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Oklahoma teacher accused of having sex with underage student

A married teacher in Oklahoma was arrested Wednesday and accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage student, KWTV reported.

>> Read more trending news

Hunter Day, 22, who teaches science at Yukon High School, was arrested by the Canadian County Sheriff’s Department on complaints of second-degree rape, facilitating sexual contact with a minor and possession of child pornography, KWTV reported. She is reportedly married to the school’s football coach.

The sheriff’s office said the investigation began when they were reportedly contacted by the boy’s parents. The boy’s cell phone allegedly contained explicit text messages and nude photographs, the sheriff’s office told KWTV. Authorities did not reveal the age of the boy, except to note that he was underage.

“This is a classic case of a serious breach of public trust. School teachers are entrusted to protect and educate our children, not to engage in an unlawful sexual relationship with them,” Canadian County Sheriff Chris West said.

Investigators said Day and the boy had arranged a meeting on the day of the arrest, KWTV reported. When deputies arrived at the home, they sent Day a text message from the boy’s phone, saying, “I’m here.” Day allegedly responded, “The doors [sic] unlocked as usual.”

Authorities said when they entered Day’s house, they found her sitting on the living room floor with the lights turned off, wearing a Christmas cat T-shirt and workout shorts. She allegedly admitted to sending “bra and panty” photographs of herself to the boy, and also allegedly said she had received photos of the boy’s genitals, KWTV reported.

During a news conference on Thursday, the Yukon Schools Superintendent Jason Simeroth said he could not comment on Day’s status with the school, pending the investigation.

Day was booked into the Canadian County Jail. Her bond was set at $85,000.

Ohio pastor found guilty of trying to hire prostitute

An Ohio pastor, arrested in Dayton, was found guilty earlier this year for loitering to engage in solicitation, according to court records.

>> Read more trending news

Daniel P. Williams, 40, of Huber Heights, was found guilty in late August after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of loitering, according to Dayton Municipal Court.

Williams’ employer is listed as Arrowbrook Baptist Church in Xenia in both court record and the police report. The church’s website also lists Williams as its pastor.

Attempts to reach Williams by phone  were unsuccessful.

Williams was originally charged with a second count of loitering and a third count of soliciting. Both were withdrawn upon his guilty plea, according to Dayton Municipal Court. 

The violation happened at around noon Aug. 17, according to Dayton police.

Williams was sentenced to 60 days in jail, with all 60 days suspended. He will be on probation for one year, according to court records.

Army medic charged with rape, murder of 9-month-old twin daughter 

A U.S. Army medic stationed at Fort Campbell has been charged with sexually assaulting one of his 9-month-old twin daughters before strangling her to death with a cord, police said.

Christopher Paul Conway, 22, of Clarksville, Tennessee, is charged with homicide and the aggravated rape of a child, according to Montgomery County jail records. His bail was set at $100,000 on the rape charge, and he is being held without bond on the homicide. 

The Leaf-Chronicle in Clarksville reported that police officers were called around 7:20 a.m. Tuesday to Conway’s home, where they found family members giving the infant girl CPR. She was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead a short time later.

The Leaf-Chronicle reported that arrest warrants indicate the baby had injuries consistent with being raped. Investigators also said she died of injuries suffered when a cord was wrapped around her neck. 

The warrants said that Conway confessed to both crimes during an interview with police, the newspaper said

The infant girl’s twin sister was placed in foster care while Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services investigates. A DCS spokesman told the Leaf-Chronicle that the department had no prior contact with the family. 

>> Read more trending news

Conway’s Facebook page is filled with photos of him and his wife with their daughters. The photos include images of the girls in the hospital immediately after their birth and a photo of his legs in military fatigues, a tiny baby tucked into a pocket on each leg. 

According to Conway’s profile, he is a native of Grand Bay, Alabama. 

Army officials confirmed that Conway is a combat medic specialist stationed at Fort Campbell, Fox 17 in Nashville reported. Fort Campbell is located on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line between Clarksville and Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

It was not immediately clear how long Conway has been in the military, but neighbors told the news station that the family lived in the home where the slaying took place for a few months.  

