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A star player accused, and a flawed rape investigation

Yet another university community has been accused of denying justice to a female sexual assault victim in order to protect a star male athlete. The New York Times today chronicled the shortcomings of an investigation by Tallahassee police into a reported sexual assault in which Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston was the alleged assailant.

Police failed to conduct a proper investigation when the incident was reported, the Times found. Even after the accuser identified her attacker to the police, Winston was never interviewed and DNA evidence was not collected. By the time prosecutors began to investigate 11 months later, the trail had gone cold.

The university also failed to conduct any investigation of its own into the incident, though there is evidence that the athletics department was aware that there was an open police investigation.

Read the story here.

An 18-year-old high school student being held for federal immigration authorities in the Sherburne County jail was repeatedly sexually assaulted last month by his cellmate, a registered sex offender serving time in the jail as a “boarder” from the Minnesota Department of Corrections. The assault, detailed in a criminal complaint, occurred at the state’s largest jail for immigrant detainees and highlights an emerging nationwide pattern of sexual abuse at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers.

Newly released Memphis police records show detectives secured DNA testing within weeks of the 2003 home-invasion rape of a girl, then 12, now suing the city over its massive backlog of untested rape kits.

In a story last month exploring early missed opportunities to stop serial rapist Anthony Alliano, The Commercial Appeal reported 12-year-old Madison Graves’ kit was part of the backlog and not tested until 2011. Graves was one of seven victims sexually assaulted between 2003 and 2010 by Alliano, 43, who is serving a 178-year sentence after pleading guilty last year.

Untested rape kits allowed serial rapist Anthony Alliano to continue his violent attacks on young girls and women in Cordova.

Guards and other employees at Alabama's Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women accused in a U.S. Department of Justice report of demeaning, harassing and sexually abusing inmates typically pleaded guilty to lesser crimes, an AL.com examination of court records found.

The Associated Press originally sought the records for U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan after attacks against Japanese women raised political tensions there. They might now give weight to members of Congress who want to strip senior officers of their authority to decide whether serious crimes, including sexual assault cases, go to trial.

The AP analysis found the handling of allegations verged on the chaotic, with seemingly strong cases often reduced to lesser charges. In two rape cases, commanders overruled recommendations to court-martial and dropped the charges instead.

Wisconsin officials have nearly quadrupled the number of offenders released from state custody after they were committed as sexually violent persons. The risks to residents are reasonable, officials say, because the state’s treatment programs are working and new data suggest these offenders are less likely to reoffend than previously thought.

The story is the first part of “Rethinking Sex Offenders,” a three-day series by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and Wisconsin Public Radio.

"Wisconsin officials have nearly quadrupled the number of offenders released from state custody after they were committed as sexually violent persons," the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism reports. "The risks to residents are reasonable, officials say, because the state’s treatment programs are working and new data suggest these offenders are less likely to reoffend than previously thought." Read the full investigation here.

Mizzou did not pursue alleged assault | ESPN
The University of Missouri did not investigate or tell law enforcement officials about an alleged rape, possibly by one or more members of its football team, despite administrators finding out about the alleged 2010 incident more than a year ago, an "Outside the Lines" investigation has found. The alleged victim, a member of the swim team, committed suicide in 2011.

Mass. spent millions on secret settlements | The Boston Globe
For years, the state has used confidential settlement and severance deals to make embarrassing problems go away, often requiring workers to promise to keep the payments secret and avoid saying anything critical about the agencies. When the Globe first asked for copies of all the pacts worth at least $10,000 statewide, it took a four-year legal fight to obtain the names of workers who received the money.

Free game tickets, hot concert seats: The politics of higher education in Missouri | The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Missouri’s public universities have spent almost a million dollars since 2011 on contracts with professional lobbyists to represent their interests in Jefferson City — while plying state legislators with tens of thousands of dollars more in free meals, sports outings, concert tickets and other perks.

Consumers With Canceled Insurance Plans Shifted to New Ones Without Their Permission | ProPublica
The California Department of Insurance said it is exploring whether any laws were broken when insurance companies withdrew money from consumers’ accounts for plans they didn’t select.

Data breach likely will happen to you | The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Most people and companies use anti-virus software, but it only guards against threats it recognizes, and the bad guys are constantly tweaking their weapons to circumvent such protections. Adding as little as a few lines of code will evade most anti-virus programs.

Patients' deadly surgery wait as toll soars | The Herald Sun, Melbourne, Australia
More than 840 people - 16 a week - died waiting for surgery in Victoria in the past year. The revelation comes as the length of time patients spend on elective surgery waiting lists continues to grow

Charity Checker | The Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting
The Tampa Bay Times, in partnership with The Center for Investigative Reporting, has built an online tool to make charity research a little easier. Our “Charity Checker” website, for the first time, aggregates the ratings and reviews already offered by several of the nation’s most prominent watchdog organizations. With a simple search, you can see their results, all in one place, then click through to dig deeper into a charity through GuideStar, Charity Navigator, GreatNonprofits and the Better Business Bureau. The idea for Charity Checker grew out of our reporting on America’s Worst Charities, a yearlong investigation into charities that have chronically steered most of their donations to for-profit telemarketers. The full series can be found here: www.cironline.org/americasworstcharities or tampabay.com/charity.

The University of Missouri did not investigate or tell law enforcement officials about an alleged rape, possibly by one or more members of its football team, despite administrators finding out about the alleged 2010 incident more than a year ago, an "Outside the Lines" investigation has found. The alleged victim, a member of the swim team, committed suicide in 2011.

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