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Professor under fire for posting racist and sexist tweets will not be fired: Indiana University

iStock(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) -- Indiana University has announced that it will offer alternative courses and "double-blind grading" in an effort to quell students' concerns amid reports that a business school professor repeatedly used his social media accounts to espouse "racist, sexist and homophobic views."

Lauren Robel, the university's executive vice president and provost, said in a scathing statement posted on the school's website Wednesday that the views expressed online by tenured professor Eric Rasmusen, who teaches in the Kelley School of Business, were "stunningly ignorant, more consistent with someone who lived in the 18th century than the 21st.”

In her statement, Robel said Rasmusen shared bigoted views "for many years" via his private social media accounts, including that women don't belong in the workplace, that gay men shouldn't be in the classroom because they are promiscuous and that black students are academically inferior to others. She said, however, that he would not be fired, citing his First Amendment rights.

On Nov. 7, a Twitter account belonging to Rasmusen linked to an article titled "Are Women Destroying Academia? Probably." With the article link, the account tweeted a line from the piece, saying "geniuses are overwhelmingly male because they combine outlier high IQ with moderately low Agreeableness and moderately low Conscientiousness."

Robel said that this post "slurring women" and recent others were then "picked up by a person with a heavily followed Twitter account" and shared on social media, sparking a firestorm on campus among the students, staff and faculty.

"Various officials at Indiana University have been inundated in the last few days with demands that he be fired. We cannot, nor would we, fire Professor Rasmusen for his posts as a private citizen, as vile and stupid as they are, because the First Amendment of the United States Constitution forbids us to do so," she said. "All of us are free to condemn views that we find reprehensible, and to do so as vehemently and publicly as Professor Rasmusen expresses his views. ... I condemn, in the strongest terms, Professor Rasmusen’s views on race, gender and sexuality, and I think others should condemn them. But my strong disagreement with his views -- indeed, the fact that I find them loathsome -- is not a reason for Indiana University to violate the Constitution of the United States."

She assured students that they would not be forced to take Rasmusen's classes and that they would be provided alternatives. According to the school's website, Rasmusen, who has taught at the business school since 1992, is a professor of business economics and public policy as well as an adjunct professor of economics.

Robel said that Rasmusen would also use "double-blind grading on assignments," meaning the student would not be identified, and that if double-blind grading could be not be used, the Kelley School would have another faculty member "ensure that the grades are not subject to Professor Rasmusen’s prejudices."

"If other steps are needed to protect our students or colleagues from bigoted actions, Indiana University will take them," she said.

In an email to students and faculty of the business school Wednesday, Dean Idie Kesner echoed Robel's sentiments, calling the remarks and beliefs tweeted by Rasmusen "reprehensible," "hurtful" and "abhorrent."

"While his stated opinions are at odds with our individual values and beliefs and those of our institution, we cannot prohibit his freedom of expression in his private social media accounts. This does not mean that we are powerless to take actions that prevent bias against students, other faculty members or staff," Kesner said. "Indiana University and the Kelley School are committed to our ethical responsibility to provide a workplace free from discrimination and harassment. ... We will take all necessary steps to ensure that students will not be harmed by the biases that could underlie the judgment of this professor."

The dean also assured students that the business school would review Rasmusen's courses "for the influence of bias."

On Wednesday, Rasmusen accused the university of "encouraging" bias in a comment to the university newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student.

"To show students that they need not fear bias in grading, the university is condemning a dissident professor, requiring him to use blind grading and allowing students to opt-out of his class," Rasmusen said, according to the newspaper. "Having seen the university crack down on the one outspoken conservative professor, students will feel more comfortable in expressing their views while at Indiana University. That is, they will know what to expect if they speak freely in the classes of the 999 liberal professors. Of course, IU is not discouraging bias, but encouraging it, even requiring it, as a condition of teaching. There are views you're not supposed to express, even outside of class, and heaven help the student whose professor checks his twitter account before issuing grades."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Former Boston College student charged in boyfriend's suicide to be arraigned

iStock (BOSTON) -- A former Boston College student charged with involuntary manslaughter in connection with her boyfriend's suicide will be arraigned Friday in a Boston court, prosecutors said.

