TIME Crime

Georgia Teacher Arrested for Allegedly Letting Students Have Sex in a Closet

It was discovered by a mother who found text messages between the teacher and her son

A Georgia middle school teacher was arrested Tuesday following allegations that he arranged times for students to have sex in a closet in his classroom.

Quinton Wright, a 25-year-old math teacher at The Champion School in Stone Mountain, has been charged with four misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, WSB-TV in Atlanta reports.

Wright arranged times for students to use his classroom closet and provided them with condoms, according to an arrest warrant. It was first discovered by a mother of an eighth-grader who said she found texts messages between Wright and her 14-year-old son on the child’s phone, WSB-TV reports.

“It’s very sickening and disheartening, because we trust administrators and educators when we drop our kids off at school,” the mother said.

[WSB-TV]

TIME faith

Michigan Pastor Resigns After Sharing Photos on Gay Dating App

The pastor, who is married with five children, had shared photos on Grindr

A Lutheran pastor in Michigan resigned recently after being caught sending messages on a mobile gay dating app, according to report on the local news site M Live. The pastor, Rev. Matthew Makela from Midland, is married with five children and has spoken of being gay as a “sinful temptation.”

In posts on the dating and hookup app Grindr, Makela said he was looking to “mess around” with a guy and sent shirtless photos. Screenshots of the conversation with an unidentified user found their way to the gay news site Queerty.

A letter on the website of St. John’s Lutheran Church, where Makela worked, acknowledged Makela’s resignation and asked members of the congregation not to pay attention to discussions of Makela on social media or on the news.

“This changes nothing. Matt is still forgiven and he is still loved, and we will do what we can to stand by him and the family as they face this spiteful attack of shame,” the letter said. “God is bigger than this and will see us through.”

[M Live]

TIME viral

$100 Million ‘Symbolic’ Judgment Entered in Dog-Attack Case

In this Dec. 9, 2014 photo, Steve Constantine recalls a vicious dog attack from his hospital bed in Detroit.
Mandi Wright—AP Steve Constantine recalls a vicious dog attack from his hospital bed in Detroit on Dec. 9, 2014

Constantine, 50, was mauled as he tried to feed dogs belonging to Derick Felton

(DETROIT) — A judge on Tuesday awarded a $100 million civil judgment to a man who lost most of his left arm, his left leg below the knee and his left ear in an attack by a pack of dogs outside a Detroit home.

It’s unlikely that Steve Constantine will collect anywhere near the amount entered by Wayne County Circuit Judge Daphne Means Curtis, but the meaning runs deeper than money, said Mark Bernstein, his attorney.

“It’s an enormously symbolic statement by the court that this type of conduct is unacceptable in our community,” Bernstein told The Associated Press. “The ability to collect is largely irrelevant. We wanted a number that got people’s attention.

“This was a powerful, loud and clear statement. There was a sense of enough is enough.”

Constantine, 50, was mauled in October as he tried to feed dogs belonging to Derick Felton at a house owned by Felton’s mother.

Police killed one dog at the scene and said they rounded up at least 11 other pit bulls or pit bull mixes that were later euthanized.

Felton faces trial in September on charges of harboring a dangerous animal causing serious injury. He and his mother, Elizabeth Collins Felton, are named in the civil case.

Felton’s lawyer in his criminal case has said the dogs that police rounded up belonged to him, but they weren’t the dogs that attacked Constantine.

The Associated Press left a message Tuesday seeking comment from Felton and his mother.

Neither appeared at Tuesday’s hearing, said Bernstein, who added that he would seek the house owned by Elizabeth Collins Felton as part of the judgment.

He said Constantine is being treated at a psychiatric hospital and has had 22 surgeries.

TIME Crime

6 Chinese Nationals Charged With Stealing U.S. Trade Secrets

A logo sign outside of a facility operated by Avago Technologies in Allentown, Pennsylvania on April 12, 2015
Kris Tripplaar—Sipa USA/ AP A logo sign outside of a facility operated by Avago Technologies in Allentown, Penn. on April 12, 2015

Federal officials are concerned about China stealing U.S. technology

Three Chinese nationals who earned advanced degrees from the University of Southern California and three others have been charged with stealing wireless technology from a pair of U.S. companies.

