President Trump Plans October 6 Rally in Topeka to Boost GOP Candidates
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — President Donald Trump is coming to Kansas' capital next week for a rally aimed at boosting the campaigns of Republican candidates in tight races for governor and Congress. Trump's re-election campaign announced Thursday that the rally will be 6:30 pm October 6 at Topeka's largest arena, the Expocentre. Trump endorsed the GOP nominee for Kansas governor, Secretary of State Kris Kobach, just ahead of his narrow August primary victory over Governor Jeff Colyer. Kobach was the most prominent Kansas early supporter of Trump during his 2016 presidential campaign and vice chairman of Trump's now-defunct commission on voter fraud. Trump also is campaigning for Steve Watkins, the GOP nominee in the 2nd District of eastern Kansas. Retiring Republican Rep. Lynn Jenkins holds the seat, and Democrats hope to flip it.
Kansas Senator Jerry Moran Says He Will Vote to Confirm Judge Kavanaugh to U.S. Supreme Court
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senator Jerry Moran says he will vote to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. The Republican senator made his announcement after Thursday's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee by Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford. Ford accuses Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a gathering of friends in 1982, when both were teenagers. Kavanaugh strongly denied the allegation. Moran's short statement did not mention their contradictory testimony. Instead, he said after he met with Kavanaugh in August, he saw him as well-qualified "with a deep respect for the Constitution. Moran said: "I still believe that to be true." The state's senior U.S. Senator, Republican Pat Roberts, announced his support for Kavanaugh in July but hasn't commented on Thursday's hearing. The Senate could vote on Kavanaugh's nomination as early as Tuesday.
University of Kansas Budget Cuts Leads to Buyout Program
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas plans to cut $20 million from its budget by leaving many vacant faculty positions unfilled and implementing a buyout program for older faculty members. The Lawrence Journal-World reports that KU Interim Provost Carl Lejuez presented budget cuts at a town hall meeting Wednesday. He says a new voluntary retirement program that was adopted in August would work in tandem with the university's decision not to fill many vacant positions. Lejuez says 45 faculty members have applied for the program, which offers a buyout option to tenured and tenure-track faculty who are 62 or older. He anticipates that 50 more faculty members will sign up by the program's October 5 deadline. Lejuez says the program gives the university flexibility to either refill or eliminate the positions.
Feds to Return $505M from Payday Loan Scheme
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Federal officials are mailing more than 1 million checks worth a combined $505 million to consumers that former pro racecar driver Scott Tucker swindled through a payday lending scheme. The Kansas City Star reports that the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department announced the refunds Thursday. The agencies evaluated loan portfolios from seven of Tucker's brands under his company, AMG Services — 500FastCash, Advantage Cash Services, Ameriloan, OneClickCash, Star Cash Processing, UnitedCashLoans and USFastCash — to find consumers who took the short-term loans. Tucker, of Leawood, Kansas, is among those convicted of running a payday lending enterprise that used indigenous tribes as fronts to charge predatory interest rates. He began serving a 16-year, eight-month prison sentence earlier this year.
Kansas Nurses Charged for Medicine Theft, Medicaid Fraud
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Ten Kansas nurses and nurse aides have been charged with Medicaid fraud, stealing narcotic medications and mistreating vulnerable adults. The Kansas City Star reports that the charges came after an enforcement sweep by the state's attorney general. Online records show that eight of those charged are still licensed to work in Kansas. State Board of Nursing Executive Director Carol Moreland declined to comment on pending litigation and questions about the licenses. Witness lists show that three Kansas City area health care workers were working at nursing homes during the alleged crimes. Lenexa resident Catherine Santaniello is charged with two felony counts of mistreatment of a dependent adult. She also faces two misdemeanor charges for battery and making a false claim to Medicaid. Santaniello didn't respond to requests for comment. She'll appear in court October 24.
