TIME Education

Colleges Are Breaking the Law on Sex Crimes, Report Says

Demonstrators protest sexual assault on college campuses at the #YesAllWomen rally in solidarity with those affected by violence in Seattle on May 30, 2014.
Demonstrators protest sexual assault on college campuses at the #YesAllWomen rally in solidarity with those affected by violence in Seattle on May 30, 2014. Alex Garland—Demotix/Corbis

New survey amid push for congressional action

Many American colleges and universities are bucking federal law in their handling of campus sexual assaults, according to a survey released Wednesday by a top lawmaker on the issue.

Senator Claire McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat, said the results reveal a broad failure by many schools but also offer possible solutions as she and a bipartisan group of lawmakers draft legislation to address the problem. They’re likely to produce a bill around the time students head back to campus this fall.

The survey results come as pressure grows on higher-education institutions to improve their handling of sexual assault from the White House, Department of Education and student advocates. Schools are legally required to address sex crimes and sex harassment under Title IX, a law that prohibits schools that receive public funding from discriminating on the basis of sex. In May, the Department of Education began publicly listing the schools under investigation for violations of Title IX, and the number recently reached 64. The scrutiny has colleges scrambling to improve their policies and procedures.

Colleges and universities are not following even the most basic rules already required of them, according to the survey. Results from the 236 schools that responded to the survey revealed that even though colleges are legally required to have a Title IX coordinator (a staff member responsible for managing the school’s compliance with the laws on sexual harassment and sex crimes), 10% of schools did not. And 41% of schools surveyed had not conducted a single sexual-assault investigation in the past five years.

“That means that they are saying there have been zero incidents of sexual assault on their campuses,” McCaskill said in a call with reporters. “That is hard to believe.”

Schools are required by law to investigate when they know or reasonably should have known about a sex crime on their campus. But more than 21% of “the nation’s largest private institutions” surveyed conducted fewer investigations than they reported to the Department of Education, with some schools reporting as many as seven times the number of incidents of sexual violence than they investigated, which “on its face is violating the black-letter law in this country,” McCaskill said.

Other results revealed a lack of professionalism inherent in the process of handling sex crimes at many of the institutions. Even though most schools, 73%, had no protocol for how to work with the local police, many schools nonetheless had not adequately trained personnel on how to deal with these serious crimes internally. Twenty-one percent of the schools provided no training on sexual-assault response for members of faculty and staff, and 31% provided no training to students. A third of schools failed to provide basic training to the people adjudicating claims, 43% of the nation’s “largest public schools” let students help adjudicate cases, and 22% of institutions gave athletic departments oversight of cases involving athletes — a stat McCaskill called “borderline outrageous.”

The lack of police involvement combined with the institutions’ broad-based failure to handle these crimes adequately, means there is little deterrent for perpetrators on campus.

“We will ultimately have a system that is more of a deterrent than we have now,” McCaskill said. “The folks preying on college students — they have little to no fear of serious consequences.”

TIME The Brief

Border Dispute: Obama Heads to Texas

Welcome to #theBrief, the four stories to know about right now—from the editors of TIME

Here are the stories TIME is watching this Wednesday, July 9.

President Barack Obama travels to Texas after asking Congress for $3.7 billion for immigration reform, but Governor Rick Perry won’t be there to greet the POTUS on the tarmac.

A new report shows the NSA spied on prominent Muslim-Americans, just as Edward Snowden asks Russia to extend his Asylum.

The Red Cross has begun its first relief airdrops in decades, offering aid in South Sudan as the still-new country marks its third independence day.

And finally, the beautiful game got ugly for Brazil. Watch the faces of pure heartbreak as soccer super-fans come to grips with their team’s historic defeat.

The Brief is published daily on weekdays.

TIME Crime

Former New Orleans Mayor Nagin Sentenced to 10 Years for Accepting Bribes

Ray Nagin
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin leaves federal court after his conviction in New Orleans, Feb. 12, 2014. Gerald Herbert—AP

Ray Nagin was convicted on bribery charges in February

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced to 10 years in prison by a federal judge Wednesday for accepting bribes from city contractors.

Nagin, a two-term mayor who received national attention for his handling of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath in 2005, was convicted in February on 20 counts of bribery, wire fraud and money laundering. Wednesday’s sentence was lenient by most accounts, as sentencing guidelines called for 20 years or more, according to the Times-Picayune.

Nagin spoke briefly during sentencing on Wednesday to thank his staff, while he adamantly maintained his innocence during the trial. In written statements to the judge, members of Nagin’s family argued that the former mayor was wrongly convicted and defiantly pleaded for leniency.

“The local federal agents of New Orleans have large resources and can indict anything. In this case, its as an innocent man, my father … Ray Nagin,” the former mayor’s son, Jeremy Nagin wrote, according to the Times-Picayune. “(Prosecutors) pimped criminally convicted (and) questionable witnesses to lie on the stand for future rewards.”