Grandma: Toddler who lost mom in shooting keeps waiting for her

­­On Thursday morning, Monique Burston sat in court, bracing herself on the shoulder of a man at her side, and listened to how her daughter died, how a 9mm bullet tore through the 21-year-old’s back in a car on Interstate 20 in DeKalb County, Georgia.

Burston thought of her grandson. Demarko Cade Jr., 2, used to go to the window and wait for his mom to get home from work every day, Burston said. The young mom would load him into the car and they’d just drive, to nowhere in particular.

"He's still sitting by the window,” Burston said. 

>> Read more trending news

The child’s mother, Airiyuanna Burston, died Oct. 26. She’d been riding in her boyfriend’s Jeep on the interstate in DeKalb County when a gunshot flashed from the back seat, traveling through her seat into her.

When police arrived, they found that the boyfriend’s cousin, Gregory Neal, 22, had been seated behind the victim. 

The cousins made up a story about another driver firing into the car in a fit of road rage. But Neal admitted he’d done the shooting after Detective Krischan Payton told him cops found a shell casing in the floorboard where he’d been sitting, Payton testified Thursday.

After “numerous” interviews, Neal offered to take police back to the scene and show them where he’d hidden the 9mm pistol up an embankment.

Payton said Neal told him the pistol had been laying on the back seat under his backpack. Neal said he moved the backpack and somehow accidentally fired the gun, which police believe.

“It was not an intentional shooting,” the detective said.

Payton said he knew of no animosity between the victim and the shooter.

Monique Burston isn’t convinced it was an accident and said she wants police to investigate further and hear out her theories.

Neal is already facing a felony murder charge. 

Under Georgia law, the crime doesn’t require intent to kill; it only requires that a death occurred while someone committed a felony. In Neal’s case, it was a felony for him to have the gun at all because he has felony convictions from a burglary case, police said.

Before the gun fired, Airiyuanna Burston had been working in a warehouse, was about to start a second job and planned to attend Emory University. She wanted to be a lawyer.

Monique Burston hurts for the lost potential and the loss. She worries about her grandson as he waits by the window in the dark. 

“You can see he's empty,” she said.

Texas sheriff threatens to charge driver over graphic anti-Trump sticker

A Texas sheriff is getting angry feedback from free speech advocates after he wrote a Facebook post, which has since been deleted, threatening charges against a driver for a profane anti-Trump sticker on the window of her truck.

Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy E. Nehls posted a photo on his Facebook page Wednesday that showed a white GMC Sierra with a window decal that reads, “(EXPLETIVE) TRUMP AND (EXPLETIVE) YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM.” The photo shared by Nehls was censored to block a portion of the offending word.

Similar images found online indicate that Nehls also blocked out a middle finger aimed at those reading the sticker. 

In Nehls’ now-deleted post, which was saved and shared by the ACLU, the sheriff asked anyone who knows the owner of the truck to contact his office. 

“I have received numerous calls regarding the offensive display on this truck, as it is often seen along FM 359,” Nehls wrote. “Our prosecutor has informed us she would accept disorderly conduct charges regarding it, but I feel we could come to an agreement regarding a modification to it.”

The ACLU, in turn, asked the driver of the truck to contact the ACLU of Texas. 

“No, Sheriff Troy E. Nehls, you can’t prosecute speech just because it contains words you don’t like,” the ACLU’s post read

The Texas branch of the organization also spoke out, posting on Facebook details of the constitutional protections for profane and indecent speech.

“Constitutional Law 101: You can’t ban speech just because it has (expletive) in it,” the post read. “Hey truck owner, feel free to contact the ACLU of Texas.”

The driver of the truck, Karen Fonseca, did reach out to the Houston Chronicle. Fonseca, 46, said the truck is her husband’s, but she often drives it.

She also said she used to work for Nehls in the county jail.

Fonseca told the Chronicle that the sticker attracted plenty of attention even before the sheriff learned of it. People often honk their horns and take pictures.

