The Republican seeking Ohio's 9th Congressional District will get support from House Minority Leader John Boehner even though he once re-enacted World War II battles in a Nazi uniform. Rich Iott told The Atlantic this weekend that it's been three years since he was a member of a re-enactment group called The Wikings.Â His involvement dates back to 2003, the magazine reported.
The Wikings re-enact the battles of Germany's 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking. That division fought along Europe's Eastern Front, chiefly against the Russians, during the war. The Wikings is a part of the WWII Historical Re-Enactment Society.
Boehner's PAC, Freedom Project, donated $5,000 to Iott's campaign in September, before photos of Iott in a Waffen-SS uniform appeared on the Internet. A spokesman told Politico Boehner does not fear any retribution. The Atlantic article shows a photo of Iott and others in German uniforms. In video accompanying the story, men are seen role-playing and firing weapons that shoot blanks.
Iott said the Wikings is made up of military buffs who do not subscribe to Nazism itself. "[Germany] took over most of Europe and Russia," Iott said, "and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that's incredible."
Charles W. Sydnor, Jr., author of â€śSoldiers of Destruction: The SS Death's Head Division, 1933-45,â€ť says the group has misinterpreted history. "They have a sanitized, romanticized view of what occurred," he said. "If you were to put on an SS uniform in Germany today, you'd be arrested."
The father of a 9-year-old Cub Scout has been told he may not wear his Scout leader's uniform because he is gay. Jon Langbert of Dallas told news affiliate WFAA reporters yesterday that BSA officials reprimanded him. Those same officials said Langbert couldn't be removed from his leadership title because he'd never registered as leader in the first place.
The U.S. Supreme Court 10 years ago struck down a lower court ruling against the Boy Scouts. The high court ruled that, as a private organization, the BSA could have guidelines forbidding leaders who are either gay or atheist.
"We do have a policy that avowed gays and atheists are not allowed to be a registered leader or member of Boy Scouts of America," said Pat Currie, Scout Executive with the Circle Ten Council.
Langbert's sexuality became an issue after several fathers complained, WFAA reported. He said it saddened him that his son will see him stripped of his leadership role.
"It's 2010," he added. "We have a black president; an Indian-American governor in Louisiana; and a lesbian mayor in Houston. This policy is out of touch, and it's time for a change."
The former runaway lured into prostitution at age 15 told â€śLarry King Liveâ€ť on Monday that she is committed to helping other teen girls avoid her fate.
Amanda Bonella ran away from her abusive foster father's home only to spend eight years in the sex trade. After she accepted help from a man and woman who'd met her in a bar doorway, the couple told her that she would need to sell herself to pay her rent, she said.
Correspondent Dan Rather appeared with Bonella. He recently investigated the U.S. teen sex trade on his HDNet program "Dan Rather Reports." The girl next door is as much a target, not just runaways, Rather said. Young girls are often targeted when they become involved with small organized gangs.
"They get her involved with this young man," he said. "She moves out, [and] she moves in with him. The next thing you know, he's getting her to sleep with his friend."
Bonella said her clients were the unexpected: "It's the lawyers, the doctors, social workers, the colleges, police, priests. It's not the people that you think it is."
She sought her own escape after a three-day trick that nearly killed her, Bonella said. She found group of former prostitutes who supported her and provided her with therapy. "If there wasn't that organization that had survivors working there, I don't think I ever would have gotten out," she said.