American Scene: Wave of bomb threats leaves campus on edge

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PITTSBURGH — Dozens of bomb threats at the University of Pittsburgh, including at least four Monday, have prompted professors to start holding classes outside and forced security officials to implement new building access measures.

The threats began in mid-February, at first targeting a landmark building at the center of campus. But in recent weeks numerous buildings have been threatened. Four threats had been made by mid-afternoon Monday, starting at about 4 a.m.

CALIFORNIA

Prosecutors detain girl to solidify rape case

SACRAMENTO — Prosecutors have taken the unusual step of detaining a reported teenage rape victim who has a history of running away, saying she is a key witness against a man prosecutors say is a career criminal and serial rapist.

Victims’ rights advocates are joining the 17-year-old foster child’s attorneys in arguing that her detention, upheld three times by two superior court judges, could discourage other victims from reporting sexual assaults. Moreover, they say the detention conflicts with laws governing the well-being of foster children, and with Marsy’s Law, a victims’ rights initiative approved by California voters in November 2008.

“This is a very rare step for us. It’s really the last thing we want to do, but we do feel that there is a public danger that has to be balanced here,” Sacramento County Assistant District Attorney Albert Locher said Monday.

The girl has been held in juvenile hall since March 23.

ILLINOIS

Suspect wants judge to hear old rape case

SYCAMORE — A Seattle man suspected in the sexual assault of an Illinois teenager 50 years ago will have his case decided by a judge instead of a jury.

Jury selection was due to begin Monday in the case of Jack McCullough, who is charged with rape and indecent liberties with a child in the alleged abuse of a 14-year-old Sycamore, Ill., girl from 1961 to 1962.

But Mr. McCullough, 72, says he wants a judge to rule instead. Opening statements are expected to begin Tuesday.

Mr. McCullough also faces kidnapping and murder charges in the 1957 death of Maria Ridulph, also of Sycamore. Those charges aren’t part of the current trial.

Both sides say there is no physical evidence in the decades-old rape. Prosecutors say the accuser is expected to testify.

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