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Reports of sexual assault in military jump 10%

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The number of sexual assaults in the military reported by victims increased to 6,769 in 2017, a 10 percent increase over the numbers for 2016 and the largest percentage increase in four years, the Pentagon said Monday.

Pentagon officials have often cited increases in the number of reports by victims as an indicator of greater awareness of the care and responses available to victims in the military. But Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, charged “accountability for sexual assault offenders is going down.”

According to the numbers released Monday, the number of victims reporting sexual assaults rose to a record high of 6,769 in 2017, up 10 percent from 6,172 in 2016.

It is a sharp increase from the 1.5 percent increase reported in 2016.

Each of the military services saw large increases in the number of reports of sexual assaults from the previous year with the Marine Corps reporting the largest spike, a 14.7 percent increase in 2017. The Army reported an increase of 8.4 percent, the Navy 9.3 percent and the Air Force a 9.2 percent increase in reporting.

“More service members than ever are making the courageous decision to report their experiences and to receive restorative care,” said Elizabeth Van Winkle, the executive director of the Office of Force Resiliency for the Department of Defense.

“While the progress we’ve seen provides some comfort, we neither take it for granted nor are we are under any illusions that our work is done,” Van Winkle added. “In fact, we see this progress as cautionary and recognize one of the greatest threats to progress is complacency.”

Defense officials correlated the increased number of reports with better information about the medical care and legal options available to military victims of sexual assault.

This year’s spike in victim reports was likely attributed “to people hearing their commanders or leadership talking about how important this is, that no one should have to tolerate sexual assault,” said Nathan Galbreath, the deputy director of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO).

Every two years the Pentagon conducts a survey that estimates the prevalence of sexual assaults in the military. The 2016 survey estimated there were 14,900 sexual assaults in 2016, down from the 20,300 reported in the 2014 survey.

Defense officials said that the next survey to be conducted later this year should put in context whether the increased numbers reflect progress within DOD’s efforts to counter sexual assault.

“We are cautiously optimistic that the increase in servicemembers reporting their experiences reflect a growing trust in the system and the resources available to them,” said Elizabeth Van Winkle.

But she also cautioned, “we await the 2018 survey to assess if this is, instead, a reflection of an increase in crime.”

Military victims of sexual assault are allowed to file their reports openly in what are known as unrestricted reports, that can lead to prosecution, or confidentially through restricted reports where the victim receives medical care but does not trigger an investigation.

Victims can switch the status from restricted to unrestricted at any time.

And according to the Pentagon’s latest statistics, switching status appears to be happening with greater frequency as 24 percent of restricted reports in 2017 were converted to unrestricted reports.

Ten percent of the total number sexual assaults involved victims reporting sexual assaults prior to their having joined the military. The Defense Department’s annual sexual assault statistics include reports from victims currently serving in the military, as well as service members who may have been the victim of a sexual assault prior to entering military service.

A frequent critic of the Pentagon’s efforts to reduce sexual assault, Sen. Gillibrand criticized the decrease in the percentage of cases that actually went to trial or ended in convictions.

“This SAPRO report released by DoD today shows that more sexual predators are getting off the hook and fewer survivors are getting the justice they deserved,” said Gillibrand. “While reports might be up, accountability for sexual assault offenders is going down.”

Nathan Galbreath speculated that the decrease in cases proceeding to trial was due to a combination of factors, namely that some of the reported incidents lacked sufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


Striking Arizona teachers cover Capitol in red

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iStock/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) — “Now it comes down to the hard work of being a citizen, an active, engaged citizen,” Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association, told the striking teachers from a stage in front of the Capitol. “And so you’ve got to tell your story. The story of your students. The story of this movement.”

About 50,000 public-school teachers in Arizona began their strike on Thursday. They’re seeking a 20 percent increase in pay and $1 billion in educational funding, including increases to salaries of school support staff.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has proposed granting teachers a 20 percent raise by 2020 and budgeting an additional $100 million for new textbooks, building improvements and support staff. The governor proposed increasing educational funding by $371 million over five years.

The teachers have insisted Ducey hasn’t showed them his proposal’s fine print, even as lawmakers began debating it Monday.

“We’ve not seen a lot of trust with the legislative process, and the governor so far,” Thomas told ABC station KNXV-TV on Monday.

He said it was unclear how long the strike will last and that a lack of transparency throughout the process wasn’t helping matters.

“If we see the legislative bills early and can have an understanding of them, then maybe that moves us back toward the classroom,” Thomas said.

Public educators in Arizona rank 46th in the U.S. in teacher pay, earning about $12,000 less than the national average of $59,660, according to a 2018 report by the National Education Association.

Arizona spends about $4,500 less than the national per-pupil average of about $12,000, ranking 48th, according to the NEA report.

The Arizona teacher’s strike is the latest by educators across the country who’ve said they’re fed up with cuts to educational funding. Oklahoma, West Virginia, Kentucky and Colorado have all seen recent teacher strikes.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


Brazilian surfer sets new record after riding massive 80-foot wave

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iStock/Thinkstock(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) — A Brazilian surfer has been credited with riding the largest wave ever surfed.