Douglas County Deputy Accused of Having Sex with Jail Inmate
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Douglas County sheriff's deputy assigned to the jail is charged with having sexual relations with a female inmate. A complaint filed in Douglas County District Court says Mario Godinez says he had sexual relations with a woman at the jail on January 12. Douglas County Sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Kristen Channel says Godinez was a deputy at the time. She says he resigned in April after being placed on administrative leave with the incident was investigated. The Lawrence Journal-World reported the Johnson County Sheriff's Office investigated the allegations and turned its investigation over to the Douglas County District Attorney's Office, which filed the charge. Godinez, who is not in custody, made his first appearance Wednesday. The judge ordered Godinez to be jailed before the end of this week.
Teen Says She was Assaulted as She Slept at Kansas Welfare Office
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) — A 13-year-old says she was sexually assaulted inside a child welfare office in Kansas as she slept in a conference room. The Kansas City Star reports that the newly released affidavit says the teen told authorities that Michael Anthony Hamer climbed under a blanked with her in May at the KVC Behavior Healthcare office in Olathe and began touching her. She later told a worker and authorities that she had been assaulted. Hamer, who turned 19 Wednesday, was charged earlier this month with rape and aggravated indecent liberties of a child. A KVC spokeswoman says the social worker had gone to get supplies and had only left the two unsupervised for "five minutes or less." The two teens were at the office awaiting placement in a foster home or facility.
Jail Employee Arrested on Misdemeanor Sexual Battery Charge
MOUND CITY, Kan. (AP) — An eastern Kansas jail employee has been arrested on suspicion of sexual battery. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation said in a news release the employee was taken into custody Thursday at the Linn County Sheriff's Office and booked into jail on the misdemeanor charge. The Linn County Attorney's Office had requested this summer that the KBI investigate the 48-year-old jail employee. The release provided no other details about what happened.
Topeka Man Gets Retrial in Shooting Death of Wichita Man
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Shawnee County district judge says a Topeka man convicted of second-degree murder should get a new trial. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports 27-year-old William Spangler was found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2013 shooting death of 22-year-old Faustino Martinez II, of Wichita. Spangler, who was sentenced to 15.5 years in jail, filed a petition in October 2015 that questioned the effectiveness of his attorneys. Spangler was robbed and beaten a few weeks before Martinez was shot. District Judge Mark Braun ruled Tuesday that Spangler's defense attorney did not consider how Spangler's beating might have affected his mental health. Spangler said if he hadn't been robbed or beaten, he wouldn't have bought any weapons or reacted aggressively to being threatened in his apartment. A new trial date hasn't been set.
Kansas Crash Kills College Student Returning from St. Louis
LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (AP) — A University of Kansas student has been killed in a crash as he returned to the campus after spending homecoming weekend at his alma mater in St. Louis. The Kansas City Star reports that 20-year-old Charlie Gillis, of St. Louis, was injured Monday in Leavenworth County, Kansas, after a tractor-trailer pulled out in front of his sport utility vehicle. The Kansas Highway Patrol says Gillis struck the middle axle of the truck, spun out and hit the front of another vehicle. He died Tuesday at a hospital. The crash remains under investigation. The Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School said in a statement that Gillis had just spent homecoming weekend there and was returning to the university. He was a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.
Man Sentenced for Role in Kidnapping of Missouri Man
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 23-year-old Independence, Missouri, man was sentenced to eight years in prison without parole for his role in a kidnapping conspiracy. Justin Watson was sentenced Thursday for conspiracy to commit kidnapping and brandishing a firearm during a violent crime. Watson admitted that he and his co-conspirators kidnapped a victim identified as "N.J." in March 2017. They drove to Colorado and used the victim's credit card in stops across Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports that during the drive west, the conspirators discussed killing the victim. Instead, they stopped near Russell, Kansas. They left the victim, bound and gagged, and then drove away, leaving the victim in the field. The victims removed his bindings and went to the Russell police department. Watson was arrested in March in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kansas City Bank Robber's Ex-Wives Identify Him to FBI
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 57-year-old man was sentenced to 12 years for federal prison for robbing a bank inside a Kansas City hospital. Jimmy Lee Bozeman, of Drexel, was sentenced for stealing $1,450 in March of a bank inside Truman Medical Center. The Kansas City Star reports that while looking for the suspect FBI agents interviewed Bozeman's former wife and his wife at the time, who is no longer his wife. Both women identified Bozeman as the robber pictured in a surveillance photo from the bank. Several hospital employees also recognized Bozeman as a former patient. Bozeman pleaded guilty in June. He was previously convicted for a 2009 bank robbery in Independence.
