By Associated Press - Thursday, April 9, 2015
Judge seals Overly testimony in harassment suit, for now

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A state judge has temporarily sealed all testimony in a volatile sexual harassment lawsuit that has swelled to include the majority whip of the House of Representatives and the running mate of the likely Democratic nominee for governor.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Thomas Wingate issued the ruling Wednesday morning after a 30-minute hearing in Frankfort where an attorney for state Rep. Sannie Overly asked him to permanently seal her deposition, which is scheduled for Monday.

Overly is the running mate of likely Democratic nominee for governor Jack Conway. Her attorney, Anita Britton of Lexington, said testimony taken during depositions is often “far more wide ranging” than it would be at trial. She said if Overly’s testimony were public her words would be “sold out, sampled, taken out of context,” likely for political reasons.

“It is not the court of public opinion, it is a court of justice,” Britton said.

The depositions are part of a lawsuit filed by former state worker Yolanda Costner and current state employee Cassaundra Cooper, who at one time both worked for the Democratic House leadership. They say former Democratic state Rep. John Arnold sexually harassed them multiple times over several years and that the Legislative Research Commission worked to cover it up.

Arnold has denied the allegations. The Legislative Ethics Commission fined Arnold $3,000 last year for violating state ethics laws by using his position as a public official to “violate the public interest.” Arnold is appealing the ruling in circuit court.


Mother gets 20 years to life for fatal salt-poisoning of son

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) - A woman convicted of fatally poisoning her 5-year-old son with salt in his hospital feeding tube got a break on her murder sentence Wednesday because she suffers from a mental illness she has refused to acknowledge, the judge said.

Lacey Spears, 27, of Scottsville, Kentucky, was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for the 2014 death of Garnett-Paul Spears at a suburban New York hospital.

Prosecutors said the mother force-fed high concentrations of sodium through the boy’s stomach tube because she craved the attention his illness brought to her, especially through her heavy posting on social media.

Acting state Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary said Spears’ crime was “unfathomable in its cruelty” and brought her son “five years of torment and pain.” But he said he was not imposing the maximum 25 years to life because “one does not have to be a psychiatrist to realize you suffer from Munchausen by proxy.”

He said he was offering “something you did not exhibit toward your son - mercy.”

Munchausen by proxy, now known clinically as factitious disorder imposed on another, is a disorder in which, in some cases, caretakers purposely but secretly harm children and then enjoy the attention and sympathy they receive.


Grand jury: No indictments in fight between football players

A Madison County, Kentucky, grand jury will not indict anyone involved in a January bar fight between students and football players from Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky that left an EKU player injured, police said.

A Richmond, Kentucky, police report did not name those involved in the Jan. 25 fight at Jerzee’s. A man had complained of being assaulted by three or four men who grabbed and repeatedly hit him in the head while at the bar off the EKU campus in Richmond.

The man reported losing consciousness but later attempted to walk back to campus with two women who tried to help him. He was treated for a broken nose and facial cuts and fractures.

Police also investigated a second incident at Telford Hall on EKU’s campus.

Jeff Scurry, the father of EKU sophomore offensive lineman Colton Scurry, told The Courier-Journal in Louisville that his son was injured in the fight.

The grand jury considered evidence from both incidents and heard witness testimony, but “it was their decision not to indict anyone in connection with the incident,” the police statement said.


Fallout from attack ads surfaces at GOP gubernatorial debate

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky’s Republican primary for governor heated up during a debate Wednesday when Hal Heiner was confronted by two rivals who called on him to repudiate attack ads bankrolled by an outside group supporting Heiner’s campaign.

During the debate laden with discussions on issues including health care and the local-option sales tax, candidates James Comer and Matt Bevin asked Heiner to disavow ads that shook up what had mostly been a collegial four-way GOP primary.

Heiner, a businessman and former Louisville metro councilman, responded that he had nothing to do with the ads by a political action committee supporting him.

“Those are not my ads,” Heiner said afterward. “I want to be judged based on what I say and based on what we put out in our campaign.”

Bevin and Comer sounded unsatisfied. Bevin said the ad against him rehashed “old lies” that first surfaced in his failed run against now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in last year’s GOP Senate primary.

“Will you publicly repudiate those, if you had nothing to do with it?” Bevin asked Heiner in his closing remarks. “You have a chance in front of everybody right now to make that clear.”

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