Roundup of sex-abuse allegations at Penn State, The Citadel, Syracuse
Former Penn State football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is charged with sexually abusing boys.
November 18th, 2011
09:40 PM ET

Roundup of sex-abuse allegations at Penn State, The Citadel, Syracuse

As Syracuse University became the third U.S. college whose workers have faced high-profile allegations of child sex abuse this month, child welfare advocates say the accounts may be triggering a surge in reports of juvenile sex abuse.

The “Stop it Now!” group, which guides people who are concerned that a child may have been sexually abused, says its contacts have risen 130% since a former Penn State assistant football coach was charged on allegations that he sexually abused eight boys. Anne Bale, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Welfare, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that after the charges, its child abuse reporting hot line received twice the number of calls it normally does for five days.

That’s not to say child sex abuse has been on an upward trend. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last year reported that incidences of child sex abuse declined by 38% from 1993 to 2006. But Stop it Now! executive director Deborah Donovan Rice said the college stories may be helping victims come forward.

“One of the things that having this story be so public and high-profile is doing, it’s making it more acceptable to talk about this very difficult issue,” Rice said Friday.

The Syracuse allegations are the latest of three child sex abuse cases at U.S. colleges that have gained national attention this month. Syracuse put longtime associate men’s basketball coach Bernie Fine on leave Thursday after two former ball boys, now in their 30s and 40s, told ESPN that Fine molested them years ago. Fine, who has not been charged, denies the allegations.

In the Penn State case, former football defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky is accused of 40 counts of sexually abusing boys over a period of more than 10 years, according to a grand jury's summary of testimony. Two Penn State officials stepped down after being charged with lying to the grand jury and failing to report the allegations of abuse to police. Longtime football coach Joe Paterno, who is not charged, was fired after reports that although he advised supervisors of allegations, he didn’t inform police.

In a third case a former cadet-turned-camp counselor at The Citadel military college in South Carolina was arrested last month on charges of molesting at least five children in alleged incidents in the Charleston area. Those cases weren’t linked to the Citadel, but the college this month revealed that in 2007, a former Citadel Summer Camp participant alleged that the man, his camp counselor, engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct.

The following is a roundup of some of the latest developments in these cases:

NCAA to examine Penn State’s handling of scandal

The NCAA says it will examine how Penn State University has handled its child sex abuse scandal.

"This unprecedented situation demands the NCAA evaluate the university's accountability" and the application of NCAA bylaws, said the group's president, Mark Emmert, in a letter to the university.

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Filed under: College basketball • College football • Crime • Jerry Sandusky • Joe Paterno • New York • Penn State • Pennsylvania • South Carolina • Sports • Syracuse
Overheard on CNN.com: Readers debate Natalie Wood theories
Authorities are investigating the 1981 death of actress Natalie Wood. The 30th anniversary will be on November 29.
November 18th, 2011
08:34 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Readers debate Natalie Wood theories

Editor's note: Readers have a lot to say about stories, and we're listening. Overheard on CNN.com is a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Commenters engaged in a spirited debate about the reopened case of Natalie Wood's 1981 drowning. Los Angeles County authorities announced Friday that actor Robert Wagner wasn't a suspect, but authorities have received "substantial" new information to initiate a new inquiry.

Wagner waited hours to call Coast Guard after Natalie Wood vanished, captain says

Readers theorized about the three men on the Catalina Island yacht with Wood that night: Wagner, Dennis Davern (the captain), and actor Christopher Walken.

"There are a lot of holes here," said billybob22. "Probably some of them will never be answered. However, the things that don't add up should be looked into. Whose story is correct? The captain, Wagner or neither? Wagner's responses, at least from this article, look very suspicious, so I don't know. I suppose the only thing is to remember the lovely actress whose life came to a horrible end that night."

SmartDummy replied, "The way I see it, if they haven't figured it out after 30 years, they won't now. I think there's another motive behind this investigation."
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Filed under: Crime • Overheard on CNN.com
November 18th, 2011
05:41 PM ET

Syracuse assistant coach: Molestation claims 'patently false'

A Syracuse University assistant men's basketball coach who was placed on leave over allegations that he inappropriately touched two boys years ago said Friday the accusations "are patently false in every aspect."

Syracuse put associate Bernie Fine on leave Thursday after Syracuse city police said they were re-opening an investigation of the allegations made six years ago by former Syracuse ball boy Bobby Davis, 39.

That news came after both Davis and his stepbrother, Mike Lang, 45, who also was a Syracuse ball boy, told ESPN on Thursday that Fine had molested them when they were children. Lang's new allegations helped kick-start the new police investigation.

"Simply put, these allegations are patently false in every aspect," Fine said Friday in a statement released by lawyers representing him. "The fact is these allegations have been thoroughly investigated multiple times.

