Amid #MeToo, states debate teaching consent to kids

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

In the era of #MeToo, lawmakers, educators and teens themselves are re-examining whether sex education needs to evolve to better address some of the issues in society today.

In defining consent, there’s a gap between the law, culture

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

In defining consent, the nation’s laws lag behind the culture at large, where there is a growing acceptance of an affirmative consent standard

Today in History

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Today in History

Temple memorial to Florida shooting victims is set ablaze

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Temple built as a memorial is to be burned to the ground as a symbol of healing.

Hundreds protest Alabama abortion ban: ‘My body, my choice!’

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Demonstrators chanted "my body, my choice!" and "vote them out!"

Billionaire philanthropist shocks Morehouse grads by promising to pay off loans

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Marcus Ingram/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — While most commencement speakers offer words of encouragement to college graduates headed into the cold and cruel work world, billionaire philanthropist Robert Smith left the class of 2019 at Morehouse University inspired and astonished by his pledge to “put a little fuel in your bus.”

During his keynote graduation address on Sunday at the historically-black, all-male Atlanta college, Smith, the chief executive officer of the San Francisco-based Vista Equity Partners, promised to pay off the student loans of the nearly 400 graduates, a pledge estimated to cost him $40 million.

“On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus,” Smith told the 396 graduates in a surprise announcement.

Pointing out the alumni seated in the audience, Smith said, “This is my class, 2019,” and challenged them to follow his lead.

“My family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans,” Smith said.

The pronouncement prompted a jaw-dropping standing ovation from the graduates and their families, and chants of “MVP! MVP!”

But Smith, ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the richest people in America with an estimated net worth of $4.4 billion, said he had one request from the beneficiaries of his generosity.

“Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward,” Smith said. “I want my class to look at these alumni, these beautiful Morehouse brothers, and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward.”

Smith, 56, who graduated from Cornell University and Columbia University Business School, received an honorary degree from Morehouse on Sunday. Back in January, he donated $1.5 million to Morehouse to create the Robert Frederick Smith Scholars Program and a park at the school.

Morehouse President David Anthony Thomas told reporters after the graduation that the average Morehouse student leaves school $30,000 or more in debt.

He said he was stunned by Smith’s announcement. He added that he had spoken to Smith on Saturday night about student debt being one of the biggest challenges graduates of Morehouse faced, but he had no idea what Smith was going to do a few hours later.

“To remove that burden allows them to start this phase of their lives with so much more potential than they ever had when they sat down this morning because they can now do anything they want to do and nothing because they have to pay that debt,” Thomas said.

He said that in his 30-plus years in academia, “I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“Three-hundred-and-ninety-six individuals will have their debt wiped out thanks to Robert F. Smith,” Thomas said.

Graduate John Jacob Burns of New Rochelle, New York, was “amazed” by Smith’s grant, and said he has $35,000 in student loans.

“Even graduating from Morehouse was a tremendous blessing,” Burns told ABC News. “To get all my debt paid off after that…that was like something I couldn’t even imagine.

“Throughout his speech, he talked about a commitment to black people and he obviously demonstrated it at the end of the speech,” Burns, who plans to go to graduate school at the University of Chicago on a full scholarship, said of Smith.

Burns’ father, Carney Burns, who graduated from Morehouse in 1988, said that initially he couldn’t believe what he heard Smith say, and had to ask people all around him if it was true.

“After each person confirmed to me, yes, in fact, what he said is true, it was elation, it was surprise, but most of all it was respect for someone who stepped forward and did such a meaningful act for so many people,” the senior Burns told ABC News.

Graduate Ernest Holmes of Sayreville, New Jersey, said he and his classmates were overwhelmed by Smith’s announcement.

“When he announced that he was going to pay off all our student debt, it was like a brief moment of disbelief and then immediately everyone went into tears, into hugging, into crying together,” Holmes told ABC News, adding that he has $10,000 in student loans.

