TEACHER AT ONE OF BOB LUDDY'S PRIVATE SCHOOLS CHARGED WITH INDECENT LIBERTIES: A former physical education teacher has been charged with four counts of indecent liberties with a child. Paula Stinson, 30, taught at Thales Academy in Rolesville. Thales Academy says that Stinson is no longer employed with them. "Mrs. Stinson has been terminated as an employee of Thales Academy, effective immediately. Thales Leadership is actively communicating with the Wake County Sheriff’s Office and cooperating with their investigation," the school said in a statement. Stinson is in custody with a $75,000 bond. Note: although NCDPI does not require background checks, most NC school systems do, including Wake County.
2019 LAWSUIT CLAIMS ERICA SMITH FAILED TO INTERVENE DURING MULTIPLE SEXUAL ASSAULTS ON BUS: One or more of the plaintiff’s other teammates was assaulted first, the lawsuit says. Then the group of “five or six” teammates attacked the plaintiff, according to the complaint. The assault on the plaintiff was noisy and caused a commotion, and at one point, one player held up a cell phone, illuminating the scene, court filings allege. Smith and the other teacher “sat just rows away from the assault and did nothing to intervene and protect” the plaintiff, the lawsuit says. It claims both teachers “breached their duties by failing to supervise and care for” the plaintiff, “failing to maintain a proper environment on the bus, failing to keep a proper lookout, failing to prevent the assault ... and failing to protect” the plaintiff. Smith resigned from her job at Franklin City Public Schools in June 2014, less than a year after the incident, according to the school district. Less than three months later, then 18-year-old Aerial Darden, the volleyball team captain, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor and one felony count of sexual battery, according to news reports and court records. Four other juveniles faced similar charges and pleaded guilty, The Daily Times in Salisbury, Maryland, reported.
COMMISSION WILL REDOUBLE ITS EFFORTS TO REMOVE CONFEDERATE MONUMENTS: The North Carolina Commisssion on Racial and Ethnic Disparities announced plans to redouble their focus on removing the Confederate monuments in dozens of communities throughout the state. A statewide criminal justice advocacy group, NC CRED has operated since 2013, according to founding member and Chairperson James Williams II. Williams touts NC CRED as a non-partisan and diverse organization. Williams said the presence of these monuments constitutes a significant threat to criminal justice reform. "To expect equality and justice and have to walk past these symbols, these sentinels, that honor racism and white supremacy, it's just inconsistent and wrong," Williams said. Williams said his organization has earnestly pursued the removal of Confederate monuments since passing a resolution in 2017 asking for them to be removed. He added the various local groups and independent activists who demonstrated against the presence of Confederate monuments, particularly those in Alamance County, should be commended for their efforts.
DONALD TRUMP'S LAWYERS ATTACK DEMOCRATS IN EFFORT TO DEFLECT: Donald Trump’s lawyers delivered a relatively brief defense of the former president’s conduct in his second impeachment trial Friday, accusing House Democrats of staging a politically motivated proceeding in a rebuttal that echoed Trump’s misleading claims about the 2020 presidential election. The centerpiece of the Trump attorneys’ case was a video that edited together one Democratic official after another using the word “fight.” While meant to argue that Democrats, too, used potentially violent rhetoric, many of the comments were taken out of context, and none led to incidents of violence. Trump’s lawyers used just two 2½ hours of the 16 hours allotted to them for their defense, their brevity underscoring that at least 34 GOP senators are expected to vote to acquit the ex-president and allow him to escape the prospect of being barred from public office. As those arguments unfolded, Trump’s lawyers declined to be specific on questions about Trump’s own behavior while rioters broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 to block the final certification of Biden’s victory over Trump, such as precisely when he found out about the violence, what he knew about Vice President Mike Pence’s safety and whether he took any action to limit the insurrection. “This unprecedented effort is not about Democrats opposing political violence. It is about Democrats trying to disqualify their political opposition,” said Michael van der Veen, one of Trump’s defense attorneys. “It is constitutional cancel culture.”
PHONE CALL BETWEEN TRUMP AND MCCARTHY DURING INSURRECTION PROVES TRUMP SUPPORTED THE ATTACK: Mr. Trump is expected to be acquitted, with many Republicans already on record supporting the view that his impeachment trial is unconstitutional. Such an outcome would mirror the conclusion of his first impeachment trial. But on the eve of the expected vote, Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, Republican of Washington, recounted a phone call described to her by Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the minority leader, in which Mr. Trump was said to have sided with the rioters, telling the top House Republican that members of the mob who had stormed the Capitol were “more upset about the election than you are.” There were no indications that Ms. Herrera Beutler’s claim will alter the Senate’s timetable. But at least one Democratic senator, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, has called for the proceedings to be suspended to depose Mr. McCarthy. The Senate is to reconvene at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The House impeachment managers, as the prosecution is known, could still request a debate and vote on calling witnesses, but they were not expected to do so. The prosecution and the defense will each have up to two hours for closing arguments before a final vote takes place. Seventeen Republican senators would need to join all 50 Democratic senators to reach the two-thirds majority needed to convict Mr. Trump of the single “incitement of insurrection” charge that he faces.