Extra Extra : February 2010

Few touch sanctions imposed in New England campus sexual assault cases

Officials at the University of Massachusetts Amherst acknowledge that they allowed a student who confessed to raping a friend on campus last fall, a felony, to remain enrolled and avoid significant discipline, according to a report by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University. Newly obtained Justice Department data show that reports of sexual assaults on ...

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Education Deparment's enforcement of campus sexual assault cases is lacking

The Education Department is charged with enforcing laws on how schools deal with sexual assault, but its Office of Civil Rights rarely investigates student allegations of botched proceedings. When cases do go forward, the civil rights office rarely rules against the schools, and virtually never issues any sanctions against institutions, according to an investigation by the Center for Public ... Read more ...

Agencies in New Mexico impeded fraud and elder care investigations

An ongoing series in The New Mexico Independent explores allegations that state agencies interfered with fraud and elder abuse investigations.  The Medicaid Fraud Division stated that Human Services Department and the Health Department had "withheld, 'filtered' and 'sanitized' information and documents requested by investigators, hindering numerous investigations."  Medicaid Fraud The series led to an attempt by the state legislature to override the governor's veto last year of a government oversight/data sharing bill and an inquiry by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Deadly military aviation accidents on the rise

"U.S. soldiers have been twice as likely to die from aviation accidents as they were from ground mishaps or incidents over the past two and a half decades, according to an Aerospace DAILY analysis of U.S. Army data." An increased reliance on aviation has contributed to the increase in these deadly air accidents. There have been 1,058 aviation fatalities since 1986, as compared to 500 fatalities in ground incidents during the same period.

Texas slow to penalize nursing homes where residents suffer

Through interviews with families and advocates and a review of thousands of pages of public records, the San Antonio Express-News reports that some of the city's most frail and vulnerable residents are suffering at the hands of their caregivers in Texas nursing homes. Yet state officials allow troubled nursing homes to continue operating with little or no penalty.

California lawmakers turn perks into profit

The Orange County Register’s Brian Joseph exposes how overlapping laws allow California state lawmakers to leverage their tax-free travel allowance to buy homes, secure tax deductions and sometimes pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit. “This legal patchwork has created a benefit legislators in other states rarely see and blurred the lines between allowance and income.” The Register documents lawmakers who declared homes in Sacramento as their principal residence and then collected allowance to cover their living expenses at the State Capitol as if they were away from home.

DUI checkpoints prove profitable for cities

"Sobriety checkpoints in California are increasingly turning into profitable operations for local police departments that are far more likely to seize cars from unlicensed motorists than catch drunken drivers," according to a report by the Investigative Reporting Program at UC Berkeley and California Watch.  It is estimated that in 2009 such checkpoints generated $40 million in towing fees and police fines.  The California Office of Traffic Safety also funded approximately $30 million in overtime pay for the officers working the sobriety checkpoints.

Many wrongly arrested by Louisville officer

A package of stories by The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Ky.)  reveals that a Louisville Metro police detective has been accusing people of crimes they did not commit.  Many of the accused have been juveniles. "Detective Crystal Marlowe has pursued charges against some defendants for crimes they could not have committed because they were already in jail. And in other cases, she charged people based on identifications that the victims later said they never made...The newspaper’s review of the roughly 130 felony cases in which Marlowe made arrests during 2008 and 2009 found that 40 percent ultimately were dismissed, often ... Read more ...

Ex-residents slow to be notified of toxic water on Marine base

Despite a 2007 law requiring the Marine Corps to notify former residents of Camp Lejeune, N.C. that they may have been exposed to contaminated water between 1957 and 1987, many have never been notified while others are just now finding out, according to a report by Barbara Barrett of McClatchy Newspapers.  "The Marines have registered thousands of people across the country who say they've been plagued by illnesses related to the toxic water, but the Department of the Navy, which includes the Marine Corps, still refuses to pay for a $1.6 million study into the deaths of ... Read more ...

Police under investigation for fatal shooting days after Katrina

Times-Picayune reporters Brendan McCarthy and Laura Maggi and ProPublica's A.C. Thompson report that "a former New Orleans police officer is under investigation for shooting Henry Glover" four days after Hurricane Katrina.  Weeks after the storm, Glover's remains were found in a burned out car on the Algiers levee.  Investigators now believe that he was shot by David Warren who was an officer with the New Orleans Police Department at the time.  This story is part of "Law & Disorder", a continuing series looking at police shootings in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.