Holmes, who earned degrees in computer science and mathematics, said he’s already accepted a software engineering job at Google and plans to fulfill Smith’s wish that he and his classmates return his benevolence by paying it forward. He said he plans to be part of the $100,000 club, Morehouse alumni who give back that amount to the school.

“So that’s one of my goals within the next 10 years,” Holmes said.

Smith’s pledge came a month after a Wall Street Journal report showed that the student debt crisis was hitting historically black colleges like Morehouse the hardest.

The report also found that graduates of historically black colleges failed to pay down even $1 of their original student loan balance in the first few years out of school, and that the amount of money parents borrowed in 2017-2018 to put their children through those schools had spiked 33 percent compared to 2000-2001, even when adjusted for inflation.

“This is your moment graduates. Between doubt and destiny is action. Between our community and the American dream is leadership. That’s your leadership. That’s your destiny. This doesn’t mean ignoring injustice. It means using your strength to right order,” Smith told the graduates.

“True wealth comes from contributing to the liberation of people and the liberation of communities we come from depends upon grit and determination, and the greatness inside of you.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Koepka survives Bethpage Black to win PGA Championship

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Brooks Koepka makes it look hard and survives to win PGA Championship for 2nd straight year

Columbine High shooting survivor dies from ‘the very disease he fought’: Family

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/wellesenterprises(NEW YORK) —  He survived the Columbine High School mass shooting, but a 20-year battle with drug addiction that followed, one that Austin Eubanks had publicly said started with pills given to ease his pain from bullet wounds suffered in the 1999 rampage, has now cost him his life, his family said.

Eubanks, 37, was found dead in his home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on Saturday morning. While an autopsy is being conducted to determine the cause of death, his family says they already know what killed him.

He “lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face,” his family said in a statement.

Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg told ABC affiliate station KMGH-TV in Denver that Eubanks died sometime late Friday or early Saturday. He said no evidence of foul play was found in his home.

Eubanks had seemed to be in recovery from his addiction, speaking to millions of people across the nation about the ravages of opioids and the “emotional pain” he said doctors were failing to treat.

“As you can imagine, we are beyond shocked and saddened,” his family’s statement reads.

On April 20, 1999, Eubanks was in the library at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, with his best friend, Corey DePooter, waiting for other classmates to go to lunch, when teenage gunmen Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, launched what at the time was the worst mass shooting in U.S. history to occur at a high school.

“A teacher ran through the same door that we had just entered, yelling for everybody to get under the tables, that somebody had a gun,” Eubanks recalled in a 2017 Tedx Mile High Talk. “I remember how I felt: I was confused, I was afraid, I felt sick and I was vulnerable. And just minutes later, I was playing dead underneath a table next to a pool of blood. I had just been shot and I witnessed my best friend murdered right in front of me as we were huddled together waiting for help to come.”

Eubanks, then 17, was shot in the hand and leg in the rampage that claimed the lives of 12 students and a teacher, and ended with the gunmen taking their own lives.

“I often think back to my pain that day,” he said in the Tedx Mile High talk. “And if I were to rate it on a pain scale, my physical pain would have been a 3 or a 4, and that was likely the response I offered when I was asked. But my emotional pain was an absolute 10. I was in agony beyond comprehension. But that was never asked, it was never talked about.”

Within an hour after fleeing the library, he was given sedatives in a hospital to relieve his pain.

“I was addicted before I even knew what was happening,” Eubanks said, adding that prior to the day of the attack he had never drank alcohol or smoked marijuana.

In a 2016 interview with KMGH, Eubanks said he didn’t seek help for his addiction until six years after the Columbine attack, and that it was another six years before he got sober.

“I was 29 years old before I found lasting sobriety and I think it took a level of maturity and willingness on my part to do what it takes and, for me, I had to change pretty much everything about my life,” he told KMGH.

In numerous speeches and interviews, Eubanks used his story of survival and recovery to inspire others nationwide.

“I think that it’s really important that — not as survivors of trauma but survivors of addiction — speak out and they share their story,” Eubanks said. “Just because you never know when your story is going to change the life of somebody else.”