“It’s not to cause hate or animosity,” Fonseca told the newspaper. “It’s just our freedom of speech, and we’re exercising it.”

>> Read more trending news

She said police officers have pulled her over because of the sticker, but that they failed to come up with a reason to ticket her. She said she has no plan to contact her former boss about modifying the sticker. 

Fort Bend District Attorney John Healey told the Chronicle that the sticker does not constitute a criminal offense, no matter what one of his own prosecutors may have told Nehls. 

“I did not believe it was a prosecutable case based on the definition of disorderly conduct,” Healey said. 

Both Healey and Nehls are Republicans, the Chronicle reported. Though Healey is not running for re-election, Nehls is considering a bid for Congress. 

The sheriff said his concern was that the language on the sticker could cause a dangerous confrontation.

“Many families have called that have seen that truck on our county roadways and are very offended by the language on the truck,” Nehls said. “I think they’re walking a fine line.”

Judge ‘shamed’ jurors over guilty sex assault verdict, ethics panel finds

A Texas judge has been reprimanded by state judicial ethics officials after they found that she “shamed” jurors over their guilty verdict in a 2016 sexual assault case.

The jury foreperson told members of the Texas Commission on Judicial Conduct in August that state District Judge Teresa Hawthorne said the panel’s “punishment was too harsh” and that she “did not believe the victim was raped at all.”

In a public reprimand issued last week, the commission concluded that Hawthorne’s conduct “constituted willful and/or persistent violations” of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct and that those violations are “clearly inconsistent with the proper performance of her duties.”

The Dallas Morning News reported that Hawthorne, who is seeking a third term, will remain on the bench despite the reprimand. The judge declined to comment on the commission’s decision.  

Read the entire public reprimand here. 

The reprimand, which was issued Nov. 9, states that Hawthorne presided over the October 2016 trial of a defendant named Joe L. Garrison, who jurors found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to 99 years in prison. Garrison, 53, is imprisoned in the William “Bill” Clements Unit in Amarillo, Texas Department of Corrections records show

Hawthorne met with the jury after they rendered their decision in Garrison’s case. Three jurors, including the foreperson, told the commission that the judge admonished them on the verdict and accused them of not deliberating thoroughly enough.

“Quite frankly, I am disturbed,” Hawthorne said, according to one juror. “I am disturbed by the way you came back with such a harsh verdict and sentence for this man’s life in such a short time. Did you even discuss the details of the case at all?”

The juror said that Hawthorne went on to say that if she had been on the panel, there “would have been a hung jury.” She also said she wanted to hear from the defendant’s mother during the trial.

The testimony of the two other jurors mirrored the first woman’s statements to the commission, according to the reprimand. One of the three told commissioners that Hawthorne asked “how (they) could have a good conscience about (their) decision.”

The judge also told the panel that if any of them were selected as a juror in the future, they would “need to spend more time going over the facts, and that (they) should be sure that (they) give the defendant a fair decision on his or her being guilty, because she thought (they) convicted an innocent man.”

Hawthorne admitted to the commission that she told jurors she would have found Garrison not guilty, but she denied the other comments they attributed to her. 

“The judge denied that she shamed or reprimanded the jury for their verdict,” the commission document states. “She stated that she regrets ‘that all of this happened’ and that she ‘never intended to upset anyone,’ but she could not lie to the jury when they asked her what she thought of the case.”

The commission also reprimanded Hawthorne for intervening with a Lubbock County judge in a 2014 criminal case involving her nephew. In that instance, she emailed the judge in his case and requested that the warrant for her nephew’s arrest be withdrawn, the document says. 

>> Read more trending news

She also voluntarily testified on the nephew’s behalf in an August 2016 probation revocation hearing. 

“During her testimony, Judge Hawthorne referenced her judicial position on three separate occasions, and offered her opinion as to her nephew’s character,” the commission reprimand states

Hawthorne admitted that she testified without being subpoenaed in her nephew’s case, which violated a portion of the state Code of Judicial Conduct that states a judge shall not voluntarily testify as a character witness in a case. 

