Look into restaurant industry for sex-assault problems

first_imgRecent articles in The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Sacramento Bee as well as numerous magazines point out the high rate of harassment, gropings and assaults faced by female restaurant workers. Nearly 40 percent of sexual harassment complaints to the Federal EEOC come from females in the restaurant industry.My friend’s experience may have been unusual for Schenectady — but maybe not. It seems timely for Schenectady to do some preventative investigation into these kind of situations. I urge the county Legislature and the city council to look into the matter, and to empower or direct the Schenectady Human Rights Commission to hold hearings.Other cities are doing this, we can as well.Ed GuiderBallston LakeThe writer is a member of Schenectady Stand Up Guys.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionI have been working the last 15 years to increase awareness about domestic and sexual violence, sexual harassment, sex trafficking and getting more men involved in the struggle to end these problems. Part of that effort has been as a community member on the Schenectady Domestic Violence Task Force and the Community Sexual Assault Response Team.I was approached by a young woman who had been assaulted at her restaurant job. Her police complaint wasn’t prosecuted by the DA due to an error on dates. As a response, some additional training has been developed to hopefully avoid similar problems in the future.The woman was also threatened by her assailant for going to the police. She and her roommate fled their apartment in Schenectady as it was in the same building as the restaurant and they felt very unsafe. After living in their car for several days, they found shelter in another city.last_img read more

Women’s water polo battles UCLA for MSPF seed

first_imgWith the MPSF regular-season title and conference tournament seeds on the line during the final week of the regular season, the No. 2 USC women’s water polo team (26-1 overall, 4-1 MPSF) will look to have a big showing this weekend when they take on crosstown rival and No. 1 UCLA (19-1, 5-0) in Westwood on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Spieker Aquatics Center.With USC, UCLA and Stanford all jockeying for position to claim the top seed heading into next week’s MPSF tournament, each game leading up to the event will be crucial and near must-wins for the Trojans. However, senior captain Avery Peterson and her teammates are no strangers to the high stakes and pressure that accumulate this time of the year.“We’ve all been really excited for these kinds of matches,” Peterson said. “The month of April has all of the big games that we like to play in before we head into the MPSF and NCAA tournaments, so there’s kind of a different feel to it now. We’re excited, but we also know we need to be extra focused and even more prepared than before.”The preparation and focus needed to sustain a high level of play in the latter half of the season is not lost on senior driver Ioanna Haralabidis. “It’s going to be about taking things one game at a time,” Haralabidis said. “We’re preparing ourselves for those big tournaments at the end of the season, yes, but before all of that, we can’t overlook the game in front of us.”A tough loss by four goals against Stanford earlier this month has put USC in somewhat of a tricky position to nab the top seed in the MPSF Tournament, as a few scenarios would have to play out in the Trojans’ favor for that to happen. If USC can defeat UCLA by at least eight goals on Saturday, or win against UCLA (regardless of the score) and have Stanford — which is tied with USC for No. 2 — lose to No. 15 San Jose State, then the Trojans will steal the first seed. A win by seven goals or less against UCLA would give the Trojans the second seed, while a loss puts USC in third.However, USC is the only team to have beaten UCLA this season — a 10-9 decision in the semifinals of the Barbara Kalbus Invitational in Irvine back in late February. In that game, the Trojans erased an early deficit thanks to two goals each from senior driver Stephania Haralabidis, junior utility Hayley McKelvey, and freshman utility Maud Megens. Sophomore goalkeeper Amanda Longan also recorded 12 saves in that win, pushing USC into the finals of the non-conference tournament. In fact, USC has won the last four meetings against UCLA, with their last loss coming in the 2015 MPSF Tournament semifinals. The Bruins are riding a nine-game win streak into Saturday’s matchup, though, having just upset top-ranked Stanford in Palo Alto last weekend. UCLA then leapfrogged Stanford and USC in the rankings to stand as the No. 1 team in the nation and remain the only unbeaten team in the MPSF. Though the stakes are now raised, Haralabidis and the Trojans will be ready for a battle come Saturday.“I think we are prepared,” Haralabidis said. “What [head coach Jovan Vavic] tells us all the time is true: Preparation gives us confidence before the game, so we just need to study our opponents, get back to the basics and play our team game.”The big crosstown splashdown between the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 teams is set for 1 p.m. at the Spieker Aquatics Center and will be broadcast live on Pac-12 Los Angeles. Furthermore, the upcoming 2017 MPSF Women’s Water Polo Championship Tournament will also be held in Westwood on April 28-30.last_img read more

Butler County reports second COVID-19 death

first_imgALLISON — Butler County health officials say a second person has died from COVID-19.A release from the Butler County Department of Public Health announced on Tuesday the second death associated with novel coronavirus in the county. The individual was a 61-to-80-year-old adult.That now brings the area death total to four, with deaths previously announced in Cerro Gordo and Floyd counties.last_img

