- - Wednesday, November 23, 2011

OHIO

7 arrested by FBI in Amish haircut attacks

MILLERSBURG | The leader of a breakaway Amish group allowed the beatings of those who disobeyed him, made some members sleep in a chicken coop and had sexual relations with married women to “cleanse them,” federal authorities said as they charged him and six others with hate crimes in hair-cutting attacks against other Amish.

Authorities raided the group’s compound in eastern Ohio on Wednesday morning and arrested seven men, including group leader Sam Mullet and three of his sons.

Several members of the group carried out the attacks in September and October by forcefully cutting the beards and hair of Amish men and women, authorities said. Cutting the hair is a highly offensive act to the Amish, who believe the Bible instructs women to let their hair grow long and men to grow beards and stop shaving once they marry.

The attacks struck at the core of the Amish identity and tested their principles. They strongly believe that they must be forgiving in order for God to forgive them, which often means handing out their own punishment and not reporting crimes to law enforcement.

MICHIGAN

Professor’s nude photos prompt ethics questions

EAST LANSING | A Michigan State University associate professor’s nude photographs that show him posing with students have prompted questions about art and ethics among some associated with the school.

Danny Guthrie’s work is well-known by campus officials, who have reviewed the issue, the Detroit News reported Wednesday. Coverage by the State News student newspaper drew recent attention at the East Lansing campus to Mr. Guthrie’s photos, which depict the 65-year-old teacher bare-chested in some photos, while in others he’s fully clothed. Mr. Guthrie poses with male and female students, faculty and colleagues and often is touching them.

In an email to the Detroit News, Mr. Guthrie, whose biography on the university’s website says he has been a faculty member there for 13 years, declined an interview and wrote: “It is not a great climate for being edgy in the area of sexuality.”

The school has determined there’s a protocol in place so students do not feel pressured to participate, said Heather Swain, interim vice president for university relations. She said Mr. Guthrie does not recruit students currently enrolled in his classes to model for photographs.

NEW JERSEY

Man acquitted of killing five teens in 1978

NEWARK | A New Jersey man on Wednesday was acquitted of locking five teenagers in an abandoned home in 1978 and burning them to death in retaliation for stealing marijuana, ending a case that went cold until 2008 because no bodies were ever found.

A jury in Newark found Lee Evans not guilty of 10 murder-related counts in the deaths of the teens.

Mr. Evans represented himself and denied killing the boys.

PENNSYLVANIA

Sticky goo on turnpike disables about 150 cars

PITTSBURGH | A flood of gooey black muck dropped from a tanker truck disabled about 150 cars and damaged an unknown number of other vehicles along a nearly 40-mile stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, officials said.

A leaking valve on a tanker spread driveway sealant over the eastbound lanes of a long stretch of the turnpike between New Castle and the Oakmont Service Plaza on Tuesday night, turnpike spokesman Bill Capone said.

Turnpike operations officials on Wednesday said 150 or more cars were disabled when the sticky goo covered their tires and wheels. Some state police and turnpike maintenance vehicles had to be towed away after getting stuck in the tarlike substance, according to the turnpike operations center.

Traffic was moving normally by Wednesday morning, but the sticky mess hindered the travel plans of some motorists traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

RHODE ISLAND

Agreement reached on Central Falls contracts

CENTRAL FALLS | The Rhode Island appointed receiver in Central Falls and public-sector unions for the insolvent city on Wednesday inked new contracts outside of bankruptcy proceedings that were described as critical in helping return the municipality to fiscal health.

State receiver Robert G. Flanders Jr. and labor union leaders stood together at City Hall to announce the collective-bargaining agreements, which reflect deep concessions that will save the city a little over $1 million in the current fiscal year.

While the new five-year contracts include annual pay hikes, they also include “tremendous” savings derived from health benefit and pension cuts, said Joseph Whelan, one of the lead negotiators for the receiver’s office. There will also be significant reductions in overtime through a consolidation of fire, police and dispatch service. Outsourcing of those services, which had been a possibility, will not be necessary.

Under the agreements, there also will be no additional layoffs.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Bishop is investigated amid Episcopal schism

CHARLESTON | A South Carolina bishop is being investigated by the Episcopal Church in a new chapter of the ongoing schism in the church over the ordination of gay ministers and other issues.

Bishop Mark Lawrence is the first diocese leader to be investigated under new rules to determine whether he has abandoned the national church. That could lead to him being deposed.

The probe comes amid an Episcopal schism that has seen some conservative dioceses leave. The Diocese of South Carolina has distanced itself, but not split from the national church.

Bishop Lawrence says while the South Carolina parishes are in the Episcopal minority, they hold the same beliefs Anglicans have held for 500 years. The 2 million member Episcopal Church is a branch of the 77-million member worldwide Anglican Communion.

ALABAMA

Immigration case against Mercedes exec dropped

TUSCALOOSA | The city of Tuscaloosa has dropped a charge against a German Mercedes-Benz executive who was arrested under Alabama’s new crackdown on illegal immigration.

Police arrested the man last week for not having proper citizenship documents while driving a rental car in the city.

City attorney Tim Nunnally told the Tuscaloosa News that authorities dismissed the charge because an associate of the man was able to provide the documents to police.

Republicans who support the law say it will help create jobs for legal Alabama residents, but some business leaders say it could hurt economic development in the state by scaring away foreign companies.

The man’s arrest led to a state inquiry to the city prompted by Gov. Robert Bentley, who signed the law.

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