Eubanks’ death follows the apparent suicides of two students who survived the Feb. 14, 2018, mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and the apparent suicide of a father whose young daughter was killed in the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on Dec. 14, 2012.

Calvin Desir, 16, and Sydney Aiello, 19, who both survived the Parkland shooting that killed 17 people, were found dead within a week of each other in March from apparent suicides, officials said.

On March 25, Jeremy Richman, 49, whose 6-year-old daughter, Avielle, was among the 26 children and educators killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook, apparently took his own life.

Richman appeared last year on ABC News’ “10% Happier” podcast, telling host Dan Harris that losing Avielle was “infinite heartbreak.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Hundreds protest Alabama’s abortion ban at state capitol

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Hundreds of demonstrators have marched to the Alabama Capitol to protest the state’s new abortion ban, chanting ‘my body, my choice!’ and ‘vote them out!’

Speaker stuns 2019 Morehouse grads, to pay off student debt

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Billionaire technology investor shocks 2019 graduating class at Morehouse College, announcing at their commencement that he will pay off their students loans worth up to $40 million

Texas church opens new sanctuary 18 months after massacre

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A South Texas church where a gunman in 2017 opened fire and killed more than two dozen congregants will unveil a new sanctuary and memorial room honoring the victims

Police find 8-year-old girl safe after being kidnapped; suspect in custody

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Fort Worth Police(FORT WORTH, TX) — Authorities have found an 8-year-old girl following a desperate overnight search after she was ripped away from her mother and pulled into a stranger’s car on Saturday afternoon.

The girl was safely recovered by Fort Worth, Texas, police just after 2 a.m. local time Sunday, according to police. She was found safe and a suspect in the kidnapping has been taken into custody.

Police thanked the media for publicizing the incident and concerned citizens for directing them to the location of the suspect’s vehicle.

Fort Worth Police Department Officer Buddy Calzada said at a press conference early Sunday that two citizens spotted the car at a local hotel and called police. Officers responded, found out what room he was staying in and breached the door.

The victim was found in good condition, but was taken to a local hospital to be checked out.

Late Sunday morning, police identified the suspect as Michael Webb, who is 51 years old. He was charged with aggravated kidnapping, which is a first-degree felony.

Police said Webb was not related to the mother or her daughter.

An Amber Alert was issued for the 8-year-old after she was kidnapped on Saturday afternoon, police said.

The girl and her mother were walking in their neighborhood at 6:38 p.m. local time when Webb allegedly man drove up and dragged her into his car, according to Fort Worth police.

Surveillance video from a nearby house shows her mother tumbling to the ground after trying to pull her daughter free from the vehicle. The car drove off and she immediately called 911 while running back to her house.

Her mother can be heard screaming, “Help me please, someone call the police, my daughter just got kidnapped.”

Police released a photo of the vehicle taken from a nearby camera. It is a gray, four-door sedan with alloy wheels and a paper tag.

Calzada said members of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Public Safety helped in the search.

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Speaker stuns Morehouse grads, to pay off $40M student debt

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Billionaire technology investor shocks 2019 graduating class at Morehouse College, announcing at their commencement that he will pay off their students loans worth $40 million

Man charged in abduction of 8-year-old Texas girl

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A man has been charged in the abduction of an 8-year-old girl who was snatched from a street in Fort Worth, Texas, as she walked with her mother

Life-threatening tornado outbreak, flash flooding possible Monday in Southern Plains

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The second day of an outbreak of severe weather Saturday brought 10 reported tornadoes to to the Plains, part of 38 reported tornadoes since Friday.

In addition to the tornadoes, widespread damaging winds have been reported, with gusts as high as 78 mph in parts of Oklahoma on Saturday.

There was a tornado watch in effect Sunday morning for parts of Louisiana and Mississippi until 10 a.m. Central time as a line of powerful storms with widespread damaging winds moved through the region. There were reports of a dangerous and large tornado in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana, early Sunday morning.

The severe risk will be less intense Sunday, but it will move east into some major population areas. However, attention will turn immediately to the next system, which will bring another round of severe weather.

