HOUSTON VOICE • DECEMBER 24, 1999
Around the Nation
Expelled student seeks $75 million in harassment lawsuit
BOSTON (AP)—A student expelled for allegedly threatening classmates just days after
the Columbine High shootings in Colorado is suing Sandwich, Mass. school officials for $75
million, claiming they did nothing to stop the harassment he was getting from fellow students. Ten days after the April 20 Columbine shooting, the unidentified boy, 16 at the time,
allegedly listed the initials of four classmates on the bathroom wall and wrote: "You will
die." The boy's lawyer, Michael Turner, said the boy was taunted for 18 months by other students. "Can you imagine being in a classroom and you raise your hand and someone behind
you who is bigger and stronger says 'Shut up faggot,' and everyone laughs," said Turner. In
papers filed in federal court, Sandwich officials acknowledged that the boy told school officials of the harassment, and that they did nothing. Turner said the boy, who is not gay, has
been rejected by another school, and his parents can't afford to send him to private school.
Fla. man, 45, sentenced to death for murder, mutilation
PUNTA GORDA, Fla.—A Florida man was sentenced to death for the murder and mutilation of
a 21-year-old man during a sexual encounter,
APBnews.com reported Dec. 10. Daniel O.
Conahan jr., was sentenced to death for the April
16, 1996 murder of Richard Montgomery. The
prosecution contended Conahan lured
Montgomery to a wooded area by offering him
money to pose nude in progressive stages of
bondage. Montgomery's genitals were surgically
removed after his death. Prosecutors said that
Conahan, an unemployed nurse, believed that
if he left Montgomery's genitals intact, police
could link him to the crime through saliva
left behind from oral sex. A charge of Daniel Conahan Jr., 45, was sentenced to
sexual battery was dropped because of a death for the murder and mutiltrfion of a
lack of evidence. 21-yeor-old man n Florida.
Judge scales back gag order in Shepard case, orders release
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP)—A judge has lifted part of a gag order on the court file of one of
Matthew Shepard's killers. The order signed by Judge Barton Voigt allows the public to
view court documents in the case against Aaron McKinney, 22, who is spending life in
prison. According to the order, 18 documents on file will remain sealed to protect "the sanctity of jury deliberations." The gag was imposed to protect the confidentiality of McKinney
and Shepard, but there is no longer a need to prevent the public from viewing the file, Voigt
said in his order. McKinney and codefendant Russell Henderson, 22, were sentenced to life
in prison without parole for the beating death of Shepard, who was beaten, pistol-whipped,
tied to a fence outside Laramie last winter.
Outgoing ATF boss thinks bombing suspect Rudolph is dead
MURPHY, N.C.—Police searching for accused bomber Eric Rudolph say it is impossible
to know whether he is alive, in spite of a statement by the departing director of the Bureau
of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, who said in an interview that he thinks Rudolph is dead.
"My gut instinct is that he is still there, in a cave, and he's dead. That's only my opinion,"
said ATF Director John Magaw, in an interview with USA Today. "There hasn't been any
missing food. There haven't been any missing shoes. No cabins have been broken into. Life
isn't sustainable over this period of time if he stayed in there," he said. The ATF, members
of the Southeast Bomb Task Force, the FBI and local police have been searching for
Rudolph, 33, in North Carolina's mountainous Nantahala National Forest for more than a
year. He's accused of six bombings, including the hate-motivated bombing in February
1997 of the Otherside Lounge, an Atlanta nightclub popular with lesbians and gay men. "I
don't know how anyone can make a flat-out statement that Eric Rudolph is dead," said
Murphy police chief Larry Payne.
New study shows Calif, ban on gay marriage would harm kids
A study has found that California's proposed ban on gay marriage would adversely affect at
least 40,000 children living with gay couples and 100,000 more with gay single parents. Those
children could feel ostracized by society if their parents' unions were considered invalid,
concludes the review by Michael Wald, a Stanford University law professor. Proposition 22
would force California to recognize only marriages performed between a man and a woman.
It will be voted on in March. Meanwhile, in Salt Lake City, an effort has begun to recruit students
at Brigham Young University as volunteers to help pass Proposition 22. Jim Backman,
director of BYU's Office of Academic Internships, said his office has not yet sanctioned
the project as a credit-earning experience, but that it is not unusual for students to serve
politically charged internships.
In Denver, a proposed constitutional amendment to restrict same-sex marriages in Colorado
has been approved by the secretary of state's office and now advances to a 30-day challenge period. If it survives, signatures of nearly 64,000 registered voters would have to be collected to put
the measure on the ballot.
—From staff and wire reports
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