For local officials, the February conviction and Wednesday’s sentencing represent an opportunity to move past a drawn-out scandal that has captured the region’s attention.

“Hopefully, this closes a very kind of ugly chapter in the history of the city of New Orleans,” the city’s current mayor, Mitch Landrieu, told the Times-Picayune.

TIME U.S.

Duck Dynasty Family Takes On Public Health

Duck Dynasty Mia Roberts cleft lip
Duck Dynasty's Mia Robertson attends a press conference to raise awareness of cleft lip and palate treatments on July 8, 2014 at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington. Paul Morigi—WireImage/Getty Images

The Duck Dynasty family is leveraging its fame in pursuit of a new challenge: treating cleft lips

America’s much-loved Duck Dynasty clan seems to be all over Washington these days – Willie Robertson was recently spotted at a Nats game with the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Phil Robertson’s nephew is running for Congress, and the family has attended the White House correspondents dinner two years running. Now they are in the nation’s capital taking on a new issue: public health.

Mia Roberston, 10, daughter of Jase and Missy Robertson, was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate. After her final corrective surgery in January, the family started the Mia Moo Fund to raise awareness and money for research and treatment of the birth defect. Mia and her parents spoke alongside Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), also born with a cleft lip and palate, in front of the Capitol Tuesday about the work of the Fund and the struggles of growing up with the condition.

“As the Robertson family, we don’t back away from any challenges,” said Missy about their commitment to their daughter and other children born with cleft lips or palates.

According to the Mia Moo Fund’s website, “The organization began in 2014 after Mia… completed surgery for her cleft palate. As Mia entered surgery, thousands of supportive fans tweeted, blogged and talked about how strong and beautiful she was. It was both empowering and inspiring. It has since become our mission to bring this type of support and love to each and every child that suffers from cleft lip and palate.”

Both Franks and the Robertsons invoked God as they talked about this mission.

“God has blessed kids like Mia and Representative Franks with an extra measure of courage,” Jase said.

Mia was quick to refer her own experience to faith, as well. “God is bigger than any of your struggles,” she said, her voice barely audible as she read from her prepared speech. “Don’t forget that.”

TIME weather

Storms Kill 4 in New York State and Child at Maryland Camp

Severe storms brought destruction and tragedy across the Northeast on Tuesday evening, with one child dying at a Maryland summer camp and a possible tornado killing four people in an upstate New York town.

Around 100 children were in an outdoor pavilion at River Valley Ranch, a Christian camp north of Baltimore, when the storm hit. Organizers said they tried to get everyone to shelter but the high winds were upon them before all the children were safe — one of the nine children hurt died from their injuries…

Read the rest of the story at NBC News

TIME Crime

Teen Killed While Chasing iPhone Thief

Kritina Lee Knief—Getty Images
Kritina Lee Knief—Getty Images

California teen killed chasing her Iphone

Police are asking for the public’s help tracking down a thief who stole a California teen’s iPhone last week. The young girl was killed after jumping onto the hood of a speeding car in an attempt to retrieve the device.

15-year-old Rubi Rubio of Santa Ana was walking her 7-year-old sister home from school around noon last Thursday when a thief took her iPhone and jumped into a car. Rubio briefly held on to the burglar’s car before falling off and hitting her head, said police corporal Anthony Bertagna.

“According to witnesses, the vehicle was swerving in an attempt to get her off,” Bertagna told the Orange County Register.

The teen died of her injuries while surrounded by family members in Western Medical Center Santa Ana on Saturday. Rubio’s mother, Marisol Hernandez, said she gave her daughter the phone after Rubio received good grades in her sophomore year of high school.

“She was my support all the time and she deserved it,” Hernandez told the Register. “I don’t know exactly what happened,” she said, questioning her daughter’s decision to chase the vehicle.

Superintendent of Santa Ana Unified School District Rick Miller said in a statement that grief counseling will be available for friends, family, teachers and others affected by Rubio’s death.

TIME Crime

Man Visiting Jail Gets Trapped for 30 Hours

He escaped after breaking a sprinkler head

A man visiting his son in Chicago’s Cook County Jail ended up a prisoner himself—trapped alone in a maximum security visitor’s room for 30 hours, according to media reports. The man, who has not been identified in the press, was rescued when he broke a sprinkler head.

“We’re tremendously sorry for what this man went through,” Cara Smith, the jail’s executive director, told the Chicago Tribune.

The man, who set foot in the jail on Saturday afternoon for his weekly visit with son, was directed to an unfamiliar area and entered the wrong room, which was closed so contractors could add security cameras. When two steel doors closed behind him, he was trapped with little recourse. He banged on the steel doors, but he could not be heard on the other side.

“There’s about two feet of cement and two steel doors between him and the outside,” Smith told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Finally, the man broke off a sprinkler head to prompt a fire department response and attract the attention of jail officials. Firefighters rescued him around 1:30 a.m. on Monday, according to the local ABC affiliate.

