Associated Press

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A 25-year-old man pleaded guilty in an Australian court on Wednesday to murdering his three children, wife and mother-in-law in the west coast city of Perth last year.

Anthony Robert Harvey made the plea in an appearance in Stirling Gardens Magistrates Court via video link from prison.

He is to appear at a sentencing hearing in the Western Australia state Supreme Court on June 21. He faces a possible life sentence for each conviction.

The professional gardener killed his wife, Mara Lee Harvey, 41, her 3-year-old daughter Charlotte, and 2-year-old twin sisters Alice and Beatrix in their suburban home on Sept. 3. He then killed 73-year-old Beverley Ann Quinn when she came to visit the next morning.

Harvey stayed in the house for days after the murders before driving 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) north to the mining town of Pannawonica, where he told police on Sept. 9 what he had done.

Police found the bodies of the wife and her mother in the kitchen. The children were found in other rooms.

No explanation for the murders has been submitted to court.

Police said a blunt instrument and knives were used to slay the family.

Source: Fox News World

The lawyers’ ads on the internet aggressively seeking clients to file sexual abuse lawsuits give a taste of what lies ahead this year for the Boy Scouts of America: potentially the most fateful chapter in its 109-year history.

Sexual abuse settlements have already strained the Boy Scouts’ finances to the point where the organization is exploring “all available options,” including Chapter 11 bankruptcy. But now the financial threats have intensified.

The reason: States have been moving in recent months to adjust their statute-of-limitations laws so that victims of long-ago sexual abuse can sue for damages. New York state has passed a law that will allow such lawsuits starting in August. A similar bill in New Jersey has reached the governor’s desk. Bills also are pending in Pennsylvania and California.

In New York and elsewhere, lawyers are hard at work recruiting clients to sue the Boy Scouts, alleging they were molested as youths by scoutmasters or other volunteers.

Plaintiffs’ lawyers “recognize that this is a very unique and lucrative opportunity,” said attorney Karen Bitar, who formerly handled sex-crime cases as a prosecutor in Brooklyn before going into private practice.

Attorney Tim Kosnoff, a veteran of major sexual abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church, said Tuesday that he and his team have signed up 186 clients from dozens of states in just the past few weeks who want to be part of litigation against the Boy Scouts. Kosnoff said 166 of them identified alleged abusers who have not been named in any of the Boy Scout files made public in past years.

Boy Scouts spokeswoman Effie Delimarkos said the organization continues to evaluate its financial situation, and she defended its current abuse-prevention policies. The organization serves more than 2.2 million youths.

A bankruptcy by the Boy Scouts could be unprecedented in its complexity, potentially involving plaintiffs in virtually every state, according to several lawyers. It would be national in scope, unlike the various Catholic Church bankruptcy cases in the U.S., which have unfolded diocese by diocese.

“A Boy Scout bankruptcy would be bigger in scale than any other sex abuse bankruptcy,” said Seattle-based attorney Mike Pfau, whose firm is representing more than 300 victims in New York state.

Jeffrey Schwartz, a New York-based bankruptcy expert with the firm McKool Smith, said the Boy Scouts don’t have a particularly large flow of cash and might be forced to sell off property in bankruptcy. The Boy Scouts have extensive land holdings, including camping and hiking terrain.

“They’ll play for time,” Schwartz said. “If their defense costs and settlement costs are greater than their membership fees, it could be a death spiral.”

However, Dallas-based trial attorney Michelle Simpson Tuegel, part of a team representing numerous sex abuse survivors, said bankruptcy might benefit the Boy Scouts and reduce any payouts to plaintiffs.

“It can be a tool that these institutions use to shield assets and avoid having to reveal some information,” she said. “In many ways, it’s a disservice to victims.”

Illustrating the depth of its problems, the Boy Scouts filed lawsuits last year against six of its own insurers, saying they have improperly refused to cover some of the sex abuse liabilities incurred by the organization. The insurers say the coverage obligation is voided because the Boy Scouts failed to take effective preventive measures such as warning parents that scouts might be abused. The suits are still pending.