Federal prosecutors say Hao Zhang, Wei Pang and Huisui Zhang met at the university and conspired to steal technology from Skyworks Solutions Inc. and Avago Technologies soon after graduating in 2006. Both companies are publicly traded chip suppliers for Apple’s iPhones and manufacture other communications-related products.

A 32-page indictment charging the six with economic espionage and trade secret theft was unsealed after Hao Zhang was arrested Saturday at Los Angeles International Airport after arriving from China to attend a scientific conference. The five others are believed to be in China.

Federal officials say foreign governments’ theft of U.S. technology is one of the biggest threats to the country’s economy and national security. They are particularly concerned with China.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said Tuesday the U.S. government takes “economic espionage” very seriously.

“This case demonstrates that the U.S. is committed to protecting U.S. companies’ trade secrets and their proprietary business information from theft. This is an important issue for the United States,” he told reporters in Washington.

A spokesperson at the Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. The Chinese consulate in San Francisco was unaware of the indictment and declined to comment.

The indictment alleges that the three USC alums began plotting in late 2006 to steal trade secrets from the U.S. companies where Hao Zhang and Wei Pang worked.

Months after their 2006 graduation, Wei Pang sent an email to China discussing the trio’s plan to use purloined U.S. trade secrets to set up a factory in China to manufacture technology that eliminates interference from wireless communications, according to the indictment. Wei Pang boasted in the same email that the technology is worth $1 billion a year in the phone market alone, according to the indictment.

The indictment alleges that the men stole “recipes, source code, specifications, presentations, design layouts and other documents marked as confidential.”

Hao Zhang made a brief court appearance Monday in Los Angeles and remains in custody. It’s unclear if he is represented by an attorney.

The USC graduates received encouragement and support from officials at the state-run Tianjin University, according to the indictment.

In 2006, Hao Zhang worked for Skyworks Solutions Inc. in Woburn, Massachusetts, and Wei Pang took a job in Fort Collins, Colorado, with Avago Technologies, which has headquarters in San Jose, California, and Singapore.

Wei Pang allegedly sent an email to two other defendants soon after, forwarding notes he took during a work meeting in 2006.

“My work is to make every possible effort to find out about the process’s every possible detail and copy directly to China,” Wei Pang is alleged to have written.

Hao Zhang and Wei Pang quit their U.S. jobs in spring of 2009 to become professors at Tianjin University, a prestigious Chinese college 130 miles southeast of Beijing. The men worked with administrators and a graduate student to establish a Chinese company to make the technology.

Avago executives became suspicious of the Tianjin team when they saw Hao Zhang’s patent applications for technology created by the company, according to the indictment.

Richard Ruby, Wei Pang’s former boss at Avago attended a conference in China in late 2011 and toured the new Tianjin lab created by the defendants, according to the indictment. During that tour, he recognized technology stolen from Avago and confronted Wei Pang and Jingpin Chen, a college dean, the indictment stated.

Wei Pang and Jingpin Chen denied stealing any technology, according to the indictment.

Jingpin Chen is also named in the indictment along with Zhao Gang and Chong Zhou. None of the defendants in China could be reached for comment.

TIME LGBT

Poll Finds Support for Gay Marriage at All-Time High

The Supreme Court may rule on the issue's constitutionality next month

A record-high 60% of Americans support same-sex marriage, according to a Gallup poll published Tuesday, about a month before the Supreme Court could issue a ruling on the issue.

The results from Gallup’s Values and Beliefs poll—up from 55% support last year—arrive as the Supreme Court prepares to rule on a case that could decide the constitutionality of gay marriage. Public support has more than doubled since Gallup first asked pollers about the issue in 1996, when Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that defined marriage as between a man and a woman, and which was struck down in 2013.

The poll also found that support for same-sex marriage has also reached all-time highs among Americans of all political parties: 76% of Democrats, up from 33% in 1996; 64% of Independents, up from 32% in 1996; and 37% of Republicans, up from 16% in 1996.