Police Investigating Body in Train Car as Homicide
BONNER SPRINGS, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating the discovery of a body on a railroad car in Bonner Springs. Police say employees at a quarry Friday as they unloaded a rail car, which is used to haul dry cement mix. Bonner Springs police said the death is being investigated as a homicide. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation's crime scene response team helped with the investigation.
Man in Stable Condition After Attack by 4 Dogs
ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 70-year-old Arkansas City man is hospitalized after he was attacked by four dogs in his backyard. Arkansas City police say in a news release that officers were called to the home Thursday night. Police Chief Daniel Ward said witnesses reported finding four dogs on top of the man. The dogs belong to the man and others who live in the home. The man was flown to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. He was listed in stable condition on Friday. The mixed-breed dogs were captured by police and are at the Cowley County Humane Society for a 10-day observation period.
Accuser, Former Vatican Ambassador, Blasts Pope Francis
Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick Now Lives Near Hays
By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The former Vatican ambassador who accused three popes and their advisers of covering up for a disgraced American ex-cardinal has challenged the Vatican to say what it knows about the scandal and accused Pope Francis of mounting a campaign of "subtle slander" against him. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano penned a new missive a month after his initial 11-page document sent shockwaves through the Catholic Church. It was uploaded to a document-sharing site late Thursday. Vigano denounced the official Vatican silence about his claims and urged the current head of the Vatican bishops' office to speak out, saying he has all the documentation needed to prove years of cover-up by the Vatican about alleged sexual misconduct by ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. "How can one avoid concluding that the reason they do not provide the documentation is that they know it confirms my testimony?" Vigano wrote. "The pope's unwillingness to respond to my charges and his deafness to the appeals by the faithful for accountability are hardly consistent with his calls for transparency and bridge building." Vigano threw Francis' papacy into turmoil last month when he accused Francis of rehabilitating McCarrick from sanctions imposed by Pope Benedict XVI. He accused more than two dozen current and former Vatican officials, as well as a host of U.S. bishops and papal advisers, of being part of the cover-up and called for Francis to resign over the scandal.
Francis removed McCarrick as a cardinal in July after a U.S. church investigation determined an allegation he fondled a teenage altar boy in the 1970s was credible. After news broke of the investigation, several former seminarians and priests came forward to report that they, too, had been abused or harassed by McCarrick as adults. The scandal has led to a crisis in confidence in both the U.S. and Vatican hierarchy, since McCarrick's penchant for seminarians was apparently an open secret in some U.S. and Vatican church circles. The archdiocese of Washington announced Friday that McCarrick, 88, now lives at a Capuchin friary in Victoria, Kansas, (near Hays) ending months of mystery about his whereabouts.
In his first denunciation, published August 26, Vigano initially claimed Benedict had imposed sanctions against McCarrick prohibiting him from exercising public ministry, travelling or lecturing on behalf of the church. He has modified his account, however, since the public record is rife with evidence McCarrick lived his ministry free from any real constraints, and it is unclear what type of sanctions were ever imposed. But the crux of Vigano's claim was that he told Francis of the sanctions against McCarrick on June 23, 2013, and that the pope effectively rehabilitated McCarrick and made him a trusted adviser. Francis has refused to directly respond to Vigano's claims, though the Vatican is expected to release some "clarifications" soon. Francis has, however, referred to the issue indirectly in his morning homilies, speaking of the silence of Jesus before the "Great Accuser" — seemingly comparing his own silence to that of Christ and Vigano's accusations to the work of Satan. Rather than directly responding, Vigano complained, Francis "put in place a subtle slander against me — slander being an offense he has often compared to the gravity of murder. Indeed, he did it repeatedly, in the context of the celebration of the most Holy Sacrament, the Eucharist, where he runs no risk of being challenged by journalists." Francis refused to take questions about the Vigano accusations during his in-flight news conference returning from the Baltics on Tuesday.
