson's indictment in the 2021 case didn't occur until Thursday because of athe timing in testing his DNA.

Women who were members of a Utah polygamous group say in a lawsuit that they were forced into underage marriages, raped and had to work as children in the group’s businesses. The lawsuit filed Wednesday in state court in Salt Lake City alleges the Kingston Group, also known as the Order, arranged such marriages so that girls would become pregnant and beholden to their husbands and the group. The lawsuit against group members seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages. John Gustafson, a representative of an organization affiliated with the Kingston Group, calls the claims “frivolous” and unlikely to succeed.

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Authorities say a Dallas-area man was sentenced to 60 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to filming himself raping a 7-year-old girl. The U.S. attorney's office for the northern district of Texas said in a statement Friday that Mark Allen Miller, of Rowlett, was sentenced Thursday by a federal judge in Dallas after pleading guilty to two counts of producing child pornography. The 35-year-old Miller was arrested on Jan. 12 after the girl’s father, with whom Miller was staying, said he walked in on Miller raping the girl, who was 9 years old at the time. Prosecutors say Miller admitted to police that he had been molesting the girl for two years.

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South Carolina senators have rejected a ban on almost all abortions in a special session. Republicans had a majority of votes to pass the ban, but Republican Sen. Tom Davis threatened to filibuster and proponents of the ban were two votes short of the means of ending such a tactic. Davis was joined by the three Republican women senators, a fifth GOP colleague and all the chamber’s Democrats to oppose the proposed ban. Senators did pass a few changes to the six-week ban, including cutting the time that victims of rape and incest who become pregnant can seek an abortion from 20 weeks to about 12 weeks and requiring that DNA from the aborted fetus be collected for police.

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A Missouri boarding school already under scrutiny amid physical and sexual abuse allegations may soon be shut down, following a judge’s ruling. Cedar County Circuit Judge David Munton signed an order Wednesday night to close Agape Boarding School in Stockton after the Missouri attorney general’s office and the state Department of Social Services filed petitions citing evidence that someone on the state registry for child abuse and neglect is working there. But early Thursday, Munton stated in a court document that before closing the school he wanted the sheriff to confirm if the employee is still working at Agape. A hearing Monday will determine if the school will be allowed to remain open.

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A Louisiana man imprisoned for nearly four decades until his conviction for a 1979 rape was thrown out in 2018 is now fighting for compensation for being wrongfully convicted. The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reports that attorneys for Malcolm Alexander took his argument for compensation to a state appeals court Thursday. Attorneys for Alexander, now age 62, say DNA from evidence collected at the rape scene matched neither the victim nor Alexander. But a state judge later ruled that Alexander wasn't eligible for money from the state innocence compensation fund because the evidence used to help free him didn't legally establish his "factual innocence.”

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The South Carolina Senate’s three Republican women all said they could not support an abortion ban that did not include exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Two different attempts to get the exceptions back into the bill failed later Wednesday. Senators adjourned Wednesday evening without a final vote. Republicans are facing off against one another over the ban. On one side is a core group that views any abortion as ending a life. On the other are conservatives who have digested developments elsewhere since Roe v. Wade was overturned and say they don’t want 14-year-old rape victims to have to give birth or force a mother to carry to term a fetus unable to live outside the womb.

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Japan’s defense minister says he has ordered a ministry-wide special investigation into growing reports of sexual assault after allegations of harassment were brought by a former soldier. Defense Minister Yasukazu Hamada’s order came after a female former soldier requested a reinvestigation of an alleged assault by former male colleagues last year. Hamada says the number of reported harassment cases has increased sharply in recent years, and that it is time for a thorough review of the problem. In a country where gender inequality remains high, sexual harassment is often disregarded and the #MeToo movement has been slow to catch on.

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A South Carolina Senate committee has removed exceptions for rape and incest from a bill banning nearly all abortions. The 9-8 vote by the Senate Medical Affairs Committee on Tuesday sends the bill to the Senate floor for a Wednesday debate. Democrats refused to join more moderate Republicans that fought to keep the exceptions, saying they didn't want to make an awful proposal just really bad. The same bill without the exceptions appeared to fail in the more conservative state House before some Republicans maneuvered it to allow abortions for rape and incest victims up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

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A Texas judge has declared a mistrial in the child sex assault case against former All-Star and World Series MVP pitcher John Wetteland after the jury deadlocked. The Denton County jury told Judge Lee Ann Breading three times that it was split before she declared a mistrial Friday. Wetteland was being tried on three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. He played for the Texas Rangers from 1997 to 2000 and also played for the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners. The 56-year-old Rangers’ Hall of Famer faced 25 years to life in prison if convicted.

A professional tennis player from France who reached a career-high ranking of No. 39 last year has accused her former coach of rape and sexual assault. The French Tennis Federation said in a statement Saturday that it is “standing by” Fiona Ferro, a 25-year-old who lost in qualifying at the U.S. Open last week. The federation added that it “is examining the possibility of filing a civil lawsuit in this case.” Ferro wrote on social media about her accusation against Bouteyre. The Associated Press typically does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted unless they come forward publicly, which Ferro has done. She is the latest female tennis player to bring attention to the issue of predatory coaches.

