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SEXUAL ASSAULT LAWS-NORTH CAROLINA
NC legislators pass bill to close sexual assault loopholes
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – North Carolina legislators have approved a wide-ranging sexual abuse bill that closes two loopholes involving assault brought about by years-old court decisions.
Both the Senate and House on Wednesday unanimously approved a bill that closes loopholes involving revocation of consent and sex with a person incapacitated by drugs or alcohol. The bill now goes to Gov. Roy Cooper for his signature.
Advocates said North Carolina is the only state in the country where a woman can’t revoke consent to have sex once sex has begun. They also said North Carolina is one of fewer than 10 states where sexual assault laws don’t recognize people who were incapacitated because of their own action as victims.
The bill fixes those two issues as well as making it illegal to drug someone’s drink.
Prosecutors announce guilty plea in $9M Medicaid fraud
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Federal prosecutors say a man has pleaded guilty to a scheme that defrauded North Carolina Medicaid of at least $9.4 million through businesses claiming to help at-risk youth.
The Charlotte-based U.S. Attorney’s Office says in a news release that 39-year-old Tony Garrett Taylor pleaded guilty Thursday to health care fraud conspiracy and tax evasion.
The news release says that Taylor conspired with others from 2015 to 2017 to submit fraudulent reimbursement claims for services that were never provided. Prosecutors say they used a series of entities purporting to offer behavioral health to at-risk youth. Three others have pleaded guilty in the scheme and a fourth is awaiting trial.
A defense attorney for Taylor didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment Thursday.
Police: Man gets naked at church, punches churchgoer in head
GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) – Police in North Carolina arrested a man who they say stripped naked at a church and punched a church member in the head.
Gastonia police told news outlets 39-year-old Christopher Patton Gossage became disruptive inside H.I.S. Frontline Ministry on Sunday. When church leaders tried to escort Gossage out, investigators say he took off his shirt, ran inside and grabbed the preacher. He was taken outside, where he took off the rest of his clothes and threw a punch.
Police said officers struggled with Gossage during his arrest and said he tried to avoid handcuffs by spitting on an officer and trying to bite another officer.
Police charged Gossage with indecent exposure and several misdemeanors. He’s in jail on bond. It’s not known if he has an attorney who can comment.
NC teacher accused of asking students about God suspended
FOUR OAKS, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina school district is investigating complaints that a teacher asked students about their beliefs in God.
Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent Jim Causby told news outlets the teacher is suspended with pay while the district looks into the reports. He didn’t provide additional detail on the circumstances surrounding the complaints.
Causby stated that “it is never appropriate for a teacher to segregate students based on religious, political or personal beliefs.” He added that it’s not appropriate for a teacher “to even ask” what students’ beliefs are. He said students should never be instructed not to share classroom activities with parents.
News outlets say the incident happened at a high school about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from Raleigh.
Federal laws prevent students from being required to answer questions about religious practices.
NC legislature goes home, still without budget resolution
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – The North Carolina General Assembly has gone home for a brief respite still without a final two-year budget and Medicaid deals after nine months of legislating.
The legislature adjourned its session late Thursday, but lawmakers will come back in two weeks for congressional redistricting and possible negotiations between House and Senate Republicans and Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper.
Cooper vetoed the GOP’s two-year budget bill in June. Republican leaders this week still couldn’t locate a Senate Democrat or two to join them in completing a veto override, even after unveiling a bill that could have raised teacher and university pay even higher than the budget directs.
There’s still no movement on Medicaid expansion, which Cooper wants. And funding to carry out Medicaid managed care is stuck in a vetoed bill.
Suit seeks to prevent new Congress map in N Carolina in 2020
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A North Carolina congressional candidate and two other voters are asking a federal court to prevent a new U.S. House map from being used in the 2020 elections.
State judges issued a preliminary injunction this week blocking the use of the current districts, saying evidence shows it’s likely the map is an illegal partisan gerrymander favoring Republicans. General Assembly leaders plan to meet in mid-November to consider a replacement map.
Thursday’s lawsuit in eastern North Carolina federal court says a new map so close to the 2020 electoral season would create confusion and violate the rights of voters and candidates.
The Fair Lines America Foundation says it’s supporting the lawsuit. The foundation has ties to the National Republican Redistricting Trust, for which former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is raising money.
Acting chancellor named to interim post at East Carolina
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Ron Mitchelson, the acting chancellor at East Carolina University in the wake of resignation of interim chancellor Dan Gerlach, has been appointed to the interim position.
Bill Roper, interim president of the University of North Carolina system, announced the appointment on Thursday.
Gerlach resigned after photos were published of him at a bar with students. He was appointed to the position last April.
Mitchelson has been serving as acting chancellor since Sept. 30 and has held a number of faculty and administrative positions at the university. He came to ECU in 1999 and has served as provost and senior vice chancellor for academic affairs since 2015.
Officials: 2 North Carolina men died in Georgia plane crash
ATLANTA (AP) – The victims of Wednesday’s plane crash in suburban Atlanta have been identified as two North Carolina men.
DeKalb County officials on Thursday said 59-year-old Leslie Csanyi and 60-year-old Scott Robert Lowrie both lived in Salisbury, North Carolina, the plane’s intended destination.
The two were aboard a Piper PA-28 plane that crashed shortly after taking off from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport .
Federal Aviation Administration records show Csanyi had a commercial pilot’s license. North Carolina public records show Csanyi was the president of LGC Consulting, which served manufacturers.
The plane crashed into a townhome complex, damaging a unit where no one was home.
A large section of wall and part of the roof was knocked out of a building. DeKalb County Fire Marshal Joe Cox declared six units unsafe.