TIME celebrities

Josh Duggar Responds to Child Molestation Claims: ‘I Acted Inexcusably’

19 Kids and Counting star responds to accusations

Josh Duggar, the eldest son in the family chronicled in TLC’s series 19 Kids and Counting, has spoken out after it emerged he had been accused of child molestation in the past.

“Twelve years ago, as a young teenager, I acted inexcusably for which I am extremely sorry and deeply regret. I hurt others, including my family and close friends,” Duggar, who was accused as a teenager of molesting five underage girls, told PEOPLE in a statement. “I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation.”

Duggar, 27, who has since resigned from his role at the Family Research Council, said his parents took him to the authorities and later arranged for him and his victims to receive counseling. In a statement to PEOPLE, his parents, Jim Bob and Michelle, reaffirmed their support for their son and called the events “one of the most difficult times of our lives.”

“I would do anything to go back to those teen years and take different actions,” Duggar added. “I sought forgiveness from those I had wronged and asked Christ to forgive me and come into my life. In my life today, I am so very thankful for God’s grace, mercy and redemption.”

Read more at PEOPLE

TIME justice

Six Baltimore Officers Indicted in Freddie Gray’s Death

Gray died April 19, a week after his arrest

Six police officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray have been indicted by a grand jury, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced Thursday, the latest milestone in a case that brought riots and protests to the city and reignited the national debate over police force.

Gray, 25, died on April 19, a week after suffering a severe spinal injury in police custody after being arrested over a knife in West Baltimore. Mosby said Thursday that the charges against the officers—Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller, Edward M. Nero, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice and Alicia D. White—were similar to what she had announced on May 1.

“As is often the case, during an ongoing investigation, charges can and should be revised based upon the evidence,” Mosby said, declining to take questions. Additional charges were brought against three officers, she said, while three others had a charge of false imprisonment dropped. A charge of reckless endangerment was added to the earlier charges against all six officers.

Goodson remains charged with the most serious of the charges against the officers, called second-degree depraved-heart murder.

Marc Zayon, who represents Nero, told the Baltimore Sun that he was “quite confident” of securing an acquittal after the charge of false imprisonment and one of the second-degree assault charges were dropped against his client.

Ivan Bates, one of White’s attorneys, told the Sun he “looks forward to trying this case against Mrs. Mosby herself and proving that Sgt. Alicia White is innocent.”

MORE: What Is ‘Depraved Heart Murder’?

Mosby said Gray’s injury occurred while he was being handcuffed and put head-first into a police van. She added that his pleas for aid were repeatedly ignored. Attorneys for the officers had previously called for Mosby to be dismissed from the case for what they claimed as potential conflicts of interest or bias. The Justice Department began a civil rights investigation into the city’s police department after Gray’s death.

In an interview with CNN, Maryland Democratic Senator Ben Cardin said he wasn’t surprised by Thursday’s announcement, adding, “Now it’s up to our court system to process this.”

Read next: Why Charges in the Freddie Gray Case Came Quickly

TIME justice

Why This Red State Is Poised to End the Death Penalty

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is seen through bars during a tour of the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in Tecumseh, Neb., on May 19, 2015.
Nati Harnik—AP Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is seen through bars during a tour of the Tecumseh State Correctional Institution in Tecumseh, Neb., on May 19, 2015.

It would be the first conservative state to do so since 1973

As a college student in the mid-1990s, Colby Coash attended an execution at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln. Two groups gathered to bear witness. On one side were death-penalty opponents, who prayed quietly. On the other side, the atmosphere was festive.

“It was like a tailgate party,” Coash recalls, replete with a band and barbecue, and locals banging on pots and pans. As the minutes ticked toward midnight and the condemned was strapped into the electric chair, the crowd drank beer and counted down “like it was New Year’s Eve,” says Coash, who supported the death penalty at the time. “Later, it didn’t feel right. I didn’t like how it felt to be a part of the celebration of somebody’s death.”

Coash now serves in Lincoln as a state senator, and on Wednesday he was among a cadre of conservatives who voted to abolish the death penalty in Nebraska. If the measure becomes law, Nebraska would become the first red state to ban capital punishment since North Dakota in 1973.

Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who supports the death penalty, has threatened to veto the bill. But Wednesday’s 32-15 margin in the Nebraska legislature indicates supporters have the votes to override such a move. Ricketts has five days to sign or veto the measure before it automatically becomes law.

