- - Monday, October 25, 2010


Court asked to lift ‘don’t ask’ for appeal

SAN FRANCISCO | A gay rights group that successfully sued to overturn the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy said Monday that national security would not be irreparably harmed by allowing gays to serve openly while the federal government appeals the case.

The Log Cabin Republicans organization asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to let stand an order by a lower court that barred the policy.

The move came after a three-judge panel of the appeals court imposed a temporary stay that in effect reinstated “don’t ask, don’t tell” eight days after U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips issued a worldwide injunction halting its application.

The panel is considering whether to extend the ban during the appeal by the federal government. The Log Cabin group was given until Monday to present arguments.

President Obama favors repealing the Clinton-era law but wants it done by Congress. However, lawyers for the Log Cabin group argued that the Obama administration has not proven that allowing gays in uniform would be problematic.


Priest-abuse papers released to public

SAN DIEGO | Newly released documents show the Diocese of San Diego long knew about abusive priests, some of whom were shuffled from parish to parish despite credible complaints against them.

Attorneys for 144 people claiming sex abuse made the papers public Sunday, after a retired San Diego Superior Court judge ruled last week that the previously sealed documents could be released.

The nearly 10,000 pages of records were from the personnel files of 48 priests who were either credibly accused or convicted of sexual abuse, or were named in a civil lawsuit.

The documents detailed one decades-old case in which a priest under police investigation was allowed to leave the U.S. after the diocese intervened.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit settled with the diocese in 2007 for nearly $200 million, but the agreement stipulated that an independent judge would review the sealed personnel records and determine what could be made public.


NPR chief sorry, but not for firing

NEW YORK | NPR’s chief executive said she’s sorry for how news analyst Juan Williams‘ dismissal was handled — but she’s not sorry for firing him.

Vivian Schiller sent an apology to NPR staff members Sunday night. She said Mr. Williams deserved a face-to-face meeting to hear that his contract as a news analyst was being terminated over remarks he made on Fox-TV’s “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Mr. Williams was fired for saying he gets nervous when he’s on a plane and sees people in clothing that identifies them as Muslim. NPR’s management, which had long been troubled by Mr. Williams‘ dual role as an analyst on Fox, said the remarks violated its rule of not giving his opinion on the air.

After the firing, Ms. Schiller said publicly that whatever feelings Mr. Williams had about Muslims should be between him and “his psychiatrist or his publicist — take your pick.” Ms. Schiller later apologized for that remark.

Mr. Williams said Monday that he had not received any apology from NPR or had any contact with it since the dismissal.

“Obviously, I feel that I should have had the opportunity to supply NPR with the entirety of the context of the statement to make sure they understood and I am hurt by the suggestion that I need a psychiatrist and am a bigot,” he said.


Body identified as missing Clements

ATHENS | A body found buried in a shallow grave on a ranch near Athens was identified as the missing son of former Texas Gov. Bill Clements, a sheriff said Monday.

B. Gill Clements, 69, was apparently fatally shot, although no official cause of death has been released, Henderson County Sheriff Ray Nutt said.

Sheriff Nutt said officials suspect the likely killer was the property owner, who neighbors say used an assault rifle to guard his property. Authorities fatally shot that man, Howard T. Granger, 46, on Friday when he opened fire on sheriff’s deputies who were looking for Mr. Clements.

Mr. Clements’ body was found Saturday, buried behind a house on Mr. Granger’s ranch.

Officials didn’t identify a possible motive, but Sheriff Nutt said Mr. Clements once spoke with Mr. Granger about him shooting across a fence at a tree on Mr. Clements’ property.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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