Even though it was released Thursday, Vigano's new document was dated Friday, September 29, the feast of St. Michael, Archangel. It wasn't a coincidence. St. Michael is considered the protector of the church, the leader of all angels who battled evil and drove it from the church. Vigano has cast himself as the church's protector who at great personal risk dared to break two decades of "omerta" or silence.
He acknowledged that by doing so he violated the pontifical secret — the rule of confidentiality that governs much of the inner workings of the Catholic Church. "Certainly, some of the facts that I was to reveal were covered by the pontifical secret that I had promised to observe and that I had faithfully observed from the beginning of my service to the Holy See," Vigano wrote. "But the purpose of any secret, including the pontifical secret, is to protect the church from her enemies, not to cover up and become complicit in crimes committed by some of her members."
Commission OKs New Westar Rates that Would Lower Some Bills
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas utility regulators approved rates for Westar Energy that will lower many customers' monthly election bills. The rates scheduled approved Thursday by the Kansas Corporation Commission would lower monthly bills for residential customers by about $3.80 a month. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the rate decrease will not apply to most people who have installed solar panels or other self-generating devices. Those customers will be charged additional fees that Westar says are necessary so those customers pay their fair share of maintaining the power grid. Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig said those customers could still potentially see about a 30 percent decrease when they install solar, meaning they still have potential for savings under these new rates.
Ethics Officials Fine Wagle $100 for Kobach Endorsement
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Senate President Susan Wagle's endorsement of Republican Kris Kobach before the August primary election in the governor's race will cost $100 because one of her employees distributed the endorsement using government equipment. The state ethics commission on Wednesday imposed a $1,000 fine but waived $900 if Wagle's campaign paid the $100 and if Wagle arrange ethics training for her staff. The Wichita Eagle reports Wagle spokeswoman Shannon Golden acknowledged in a legal document that she sent Wagle's endorsement while working as a state employee. Golden said Wagle was unaware she was going to send the endorsement on a state computer. She also said she didn't know using the government computer for endorsements was an ethics violation. Golden said Wagle's office reported the situation to ethics officials as soon as questions were raised.
Boy Whose Chiefs Helmet was Stolen Gets New, Autographed Helmet
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A 10-year-old Topeka boy's heartbreak after his Kansas City Chiefs helmet was stolen at a game has turned to joy after he was given a new one that all the players signed. The Kansas City Star reports that the boy took the helmet to Sunday's game at Arrowhead Stadium, hoping to add a signature from quarterback Patrick Mahomes to several other signatures that already were on it. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office confirmed the theft occurred and opened an investigation. The theft was caught on a surveillance camera, and a relative posted the photos to the Facebook page of Stolen KC, which spread the story. The anti-crime discussion group's founder, David Brucker, says "it has been incredible." The Kansas City Chiefs presented the boy with the signed helmet on Wednesday.
Douglas County Raises Age Limit on Tobacco Products to 21
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The Douglas County Commission has raised the minimum age to buy tobacco products in the county's unincorporated areas from 18 to 21. The Lawrence Journal-World reports the commission approved the change Wednesday and it will take effect in 30 days. The measure includes all products that include nicotine, such as the liquids used in electronic cigarettes. Currently, only four stores in the county's unincorporated areas would be affected by the resolution. A Topeka ordinance raising the age to 21 was struck down in court in March. Douglas County commissioners said they are not worried about lawsuits because the county's legal counsel reviewed the resolution.