Rodrigo Koxa was honored at the World Surf League’s Big Wave Awards in Santa Monica, California, for navigating a monstrous 80-foot swell last year. The governing body of the World Surf League recognized the feat by awarding him the Quiksilver XXL Biggest Wave Award.

“The award goes to the surfer who, by any means available, catches the biggest wave of the year,” the World Surf League said in a press release.

“Any time there is a new world record within big wave surfing it brings the sport back to the front of the line of extreme sports awareness. Few other sports that have been practiced for centuries have seen the dramatic progress that big wave surfing has gone through in the last 25 years, where wave heights being ridden have nearly doubled,” Cloe Kojima, World Surf League spokeswoman, told ABC News.

The 38-year old was photographed on Nov. 8, 2017, in Naraze, Portugal, riding a massive wave which clocked in at a whopping 80 feet.

“Not only did Koxa win this year’s honor, but he now holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest wave surfed,” according to the press release.

The Sao Paulo native’s huge wave breaks the previous World Surf League record of a 78-foot wave, which was set by Garrett McNamara in 2011.

Koxa thanked his fans and called the award an honor and “a dream come true,” in a tweet, which was written in Portuguese, Saturday night.

The World Surf League’s Big Wave Awards is considered the Oscars of surfing.

“Seeing a tiny person taking on a gigantic and potentially lethal wall of water, and escaping safely,” Kojima said, “captures the attention of the mainstream public like no other aspect of the surfing sport or lifestyle.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: Sports News


What the law says should happen to asylum seekers at the US border

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Immigrants from that caravan that crossed Mexico and drew the attention of President Donald Trump have arrived at a U.S. border post – and are trying to seek asylum.

But what happens once they do – and how does the law require they be treated?

When an immigrant comes to a U.S. port of entry to request asylum, that person must declare to the customs officer a “credible fear of persecution” in his or her country of origin.

Under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 protocol, and adopted into U.S. law, the U.S. must recognize refugees that fear persecution and are not able to get help from their home country.

Anyone who declares they are seeking asylum at a U.S. port of entry is then moved to undergo a secondary interview, during which another customs official must confirm the credible fear claim.

The asylum seeker is placed in a holding area before being transferred to a separate detention facility under Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody, while he or she awaits a hearing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services called adjudication.

Adjudicators, who are often judges, decide if the person is allowed to stay in the United States under refugee status.

Asylum-seekers may face a variety of legal steps and different judges. The decisions made by different judges or by the same judge with regard to different people from the same countries can vary widely, according to one recent study by Temple University and Georgetown law schools, published in the Stanford Law Review.

“The chance of winning asylum was strongly affected by whether or not the applicant had legal representation, by the gender of the immigration judge, and by the immigration judge’s work experience prior to appointment,” the authors said.

In that same study, the authors found a correlation between being accepted for asylum and the individual’s education, gender, prior work experience, country of origin – and the time at which the adjudication happened. The authors called this “refugee roulette” because of the unpredictable nature of the process.

The number of refugees who can enter the country under the Immigration and Nationality Act comes from the president’s recommendation to Congress.

Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980, which clearly defines refugees under the aforementioned United Nations Convention. The refugee program is run by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, through the Department of State. Each year, the director sends a report to Congress, which is used to determine how much funding will be allocated to the program the next year.

A downward trend in asylum acceptance rates was shown between fiscal years 2011 and 2016, according to Syracuse University’s TRAC Immigration study, and asylum seekers may be denied based on the number of applications versus acceptances from their home countries.

For example, the study said, asylum seekers from Mexico were denied about 90 percent of the time during the study period.

According to the nonprofit Migration Policy Institute, the number of refugees admitted in fiscal year 2016 was almost 85,000. The president proposed cutting that number to allow a maximum of 50,000 refugees to enter the U.S. in fiscal year 2017.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


'Going to kill you': Hear chilling phone call allegedly made by 'Golden State Killer'

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Sacramento Police Department(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — “Going to kill you … going to kill you … going to kill you.”

Those are the words heard on a chilling 1977 phone call that is believed to have been made by the “Golden State Killer,” who police say committed 12 murders, at least 50 rapes and multiple home burglaries throughout California in the 1970s and 1980s.

Heavy breathing can also be heard on the call, which was released by the FBI.

Victims often received hang-ups or terrifying phone calls before and after attacks, author Michelle McNamara said in her book on the case, according to The Washington Post.

Jane Carson-Sandler, who police say was raped by the “Golden State Killer” in 1976, told ABC News, “I received phone calls where he would just hang up.”

“He did not speak to me that I remember, but he would just hang up,” she said. “So I knew he was still out there and I knew that he could come back.”

Decades went by without an arrest in the mysterious case — until this year.

Joseph James DeAngelo, a 72-year-old former police officer, was arrested last week, taken into custody at his home in Sacramento County, where the crime spree started.

DeAngelo has not entered a plea. He returns to court May 14.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Source:: National News


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