The commission found that she also violated judicial canon when she “used the prestige of her judicial office” to help resolve her nephew’s legal trouble and engaged in an “ex parte” conversation with the judge in the case. 

The Morning News reported that public reprimands for judges are rare, particularly when the judge receives two reprimands at the same time. 

A Democrat, Hawthorne took office in January 2011. She made waves that December when she ruled in a double murder case that the state’s death penalty statute was unconstitutional.

The Morning News reported at the time that Hawthorne argued the law allowed prosecutors to arbitrarily seek the death penalty. 

Her decision was later overturned and the murder case was reassigned to a new judge, the newspaper said

Man charged with driving lawn tractor while drunk

A man in Aurora, Illinois, was arrested and charged with driving a John Deere lawn tractor in the street while drunk, WGN reports.

Ruben Garza, 50, faces several charges, including two counts of driving under the influence, after driving the lawn tractor in the street near Fifth and Ashland around 3:40 p.m Friday, police said.

Police said a witness said the man appeared drunk, seemed to be falling asleep and stopped to urinate in a yard in the 400 block of Ashland. Once he got back on his tractor, he almost hit a parked vehicle and began yelling at people as he drove the tractor, police said.

>> Read more trending news 

Police said an officer caught up to Garza in the 1100 block of Lebanon and ordered him to turn off the tractor. While he was being questioned, the officer said he smelled alcohol on Garza's breath and said he was slurring his speech.

The officer said Garza became belligerent and did not believe could be charged with a DUI because he was riding a lawn tractor. Garza then began to swear at the officer and threatened him, police said.

Garza was then taken into custody and the tractor was impounded. Garza also was charged with having no registration and operating an uninsured motor vehicle. He is due in court Dec. 5.

>> See the Facebook post here

Roy Moore campaign claims yearbook signature is fake

The attorney and campaign chair for Roy Moore gave a 10-minute press conference Wednesday in which they challenged the authenticity of Moore’s signature in the yearbook that backs up Beverly Young Nelson’s allegations against Moore.

>> Roy Moore's accuser, wife pictured in yearbook under same high school class, report says

Speaking from Alabama Republican Party headquarters in Hoover, Alabama, attorney Phillip L. Jauregui cited a handwriting expert retained by the campaign as he insisted that the signature inside Nelson’s yearbook was false.

“Look at the sevens,” he said, referring to two sets of the numbers in the note written to Nelson, which said, “To a sweeter more beautiful girl I could not say Merry Christmas. Christmas 1977. Love, Roy Moore, D.A. 12-22-77 Olde Hickory House.”

Jauregui and campaign chair Bill Armistead argued that Moore’s signature had actually been forged from court documents. They said Moore’s onetime assistant signed court documents with Moore’s name and her own initials — “D.A.” — to indicate that she’d done it.

>> Ivanka Trump slams Roy Moore in interview

At the time that Moore is alleged to have sexually assaulted Nelson, Moore was an assistant district attorney of Etowah County, although Nelson says he identified himself as “the district attorney” to her the night of the alleged incident, the Daily Beast reported.

“I am the district attorney of Etowah County,” Nelson said he told her. “If you tell anyone about this, no one will believe you.”

>> Alabama woman says Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16

Moore also presided over Nelson’s 1999 divorce proceedings, said Jauregui. They say that contradicts her claim that she had neither seen nor had any contact with Moore after the alleged assault.

Moore’s lawyer added that he had never seen Moore “act remotely inappropriate” toward any women.

A number of prominent Republicans have parted ways with Moore since the allegations began to surface, including Vice President Mike Pence. Neither Jauregui nor Armistead took questions from reporters before retreating back inside Alabama GOP headquarters.

>> Read more trending news

Moore, who was rumored to have been banned from a mall, according to a New Yorker piece, on Wednesday tweeted that he represented “everything the Washington Elite hate,” claiming the “Washington Elite” will “do whatever it takes to stop us.”

Shooting victim facing criminal charges because of what police say they found in his jacket

The man who was in a car with a Memphis, Tennessee, father who died after being shot and crashing his car is now facing criminal charges.