"When evaluating the veracity of these accusations, please keep in mind that credible media outlets were approached in the past to publicize these false allegations and declined to do so. I fully cooperated with all past inquires."

Davis told university officials six years ago that he informed Syracuse city police that he had been "subjected to inappropriate contact by an associate men's basketball coach" during the 1980s and 1990s, Syracuse Senior Vice President Kevin C. Quinn said Thursday.

The university launched its own investigation in 2005, and found that no one, even people who Davis said would support his accusations, knew of wrongdoing by Fine, who denied the accusations. Police in 2005 said they wouldn't pursue the case because the statute of limitations had expired, Quinn said.

Had the school found evidence or corroboration of the allegations, it would have terminated the associate coach and reported the case to the police, Quinn said. Syracuse placed Fine on leave "in light of the new allegations and the Syracuse city police investigation," Quinn said.

Fine said in the statement: "Sadly, we live in an allegation-based society and an Internet age where in a matter of minutes one's lifelong reputation can be severely damaged. I am confident that, as in the past, a review of these allegations will be discredited and restore my reputation. I hope the latest review of these allegations will be conducted expeditiously."

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Filed under: Basketball • College basketball • New York • Sports • Syracuse
Paterno has lung cancer, son says
Former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno was diagnosed with lung cancer last weekend, one of his sons says.
November 18th, 2011
04:28 PM ET

Paterno has lung cancer, son says

Joe Paterno, the former Penn State football coach who lost his job amid a child sex abuse scandal allegedly involving his former defensive coordinator, has lung cancer, his son Scott Paterno said Friday.

"Last weekend my father was diagnosed with a treatable form of lung cancer during a follow-up visit for a bronchial illness," Scott Paterno said in a statement released Friday afternoon. "He is currently undergoing treatment and his doctors are optimistic that he will make a full recovery.

"As everyone can appreciate, this is a deeply personal matter for my parents, and we simply ask that his privacy be respected as he proceeds with treatment."

The 84-year-old Joe Paterno, who had the most wins (409) of any NCAA Division I football coach, was fired last week after former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts in what authorities allege was the sexual abuse of eight boys. Two Penn State officials were also charged with perjury and failing to inform police of the allegations; Paterno is not facing charges.

Paterno coached at Penn State for 61 years, including 45 years as head coach.

Friday's announcement coincides with news that the NCAA is investigating Penn State in connection with the Sandusky charges and the university's handling of the allegations.

"This unprecedented situation demands the NCAA evaluate the university's accountability" and application of NCAA bylaws," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a letter to the school dated Thursday. The NCAA and Penn State made the letter public on Friday.

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Overheard on CNN.com: Cougartown roars over celebrity split
Demi Moore said she plans to divorce Ashton Kutcher. The couple began dating in 2003 and married in 2005.
November 18th, 2011
02:51 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Cougartown roars over celebrity split

Editor's note: Readers have a lot to say about stories, and we're listening. Overheard on CNN.com is a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community

"Their marriage lasted six years longer than Kim Kardashian's."
- trankwill

So Demi Moore is planning to divorce Ashton Kutcher "with great sadness and a heavy heart." The marriage between Moore, 49, and Kutcher, 33, attracted a lot of attention because of the couple's age difference. Today is truly a sad day in Cougartown, and commenters are busy debating what it all means and sharing their experiences with similar relationships.

Demi Moore says she is divorcing Kutcher

Commenters picked sides in some cases. A lot of them rooted for Moore. mikelayai said, "Good move, Demi. This guy is such an obnoxious loser. I don't know how you put up with him for six years."

Others said Kutcher realizes he has plenty of other options. Kevininvanco said, "Can you blame Ashton? Demi looks like a senior citizen compared to some of the up-and-coming young girls that Ashton works with."

Some turned to the age-old cougars debate for answers. "This is the logical conclusion in this story," Benny Blanco said. " 'Cougars' want cubs. Cubs will grow up and want a cub too. Try not to act so surprised, ladies."
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Filed under: Celebrity • Overheard on CNN.com • Showbiz
James Arthur Ray gets 2 years in sweat lodge deaths
James Arthur Ray was convicted of negligent homicide in the deaths of three sweat lodge ceremony participants.
November 18th, 2011
02:14 PM ET

James Arthur Ray gets 2 years in sweat lodge deaths

James Arthur Ray, a self-help expert convicted in the deaths of three people who succumbed to extreme heat of an Arizona sweat lodge ceremony in 2009, was sentenced Friday to two years in prison.

Ray had been convicted on three counts of negligent homicide for the three deaths that happened as a result of the ceremony in Sedona, Arizona. He faced up to three years in prison on each count.

