View Mobile Site

Nation news briefs

Text Size: Small Large Medium
POSTED February 27, 2013 10:28 p.m.

JOHNS HOPKINS: GYNECOLOGIST HID CAMERA INSIDE PEN: BALTIMORE (AP) — A Johns Hopkins Hospital gynecologist accused of secretly videotaping patients wore a pen around his neck that may have been used to conceal a camera, according to the employee who reported the doctor.

The employee told hospital officials of her suspicions Feb. 4, according to a letter from the hospital's CEO, Dr. Paul B. Rothman. The letter was dated Tuesday and sent to the law firm of Silverman Thompson Slutkin & White, which is working with the Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center. The law firm gave a copy of the letter to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The employee's report to officials ultimately led to the discovery that Dr. Nikita Levy had been recording patients during exams at a Hopkins clinic. Police have said Levy, 54, killed himself in his home on Feb. 18.

Rothman's letter said the Hopkins employee had noticed what she believed to be a device, like a writing pen, that Levy had worn around his neck while examining patients. She said she believed the device was a camera.

Rothman writes that Hopkins security personnel questioned Levy at his office on Feb. 5, and devices similar to the one described by the employee were seen in the office and on Levy.

Levy was barred from patient contact that day and escorted off hospital grounds. Hopkins notified Baltimore police the day after, and investigators have said they found large amounts of multimedia evidence.

Police have said more than 2,000 patients and former patients of Levy have called a hotline set up by the hospital. Class-action lawsuits have been filed against Hopkins.

TUMBLEWEEDS INVADE WEST TEXAS HOME: MIDLAND, Texas (AP) — A brutal storm system that brought 19 inches of snow to some areas of West Texas has delivered something entirely different to one homeowner.

Winds in excess of 60 mph that accompanied Monday's blizzard pushed hundreds of tumbleweeds against a Midland home.

KWES-TV of Odessa and Midland reports one side of Josh Pitman's home is obscured by tumbleweeds stacked one atop the other, blocking some doorways.

Pitman says he recently tore down a fence that would have protected his home from the rambling weeds.

In his words, "Most ridiculous thing I've ever seen."

He expects to spend the rest of the week clearing away the tumbleweeds.

TROUBLED GRANDMOTHER, A BIRTHDAY AND 2 DEAD BOYS: NORTH STONINGTON, Conn. (AP) — Debra Denison's struggles with mental illness were well known in her family, and when she wanted to pick up her grandsons from day care to mark the older boy's birthday, mother Brenda Perry hesitated.

Denison not only wanted to pick up 2-year-old Alton and 6-month-old Ashton, but she also wanted to do it alone, the boys' great-grandmother said. Perry told her mother the boys were too much for her to handle, but Denison insisted.

"She was apparently very convincing," said Marcia White, the boys' great-grandmother on their father's side. So Perry asked her to take along another relative. She didn't — and now a family and a town are wondering whether anything could have prevented what came next.

Denison left a suicide note, drove alone to the day care, picked up the boys, took them to a nearby lake and apparently used her husband's gun to fatally shoot them and herself, authorities and relatives said Wednesday. The bodies were found Tuesday night, about two hours after a frantic search began.

State police had not officially determined they all died because of the gunfire, but autopsies were planned.

ROSA PARKS STATUE UNVEILED AT CAPITOL: WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation's most powerful politicians honored Rosa Parks on Wednesday by unveiling her statue in a permanent place in the U.S. Capitol. President Barack Obama praised Parks as an enduring reminder of what true leadership requires, "no matter how humble or lofty our positions."

Parks became the first black woman to be depicted in a full-length statue in the Capitol's Statuary Hall. A bust of another black woman, abolitionist Sojourner Truth, sits in the Capitol Visitors Center.

"We do well by placing a statue of her here," Obama said. "But we can do no greater honor to her memory than to carry forward the power of her principle and a courage born of conviction."

The unveiling brought Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and other congressional leaders together in the midst of a fierce standoff over automatic spending cuts set to go into effect on Friday.

OHIO COURT SPARS WITH LAWYERS IN SCHOOL BIBLE CASE: COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State Supreme Court justices sparred with lawyers on Wednesday in a heated hour of arguments over the extent to which a now-fired public school science teacher had the right to push his religious beliefs in class.

A lawyer for the school board that dismissed John Freshwater in 2011 said he waved a Bible at his students, handed out religious pamphlets and espoused creationism in his evolution lessons.

Freshwater violated the constitutional separation between church and state and was rightfully fired, said David Smith, an attorney for the Mount Vernon School Board.

Smith said Freshwater can't "teach evolution from a Christian perspective" without violating constitutional protections against government establishment of religion.

"There is no academic freedom of the teacher to do that," Smith argued. "This is not a case about industrial hemp. It's not a case about the Iraqi war. Political sociological viewpoint is something completely different."

Freshwater's attorney, Rita Dunaway, said accounts of Freshwater's class conduct were exaggerated and he was exercising his academic freedom to explore controversial ideas.

She said the board's decision to dismiss Freshwater showed hostility toward religion.

"The board's position basically boils down to the proposition that simply offering students evidence of the gaps or flaws in evolutionary theory is equal to religious indoctrination," she said.

 

Commenting is not available.

Commenting not available.

Please wait ...