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American Scene

- - Wednesday, November 30, 2011

ALABAMA

Honda worker cited under immigration law

BIRMINGHAM | A Japanese man temporarily working at Honda's car factory in east Alabama became the second foreign auto worker charged under the state's law on illegal immigration, the company said Wednesday.

The employee at Honda Manufacturing of Alabama in Talladega County received a ticket but wasn't taken into custody, unlike a Mercedes-Benz manager who was previously arrested in Tuscaloosa.

It wasn't clear where the Honda worker was stopped. But a person with knowledge of the case said the man was ticketed at a routine roadblock set up by police even though he had a valid Japanese passport and an international driver's license. The person wasn't authorized to release the information and asked not to be identified.

The company said in a statement it was aware one of its workers was ticketed under the immigration law.

A German manager with Mercedes-Benz was arrested under the law for not having a driver's license with him while driving a rental car. Tuscaloosa city attorney Tim Nunnally said that charge was dismissed after the man later provided the documents in municipal court.

PENNSYLVANIA

1st abuse suit comes from new accuser

PHILADELPHIA | Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused a boy more than 100 times, then threatened to harm his family to keep him quiet, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday that details new accusations not included in criminal charges against Mr. Sandusky.

The lawsuit is the first in the Penn State child-sex-abuse scandal and identifies the plaintiff, now 29 years old, only as John Doe. It claims Mr. Sandusky abused the boy from 1992 to 1996 at the coach's State College home, in a Penn State locker room, on trips to Philadelphia and a bowl game.

The plaintiff said in a statement issued by his lawyer soon after the filing, "I am hurting and have been for a long time because of what happened, but feel now even more tormented that I have learned of so many other kids [who] were abused after me."

The accuser said that Mr. Sandusky sexually abused him more than 100 times from the ages of 10 to 14 and threatened to harm him and his family if he told anyone. The suit also names the university and the Second Mile charity as defendants. The man says he knew the coach through the children's charity, which Mr. Sandusky founded.

The man was not among the eight victims mentioned in a grand jury report. He filed a new complaint Tuesday with law enforcement, but his attorney wouldn't say to which agency.

FLORIDA

Judge: Kids must return to dad under suspicion

ORLANDO | A judge has ruled that twins of a Florida mother missing after a television appearance must be returned to their father, who is the prime suspect in the woman's disappearance.

The judge ruled Wednesday that the twins face no imminent danger in the custody of Dale Smith, 40. He is the focus of detectives' investigation into the disappearance of his ex-fiancee, Michelle Parker, 33.

Detectives looking for Miss Parker are currently searching a lake area.

Child welfare workers removed the 3-year-old twins from Mr. Smith's home Tuesday.

Miss Parker disappeared Nov. 17, the same day an episode of "The People's Court" aired in which Miss Parker and Mr. Smith argued over who was responsible for the cost of a missing engagement ring.

Mr. Smith's attorney says his client has done nothing wrong. He hasn't been charged.

TEXAS

Judge won't step down in Fort Hood case

FORT HOOD | A military judge refused Wednesday to step down in the case of an Army psychiatrist charged in the Fort Hood shooting rampage, saying it had no effect on him.

Maj. Nidal Hasan's attorneys argued that the judge, Col. Gregory Gross, should recuse himself. They claimed there was an appearance of bias since he was on the Texas Army post the day of the 2009 shootings that left 13 dead and more than two dozen wounded.

Col. Gross has said he was presiding over a trial on Nov. 5, 2009, when someone handed him a note instructing him to take a recess immediately. He said he then called his wife, who was shopping on the post with some other relatives, but they were fine and left before Fort Hood was locked down.

Col. Gross said he hasn't read news articles about Maj. Hasan's background, hasn't heard statements made at different Fort Hood ceremonies by President Obama and then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, and has never seen Fort Hood's memorial to the victims.

Maj. Hasan, 41, faces a death sentence or life in prison without parole if convicted in the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military installation. He's charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

NORTH CAROLINA

Preacher Billy Graham admitted to hospital

ASHEVILLE | The Rev. Billy Graham was admitted to a hospital Wednesday near his home in western North Carolina to be tested for pneumonia after suffering from congestion, a cough and a slight fever, his spokesman said.

The 93-year-old evangelist was taken to Mission Hospital in Asheville, spokesman A. Larry Ross said. His personal physician, Dr. Lucian Rice, said he was in stable condition.

A news release issued by the hospital said Mr. Graham was alert, smiling and waving to staff as he entered the hospital. Mr. Ross said Mr. Graham was admitted for observation and treatment and likely would spend the night there.

For six decades, Mr. Graham led a worldwide crusade-based ministry that packed stadiums with believers and allowed him to counsel every U.S. president since Harry Truman. His most recent book, "Nearing Home," was published last month.

In recent years, age-related conditions such as macular degeneration and hearing loss have kept Mr. Graham at his home in Montreat, about 20 miles east of Asheville.

He was last hospitalized in May, when he spent five days at the same hospital for pneumonia.

ARIZONA

Baseline Killer sentenced to death

PHOENIX | An Arizona jury has sentenced a man convicted of being the Phoenix area's Baseline Killer to death, agreeing with prosecutors that the murders he committed were especially cruel.

Jurors reached the verdict Wednesday, about a month after finding Mark Goudeau, 47, guilty of the nine murders and 58 other charges, including kidnapping and rape.

Goudeau had been serving a 438-year sentence in a 2005 sexual-assault case tied to the Baseline Killer attacks but only recently became eligible for the death penalty after the murder convictions.

Police named the series of killings and other crimes after Baseline Road in south Phoenix where many of the earliest attacks happened.