Judge Halts Execution Amid Claims Inmate Isn’t Mentally Fit

first_imgTERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A judge on Wednesday halted the execution of a man said to be suffering from dementia, who had been set to die by lethal injection in the federal government’s second execution after a 17-year hiatus.Wesley Ira Purkey, convicted of a gruesome 1998 kidnapping and killing, was scheduled for execution Wednesday at the U.S. Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, where Daniel Lewis Lee was put to death Tuesday after his eleventh-hour legal bids failed.U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan in Washington, D.C., imposed two injunctions on Wednesday prohibiting the federal Bureau of Prisons from moving forward with Purkey’s execution. The Justice Department immediately appealed in both cases. A separate temporary stay was already in place from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.The early morning legal wrangling suggests a volley of litigation will continue in the hours ahead of Purkey’s scheduled execution, similar to what happened when the government executed Lee, following a ruling from the Supreme Court.Lee, convicted of killing an Arkansas family in a 1990s plot to build a whites-only nation, was the first of four condemned men scheduled to die in July and August despite the coronavirus pandemic raging inside and outside prisons.Purkey, 68, of Lansing, Kansas, would be the second, but his lawyers were still expected to press for a ruling from the Supreme Court on his competency.“This competency issue is a very strong issue on paper,” said Robert Dunham, executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center. “The Supreme Court has halted executions on this issue in the past. At a minimum, the question of whether Purkey dies is going to go down to the last minute.”Chutkan didn’t rule on whether Purkey is competent but said the court needs to evaluate the claim. She said that while the government may disagree with Purkey’s lawyers about his competency, there’s no question he’d suffer “irreparable harm” if he’s put to death before his claims can be evaluated.Lee’s execution went forward a day late. It was scheduled for Monday afternoon, but the Supreme Court only gave the green light in a narrow 5-4 ruling early Tuesday.The issue of Purkey’s mental health arose in the runup to his 2003 trial and when, after the verdict, jurors had to decide whether he should be put to death in the killing of 16-year-old Jennifer Long in Kansas City, Missouri. Prosecutors said he raped and stabbed her, dismembered her with a chainsaw, burned her and dumped her ashes 200 miles (320 kilometers) away in a septic pond in Kansas. Purkey was separately convicted and sentenced to life in the beating death of 80-year-old Mary Ruth Bales, of Kansas City, Kansas.But the legal questions of whether he was mentally fit to stand trial or to be sentenced to die are different from the question of whether he’s mentally fit enough now to be put to death. Purkey’s lawyers argue he clearly isn’t, saying in recent filings he suffers from advancing Alzheimer’s disease.“He has long accepted responsibility for the crime that put him on death row,” one of this lawyers, Rebecca Woodman, said. “But as his dementia has progressed, he no longer has a rational understanding of why the government plans to execute him.”Purkey believes his planned execution is part of a conspiracy involving his attorneys, Woodman said. In other filings, they describe delusions that people were spraying poison into his room and that drug dealers implanted a device in his chest meant to kill him.While various legal issues in Purkey’s case have been hashed, rehashed and settled by courts over nearly two decades, the issue of mental fitness for execution can only be addressed once a date is set, according to Dunham, who teaches law school courses on capital punishment. A date was set only last year.“Competency is something that is always in flux,” so judges can only assess it in the weeks or days before a firm execution date, he said.In a landmark 1986 decision, the Supreme Court ruled the Constitution prohibits executing someone who lacks a reasonable understanding of why he’s being executed. It involved the case of Alvin Ford, who was convicted of murder but whose mental health deteriorated behind bars to the point, according to his lawyer, he believed he was pope.Legal standards as to whether someone has a rational understanding of why an execution is taking place can be complex, Dunham explained.“I could say I was Napoleon,” he said. “But if I say I understand that Napoleon was sentenced to death for a crime and is being executed for it — that could allow the execution to go ahead.”Purkey’s mental issues go beyond Alzheimer’s, his lawyers have said. They say he was subject to sexual and mental abuse as a child and, at 14, was diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and psychosis.Last week, three mental health organizations urged U.S. Attorney William Barr to stop Purkey’s execution and commute his sentence to life in prison without possibility of parole. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America and the Treatment Advocacy Center said executing mentally ailing people like Purkey “constitutes cruel and unusual punishment and does not comport with ‘evolving standards of decency.’”The mother of the slain teenager, Glenda Lamont, told the Kansas City Star last year she planned to attend Purkey’s execution.“I don’t want to say that I’m happy,” Lamont said. “At the same time, he is a crazy mad man that doesn’t deserve, in my opinion, to be breathing anymore.”The runup to Lee’s execution demonstrated that a lot can still happen before Purkey’s scheduled one.On Monday, hours before Lee was set to be put to death, a U.S. District Court judge put the execution on hold over concerns from death row inmates on how executions were to be carried out, and an appeals court upheld it, before the Supreme Court overturned it early Tuesday.last_img read more