The landmark vote was a reflection of the shifting politics of criminal justice. For decades, law-and-order conservatives have been staunch proponents of capital punishment. But in recent years, a growing number of Republicans have begun to oppose the death penalty, arguing it violates the central tenets of conservatism.

“It does things that are cardinal sins for conservatives,” says Marc Hyden, a former NRA staffer from Georgia who serves as coordinator of a national group called Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. “It risks innocent life. It wastes taxpayer money when there’s cheaper alternatives, and fails to be representative of a limited government—while it meanwhile fails to deter crime.”

Overall, Americans’ support for the death penalty is relatively stable, according to a 2015 Gallup poll that found 63% of respondents favored capital punishment for convicted murderers. But among conservatives, support for the practice appears to be dropping, though it remains high. In 2014, Gallup found that 76% of Republicans supported the death penalty, down from 81% the year before. Says Hyden: “It’s just a broken government program that conservatives are speaking out against in greater numbers nationally.”

Eighteen states have banned the death penalty, mostly in the Northeast and Upper Midwest. Nebraska might seem an unlikely candidate to join them. The state is a conservative stronghold, and while its unicameral legislature is officially nonpartisan, 36 of its 49 seats are held by Republicans.

But the Cornhusker State has been down this road before. In 1979, a bill banning capital punishment passed the legislature before it was vetoed by the governor. Though Nebraska has 11 inmates on death row, no one has been executed in the state since 1997. In 2013 some observers believed there were enough votes to pass such a measure, though not enough to override a veto. The current legislature had voted twice already to abolish the death penalty.

In preparation for the push, opponents of the death penalty lobbied lawmakers extensively, circulating studies that show the practice is ineffective as a deterrent to crime and enlisting the family members of murder victims to testify about how the endless appeals process compounded their grief.

Stacy Anderson, a conservative Christian and former Republican operative who directs a group called Nebraskans for Alternatives to the Death Penalty, said the unique nature of the state legislature—the only nonpartisan, unicameral legislature in the U.S.—helped break down traditional partisan lines. “It’s a very cordial, small body,” Anderson says. “They engage the issues far beyond the regular political rhetoric.”

Some conservatives originally ducked meetings on the topic, Anderson added. Over time, a number came to change their minds. “They learned how much it cost, the risk of executing innocents, how it didn’t align with pro-life values,” she says.

Death penalty opponents hope Nebraska’s vote will be the beginning of a trend. A push to abolish capital punishment in conservative Montana fell one vote short earlier this year. Anti-death penalty legislation has also been introduced in Kansas.

Before the vote Wednesday, Ricketts released a statement urging lawmakers to listen to their constituents. “No one has traveled the state more than I have in the past 18 months, and everywhere I go there is overwhelming support for keeping the death penalty in Nebraska,” he said, calling a vote to abolish the death penalty a vote to “give our state’s most heinous criminals more lenient sentences. This isn’t rhetoric. This is reality.”

For Coash, that’s precisely the point. “People sent me here to Lincoln to find and root out government waste,” he says. In addition to the expense, he came to believe that the protracted appeals process prevented the families of victims from achieving closure. “Justice delayed is justice denied,” he says. And “I’m a pro-life guy. I couldn’t reconcile my pro-life beliefs regarding the unborn with doing something different with the condemned.”

TIME Education

Teen Barred From Prom for Wearing a Kilt

He was told to change into a different outfit

A North Carolina teen was not allowed to attend his prom until he changed out of the kilt he was wearing.

David Leix, wore a kilt from his late grandfather to the dance last Friday, but was turned away by organizers, ABC 11 reports.

The event, called Praise Prom, is a Christian alternative prom for kids who are homeschooled. The prom has a dress code, and asks girls to wear floor-length gowns and guys to wear something along the lines of dress pants. Jeans, shorts, sagging pants and T-shirts are not allowed.

“They started going into ‘well even for dresses it’s too short to be a dress,’ I was being quiet, ‘OK we’re calling it a dress. That’s not what it is,'” Leix told ABC 11. Leix had reportedly worn kilts to formal events since he was a child.

Leix was allowed into the prom two hours later after parents of prom attendees bought him black pants to wear.

Praise Prom did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

[ABC 11]

TIME Crime

George Zimmerman Involved in Florida Shooting, Police Say

Reportedly suffered a minor gunshot wound

George Zimmerman, the onetime neighborhood watchman acquitted of the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in 2013, was involved in another shooting incident Monday, according to Florida police.