The intensifying pressures on the Boy Scouts coincide with the mounting threats to the U.S. Catholic Church in regard to its own long-running sex abuse scandal. Catholic bishops will be meeting in Baltimore in June to discuss the next steps.

Both the church and the Boy Scouts are iconic, historically well-respected institutions now known as having been magnets for pedophiles trying to exploit the trust of boys and their parents.

“When you cloak people in badges of respect, you create the perfect opportunity for bad people to get access to children,” said Chris Hurley, whose Chicago law firm is representing 11 former scouts in sex abuse trials scheduled on a monthly basis this year.

Another common denominator for the Catholic Church and Boy Scouts: Both kept voluminous secret files with names of suspected abusers, yet balked at sharing the information with the public.

Since the 1920s, the Boy Scouts have been compiling “ineligible files,” which list adult volunteers considered to pose a risk of child molestation. About 5,000 of these files have been made public as a result of court action; others remain confidential.

Delimarkos said when any BSA volunteer is added to the database for suspected abuse, “they are reported to law enforcement, removed entirely from any Scouting program and prohibited from re-joining anywhere.”

Minnesota-based attorney Jeff Anderson, who had led many lawsuits against the Catholic Church, released a court deposition in New York on Tuesday in which an expert hired by the Boy Scouts said she tallied 7,819 individuals in the “ineligible files” as of January, as well as 12,254 victims.

Anderson expressed hope that litigation triggered by New York’s new Child Victims Act would increase pressure on the Boy Scouts to make public more of the still-confidential files.

Some of the files were ordered released after a 2010 sexual abuse case in Portland, Oregon, that led to a nearly $20 million judgment against the Boy Scouts on behalf of a man molested by a Scout leader in the 1980s.

Paul Mones, the plaintiff’s lawyer in that case, said there are no overall figures on Boy Scout abuse settlements because the details are kept confidential.

Both the Boy Scouts and the Catholic Church say they now have policies in place to sharply curtail abuse that abounded in past decades. In the Boy Scouts ‘ case, the steps included requiring criminal background checks for all staff and volunteers, and requiring two or more adult leaders be present with youth at all times during scouting activities.

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This story has been corrected to show that Effie Delimarkos is a spokeswoman, not a spokesman.

Source: Fox News National

An Alabama police department is investigating a video of an arrest that shows two Tuscaloosa police officers punching and using a baton to hit a woman during a traffic stop.

News outlets report 22-year-old Jhasmynn Sheppard is charged with disarming a police officer, assault and resisting arrest. One officer’s account of the Friday arrest is detailed in court documents filed Tuesday.

The officer says Sheppard was pulled over after leaving the scene of a wreck. He says she was making “furtive” movements and incoherent statements and then resisted arrest.

He says Sheppard was taken to the ground and took his baton. He says another officer arrived and assisted him. He says he suffered minor injuries. Sheppard denies taking the weapon.

Authorities didn’t immediately release the officers’ identities.

Source: Fox News National

Cypriot authorities say they are using a remote-controlled camera to search a flooded mineshaft where the bodies of two murdered women were found this month.

Police are seeking the missing 6-year-old daughter of one of the victims, a 38-year-old Filipino woman. An army officer is in custody facing charges of premeditated murder and kidnapping, and investigators have not ruled out that there may be more possible victims.

Fire Service Chief Marcos Trangolas said Wednesday that so far there have been no new finds from the investigation of the abandoned mineshaft near Mitsero, some 45 kilometers (28 miles) west of Nicosia.

He said authorities hoped to have a picture of the mineshaft’s contents by late Wednesday.

Authorities seeking the missing girl are also investigating a flooded open-pit mine near Mitsero.

Source: Fox News World

Notre Dame cathedral’s 8,000-pipe organ has escaped undamaged from the flames that engulfed the building last week.

Pascal Quoirin, a specialist who restored the Notre Dame organ in 2017, has checked the instrument and says it did not suffer any damage in the blaze that destroyed most of the roof.

Quoirin said “after two hours spent examining the instrumental part, I did not notice any damage that could have been caused by the fire.”