On Monday, a new system will develop off the High Plains and slide east into the Southern Plains. The dry line will interact with an increasingly moist and unstable air mass that will develop across parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Unfortunately, that means very favorable conditions for violent severe weather in parts of this region.

There is a moderate risk for severe weather in parts of Oklahoma and Texas, including Oklahoma City, on Monday. There is a chance for violent, long-track tornadoes, destructive winds and very large hail in this region. Additionally, damaging winds, large hail and strong tornadoes will be possible across parts of the Southern Plains from Midland, Texas, to Wichita, Kansas.

In addition to the severe weather threat, torrential rain will likely cause flash flooding, especially in parts of this region already saturated from storm activity the last few months.

Locally, 4 to 6 inches of rain is possible in parts of the Southern Plains over the next few days. Torrential rain, causing flash flooding, combined with potentially extremely dangerous severe weather, will likely make this a life-threatening weather event in parts of this region.

The severe weather threat will move into parts of eastern Texas to western Illinois on Tuesday. However, the atmosphere will begin to lose some of the ingredients that are needed to have widespread intense severe weather.

Meanwhile, there is a separate severe weather threat on Sunday for parts of the Midwest and Northeast, including parts of the Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia metro areas.

Storms will likely fire up during the afternoon and persist into the evening hours. Damaging winds, large hail and brief tornadoes are possible.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Funeral set for Chicago woman strangled, baby cut from womb

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

The visitation, funeral and burial will be later this week for a Chicago woman who was strangled and her baby cut from her womb

Graduation speaker pledges to pay class of 2019 student debt

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A billionaire technology investor and philanthropist says his family is providing grants to wipe out the student debt of the entire 2019 class at Morehouse College

Pot ‘legalization 2.0’: Social equity becomes a key question

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

‘Marijuana legalization 2.0’: Social equity becomes a key question as more US states debate allowing pot

A look at efforts to make legal pot foster social justice

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A look at efforts around U.S. to make marijuana legalization an avenue for promoting racial and economic equity

Grief lingers in Virginia town that paid high price on D-Day

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

The 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy has powerful significance for the small town of Bedford, Virginia

3 officers, 1 suspect recovering after shooting in Detroit

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Police chief says 3 Detroit officers, 1 man recovering following shooting on city’s west side; shooter in critical condition

Defunct steelmaker’s 21-story headquarters imploded

Posted on: May 19th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Sixteen thousand tons of Bethlehem Steel collapsed in a matter of seconds as a demolition crew imploded Martin Tower, the defunct steelmaker’s former world headquarters

Defunct steelmaker’s 21-story headquarters to be imploded

Posted on: May 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Defunct Bethlehem Steel’s 21-story headquarters to be imploded

Texas church opens new sanctuary after massacre

Posted on: May 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A South Texas church where a gunman in 2017 opened fire and killed more than two dozen congregants will unveil a new sanctuary and memorial room honoring the victims

Harrowing new details about murder of pregnant Chicago teen revealed as suspects appear in court

Posted on: May 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Marilyn Nieves(CHICAGO) — Grim new details have emerged about the murder of a pregnant teenager whose baby was cut from her womb, as prosecutors described how the teen was lured by a Facebook ad for free baby clothes and her accused killer claimed the baby as her own.

“Words really cannot express how disgusting and thoroughly disturbing these allegations are,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said at a news conference.

Marlen Ochoa-Lopez, 19, was 9 months pregnant when she was killed and she is survived by a 3-year-old child. Her baby is in grave condition at a hospital with no brain activity, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors in Chicago have charged Clarisa Figueroa, 46, and her daughter Desiree Figueroa, 24, with the murder. At the news conference, they detailed what they say happened in excruciating detail.

They allege that Clarisa Figueroa posted an offer of free baby clothes on a Facebook page called “Help a Mother Out,” which they described as a group that offers access to baby items for “families in need,” and that Ochoa-Lopez responded to the post and arranged to meet Figueroa at her Chicago-area home.