Read next: What’s at Stake as the Supreme Court Returns to Gay Marriage

TIME Environment

Huge Oil Slick Lines California Coast After Pipeline Spill

California Oil Spill
Kenneth Song—AP An oil slick washes up on the shore Tuesday, May 19, 2015, near Goleta, Calif.

Tuesday's pipeline break created an oil slick stretching about 4 miles of beach and about 50 yards into the ocean

(GOLETA, Calif.) — A broken onshore pipeline spewed oil down a storm drain and into the Pacific Ocean for several hours before it was shut off, creating a slick some 4 miles long across a scenic stretch of central California coastline, officials said.

Initial estimates put the spill at about 21,000 gallons Tuesday, but that figure would likely change after a Wednesday morning flyover gave a better sense of the spill’s scope, U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Jennifer Williams said.

The spill was about 20 miles northwest of the pricey seaside real estate of Santa Barbara, and the Coast Guard said overnight winds were likely to push it 2 to 4 miles closer.

Authorities responding to reports of a foul smell near Refugio State Beach around noon found a half-mile slick already formed in the ocean, Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. Dave Zaniboni said. They traced the oil to the onshore pipeline that spilled into a culvert running under the U.S. 101 freeway and into a storm drain that empties into the ocean.

The pipeline was shut off about three hours later but by then the slick stretched four miles and 50 yards into the water.

The 24-inch pipeline is owned by Plains All American Pipeline, which said it shut down the flow of oil and the culvert carrying the oil to the ocean was blocked.

“Plains deeply regrets this release has occurred and is making every effort to limit its environmental impact,” the company said in a statement.

The Coast Guard, county emergency officials and state parks officials were cleaning up the spill. Boats from the nonprofit collective Clean Seas also were providing help but were having trouble because so much of the oil was so close to the shore, Williams said. About 850 gallons of oil have been recovered from the water, Williams said.

The accident occurred on the same stretch of coastline as a 1969 spill that at the time was the largest ever in U.S. waters and is credited for giving rise to the American environmental movement. Several hundred thousand gallons spilled from a blowout on an oil platform and thousands of sea birds were killed along with many marine mammals.

The stretch of coastline is home to offshore oil rigs and small amounts of tar and seepage regularly show up on beaches.

The spill is largest in years and the Santa Barbara-based Environmental Defense Center said to have it occur in “a sensitive and treasured environment is devastating to watch.” The group expressed special worry for the many species of whale that migrate through the area.

It was unclear how long the cleanup would take and whether Refugio and other areas would be reopened in time for Memorial Day weekend.

TIME Crime

See Dozens of Mugshots From the Waco Shootout in One Image

A composite image of the men and women arrested and charged with crimes stemming from a large shootout and fight between biker gangs outside the Twin Peaks bar and restaurant at the Central Texas Marketplace in Waco, Texas on May 17, 2015.
Mclennan County Sheriff's Department/EPA Headshots of the men and women arrested and charged with crimes stemming from a large shootout and fight between biker gangs outside the Twin Peaks bar and restaurant at the Central Texas Marketplace in Waco, Texas on May 17, 2015.

Some 170 bikers were arrested and charged in connection with Sunday's shooting

This composite frame of mug shots shows some of the about 170 bikers who were arrested and charged in connection with Sunday’s fatal shooting in Waco, Texas, that left nine dead and 18 others wounded.

The shooting was thought to have arisen from a dispute after five rival gangs gathered for a meeting at a Twin Peaks restaurant. Authorities said Tuesday that a man’s injury in the parking lot—a vehicle rolled over his foot—led to a dispute that carried into the restaurant, where a knife and gun battle erupted before spilling back outdoors.

Police said the interior of the restaurant was littered with shell casings, bodies and pools of blood after the brawl, but added that no innocent civilians were hurt.

TIME California

Los Angeles Raises Hourly Minimum Wage to $15

As many as 800,000 of the city's workers could benefit

The Los Angeles city council voted on Tuesday to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020, up from the current $9, becoming the latest major American city to boost its wage above the federal base of $7.25.

