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Satanic Temple indicates IRS has designated it a tax-exempt church
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uSALEM, Mass. (AP) — The Satanic Temple says it’s been designated a church by the Internal Revenue Service.

The Salem, Massachusetts-based organization provided The Associated Press with a notice it recently received communicating its new tax-exempt status. The letter used a code that classifies it as a “church or a convention or association of churches.”

The group is now listed in an IRS database for tax-exempt organizations. An email seeking comment was sent to the IRS.

The group says the designation will help in religious discrimination legal cases and allow it to pursue faith-based government grants.

The “non-theistic” group advocates for a stricter separation of church and state. It placed a statue of the goat-headed creature Baphomet at the Arkansas State Capitol last year to call for the removal of a Ten Commandments monument.

uCOLORADO CITY SETTLES WITH ‘BUTT SIGN’ POLITICAL ACTIVIST: LOVELAND, Colo. (AP) — A Colorado city has settled a lawsuit with a man who criticized a gubernatorial candidate using a sign featuring mannequin buttocks clothed in lingerie.

The Reporter-Herald reports that insurers for Loveland have settled the First Amendment lawsuit filed by Bob Cluster for $70,000.

The city about 51 miles (82 kilometers) north of Denver admits no wrongdoing in the April 15 settlement, and its attorney says no police policy changes or training are required.

Loveland police detained the 80-year-old resident in June for holding the sign that Cluster said was intended to satirize the political motives of candidate Jared Polis.

One side of Cluster’s sign said Polis “will be breaking old taboos & barriers” while the other side displayed the mannequin body part and a Polis slogan regarding “bold vision.”

u10 KIDS SHOT BY ‘BB OR PELLET GUN’ OUTSIDE GEORGIA SCHOOL: ATLANTA (AP) — Ten students at an Atlanta-area elementary school suffered non-life threatening injuries after being shot by a BB or pellet gun while on the playground.

A statement from the DeKalb County School District says the shots fired Thursday at students of Wynbrooke Elementary Theme School in Stone Mountain “appear to have come from a position away from the school grounds.” The statement says county and district law enforcement are investigating.

The injured students were brought to a hospital to be treated or picked up by their parents.

The school district says there was never a threat of anyone getting into the school building. But it’s posting additional staff and law enforcement at the school Friday to ensure students’ safety..

uMISSISSIPPI OFFICIAL SAYS STILL-LIVING EX-SENATOR ‘DECEASED’: JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi’s secretary of state incorrectly told college students that Republican former U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran is “deceased.”

The 81-year-old Cochran is alive.

The Clarion Ledger reports Republican Delbert Hosemann spoke Thursday to University of Mississippi journalism students in Oxford. In a recording sent to the newspaper, one student asked Hosemann how close he and Cochran are. Hosemann replied: “He’s deceased, so I’m not real close.”

He then praised Cochran’s leadership, using the past tense.

Cochran retired from the Senate amid health concerns in 2018 and is living in Oxford. A former chief of staff, Brad White, says he saw Cochran on Thursday “and he’s very much alive.”

Hosemann is running for lieutenant governor. In a statement, he said: “I made an improper comment, and I sincerely apologize.”

u2 GUILTY FOR TOPPLING N CAROLINA CAMPUS’S CONFEDERATE STATUE: HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (AP) — Two men face a day in jail after being found guilty of rioting, damaging property and defacing a Confederate monument that had stood for a century on the campus of North Carolina’s flagship public university.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports that the state district court judge on Thursday found Raul Arce Jimenez and Shawn Birchfield-Finn Jimenez guilty in the toppling of the University of North Carolina monument nicknamed “Silent Sam.” They also were assessed a $500 fine and community service.

Jimenez was previously found not guilty of toppling a Confederate statue in Durham in 2017.

Eleven others have been convicted in the August melee in which the Chapel Hill statue was toppled. The monument was derided as a symbol of white supremacy and defended as a Southern heritage memorial.

uMichigan priest gets 2-15 years for sexual misconduct: SAGINAW, Mich. (AP) — A 72-year-old Michigan priest has been sentenced to two to 15 years in prison after pleading no contest to sexual misconduct.

The Rev. Robert DeLand also will spend five years on probation under the sentence handed down Thursday.

The Saginaw County prosecutor’s office has said the plea entered last month closed three remaining cases after he was acquitted in a different case. DeLand pleaded no contest to second-degree criminal sexual conduct causing injury and gross indecency between males. Some charges were dropped.

DeLand was accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with males ages 17 and 21.

A no-contest plea means DeLand didn’t contest the evidence.

DeLand was pastor at St. Agnes Church in Freeland until his arrest in February 2018. He also regularly mixed with students at Freeland High School.

PROSECUTORS: DIVORCING INDIANA COUPLE LEFT DOG TO STARVE: GREENWOOD, Ind. (AP) — Prosecutors say a suburban Indianapolis couple who vacated their home during divorce proceedings left their dog behind to starve to death.

The emaciated dog, named Chuck, was found dead in January in the couple’s Johnson County trailer home. A necropsy determined he starved to death.

The Indianapolis Star reports 31-year-old Michael S. Setser of Greenwood faces a misdemeanor charge of abandonment or neglect of a vertebrate animal. Twenty-eight-year-old Amanda Setser of Franklin faces a misdemeanor animal cruelty charge.

Prosecutors say the pair “failed to take Chuck with them or provide him with food and water” when they moved out of their home in January. Both were arrested and released from the jail after posting bond.