Desiree Figueroa is alleged to have distracted Ochoa-Lopez with a photo album of Clarisa Figueroa’s dead adult son so that Clarisa Figueroa could strangle the teen with a cable.

At one point, Ochoa-Lopez was able to slip her fingers between her neck and the cable, keeping herself from being strangled, and, according to Murphy, this prompted the elder Figueroa to yell at her daughter, “you’re not doing your f—— job!”

“Defendant Desiree then stepped up and began to peel the victim’s fingers from the cable one by one,” Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy told reporters.

Clarisa and Desiree Figueroa have been charged with murder, while Clarisa Figueroa’s 40-year-old boyfriend Piotr Bobak has been charged with helping to cover up the alleged crime. All three appeared in Cook County Court Friday and were denied release on bail.

Julie Contreras, the spokeswoman for Ochoa-Lopez’s family, said that the family is asking for “justice for Marlen.”

“Today is a sad day. Today is a day of anguish that this family is living through. A nightmare, a horror film,” Contreras told reporters at court.

Murphy said that following Ochoa-Lopez’s murder, Clarisa Figueroa brought the baby to a nearby hospital, where it was admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit. Clarisa Figueroa then allegedly formed a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise money for the baby, who she was passing off as her own.

Bobak shared a link to the fundraiser on his Facebook page, Murphy said.

When police arrived at Figueroa’s house on May 14 to execute a search warrant, police reportedly saw Bobak cleaning a rug with bleach.

Police later found Ochoa-Lopez’s body in a trash can on the property. Investigators believe the murder took place on April 23.

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Columbine school shooting survivor found dead in home

Posted on: May 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

School shooting survivor later became an advocate for fighting addiction.

Report: 2 New Mexico counties among top oil producers

Posted on: May 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Federal numbers say two New Mexico counties remain among the top oil-producing counties in the U.S.

Former homeless student overcomes extraordinary odds to graduate from Georgetown University

Posted on: May 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) – Rashema Melson is no stranger to adversity. The 23-year-old, who had lived for three years in a Washington, D.C. shelter, made headlines as the valedictorian of Anacostia High School’s Class of 2014 with a full scholarship to Georgetown University.

On Saturday, Melson graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in justice and peace studies — the first person in her family to graduate from college. Her next steps are a job at a service organization in D.C. and law school, she told ABC affiliate WJLA-TV.

Melson spoke with ABC News last week, sharing her path to graduation and some of the hardships she endured throughout her life.

She grew up in southeast D.C., bouncing between public housing and homelessness, living in the infamous D.C. General Family Shelter — the notoriously-troubled mega-shelter which closed last October.

She even, at one point, lived in an abandoned house. Melson said she used to wake up to the sting of bed bug bites, constantly changed schools and ate food straight from the can because there were no plates.

“My life has always been rough,” Melson told ABC News. “Homeless or not, in Southeast, it’s rough, regardless,” she explained. “The circumstances are just rough due to the fact that we don’t have the tools or resources as everyone else.”

Reading and education helped Melson focus and imagine a different life for herself, and the support of her friends motivated her to finish her studies. She left Georgetown after her freshman year to get married, and when the marriage didn’t work out, it was her friends who successfully urged her to return to Georgetown and complete her degree.

To people going through difficult situations, her advice is that things always get better in time.

“Just know that your blessing is there waiting for you, you just have to go get it,” she said.

Melson told ABC News that she hopes someday that Americans will be able to entertain a more expansive view of homelessness.

“How do you know that I am homeless? Because, am I supposed to look dirty? Am I supposed to stink? What does that mean?” she wondered aloud.

“It’s not offensive when people do it but you really can’t tell anything from looking at a person.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

The Latest: NWS confirms EF2 tornado in southern Oklahoma

Posted on: May 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

Authorities have confirmed a tornado with winds up to 130 mph touched down in southern Oklahoma

North Carolina student drowns in lake near school

Posted on: May 18th, 2019 by ABC News No Comments

A North Carolina high school student has drowned in a lake across the street from his school