According to Quoirin, the thermometer inside the organ showed that the temperature did not rise above 17 degrees Celsius (63 Fahrenheit) on the day of the fire, ensuring no damage to the electronic components or pipes.

Quoirin recommends protecting the instrument with a waterproof case, to dusting it and playing it regularly during the restoration work.

Source: Fox News World

A little girl in Louisiana allegedly endured years of beatings and rapes before she ended up in a mental health facility in Mississippi and was able to report being abused.

Now five people have been arrested on charges related to rape.

The girl is now 12 years old. Authorities testified Tuesday that the abuse began when the girl was 4 and continued until 2017.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Jason Rivarde said the girl told them she was repeatedly raped, beaten and starved by 53-year-old Tilman Carolise, 66-year-old Harrington Matherne and 19-year-old Farrel Tregre. The girl said 46-year-old Tina Tregre and 40-year-old Terri Tregre acted as lookouts during the sexual assaults and also physically abused her.

Source: Fox News National

The fighting in Libya’s capital has reached a detention center holding hundreds of detained migrants and refugees, the U.N. said Tuesday.

Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, said the U.N. aid agency has received reports that the Qasr Ben Ghashir detention center, holding some 890 refugees and migrants, was “breached by armed actors.” The facility is 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) south of central Tripoli.

The U.N. says some 3,600 refugees and migrants are held in facilities near the front lines of fighting between the self-styled Libyan National Army and other heavily-armed militias. Five detention centers are in areas already engulfed by fighting, while six more are in close proximity to the clashes.

“The situation in these detention centres is increasingly desperate, with reports of guards abandoning their posts and leaving people trapped inside,” Dujarric said, adding that one facility has been without drinking water for days.

Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the uprising that toppled and killed Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. Thousands have been detained by armed groups and smugglers.

The latest fighting in Libya pits the LNA, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter, against rival militias allied with a weak, U.N.-supported government. The World Health Organization says the fighting has killed more than 270 people, including civilians, and wounded nearly 1,300. It says more than 30,000 people have been displaced.

Source: Fox News World

Two Kentucky daycare workers have been charged over an online video that shows one of them scaring a toddler with a doll.

WKYT-TV reports Wendy’s Wonderland worker Tasha Cox is accused of filming Diana Willett waiving a doll at a 2-year-old girl who has a well-known fear of dolls and small animals.

The video was shared on Facebook and shows the girl hiding under a table, crying and shoving the doll away as the singing caregiver waves it close. The caregiver later comments that the girl won’t stop crying.

Wayne County Sheriff’s deputies say they learned of allegations on Friday. Willet was arrested Monday and charged with criminal child abuse. Cox was arrested and charged with failure to report the abuse. It’s unclear if they have lawyers.

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Information from: WKYT-TV, http://www.wkyt.com

Source: Fox News National

Syrian state-run media say a bomb has killed a civilian and wounded five other people in a Damascus neighborhood.

The official SANA news agency says the bomb had been placed in a car in the Nahr Aysheh district in southern Damascus and killed the driver when it detonated. The agency says an investigation is underway.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Bombings in the Syrian capital have been relatively rare in the past few years, particularly since President Bashar Assad’s government last year secured areas around Damascus that had been held for years by rebels.

The country’s civil war is now in its ninth year. The conflict has killed more than 450,000 people and displaced millions of others.

Source: Fox News World

Authorities say a man angry he was locked out of his house after a night out in South Carolina has shot and killed his girlfriend’s son.

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said 26-year-old X’Zavier Sharif Davis’ girlfriend let him in the house around 3:15 a.m. Saturday and he started to yell at her.

Foster said in a statement the girlfriend took her children and started to drive off and Davis fired several shots at the vehicle.

The sheriff says the woman realized she was shot and started to drive to the hospital, then realized her 7-year-old son was also struck by gunfire.

Authorities say Iven James Caldwell died Monday afternoon at a Columbia hospital.

Davis is charged with murder. It wasn’t known if he had a lawyer.

Source: Fox News National


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