News Around the State

Published 5:38 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Abortion clinic asks full appeals court to rehear case

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky abortion clinic is asking a federal appeals court to rehear an appeal in the case of a state law that requires doctors to perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients prior to abortions.

A divided panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that the 2017 law is constitutional, reversing a lower court judge.

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Attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union, representing the Louisville abortion clinic, filed a petition Monday asking that the full appeals court hear the case. The petition cites a First Amendment issue of “exceptional importance.”

The law requires doctors to describe the ultrasound in detail while the pregnant woman listens to the fetal heartbeat. Women can avert their eyes and ask for the sound of the heartbeat turned off.

Gov. Bevin gets election-eve boost from Trump

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — President Donald Trump refered to Gov. Matt Bevin as his “good friend” and urged Kentucky Republicans to support the governor’s reelection in a recorded phone message on the eve of the state’s primary election.

Bevin’s campaign says Trump’s message went out statewide Monday evening.

Trump points to the governor’s support of gun rights and the state’s job growth and low unemployment under Bevin’s stewardship. The president says Bevin is “100% with us.”

Bevin played up his ties with Trump during a low-key primary campaign. A recent Bevin ad showed him alongside Trump and touted their willingness to shake up the political system.

Bevin faced three GOP challengers Tuesday, including state Rep. Robert Goforth, who criticized Bevin’s feud with teachers who used sick days to rally against measures the governor supports.

4 men charged in child predator sting

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says four men have been charged in a child predator sting.

Beshear announced in a news release the arrests last week of 23-year-old Jarrett Hoskins, 32-year-old Ricky Cornish Jr., 34-year-old Joseph Leavitt and 46-year-old Michael Stewart.

Hoskins was charged with promoting child trafficking. He and the others were charged with using electronic devices to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities. Stewart also is charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

The Franklin County commonwealth’s attorney is handling the prosecution.

It wasn’t known whether the defendants have attorneys who could comment on the charges.

Confederate statue at Kentucky cemetery defaced with paint

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (AP) — A Confederate statue at a cemetery in Bardstown, Kentucky, has been vandalized with orange paint, similar to vandalism that’s appeared on a Confederate statue in Louisville.

Bardstown police tell news outlets that the paint was splashed across the century-old statue sometime late last week.

The statue features a Confederate soldier standing above a portrait of Gen. Robert E. Lee. It’s surrounded by 67 Confederate soldier grave markers. A photo of the vandalism shows Lee’s face covered in the paint, which then drips across the statue’s embossed inscriptions.

Bardstown police Sgt. Michael Medley says this may be the first time an area Civil War monument has been vandalized. Authorities are reviewing surveillance video.

Large fire damages Lake Cumberland marina

MONTICELLO, Ky. (AP) — A large fire has damaged a Lake Cumberland marina in southern Kentucky.

News outlets report the fire at Conley Bottom Resort in Monticello started around 2 a.m. Monday. Firefighters say no one was injured.

Marina co-owner Freddie Piercy told WKYT-TV that the blaze destroyed the store and café and damaged a houseboat used by the marina. Piercy says no rental boats were damaged.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that South Kentucky Rural Electric Cooperative Corporation says 225 customers were without power in the area following the fire.

Conley Bottom Resort describes itself as a family fun destination offering waterfront lodging and houseboat rentals.

Despite the fire damage, Piercy says the marina plans to be open for Memorial Day weekend.

Report: Jail didn’t properly probe sex harassment claims

SANDY HOOK, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky state investigator says state prison officials in Elliott County didn’t properly investigate allegations that a prison supervisor was sexually harassing guards.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Kentucky Personnel Board released a report on the investigations last week. It says a Little Sandy Correctional Complex staffer tasked with investigating the claims wasn’t trained for such investigations, didn’t interview potential witnesses and asked limited questions.

Sgt. Stephen Harper was accused in 2013 and 2014 of masturbating near a guard, grabbing and rubbing against guards, kissing one and forcing one to touch his genitals. He denied the allegations, was never disciplined and left the prison in November. The women sued and settled with the department for $1.5 million in 2017. They settled with Harper privately. The lawsuit prompted the state investigation.

2 men sentenced for stealing money from relatives

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Two Kentucky men have been sentenced to prison in separate cases involving stealing money from older relatives and spending it on themselves.

U.S. Attorney Robert Duncan says in a news release that Paul Anthony Long II was sentenced in federal court in Lexington to three years and six months and John Jerome O’Hara was sentenced to two years.

The statement says both Lexington residents abused their powers of attorney over a relative’s finances and pleaded guilty to fraud charges.

According to their plea agreements, Long took more than $600,000 from his grandfather, while O’Hara took more than $330,000 from his mother.

New drug trial ordered after prosecutor’s religion questions

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A federal appellate panel has ordered a new trial and reversed a couple’s drug convictions partly because a prosecutor cited their beliefs in a religious figure regarded as the patron saint of drug dealers and as the angel of the poor.

According to the Courier Journal , an opinion this week by a 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals three-judge panel said the attacks regarding beliefs in “Jesús Malverde” were “utterly irrelevant to the question of guilt.”

The opinion says Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger West likely used Luis Morales-Montanez’s beliefs to paint him as someone steeped in drug culture. Morales-Montanez and Jessica Acosta were convicted in Eastern Kentucky federal court of distributing $20,000 worth of methamphetamine.

West and a U.S. attorney’s office spokesman didn’t respond to the newspaper’s requests for comment.