Three people died and at least 15 others fell ill in October 2009 during a "Spiritual Warrior" retreat, a ceremony modeled after Native American purification rituals, that Ray held at a resort near Sedona. Prosecutors argued that the lodge, which was made of willow trees and branches and covered with tarpaulins and blankets, was heated to a perilously high temperature and that Ray was indifferent to those clearly having trouble.

Ray's lawyers countered that what happened was an accident, not a crime.

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Overheard on CNN.com: Gerrymandering in American politics
An 1812 cartoon described as a "Gerrymander" lampoons a legislative district drawn by Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry.
November 18th, 2011
12:57 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Gerrymandering in American politics

Editor's note: Readers have a lot to say about stories, and we're listening. Overheard on CNN.com is a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

"Even if your vote counts, it comes down to which corrupt one do you want in office. Politics has become so dirty that there is no way the people can win. "
–TerryH13

CNN is taking a look at the redistricting process, which takes place every 10 years after each census is complete. In the last 10 years, 78% of the seats in the U.S. House of Representatives did not change party hands even once.

David Wasserman, redistricting expert for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, says that through redistricting elections can be "almost rigged" in a sense and this can lead to a more polarized Congress. Readers responded to this story by expressing a degree of cynicism about the political process on both sides of the aisle. Some even questioned whether they should vote at all.

Why your vote for Congress might not matter

Commenters largely said politicians are influenced too much by money.

"Republican or Democrat? The candidates we get to choose from at election time are all rich, hand picked and sponsored by special interest and or corporate America," said str8Vision. "Like race-car drivers, politicians should wear uniforms adorned with logos and patches of the corporations, special interest groups and lobbyist who sponsor them."

FrankinSD replied, "What makes you think changing the faces will change the system?" He also said in a different post, "The creation of safe districts does more than just diminish the power of individual voters. It removes the incentive for the parties to nominate someone in the political center. If a seat is safely Democratic or Republican, there is no penalty for nominating an extremist."
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Filed under: Congress • Elections • Overheard on CNN.com • Politics
U.N. nuclear watchdog: Deep concern over Iranian nuclear program
IAEA Director-General Yukiya Amano has said the organization wants to send a high-level delegation to Iran.
November 18th, 2011
12:54 PM ET

U.N. nuclear watchdog: Deep concern over Iranian nuclear program

The U.N. nuclear watchdog's governing council adopted a resolution Friday expressing "deep and increasing concern about the unresolved issues regarding the Iranian nuclear program, including those which need to be clarified to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions."

The statement comes after a International Atomic Energy Agency report that was critical of Iran.

Iran has repeatedly insisted its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian energy purposes only. But a November 8 report by the IAEA found "credible" information that Tehran has carried out work toward nuclear weapons, including tests of possible bomb components.

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2 Oklahoma State coaches, former state senator killed in plane crash
Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were killed in Thursday's crash.
November 18th, 2011
11:52 AM ET

2 Oklahoma State coaches, former state senator killed in plane crash

[Updated at 11:52 a.m. ET] Former Oklahoma state Sen. Olin Branstetter and his wife, Paula, were among the four killed in Thursday night's fatal plane crash in Arkansas, Oklahoma State University spokesman Gary Schutt told reporters Friday.

The other two victims were earlier identified as Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant women's basketball coach Miranda Serna.

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[Updated at 10:17 a.m. ET] Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant women's basketball coach Miranda Serna were killed Thursday night in a plane crash in Arkansas, the university confirmed Friday.

Two others - including the pilot - also were killed in the crash in Perry County, Arkansas. Those victims were not affiliated with the university, and there were no survivors. The university did not provide any information on the cause of the crash.

Budke and Serna were on a recruiting trip, the university said in a statement.

“The Oklahoma State family is devastated by this tragedy,” OSU President Burns Hargis said in the statement. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims."

“Kurt was an exemplary leader and a man of character who had a profound impact on his student-athletes,” Hargis said. “He was an outstanding coach and a wonderful person. We send our deepest sympathies to his wife, Shelley, and their children, Sara, Alex and Brett."

Serna "was an up-and-coming coach and an outstanding role model for our young ladies,” Hargis said.

KOCO: Oklahoma State devastated by tragedy, university president says

The school said associate head coach Jim Littell would become interim head coach. The team will not play games scheduled Saturday and Sunday, the school said.

Budke, in his seventh season as OSU coach, had a record of 112-83 and five postseason appearances at the school. Last season, the team earned its first-ever top-10 national ranking and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The crash comes nearly 11 years after a plane crash killed people affiliated with OSU's men's basketball team. Two OSU men's basketball players, six others affiliated with the team and a pilot and copilot were killed when a small plane crashed in a farm field 30 miles east of Denver in January 2001. That aircraft was one of three carrying the men's basketball team and others from the school back to Stillwater, Oklahoma, after a game against the University of Colorado.

