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Headlines for Saturday, September 25, 2021

Kansas to Follow CDC Recommendation on Pfizer Booster

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas Governor Laura Kelly says the state will adopt the recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning Pfizer booster shots as part of the effort to fight COVID-19. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky ruled Thursday that people 65 and older, nursing home residents, and those ages 50 and up who have chronic health problems such as diabetes should be offered a booster once they’re six months past their last Pfizer dose. Kelly said in a news release that she has authorized all COVID-19 vaccine providers to begin administering Pfizer booster shots to eligible Kansans as of yesterday (FRI).


Ex-school Counselor Gets New trial on Rape Charges

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A former Kansas middle school counselor convicted of raping a student will get a new trial. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled yesterday (FRI) that a lower-court jury should consider Brooke Dinkel's arguments that the then-13-year-old boy forced her to have sex the first time and blackmailed her into continuing. The Supreme Court split 4-3 over whether the attorney handling Dinkel’s trial in 2014 failed to provide her with an adequate defense, with the majority saying the defense was inadequate. A Saline County jury convicted Dinkel of two counts of raping a child under 14, and she was sentenced to nearly 14 years in prison.


Lawrence Man Arrested in Shooting Death of Toddler

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A Lawrence man has been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a 2-year-old boy. Police said yesterday (FRI) that the 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated child endangerment and possession of a stolen handgun. It wasn’t immediately clear if the man has been formally charged. Police say the child, Legend King of Lawrence, was shot accidentally on September 17th. Authorities have not released further details about the shooting, or the man’s relationship to the child.


ESU President Accepts Job as Head of Oklahoma Higher Ed System

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The president of Emporia State University will become the new head of Oklahoma's higher education system.  Allison Garrett announced her resignation from Emporia State University yesterday (FRI) after she was named chancellor and CEO for the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education.  Garrett has served as president of Emporia State University since 2016.  The Kansas Board of Regents will announce an interim president for ESU in the coming weeks.  


Youth Football Coach Accused of Pushing 11-year-old

COUNCIL GROVE, Kan. (AP) — An assistant coach for a youth football team is facing misdemeanor charges for allegedly pushing a player to the ground. Adam Dirks is charged with battery for an incident that happened September 9th in Council Grove. Police say an 11-year-old boy told police that Dirks pushed him to the ground during a practice. Dirks also is charged with interference with law enforcement. Dirks does not have a listed phone number and it wasn’t immediately clear yesterday (FRI) if he had an attorney. Dirks is a member of the Morris County Board of Education.


Massage Therapist Gets 25 Years to Life For Sex Crimes

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — A judge has sentenced a massage therapist to three prison terms of 25 years to life for several sex crimes against five people. They include a child and three female soccer players at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Douglas County Judge Sally Pokorny sentenced 50-year-old Shawn P. O’Brien yesterday (FRI) after jurors in August found him guilty on eight counts. Three of the charges accused O’Brien of indecent liberties with a child under the age of 14 for fondling a girl who was either 9 or 10 on three occasions between 2013 and 2015. The sentences will be served concurrently. O'Brien will have to serve at least 25 years before being eligible for parole.


Sexual Assault Cases Spur Protests on Campuses in Kansas, Across U.S.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Reports of sexual assaults have fueled protests on at least eight U.S. college campuses just weeks into the new school year. Victims’ advocates say more young people are vulnerable this year as they settle into campus life after learning remotely because of the pandemic. They also say students seem more engaged in speaking out against campus sexual assault and adept at drumming up support for the cause social media. Sexual assault allegations have led students to demonstrate over the past month at colleges in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Alabama, Michigan, and Massachusetts. Advocates say COVID-19 restrictions last year kept some sophomores from fully settling into college life, making them more vulnerable to assaults.

Authorities Identify Man Found Dead in Saline County

SALINA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities have identified the man found dead in rural Saline County. The sheriff’s office said yesterday (FRI) that the victim was 42-year-old Marc Anthony Tipton Sr. of Salina. His body was found Tuesday in a rural area. Authorities say a homicide investigation continues, involving several agencies. One man is charged in connection with the case, but he has not been charged in the killing.


Woman Found Dead on Sedgwick County Road

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities in Sedgwick County are investigating after a woman was found dead in the roadway. The body of the woman was found by a resident just after 7 a.m. Thursday. Emergency crews responded and the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities yesterday (FRI) identified the victim as 26-year-old Karlie Bidwell of Fort Scott. The cause of death remains under investigation.


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