The man, who has not been identified, left the jail in good spirits and appeared to forgive the error, jail officials told the Tribune. He was treated in a local hospital for injuries to his hand sustained as he broke the sprinkler.

“We’re been looking at how and why and what went wrong,’’ Smith told the Tribune. “Multiple things obviously failed including a contractor leaving a door open while they did work in our jail. It was a perfect storm of circumstances that led to this horrible incident.’’

[Chicago Tribune]

TIME Surveillance

Snowden Asks Russia to Extend Asylum

Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden poses for a photo during an interview in an undisclosed location in December 2013 in Moscow.
Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden in an undisclosed location in Moscow, December 2013. Barton Gellman—Getty Images

NSA leaker wants to stay in Russia another year

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has formally asked Russia to extend his asylum there, according to Russian media, as he faces charges in the United States for leaking details of mass government surveillance.

The Russian news service RT quoted a Snowden lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, in reporting that Snowden had requested another year of asylum, a move he had been expected to make. “We have submitted documents to prolong his stay in Russia,” Kucherena said Wednesday.

Kucherena’s claim couldn’t be immediately confirmed. Kucherena, who has close ties to the Russian security services, has made claims to Russian media that have later been proven false in the past, including a report that Snowden had a job in Moscow and that he had a Russian girlfriend.

Snowden arrived in Moscow on June 24, 2013 after a flight from Hong Kong, and was stranded in the airport for weeks with a voided passport before being granted asylum. That expires on July 31.

The U.S. has been seeking Snowden’s extradition to face espionage charges, but Russia does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. and has said it has no legal obligation to hand him over.

Snowden became a household name last year when he leaked a treasure trove of files on the NSA’s surveillance activities both at home and around the world, sparking a fierce debate domestically and globally about the scope of American spying.

 

TIME Military

Investigators: Bird Strikes Led to Fatal USAF Helicopter Crash

An impact with a flock of geese led to the deaths of four U.S. airmen in January, a board has found

A U.S. Air Force helicopter crash which killed four men was caused by “multiple bird strikes” to the aircraft, according to investigators.

Cpt. Christopher Stover, Cpt. Sean Ruane, Tech Sgt. Dale Mathews and Staff Sgt. Afton Ponce were killed in January when their helicopter crashed during a training mission in Norfolk, England. The U.S. Accident Investigation Board found the accident was caused by geese flying through the aircraft’s windshield, knocking the pilot and co-pilot unconscious. They were then unable to react when another bird hit the helicopter’s nose, disabling stabilization systems and eventually putting the aircraft in an uncontrolled and eventually fatal roll.

Only three seconds lapsed between the initial bird strike and the helicopter’s crash, investigators said.

The four men were in an HH-60G Pave Hawk assigned to the UK’s Royal Air Force. They were flying the helicopter as part of a nighttime training mission mimicking the rescue of a downed fighter pilot.

No civilians were injured during the crash, which saw the helicopter destroyed on impact. The estimated cost of the accident to the U.S. government was $40 million.

TIME Surveillance

Report: U.S. Spied on Prominent Muslim Americans

Latest report based on documents leaked by Edward Snowden

The NSA and FBI monitored the emails of five well-known Muslim Americans between 2002-2008, according to a new report based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The Intercept, a news organization started by the journalist who first broke the Snowden story, reports that a government spreadsheet detailing the email addresses of monitored citizens was included in “FISA recap,” which refers to the secretive court that approves wiretapping and other intelligence activities.

Among the 7,485 email addresses listed on the spreadsheet are those of Faisal Gill, who served as an intelligence policy adviser in the Department of Homeland Security under President George W. Bush; Hooshang Amirahmadi, a professor at Rutgers University; Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights organization in the U.S.; Asim Ghafoor, a lawyer who has represented clients in terrorism cases; and Agha Saeed, a former political science lecturer at California State University.

The five have denied any connection with terrorist organizations and do not have criminal records.

The office of the Director of National Intelligence denied the report Wednesday.

“It is entirely false that U.S. intelligence agencies conduct electronic surveillance of political, religious or activist figures solely because they disagree with public policies or criticize the government, or for exercising constitutional rights,” the office said in a statement. “Unlike some other nations, the United States does not monitor anyone’s communications in order to suppress criticism or to put people at a disadvantage based on their ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation or religion.”

Faisal Gill, who was accused of falsifying records in the mid-2000s to gain his security clearance but was later cleared by the Department of Homeland Security, found it “troubling” that the NSA was monitoring his Yahoo! and AOL email accounts.

“I just don’t know why. I’ve done everything in my life to be patriotic,” Gill told Intercept. “I think that certainly goes to show how we need to shape policy differently than it is right now,” he added.

Although the ODNI denied the report, the FBI and the Justice Department declined to comment. The Intercept says the reasons why the five were monitored remain unknown.

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