Lake Mary police chief Steve Bracknell said the incident involved two men in Lake Mary, local TV station WESH reports. Zimmerman’s condition is unknown, but police at the scene said he appeared to sustain a minor wound.

Police spokeswoman Bianca Gillett told CNN the shooting appeared to be a road rage-related incident, but TIME was unsuccessful in reaching Gillett to confirm Zimmerman’s involvement.

The Florida resident fatally shot Trayvon Martin, a black 17-year-old, in February 2012 after an apparent altercation. The shooting and subsequent trial sparked a national debate about racial profiling that acted as a precursor to recent protests over police brutality of young African American men.

He was arrested in January after being accused of assault by his girlfriend. The charges were dropped after she recanted her story.

[WESH]

TIME justice

Attorney General to Investigate Baltimore Police Department

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch appears before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 7, 2015.
Mark Wilson—Getty Images U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch appears before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 7, 2015.

"We're talking about generations of mistrust"

The Justice Department is investigating the Baltimore Police Department to determine whether there is a pattern of discriminatory policing, and whether police are violating residents’ civil rights, Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Friday.

“It was clear to a number of people looking at the situation that the community’s rather frayed trust was even worse and has been severed,” Lynch told reporters as she announced the investigation. “We’re talking about generations of mistrust, and generations of communities who feel very separated from government.”

Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake requested the investigation on Wednesday, and the Justice Department rarely declines such requests. During the probe, the Justice Department will track the Baltimore Police Department’s use of force, and its pattern of stops, searches and arrests. The Attorney General said that when she first saw the demonstrations and riots in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody, “my first reaction was profound sadness, sadness for the loss of life, erosion of trust, for the sadness and despair that the community was feeling.”

The federal investigation comes just a few months after the Justice Department’s report on the Ferguson, Mo. police department following the death of Michael Brown last year, an investigation that uncovered a pattern of racist comments within the police department and led to the resignation of Ferguson’s chief of police.

The Attorney General acknowledged the recent federal investigations into police departments accused of civil rights violations, noting that “we’ve had a number of situations that have highlighted this fracture in various communities.” She added that she hopes these reports can help other jurisdictions maintain a fair law enforcement system.

“Our hope is that other jurisdictions, cities large and small, can look at these reports and say ‘are these the issues that I face?’” she said. “Our goal is to be a resource and a guide, but not to be a hand reaching into police departments…We truly believe that cities and police departments, they know these issues best.”

TIME justice

Baltimore Police Chief Welcomes Mayor’s Request for Federal Probe

Anthony Batts, Kevin Davis
Patrick Semansky—AP Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Anthony Batts, center, approaches a news conference before announcing that the department's investigation into the death of Freddie Gray was turned over to the State's Attorney's office a day early on April 30, 2015.

Anthony Batts embraces call for civil rights review of the “patterns and practices” of the city's police department

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said Thursday he welcomed “with open arms” a request by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake for a Department of Justice civil rights review of his department.

“We have never shied away from scrutiny or assistance,” Batts said in a statement. “Our work is ongoing and anyone who wishes to be a part of helping the department better connect with the community will always be welcome.”

Rawlings-Blake asked for a full-scale civil rights review of the “patterns and practices” of the Baltimore police department in the wake of 25-year-old Freddie Gray’s death. Gray died from injuries sustained while in police custody and his death sparked outrage across the city. Six police officers were charged last week in Gray’s April 19 death.

“We need to have a foundation of trust,” Mayor Blake said at a Wednesday press conference. A “collaborative review” of the Baltimore police department by the Department of Justice is already ongoing, but that doesn’t carry the weight of the full-scale civil rights investigation Mayor Blake has asked for.

Batts noted Thursday the Baltimore Police Department was already attempting to address some of these issues, and said as a result of changes they began implementing over two years ago, there was a “54% reduction in discourtesy complaints, a more than 40% reduction in excessive force complaints and a dramatic drop in lawsuits.”

TIME justice

Attorney General Loretta Lynch Meets with Freddie Gray Family

Attorney General Lynch speaks with congressmen and faith leaders after meeting in private with Freddie Gray's family at Baltimore University in Baltimore
Jose Luis Magana—Reuters Attorney General Loretta Lynch speaks with congressmen and faith leaders after meeting in private with Freddie Gray's family at Baltimore University in Baltimore, MD. on May 5, 2015.