The increase arrives as several cities around the nation enact or propose legislation to address the issue, the Los Angeles Times reports. As many as 800,000 workers in the city could benefit from the approval after months of debate and lobbying, which could push neighboring cities like Santa Monica and Pasadena to follow in Los Angeles’ footsteps.

“Make no mistake,” said council member Paul Krekorian. “Today the city of Los Angeles, the second biggest city in the nation, is leading the nation.”

Los Angeles joins a number of major U.S. cities, including San Francisco and Seattle, that have moved to increase their minimum wages. Several large companies, including Walmart, have also increased their base wages following months of employee protests.

[LAT]

TIME LGBT

Oregon Becomes Third State to Ban Conversion Therapy on Minors

OR: Kate Brown Attends Oregon Statehood Day Event
Alex Milan Tracy—Sipa USA/AP Then Secretary of State Kate Brown, who is currently Governor, attends a Statehood Day celebration at the Oregon Historical Society, in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 14, 2015.

The Beaver State is the third to pass such a prohbition

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown made her state the third to outlaw the use of conversion therapy on minors on Monday, eliminating the controversial practice that President Barack Obama called to ban in early April. Oregon joins California, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., in prohibiting licensed therapists from attempting to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of a child.

“We hope Oregon will prove to be just [one] of many states to ban this harmful and discredited practice that uses rejection, shame and psychological abuse,” said Eliza Byard, executive director of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, which supports LGBT youth. Organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Counseling Association and the American Psychiatric Association have all come out against the practice, also known as reparative therapy.

Oregon’s new law comes at a time when there is some movement in Washington responding to Obama’s call. On Tuesday, California Rep. Ted Lieu introduced a bill that would classify commercial conversion therapy—and advertising claims that promise changes to one’s sexual orientation or gender identity—as fraud. This could essentially ban the practice for all ages nationwide.

“The truth is that being LGBT cannot be and does not need to be cured,” said Lieu, who authored the California state ban on conversion therapy for minors. “It’s a dangerous scam, and the government must act to protect LGBT Americans from fraudsters who take their money and lie to them.”

In April, California Rep. Jackie Speier introduced a resolution calling on states to end the practice and said she was “also pursuing the possibility of a full federal ban of the practice.”

Opponents of the new state laws, who claim they are violations of free speech and the freedom of religion, have tried and so far failed to challenge them in court. In 2014, the Supreme Court declined to hear challenges to the California law. And earlier this month the Court declined to hear a challenge to the New Jersey law, leaving a ruling that upheld the ban as the final legal word on the matter.

Obama called for an end to the practice among minors in response to a petition started in honor of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender youth who walked into oncoming traffic and was killed. She left a suicide note detailing the trauma she experienced from conversion therapy pushed by her parents. The petition started on the White House’s website gained more than 120,000 signatures.

Oregon Gov. Brown, who took office in 2015, is the country’s first openly bisexual sitting governor. She signed the law with little publicity, issuing no press release on her website or tweet on her feed. But LGBT rights groups were happy to sound the trumpets. “We all owe them an enormous debt of gratitude,” the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Samantha Ames said of lawmakers who pushed the bill, “one we can only repay by promising we will continue this fight until the day no child knows the devastation of being told they were born anything but perfect.”

TIME Crime

6 Chinese Nationals Charged With Stealing U.S. Trade Secrets

Three were educated and employed in the U.S.

(SAN FRANCISCO)—Three Chinese nationals educated and employed in the United States and three others have been charged with stealing U.S. wireless technology.

Federal prosecutors say 36-year-old Hao Zhang, 35-year-old Wei Pang and 34-year-old Huisui Zhang met at the University of Southern California a decade ago and conspired to steal trade secrets from two of their U.S. employers after graduating. Hao Zhang and Pang are professors at the state-run Tianjin University.

The indictment unsealed Tuesday charges the six with conspiring to steal technology developed by two U.S. companies that eliminates interference from wireless communications.

Hao Zhang was arrested Saturday at Los Angeles International Airport after arriving on a flight from China. It’s unclear if he has retained an attorney.

The other five charged in the indictment are believed to be in China.

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com