The arraignment would be Inyoung You's first court appearance since she was charged in the death of her boyfriend, Alexander Urtula.

You, 21, returned to South Korea, where she's from, sometime after his death.

Prosecutors have alleged that she was "physically, verbally and psychologically abusive" toward Urtula during their 18-month "tumultuous" relationship.

Prosecutors said they were hopeful You would return on her own accord, but added that they'd attempt to extradite her if she did not.

The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office did not respond to ABC News when asked whether You was extradited or returned voluntarily.

Her arraignment is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at Suffolk Superior Court, said District Attorney Rachael Rollins.

You allegedly was present when Urtula jumped to his death from the roof of a parking garage in Roxbury on May 20 -- the same day he was set to walk in his Boston College graduation ceremony, Rollins said previously.

A spokesman for the Urtula family said they're grateful for the work of the district attorney's office.

"Since losing Alexander in May, the Urtula family and everyone who loved Alex has been devastated by his loss," the spokesman, David Guarino, said in a statement to ABC News. "Not a minute of any day goes by without those who loved Alex grieving and continually feeling the sharp pain of his passing all over again."

The public relations firm representing You did not immediately respond to ABC News for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Suspect in disappearance of Aniah Blanchard ordered to take DNA test

iStock(AUBURN, Ala.) -- The suspect charged with kidnapping 19-year-old Aniah Blanchard, the stepdaughter of UFC heavyweight fighter Walt Harris, has been ordered by a judge to take a DNA test, according to reports.

Blanchard was last seen at a convenience store in Auburn, Alabama, on Oct. 23. Surveillance video from inside the convenience store showed both Yazeed and Blanchrad inside at the same time, and a witness outside the store said he saw Yazeed force her into her car, according to an arrest affidavit.

The witness who saw Blanchard being forced into her car told police that he cried after not immediately telling police about the encounter, saying his girlfriend told him not to get involved, Mixon said.

Yazeed was arrested on Nov. 7 in Escambia County, Florida, and was extradited back to Alabama. He is charged with kidnapping in the first degree, a designation that includes the intent to inflict physical injury.

When he was arrested in Pensacola, Yazeed allegedly admitted to authorities that it was him in the surveillance video but requested legal counsel after, prosecutors said in court, ABC Birmingham affiliate WBMA-TV reported.

It was also revealed in court that a man had driven Yazeed from Montgomery to Pensacola, according to the station.

Blanchard's vehicle, a black 2017 Honda CRV, was found on Oct. 25 near an apartment complex in Montgomery, Alabama, about 50 miles away from the convenience store. She was reported missing by her family the day before.

Blood evidence "indicative of someone suffering a life-threatening injury" was found on the passenger side of vehicle, according to the arrest affidavit. The blood was confirmed to be Blanchard's.

At the time of Yazeed's arrest, he was out of jail on $60,000 bond. Bush denied a request from Yazeed's defense attorney to grant Yazeed bail as well as a request to have prosecutors disclose the identity of the witness.

Yazeed has 26 prior arrest, prosecutors said in court, according to WBMA-TV.

Yazeed's attorney, Elijah Beaver, declined to comment on the case to ABC News, citing a gag order imposed by the court.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Manhunt underway for boyfriend accused of killing Connecticut nightclub owner

iStock(WATERBURY, Conn.) -- A manhunt is underway for the boyfriend of a beloved Waterbury, Connecticut, nightclub owner whose body was discovered in a wooded area almost 10 miles away from her business and home, police said.

Eight days after Janet Avalo-Alvarez was last seen by her friends, family and co-workers on Nov. 12, investigators from the Waterbury Police Department confirmed the "worst nightmare, fears of the family, friends," Lt. David Silverio said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Authorities were lead to an area near Wolcott Road and Route 69 in Wolcott, Connecticut, on Tuesday. They found a body and turned it over to the city's medical examiner.

An autopsy revealed the body was Avalo-Alvarez's and that she had been killed by "neck compression," Silverio said.

"We are going through a lot of pain," Grisela Guirreio, a family friend, said to ABC Hartford, Connecticut, affiliate WTNH-TV at a candlelight vigil Wednesday evening.

