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A Catholic priest assigned to an east Mesa church is among five men arrested by Mesa police in a sting operation that targeted prostitution involving underaged girls.
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“Let me tell you something, my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” So said Red Redding to Andy Dufresne in that masterpiece, “The Shawshank Redemption.” If you have never seen the film, that is your immeasurable loss.
In January, new Gov. Doug Ducey will appoint a new director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. The director’s term coincides with the governor’s.
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A Chandler man is accused of producing and distributing photos and videos showing the sexual abuse of a young child.
A complaint by an employee of sexual and racial harassment preceded by one day the Oct. 17 decision by Gov. Jan Brewer to fire the head of state agency that oversees virtually all state workers.
PHOENIX -- A complaint by an employee claiming sexual and racial harassment preceded by one day the Oct. 17 decision by Gov. Jan Brewer to fire the head of state agency that oversees virtually all state workers.
Documents obtained by Capitol Media Services show the Governor's Office was given copies of a filing by the worker with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Oct. 16. The worker, whose identity was not disclosed, said in her filing with the EEOC that Brian McNeil, director of the state Department of Administration, made comments to her last year with "sexual connotations.''
"He also mentioned that although I was an 'attractive women' and a good speaker, he wanted more from my job performance,'' the complaint states. The woman also said that McNeil repeatedly referred to her as being in a "protected class,'' that others would not criticize her work performance "based on racial issues,'' and she needed to "woman up.''
While the EEOC filing was in February, gubernatorial spokesman Andrew Wilder said his boss did not become aware of the issue until Oct. 16. It was that day the woman gave a copy of the filing to Kathy Peckardt, a deputy chief of staff to Brewer, with a sticky note to Peckardt saying "this is what was turned into the federal EEOC office, and the investigator interviewed me on 2/14/14.''
But what may have precipitated the woman to take that action is her allegation that problems with McNeil continued right through the day she informed the Governor's Office.
The woman furnished Peckardt with a statement saying she had met that day with McNeil, saying there were "some positives mentioned about growth opportunities.'' But she said there were other comments.
For example, she said McNeil mentioned the possibility of working with the Government Transformation Office, saying she could bring good qualities to the group. "But I had an upside because I am a member of the protected class, and others might be afraid to say things to me that might make me mad.''
She also reported that McNeil asked her age "because one of his buddies was impressed with me at a work function but only wanted to date someone that had to be 40 years old.''
McNeil was fired the following day.
In a prepared statement, McNeil said he has never discriminated against anyone based on race or gender and believes he was treated unfairly.
"I believe had this matter been researched and investigated fairly, properly and objectively, it would have already been found to be something other than what is characterized,'' he said.
McNeil also said he was never given the specifics of the accusation, interviewed about it or provided an opportunity to review and respond before being told to resign or be fired.
"I (saw) the media received the documents in surprisingly quick fashion, but I had no chance to review them although I am the one accused,'' he said.
The story does not end with McNeil's firing.
On Tuesday, the woman told Peckardt in a memo that she received five phone calls from McNeil earlier that day in less than three hours on her personal cell phone, with him leaving a voice message on one and a text message with another.
"Because this was after his termination, it left me feeling very uneasy and a bit concerned,'' the woman wrote. "I decided to not stay at my home on this particular night due to the uneasiness.''
"I wish things would have gone better,'' McNeil says in an audio of the voice message obtained by Capitol Media Services. "I wish I would have been more sensitive, you know, about how I was coming across early on,'' the message continues. And he said the meeting Oct. 16 -- the one that apparently precipitated the woman giving all the information to the state -- "was intended to try to help promote, you know, better, clear dialog between you and I about professional matters.''
For the moment, McNeil remains on the state payroll.
Scott Smith, the governor's chief of staff, agreed to a request by McNeil, who is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, that he be placed on paid military leave through Nov. 7. And he is being allowed to use annual leave from Nov. 10 through Dec. 19.
McNeil was executive director of the Arizona Corporation Commission from 1999 to 2009. That year, he joined the Brewer administration as a deputy chief of staff. He left to become a lobbyist but was rehired by the governor two years ago to head the Department of Administration. That agency has purview over human resources and personnel issues as well as everything from state buildings to fleet management.