Just days after the city's prosecutor announced officers would face charges in Gray's death

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch made a stop in Baltimore Tuesday, as tensions have begun to cool following a week of unrest and uncertainty.

Lynch, who is one week into her new role as the nation’s top prosecutor, met with community and faith leaders and politicians just days after the Baltimore City prosecutor announced charges against six Baltimore police officers in Freddie Gray’s death. Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski and Rep. Elijah Cummings were reportedly in the room.

“This is a flashpoint situation,” Lynch said at the meeting. “We lost a young man’s [life] and it begins to represent so many things.”

The death of 25-year-old Gray, who died due to injuries he sustained while in police custody, was the match that lit the proverbial flame in Charm City, leading to days of protest that at one point turned violent. Lynch met with the family of Gray around noon on Tuesday. The meeting was closed off to press. Later in the afternoon, Lynch is expected to meet with Baltimore police and the mayor.

The new Attorney General is following in the footsteps of the now-retired Eric Holder in her visit to a city where a young black man’s death shined new light on mistrust between the community and police. Following the death of Michael Brown in Missouri, Holder traveled to Ferguson to meet with local leaders.

TIME Crime

How the Feds Went Soft on Baltimore

Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts MARSHALL PROJECT
Alex Brandon—AP Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Anthony Batts surveys the corner of North and Pennsylvania avenues during protests in the city on April 30, 2015.

The city's involvement in a Justice Department program shows the softer side of intervention

This story was written by Simone Weichselbaum for The Marshall Project, a nonprofit news organization that covers the U.S. criminal justice system. Sign up for their newsletter, or follow The Marshall Project on Facebook or Twitter.

Six months before Baltimore exploded in anger at the city’s police, Justice Department officials were already busy examining the record of brutality and misconduct that had plagued the force for years.

But unlike other cities that have come under investigation by the department’s Civil Rights Division after complaints of excessive force, Baltimore, found its way into a less-onerous and adversarial Justice program that emphasizes cooperative support for local law-enforcement agencies. In fact, Baltimore requested the intervention.

That Justice program, called the Collaborative Reform Initiative for Technical Assistance, was created in 2011 by the department’s Office of Community Oriented Police Services, or COPS. Compared to the avenging lawyers of the Civil Rights Division, the program’s consultants might be considered the good cops.

Where the Civil Rights Division is known for filing lawsuits in the federal courts to compel recalcitrant police agencies to stop discriminatory practices or the excessive use of force, the COPS plan offers expertise and training to help change-minded police departments implement new policies on their own.

“There are 18,000 police departments in this country, and the idea that we can sue our way into reform, or put every police department under a consent decree, is just not viable,” the director of the COPS office, Ronald L. Davis, said in a telephone interview with The Marshall Project.

(On Friday, Baltimore’s chief prosecutor, Marilyn J. Mosby, announced she had filed criminal charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man who was arrested on April 12 for allegedly carrying a switchblade knife and died a week later from injuries he suffered while in custody.

The Baltimore police chief, Anthony W. Batts, had known Davis for years when he telephoned him last fall to ask for the COPS program’s help. The call came just days after the Baltimore Sun reported that the city had paid out $5.7 million in court judgments and settlements to resolve more than 100 police misconduct lawsuits since 2011.

Before taking over the Baltimore department in 2012, Batts had been the police chief in Oakland, Calif. At the time, Davis – a 19-year veteran of the Oakland force – was leading the police department in East Palo Alto, a small city 31 miles across the San Francisco Bay.

Davis said he had only a professional relationship with Batts, but knew his work as a chief in Baltimore, Oakland and Long Beach, Calif. Davis also emphasized that while the Collaborative Reform program necessarily gives priority to police agencies that are eager to change, it does not offer them an end-run around the Civil Rights Division.

In Baltimore’s case, Davis said, he consulted with officials of the division’s Special Litigation section to make sure they had not begun a preliminary investigation into a “pattern or practice” of discriminatory policing there. He added that the Civil Rights Division can also step in later, if a police force fails to make good on its promises to make changes in the collaborative program.

“The COPS office is not an investigatory body,” he said. “If we don’t see the same earnest effort that you committed to, we will cease and desist our program and turn everything we have over to Civil Rights.”

Batts and the Baltimore mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, announced within days of the Sun article that they, too, had sought the Justice Department’s intervention, and they issued a 41-page reform plan that they described as a set of parameters for change. The steps in that plan included increasing accountability for rogue officers, tracking misconduct more closely, and possibly providing body cameras to record officers’ actions.

