Headlines for Saturday, May 7, 2016
Wichita Camp Says No to Child Marriage Retreat
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - A Christian group that promotes marriage at ages as young as 13 won't be able to use a Salvation Army camp in Wichita for a retreat for parents seeking marital partners for their children.The Wichita Eagle reports that the Let Them Marry ministry wanted to have the retreat at Camp Hiawatha in November. Janet Pack, of the Salvation Army in Wichita, said that the nonprofit inquired about holding the event at the camp, although it was never formally booked. She says the Salvation Army "remained steadfastly focused on our mission of advocating for and protecting children."Laura Ohlman, who was helping organize and promote the event, says the event is still a goal, although she's not sure when it will happen.
Jury Claims Bomb Threat is Free Speech
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Jurors have sided with a Kansas anti-abortion activist by ruling that she didn't intentionally seek to intimidate a doctor by sending a letter that suggested someone might place an explosive under the physician's car. The U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division sued Angel Dillard in 2011 for sending the letter to Dr. Mila Means, who had been training to offer abortions. At the time, no doctor was performing abortions in Wichita in the wake of the 2009 slaying of Dr. George Tiller by an abortion opponent. Defense attorneys said it was constitutionally protected speech. The jury sided with Dillard yesterday.The lawsuit was filed under a federal law aimed at protecting access to abortion services. Jurors were tasked with deciding whether the letter constituted a "true threat."
Fifth Lawsuit Filed Against Former VA Employee
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The number of lawsuits accusing a former physician assistant at a Veteran's Administration hospital in Kansas of sexual abuse has grown to at least five. Thirty-eight-year-old Josh Hutchison alleges in a federal lawsuit filed this week that Mark Wisner conducted unnecessary and improper genital examinations at the Leavenworth VA Medical Center. The Associated Press generally does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted, but Hutchison says he wants his name used because it might help others who have been abused. Wisner also faces criminal charges, including sexually battery, and has surrendered his medical license. His lawyer in the criminal case said she couldn't comment on Hutchison's lawsuit, and online records don't list an attorney for Wisner in that case. Wisner didn't respond to a phone message seeking comment.
Kansas Toll Skippers to Pay Consequences
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A new state law aims to help the Kansas Turnpike collect unpaid tolls by allowing the state to block the vehicle registrations of offending motorists, starting in 2018. Gov. Sam Brownback signed the measure into law yesterday. The bill arose from a proposal from the Kansas Turnpike Authority, which oversees the state's only toll road and told lawmakers it is considering putting up gateless toll systems at three high-traffic exits. But if it does, it would need a way to ensure that tolls are collected. The bill says that the Turnpike Authority will be allowed in 2018 to ask the state to block the vehicle registrations of motorists who have more than $100 in unpaid turnpike tolls. Kansas motorists must register their vehicles annually to drive them legally.
Topeka Man Sentenced for Child Abduction and Rape
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A 30-year-old Kansas man has been sentenced to three consecutive life sentences for abducting and repeatedly raping an 8-year-old girl. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports Jeremy James Lindsey must serve at least 25 years for each of the life sentences before he is eligible for parole. Once he's finished those, he must serve 51 years for aggravated kidnapping. The girl disappeared from her home between 10:30 p.m. Sept. 19, 2014, and 8 a.m. the next day. The girl, who was bound with a telephone cord, freed herself around 1 p.m. and fled to a nearby home for help. The now-9-year-old told a judge on Friday she thought she was going to die when Lindsey was attacking her. District Attorney Chad Taylor called the crimes "atrocities against a precious little girl."
Shawnee D.A. Enforces Own Term Limits
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Shawnee County District Attorney Chad Taylor says he won't seek re-election this year because he believes in term limits and it's time for someone else to take on the job.The two-term Democrat spoke at a news conference Friday. He was first elected district attorney in 2008 and re-elected without opposition in 2012. Taylor gained national attention in 2014 over his aborted campaign for the U.S. Senate against Republican incumbent Pat Roberts. Some fellow Democrats pushed Taylor to withdraw in September 2014 to give independent candidate Greg Orman a better chance of defeating Roberts. Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach argued that Taylor didn't comply with a law limiting when candidates can drop out and tried to block the move, but state courts sided with Taylor. Roberts eventually won re-election.
Cuts to Planned Parenthood Delayed Two Weeks
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - A Planned Parenthood attorney says Kansas will not cut off Medicaid funding for the abortion provider until May 24. Attorney Bob Eye said yesterday that Planned Parenthood and the state Department of Health and Environment agreed on the timing of the cutoff after Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit. A department spokeswoman did not immediately return a telephone message seeking comment.The state notified Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri earlier this week that Medicaid funds would be cut off as of Tuesday. The lawsuit seeking to block the action was filed the next day. Eye said the parties agreed the two-week delay would give them and the presiding federal judge more time to prepare for a first hearing that is now expected to be May 17.
Manhattan-Ogden School Board to Discuss Indian Mascot
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) - The fate of Manhattan High School's Indians mascot could be decided this fall. The Manhattan Mercury reports that six of the seven Manhattan-Ogden school board members said at a meeting Wednesday that they were willing to discuss changing the mascot in the fall when incoming Superintendent Marvin Wade can weigh in on the issue. Curt Herrman was the only board member against the conversation. In early February, board president Marcia Rozell said she wasn't planning to take up complaints about the mascot. For the second school board meeting in a row, a Manhattan resident spoke in favor of changing the high school's Indians moniker Wednesday. Joe Sutliff Sanders says he believes keeping the mascot contradicts the school district's mission to "help children learn well."