The Chandler Police Department has released information about a sex offender who has moved to the city.
PHOENIX -- Same-sex weddings in Arizona could be less than a week away.
In a brief order made available Friday, a federal judge considering challenges to the Arizona ban said he's all but convinced that Arizona's laws and constitutional provision against gays being able to marry are illegal.
Judge John Sedwick said his conclusion follows a ruling earlier this week by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down similar bans in Idaho and Nevada. The three-judge panel ruled unanimously those restrictions violate the rights of homosexuals who want the same rights to wed granted to heterosexuals.
Sedwick said it appears that decisions "controls the outcome'' of challenges here.
In essence, the judge gave attorneys for the state through this coming Thursday to convince him that's not true. If they cannot, the judge indicated he will grant a motion by challengers to summarily rule the Arizona restrictions illegal and reject a separate request by the state to dismiss the challenge.
That could come as early as Friday.
Jennifer Pizer, attorney with Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, who is handling one of the two challenges in Sedwick's court, said she sees his action as a good sign.
"The order ... confirms that Judge Sedwick is prepared to apply the 9th Circuit decision and vindicate the basic rights of lesbian and gay Arizonans and their families,'' she said.
Pizer pointed out that last month, it took the judge just hours after oral arguments to decide that Fred McQuire was entitled to be listed by Arizona authorities as the surviving spouse of George Martinez who he married in California.
"Judge Sedwick doesn't dawdle when he's been persuaded,'' she said.
Less clear is how quickly gays would be able to marry.
Sedwick could follow the precedent set by the 9th Circuit and make his ruling effective immediately. Efforts by other states to delay similar orders have been rebuffed by the U.S. Supreme Court, with the high court on Friday dissolving the temporary stay it had given Idaho officials from that appellate ruling, requiring that state now to also start letting gays wed.
Attorney General Tom Horne told Capitol Media Services his office is still reviewing that 9th Circuit ruling. Horne said he has not yet decided whether any of the arguments Arizona is making to preserve its restrictions are sufficiently different than what the appellate judges already have dismissed in the other cases.
More to the point, Horne said any decision of whether to appeal of Sedwick's ruling will depend on whether he believes Arizona would have more success defending its ban than any of the other states have had.
It may be difficult to prove that the arguments here are any different than have been made -- and rejected -- elsewhere.
In defending Arizona's restriction, lawyers said that defining marriage as solely between one man and one woman "furthers the state's compelling interest in connecting children to both their biological mother and their biological father.''
"The most reliable studies on alternative family structures show that, in general, the optimal childrearing environment is a home headed by a married biological mother and biological father,'' wrote Byron Babione. He is an attorney with the Christian public interest law firm Alliance Defending Freedom who Horne has allowed to take the lead in making Arizona's arguments.
"Moreover, every set of biological parents provides their children with a parent of each sex, and much social science indicates that gender-differentiated parenting is important for human development,'' Babione wrote.
But in the 9th Circuit ruling just this past Tuesday, appellate Judge Stephen Reinhardt said Idaho and Nevada were making the same arguments: that marriage laws "promote child welfare by encouraging optimal parenting.'' That included the idea that children raised by two parents of opposite sex are "most likely to thrive'' because mothers and fathers have "complementary approaches to parenting.''
Reinhardt said, however, there was nothing presented to the court supporting those contentions.
In the brief Sedwick said he will rule on, Babione also said it is "logical'' to assume that if gays can marry "that marriage between man-woman couples having or raising children will decrease.''
"As fewer man-woman couples marry and as more of their relationships ends prematurely, the already significant costs associated with unwed childbearing and divorce would further increase,'' Babione wrote.
Reinhardt, however, addressed that specific contention in the appellate court ruling by citing data from Massachusetts where gays have been able to marry since 2004. He said there was no decrease in marriage rates or increase in divorce rates in that time.
And the judge said allowing gays to marry actually might have the opposite result predicted by foes.
"It would seem that allowing couples who want to marry so badly that they have endured years of litigation to win the right to do so would reaffirm the state's endorsement, without reservation, of spousal and parental commitment,'' Reinhardt wrote.