But some local officials remained unconvinced. The City Council president, Bernard C. “Jack” Young, had written to then-Attorney General Eric Holder on Oct. 1 requesting “a full review of the Baltimore City Police Department’s policies, procedures and practices.” Lester Davis, a spokesman for Young, said the councilman had specifically sought the involvement of the Civil Rights Division and would submit a new request to Holder’s successor, Loretta Lynch.

Officials of the Civil Rights Division said in recent interviews with The Marshall Project that while they have stepped up their enforcement efforts in recent years, they continue to struggle with the limitations of a Special Litigation staff of only about 50 attorneys, some of whom work on issues other than police accountability.

“Would the Civil Rights Division and the country benefit from having more people to focus in on these issues? Absolutely,” the acting assistant attorney general who heads the division, Vanita Gupta, said in an interview. “I would be an idiot to say that I don’t want more people.”

The Collaborate Reform Initiative represents what is effectively a second track on which the Justice Department can push for change with local law-enforcement agencies. But — particularly in cases like that of Baltimore, in which a force might be looking for some relief from public criticism — it requires careful vetting, current and former department officials said.

“The COPS program doesn’t have any enforcement authority,” noted William Yeomans, a former Civil Rights Division official. “So the department has to conclude that here is a police department that can take voluntary measures to improve itself. You have to have confidence in the leadership of the police department.”

Another former Justice Department official, Robert Driscoll, who served in the George W. Bush administration, said he was suspicious of how the Obama administration had decided on the less-invasive option for Baltimore, a city governed by Democrats.

“That is a nice way out of a difficult problem, when people say, `What are you going to do in response to the Baltimore Sun article?’” he said. “The difficulty of the way this is being handled is figuring out who gets the COPS approach and who gets a full-blown (Civil Rights Division) investigation.”

Baltimore is one of eight cities that have been or are being “assessed” – not investigated – by the Collaborative Reform Initiative. In Las Vegas and Philadelphia, teams of federally funded consultants have recommended dozens of reforms in such areas as use of force guidelines, internal investigations, firearms training and the recording of witnesses to shootings by the police.

“It is really an alternative,” a Justice spokesman, Kevin Lewis, said. “Before it gets to a place that it is so escalated that you need a pattern and practice (lawsuit), what the Department of Justice is doing is providing an option.”

But the department’s softer side is not always welcomed, either.

After a series of police shootings in Las Vegas, the ACLU of Nevada requested an investigation by the Civil Rights Division. When the Justice Department decided it would use the COPS program instead, ACLU lawyers wrote to the Justice Department expressing dismay. “We were very apprehensive,” said Tod Story, ACLU of Nevada’s executive director. “We thought what was happening here was worthy of a full-scale civil rights investigation.”

Ronald Davis, the COPS director, said he had no illusions about the extent of the challenges that police reformers faced in Baltimore.

“The powder keg that exploded in Baltimore has been simmering for generations,” he said. “And the idea that us starting an assessment in October somehow would have stopped that – I think I would disagree with.”

TIME justice

This Facebook Post About Baltimore Cost a Prosecutor Her Job

Facebook Removes Feeling Fat
Bloomberg via Getty Images The Facebook Inc. logo is seen on an Apple Inc. iPhone in London, U.K., on May 14, 2012.

“Solution. Simple. Shoot em. Period. End of discussion."

A woman in Michigan has lost her job after posting a note on Facebook that called for violent protesters to be shot.

Teana Walsh, an assistant prosecutor with the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, resigned on Friday, the Detroit News reports.

On Wednesday, her Facebook account included a post that has since been taken down about the violence rocking Baltimore:

“Solution. Simple. Shoot em. Period. End of discussion. I don’t care what causes the protestors to turn violent…what the ‘they did it because’ reason is…no way is this acceptable. Flipping disgusting.”

Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller said the post did not reflect her colleague’s true character. “During her tenure in the office, Teana Walsh has been known for her great work ethic and her compassion for victims of crime and their families,” she said. “Her post was up online briefly and she immediately took it down. The post was completely out of character for her and certainly does not reflect the person that we know.”

Walsh was not the only public official to find herself in hot water as a result of an insensitive post on social media. On Thursday, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson told reporters that the director of a city community relations board, Blaine Griffin, had been reprimanded after the board’s twitter account asked if the city should be “burned down like” Baltimore.

[Detroit News]

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