Police said Avalo-Alvarez, 26, owner of the La Guakara Taina Bar on East Main Street, worried her family with "unusual" behavior on Nov. 13 when she left her car parked behind the club, abruptly stopped communicating with her loved ones and wasn't posting on social media.

During the search for Avalo-Alvarez, her live-in boyfriend and business partner Alfredo Esmerli Peguero-Gomez fled the state, police said. His car was found Nov. 15 in a parking lot at Newark International Airport in New Jersey, police said in a Nov. 18 statement.

Peguero-Gomez is a dual citizen of the United States and Dominican Republic.

"Mr. Alfredo Peguero-Gomez is a suspect in the homicide of Ms. Janet Avalo-Alvarez. It is an open an active investigation," Silverio said in an email to ABC News on Thursday.

Phone calls made by ABC News to Peguero-Gomez were not successful.

The couple had no history of domestic incidents, but their relationship was described by friends and co-workers as "being up and down, and they argued frequently about personal matters and business issues," Silverio said.

"The detectives are working with U.S. Marshals Service to locate Mr. Peguero-Gomez," Silverio said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Former Houston officers arrested on federal charges connected to botched drug raid that killed 2

iStock(HOUSTON) - Two former Houston police officers involved in a botched drug raid that killed a married couple earlier this year have been arrested on federal charges, according to authorities.

The neighbor who called 911 has been arrested as well, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo announced during a news conference Wednesday.

On Jan. 28, 58-year-old Rhogena Nicholas, her husband, 59-year-old Dennis Tuttle, and a pit bull in the home were shot and killed on Harding Street in southeast Houston when police carried out a search warrant on the home. Four police officers were also shot and wounded in the raid.

A subsequent investigation later revealed that one of the narcotics officers who was shot, 54-year-old Gerald Goines, allegedly lied to obtain a no-knock warrant for the raid. The investigation also claimed that the confidential informant who Goines said conducted two drug purchases of black tar heroin at the home never went to the house, according to an affidavit filed in Harris County District Court in February.

Goines was federally charged with deprivation of rights under color of law, destruction, alteration or falsification of records in federal investigations and tampering with a witness, victim or informant.

He was previously charged with two counts of murder in the couple's deaths by the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

In the wake of the botched raid, the police department ended the practice of no-knock warrants and opened up 1,400 criminal cases associated with Goines to review.

Another former Houston police officer, Steven Bryant, was also federally charged with destruction, alteration or falsification of records. He was previously charged in Harris County with tampering with a government record under state law.

Prosecutors claim Bryant submitted a document containing false information that drugs were found in the home two days after the raid happened, ABC Houston station KTRK-TV reported, citing court documents. Prosecutors allege that Bryant retrieved heroin from Goines' car on Jan. 30 and wrote that the drugs were evidence found during the raid, according to the station.

Bryant allegedly later admitted the "mistake" to investigators and stated that he never participated in the narcotics investigation at the home, KTRK-TV reported, per the court documents.

The woman who lived across the street from the couple, 53-year-old Patricia Garcia, has also been arrested and federally charged with providing false information for allegedly making several fake 911 calls, Acevedo said. Police had previously stated that the raid stemmed from numerous complaints from neighbors.

All three were arrested Wednesday by the FBI and were being held at the FBI's Houston field office, Acevedo said.

Attorneys for Goines, Bryant and Garcia did not immediately return ABC News' request for comment.

Goines' attorney, Nicole DeBorde, told KTRK-TV she believes he was overcharged.

"I firmly believe that Mr. Goines is innocent of any crime and we look forward to defending this case vigorously in court," DeBorde told the station.

Bryant's attorney, Andy Drumheller, told KTRK-TV his client is facing a "tough situation," but said Bryant "was not involved in drafting the search warrant, never entered the home and never fired a weapon."

Friends of the victims told KTRK-TV they were not the hardcore heroin dealers they were described to be in the falsified search warrants.

The attorney representing the Nicholas family, Michael Patrick Doyle, said in a statement that the family hopes justice "will be expedited by the FBI's actions."