Loronzo Davis and a second man, Romedarrius Humphrey, were riding in a car that crashed on E. Crump near Lauderdale early Tuesday morning.

>> On Memphis father dies after being shot, crashing while driving to store

When officers arrived, they found Davis suffering from a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead on the scene. Davis’ family told WHBQ that he had just left home to go to the store and never returned. He had a 4-year-old daughter.

Humphrey was lying in the middle of Crump with a black jacket in his hands, according to a police affidavit. He had also been shot and was unresponsive.

Humphrey was taken to an ambulance and his jacket stayed in the street. When police couldn’t find an ID in his jeans pockets, they said they looked in the jacket.

>> Read more trending news 

In one of the pockets, officers said they found a grocery bag containing several clear plastic bags of marijuana – some of which were broken down into even smaller bags, according to the arrest affidavit. Officers said they also found a scale inside the grocery bag.

The drugs had a total weight of 155.2 grams, police said.

Humphrey was taken to Regional One in critical condition. He was treated for his injuries and then booked into the Shelby County jail. He has since been released on his own recognizance.

Humphrey is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance with intent to manufacture, deliver or sell.

Ohio is only state where police are not required to report child abuse

Anyone who works with children -- including doctors, teachers, camp counselors and therapists -- is required by Ohio law to report suspected child abuse or neglect to either a children services agency or police.

But Ohio is the only state where police officers are not subject to the same mandated reporting laws.

>> Read more trending news

A Columbus, Ohio, lawmaker wants to fix that, and has proposed a bill that would require law enforcement officers to be designated as mandated reporters as well.

“I was shocked and saddened to learn that Ohio was the only remaining state not to have law enforcement listed as mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect,” State Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent, D-Columbus, said.

She began looking at the issue after learning of a Columbus family with five children that police had visited dozens of times for domestic violence incidents. Despite the children being exposed to repeated violence, police officers never referred the case to children services to check on their well-being, Kent said.

As a former teacher, she felt police officers should have to report these situations like she would have been required to do as a mandated reporter.

The proposed law would require law enforcement officers to contact the local children services agency if they know, or have reasonable cause to suspect, that a child has incurred abuse or neglect or faces a threat of it.

“It’s really a chance to have an early warning,” Kent said of more professionals being on the lookout for possible child abuse.

The Ohio House unanimously passed HB 137 earlier this month, and the bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

RELATED: Newspaper’s stories of child deaths prompt calls for reform

In a package of articles last month, the Dayton Daily News revealed cracks in Ohio’s system for protecting children. The newspaper’s investigation showed how some children had suffered painful deaths just days or weeks after being reunited with their birth parents. Other tragic outcomes were tied to a lack of oversight by child protection agencies that are overwhelmed with cases because of the opioid epidemic.

INVESTIGATION: Who is protecting our children? Adults with a history of abuse have killed hundreds of Ohio kids

Many police departments already have policies that require police officers to refer suspected abuse cases to children services, and others do it out of practice without written policies. Police officers in the Dayton region coordinate their criminal investigations with children services cases through Care House at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

“We already do this,” Dayton police spokeswoman Cara Zinski-Neace said. The department’s policy includes calling Montgomery County Children Services when a child-endangering or other crime report is filed and consulting with that agency before removing a child from their home.

READ THEIR STORIES: 19 children who died after being returned to their birth parents

Area children services officials say they often work with police officers, who are out in the field and able to catch warning signs early.

“We have a pretty good relationship with law enforcement in our community, although they are not mandated reporters,” said Jennie Cole, intake manager for Montgomery County Children Services. “We do work hand in hand, and they are oftentimes our eyes and ears out there. We fully support this legislation because it just makes sense, given their many contacts in the community.”

The proposed law closes the loop of communication, said Clark County Deputy Director for Children Services Pamela Meermans.

“If you are currently a mandated reporter, you have a choice, ” she said, adding that anyone who suspects child abuse should contact children services directly or police. “Law enforcement then, in turn, needs to inform children services. That is not universally done in all jurisdictions.”

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