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Filed under: Basketball • College basketball • Oklahoma • Sports
Gotta Watch : Submerged Stunts
Bob the diving dog paddles to great depths to retrieve a prized toy.
November 18th, 2011
11:31 AM ET

Gotta Watch : Submerged Stunts

What do hockey, pumpkin carving, and bone-fetching have in common?

Surprisingly, they can all be done underwater. Add a little liquid to these every day activities and see how different they become. Take a minute and dive into today's Gotta Watch videos.

Deep Diving Dog– Many dogs love water but this pooch is taking that love to a new depth. Check out this rescue pet's impressive spiral as he retrieves a toy from the bottom of the deep end.

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Filed under: Animals • Dogs • Gotta Watch • Halloween • Holidays • Swimming • Uncategorized
New state laws, record deportations clogging federal courts in South
Undocumented Guatemalan immigrants are searched before boarding a deportation flight in June in Mesa, Arizona.
November 18th, 2011
10:44 AM ET

New state laws, record deportations clogging federal courts in South

The Obama administration is deporting undocumented residents at a faster rate than that of any other president. Meanwhile, many southern states are pushing forward with their own immigration laws designed to achieve maximum deportation, as well.

In all, there is a national backlog of about 270,000 immigration cases. And that is a big problem for the courts, Atlanta immigration lawyer Charles Kuck says.

(Click the audio player to hear more on this story from CNN Radio's John Sepulvado)

“We’re actually seeing far more cases because of the tough laws at the state levels. So the cases are getting slower here,” Kuck said. “So cases that should take four, five (or) six months are taking one and a half to two and a half years to get adjudicated.”

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Filed under: Immigration
November 18th, 2011
10:35 AM ET

Hillary Clinton plans trip to visit Myanmar

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton plans to visit Myanmar next month on a trip that could signal a major change in relations between the two countries.

Clinton will be the first American secretary of state in 50 years to visit Myanmar, a country that the West has long criticized for its hostility toward democracy and its record on human rights.

President Barack Obama said Friday that Clinton would visit the outheast Asian nation next month. He said he did so after talking with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was released one year ago after spending 15 of the previous 21 years under house arrest for her opposition to authoritarian rule in Myanmar.

Clinton's trip is an indication that Myanmar, also known as Burma, has made some progress toward democracy and that the time could be right to forge a new relationship between the nations, the White House said.

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November 18th, 2011
10:06 AM ET

Syria accepts Arab League plan 'in principle'

Syria has accepted "in principle" an Arab League plan to permit 500 observers into the country to verify whether the regime has taken measures to protect civilians, according to a senior Arab diplomat.

Syria has requested amendments to the protocol before signing it, said the diplomat, who has knowledge of negotiations between the Arab League and Syria.

Arab League nations voted to suspend Syria from membership. But the league, which met in Rabat, Morocco, Wednesday, gave Damascus three days to implement a protocol to allow observers to enter the nation.

Nabil al-Arabi, secretary-general of the Arab League, said the league is studying a letter from Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem that included amendments on the protocol and duties of the observers.

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November 18th, 2011
10:06 AM ET

Italy's new government wins second key vote

Italy's new Prime Minister Mario Monti won a key vote of confidence in his new government Friday in Italy's lower house of Parliament, as he seeks to lead the country out of financial crisis.

The lower house voted overwhelmingly in support of his fledgling government Friday, with 556 votes in favor to 61 against, a day after the Senate also voted 281 to 25 in favor.

Monti, who took office Wednesday, presented his proposals for the new technocratic government Thursday.

He said the main points of his program are balancing the budget, promoting growth, and cutting down on social disparities.

He also said overhauling Italy's pension system, fighting tax evasion and cracking down on organized crime will be key steps.

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Filed under: Economy • Europe • Italy
Myanmar's Suu Kyi to run in next elections
Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi leaves the National League for Democracy party offices on November 18.
November 18th, 2011
09:46 AM ET

Myanmar's Suu Kyi to run in next elections

Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi will participate in the next elections, Nyan Win, the spokesman for her National League for Democracy, said Friday.

Her National League for Democracy announced earlier Friday that it planned to re-register as a political party and participate in all future parliamentary elections.

The NLD won more than 80% of the legislative seats in 1990, the first free elections in the country in nearly 30 years, but the ruling military junta refused to recognize the results.

The elections, as yet unscheduled, are by-elections to fill 48 seats left vacant in parliament by the appointment of ministers in the new government. The last national elections were held in November 2010 and were the first in 20 years.

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