A man has pleaded guilty to murdering four women whose bodies were found in vacant Detroit houses in 2018 and 2019. Wayne County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Maria Miller said 37-year-old Deangelo Martin also pleaded guilty on Friday to sexually assaulting two other women. Martin pleaded guilty just days before he was scheduled to stand trial. An agreement with prosecutors that calls for him to be sentenced to 45 years to 70 years in prison. The plea comes three years after prosecutors announced the charges in the slayings that they characterized as the work of a serial killer. Martin is set to be sentenced on Oct. 6.

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India’s Supreme Court has granted bail to a prominent human rights activist who has spearheaded a campaign to hold officials responsible for deadly 2002 anti-Muslim riots in western Gujarat state. Teesta Setalvad was granted bail on Friday, more than two months after she was detained on allegations of fabricating evidence against officials, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi was the state’s top elected official at the time of the riots. Setalvad, a vocal Modi critic, has long campaigned for justice for victims of the riots, in which more than 1,000 people were killed. She has sought to hold Modi responsible for the riots, even though the Supreme Court has multiple times said it found no evidence to prosecute him.

A man lauded as a hero for confronting a shooter inside an Oregon grocery store Sunday was convicted of child sex crimes while in the U.S. Army decades ago. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports Donald Surrett, Jr. died while trying to stop Ethan Miller's shooting rampage at a Safeway store in Bend. Police said Surrett's decision cost him his life but likely saved the lives of others. Records show Surrett pleaded guilty in 1994 to two counts of carnal knowledge and two counts of indecent acts. A military court sentenced Surrett to 10 years in prison. Bend Police Department spokeswoman Sheila Miller said Surrett's background doesn't change that he acted heroically during this incident.

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Alarmed by a dramatic increase in reported sexual assaults in the military, defense leaders say they want beef up prevention. But they are struggling to find people to hire and are still developing programs they think can work, after nearly two decades of trying. The idea of preventing a sexual assault before it happens isn’t new. The military services have been casting about for ways to do it for years and appear to have made little progress.  But this year, officials say they are bolstered by an infusion of $479 million to hire as many as 2,400 personnel for a new “prevention workforce.”

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Prosecutors say a southwest Arkansas man has been charged with 132 counts accusing him of sexually assaulting more than 30 children over 25 years. Court records show 58-year-old Barry Walker is charged with rape, engaging a child in sexually explicit conduct and other counts involving children in Clark and Pike counties. Walker faces up to life in prison if convicted. A woman who answered a phone call to public defender Winston Mathis said Thursday that Mathis is prohibited by public defender rules from commenting. Prosecutor Dan Turner said all the victims were younger than 14 when they were assaulted.

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A lawyer for a 14-year-old Wisconsin boy accused of killing a 10-year-old girl after luring her into the woods said Thursday that he will seek to have the case moved from adult to juvenile court. During a brief Zoom appearance in Chippewa County Circuit Court, attorney Michael Cohen said he planned to file the request in the coming weeks. Judge Benjamin Lane found probable cause during the hearing to proceed to trial after the teen waived his right to a preliminary hearing. The boy is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and two counts of sexual assault. He's accused of killing Iliana Peters the night of April 24 as she was riding her bike home from her aunt’s house.

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The U.N. accused China of serious human rights violations that may amount to “crimes against humanity” in a long-delayed report examining a crackdown on Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim ethnic groups. Beijing on Thursday denounced the assessment as a fabrication cooked up by Western nations. Human rights groups have accused China of sweeping a million or more people from the minority groups into detention camps where many have said they were tortured or sexually assaulted. The report from the U.N. human rights office largely corroborated earlier reporting by researchers, advocacy groups and the news media. It added the weight of the world body to those conclusions. But it was not clear what impact it would have. China showed no sign of backing off its blanket denials.

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Authorities in New Jersey have released video and documents related to sexual offense charges filed against actor Gary Busey. He's accused of inappropriately touching at least three women at a horror movie convention earlier this month. The documentation released Wednesday by Cherry Hill police was heavily redacted and revealed no major new details regarding the allegations. Most of the police bodycam videos and witness interview videos are also blurred and contain no audio. The 78-year-old actor has maintained his innocence. Busey was scheduled as a featured guest the three-day event. But the company running the convention says he was removed when it received a complaint from attendees.

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The few Republican candidates across the U.S. this year who say they support abortion rights still find themselves under attack on the issue. The message from Democrats is no Republican can be trusted to protect abortion access after the U.S. Supreme Court threw out Roe v. Wade in June. In Colorado, that strategy has put the GOP's U.S. Senate candidate on the defensive. Republican Joe O'Dea says he'd back a law to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade, though he opposes abortions after 20 weeks except in cases of rape, incest or to protect the mother's life. Democrats also are confronting Republican candidates on abortion in Connecticut and New Hampshire.

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A former Idaho lawmaker convicted of raping a 19-year-old legislative intern has been sentenced to 20 years in prison for the crime. Fourth District Judge Michael Reardon sentenced Aaron von Ehlinger on Wednesday, saying he must serve at least eight years before he will be eligible for parole. The judge said von Ehlinger failed to show empathy or remorse, and that it was clear he was not ready for sex offender treatment. The Republican from Lewiston resigned from the Idaho House of Representatives last year after an ethics committee recommended that he be banned from the statehouse. Von Ehlinger has maintained that the sex was consensual.

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