- The Washington Times - Friday, February 24, 2006


Judge upholds firing of pregnant teacher

BIRMINGHAM — A Christian school’s firing of an unwed pregnant teacher has been upheld by a judge who ruled that the school is exempt from federal pregnancy discrimination law.

U.S. District Judge William Acker Jr. said Tessana Lewis’ pregnancy was a motivating factor in her firing, but Covenant Classical School in Trace Crossing, as a religious institution, is exempt and can hire and fire based on its beliefs.

Miss Lewis also lost her bid to win damages of $15,000 for mental anguish.

School attorneys said Miss Lewis was fired not over pregnancy but sex outside marriage.


Homeless man charged in zoo theft

LITTLE ROCK — A homeless man who police say tried to take a sheep from the Little Rock Zoo has been arrested.

A security guard at the zoo called police Tuesday evening after spotting a man carrying a trash can with a sheep in it, a police report said.

Grady Allen Carnahan, 32, told officers he was a doctor and the sheep was sick, the report said. He said he was taking the animal to a veterinary clinic.

He was arrested on a felony charge of violating an animal facility and on misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass, cruelty to animals, resisting arrest and theft of property.


Bishop candidates include gay priests

SAN FRANCISCO — Two homosexual priests are candidates to become bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California, and the election of either could worsen the rift over homosexuality in the bitterly divided church.

The Rev. Bonnie Perry of Chicago and the Very Rev. Robert Taylor of Seattle are among the five candidates. Both have same-sex partners.

The church has been torn over the issue of homosexual clergy since 2003, when the Rev. V. Gene Robinson, who has a male partner, was elected bishop of New Hampshire.

The following year, an emergency panel of the global Anglican Communion, which includes the U.S. Episcopal Church and 77 million people in 164 countries, asked for a moratorium on installing bishops who are in same-sex relationships.


House votes to close marriage loophole

ATLANTA — Spurred by the case of a pregnant woman who married a 15-year-old boy, the Georgia House voted yesterday to close a loophole that allows couples of any age to get married without parental consent if one of them is pregnant.

The new proposal bars teens younger than 16 from marrying without juvenile court permission, and allows pregnant 16- or 17-year-olds to marry with parental consent or a judge’s order.

The measure passed by a 142-27 vote and moves to the Senate.

Lisa Lynnette Clark, 37, is charged with child molestation for having sex with a 15-year-old friend of her teenage son. Days before her arrest in November, she wed the boy under a 1962 law that set the marrying age in Georgia at 16 but made an exception in the case of pregnancy.


Court to reconsider private-school case

HONOLULU — A federal appeals court said Wednesday that it would reconsider a decision to strike down the Hawaiians-only admissions policy of a prestigious private school.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed to have the entire court rehear arguments on Kamehameha Schools’ 118-year-old policy. A appeals panel had ruled in August that the practice violated federal anti-discrimination laws.

Robert Kihune, the school’s head trustee, said that without the review, Kamehameha would have had to take the case to the Supreme Court.


Police honor Katrina heroes

NEW ORLEANS — These were the cops who stayed: the ones who waded through the murky waters that filled New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the ones who pulled people from attics and off rooftops, comforted them and brought them to safety.

On Wednesday, the New Orleans Police Department honored the officers who rescued victims of the Aug. 29 storm.

“For the first three days after Hurricane Katrina, the police department saved thousands of lives,” Superintendent Warren Riley told more than 400 officers awarded special Hurricane Katrina pins.

“There is no law-enforcement agency in this country that’s been tried and tested like this department,” the superintendent said.


Four indicted in body snatchings

NEW YORK — The owner of a biomedical supply house was charged along with three other men yesterday with secretly carving up corpses and selling the parts for use in transplants across the country.

Prosecutors said the defendants obtained the bodies from funeral parlors in three states and forged death certificates and organ donor consent forms to make it look as if the bones, skin, tendons, heart valves and other tissue were removed legally. The defendants made millions of dollars from the scheme, prosecutors said.

The indictment was the first set of charges to come out of a widening scandal involving scores of funeral homes and hundreds of bodies, including that of “Masterpiece Theatre” host Alistair Cooke, who died in 2004.


Children testify in custody fight

NORWALK — Two adult children of the couple accused of forcing some of their 11 special-needs children to sleep in cages testified against them in the couple’s court fight to regain custody of the adopted youngsters.

Jenna and Jesse Gravelle testified Wednesday as witnesses for prosecutors trying to persuade a juvenile court judge to place their adopted siblings in the county’s permanent care.

Earlier, their father and stepmother, Michael and Sharen Gravelle, pleaded not guilty in a separate hearing to child endangerment and other crimes.

Jenna Gravelle, 31, said her father and stepmother provided little food for her and her brothers and that the couple charged the teens money to live in their home.

“I was miserable,” she said, describing bare kitchen cupboards, little privacy and “inappropriate touching” by her father that she said began at age 6.


Reservist acquitted of prisoner abuse

FORT BLISS — A military jury acquitted a reservist yesterday in the final case involving an Army Reserve unit from Ohio that was linked to prisoner abuses at Bagram air base in Afghanistan.

Sgt. Alan J. Driver was the fifth of 11 soldiers from the Cincinnati-based 377th Military Police Company to be cleared of abusing detainees. Only one soldier from the unit was convicted by an Army jury, and he was spared jail time.

Sgt. Driver was accused of being one of several soldiers who participated in beating a detainee known as Habibullah, who the Army says died of his injuries. He also is accused of throwing a shackled prisoner, Omar al-Farouq, against a wall.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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