Babione also contends that that if gays can wed "it is logical to project that fewer fathers will commit to their children's mothers and jointly raise their children.''
But Reinhardt, addressing the same arguments from Idaho and Nevada, said that comes down to a contention that a man who has a child with a woman, seeing a child raised by two women allowed to marry by the state, will somehow conclude that it is unnecessary for his own child to have a father.
"This proposition reflects a crass and callous view of parental love and the parental bond that is not worthy of a response,'' Reindardt sniffed. "We reject it out of hand.''
Along the same lines, Reinhardt brushed aside arguments by Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch'' Otter than that allowing same-sex marriage will lead to bad behavior by heterosexual couples.
"We seriously doubt that allowing committed same-sex couples to settle down in legally recognized marriages will drive opposite-sex couples to sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll,'' the judge wrote.
Finally, Babione said the people of Arizona, who approved a constitutional amendment in 2008, have a right to define marriage for their community. But Reinhardt, in the earlier ruling, said that does not trump the fact that, absent some legitimate purpose, "laws that treat people differently based on sexual orientation are unconstitutional.''
On a strictly legal question, Babione contends Arizona's restriction should be upheld if the state can show a rational basis for it. But the 9th Circuit, saying fundamental rights are at issue, already has said it examines these kind of laws on a "strict scrutiny'' basis which require states to show some compelling reason for them.
Q. Why are you running?
More than 13,000 Arizona women terminated their pregnancies last year by abortion, a slight increase from the year before.
Sixteen men were arrested last week at a Tempe hotel during a prostitution sting, according to Tempe police.
Gov. Jan Brewer said it may be time to consider extending the state's civil rights laws to gays.
“Our Father.” Only two words, and yet, if we learned to pray these words as Jesus instructed, our lives would be radically transformed. In Jesus’ day it was not uncommon to address God as Father; this wasn’t new. But Jesus made this way of speaking to and thinking about God, normative. “Father,” in Jesus’ view, should be the customary interpretation of God.
A Chandler man was arrested at his home and is accused of driving a 14-year-old boy from Massachusetts to Arizona and having sex with him, according to a police report.
A woman accused of killing her husband with a hammer has been sentenced to natural life in prison.
The Mesa Police Department has arrested four men who allegedly attempted to engage in sexual activity with minors.
“I come before you to stand behind you to tell you something I know nothing about.”
Despite being a non-fan of writer/director/actor/comedian, Seth MacFarlane (the “brains” behind such farcical fare as Family Guy and Ted), I still had high hopes for his latest project, A Million Ways to Die in the West. I love westerns and the genre is pretty easy pickins when it comes to laughs, but unfortunately MacFarlane scrapes most his material from the bottom of the comedic bucket.
My name is Paulo G. Peña. I would like to apologize in advance for any stutters I have; I have a slight fear of public speaking, and there are more people than I thought there was going to be, but I will try my best for the people.
A member of a Gilbert-based nonprofit group says a recent step taken by Gov. Jan Brewer to combat human trafficking is necessary to stem the tide of an escalating issue across the state.
My favorite scene from the surprisingly superb “Neighbors” happens to be one of the smallest. It features Zac Efron's Teddy watching his best friend Pete (Dave Franco) meet with potential employers in preparation for life after college. All Efron, who shortly before admits to possessing a less than impressive GPA, can do is stuff a lollipop in his mouth and walk away as his friend’s future comes to fruition.
An 18-year-old Arizona man accused of preying upon school students faces multiple counts of sexual assault, sexual conduct with a minor and other crimes, a prosecutor's office said Thursday.
Scarlett Johansson was given the best role of her career so far in Spike Jonze’s “Her,” a film in which she was off camera the entire running time. Where that performance solely revolved around her voice, Johansson’s performance in “Under the Skin” primarily revolves around her body. Johansson rarely speaks in this science fiction indie from Jonathan Glazer, conveying everything through nonverbal communication. Both of these stunning performances are true testaments to what a varied actress Miss Scarlett has evolved into. Her scene stealing work in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is also a nice bonus to her recent track record.