"The investigation of the rogue Harding Street raid and the Houston Police Department must continue as far and wide as necessary," Doyle said. "If city officials continue to refuse to disclose what happened in these HPD killings, we hope federal authorities will do so. The federal indictments confirm the breadth and depth of the lies told to justify the raid before and after the death of Rhogena Nicholas."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Syracuse University students call for chancellor to resign amid racist incidents

DebraMillet/iStock(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- A large group of students walked out of a forum Syracuse University's chancellor held in response to a recent number of reported racist incidents across the campus.

At the forum Wednesday, the group of students presented Chancellor Kent Syverud with a list of recommendations pertaining to school safety. When the chancellor would only sign off on 16 of the 19 recommendations, the students walked out and went on to protest in front of Syverud's home, reported ABC News' Syracuse affiliate, WSYR.

"I signed the recommendations presented by international students and the students peacefully protesting. Of the 19 recommendations made by student protestors, I have agreed to 16 as written; I have suggested minor revisions to the other three for them to consider," the chancellor said in a statement Thursday.

Student group Not Again SU is calling for the resignations of Syverud as well as the head of Syracuse University's Department of Public Safety, the senior vice president for enrollment and student experience, and the associate chief with law enforcement and community policing, according to WYSR's report.

Student recommendations to the chancellor included requiring mandatory diversity training for the school's faculty and staff, no consequences for students participating in sit-ins and the development of "multicultural offices," according to a memo obtained by ABC News.

The chancellor pushed back on a recommendation that he create "an open forum for students to share their student experiences" and amended the recommendation to indicate that he would "strongly urge" the board of trustees to create the forum instead.

In another recommendation, students requested the implementation of a "housing portal" as an "option in the roommate selection process to allow future residents to choose a roommate based on mutual interests and identities." The chancellor signed off on the recommendation but crossed out the word "identities."

A recommendation to "make diversity training status of tenured professors readily available through this public website," was also amended by the chancellor with "up to the extent permitted by law."

Tensions have surged across the campus in the wake of several reported racist incidents. Last week, an African American female student reported she was verbally assaulted with a racial epitaph.

In another on-campus incident, a swastika was found drawn into the snow and racist graffiti was found inside a residence hall earlier this month. The latest reported incident was the circulation of what was considered a white supremacist document via a smartphone app – that incident is currently being investigated as a possible hoax.

Four Syracuse University students have been suspended so far as a result of investigations.

"I can sign, and will sign to show the 98% that I can agree with and I do agree with and have the power to agree with and I will do that as promptly as a I can," Syverud said after many of the students walked out, reported WYSR.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Two airmen killed during training mission mishap at Oklahoma base

Michael Fitzsimmons/iStock(ENID, Okla.) -- Two U.S. airmen were killed while performing a training mission at Vance Air Force Base in Oklahoma, the Air Force said on Thursday.

According to a statement from the base, two Air Force T-38 Talons, which are training aircraft, were involved in a mishap at approximately 9:10 a.m. local time.

There were two individuals aboard each aircraft, the Air Force said. It was not immediately clear which aircraft belonged to the two airmen killed in Thursday's crash, but aerial footage obtained by ABC affiliate KOCO showed one aircraft with hatches raised and the second overturned.

BREAKING | AIRCRAFT ‘MISHAP’ AT VANCE AFB: Two aircraft are involved in what authorities are calling a “mishap” at Vance Air Force Base in Enid, Oklahoma. Here’s what we know at this time: https://t.co/b9fn3TUAqs #KOCO5 #BreakingNews https://t.co/uBP8TfLnrP

— KOCO-5 Oklahoma City (@koconews) November 21, 2019

"Vance emergency response personnel are on scene to treat casualties and assist in recovery efforts," the base statement said.

The names of individuals killed will be withheld pending next of kin notification.

A safety investigation is underway, according to the Air Force.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

State pursuing death penalty against suspected serial killer indicted on 3 more murder charges

Palm Beach County Sheriffs Office(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) -- Florida prosecutors on Thursday said they're pursing the death penalty against a suspected serial killer who has been indicted for first-degree murder in three additional cases.

Authorities also revealed that an alleged survivor has come forward.

The suspected serial killer, Robert Hayes, was arrested in September, more than a decade after his alleged crimes. He was charged in September for the 2006 slaying of 35-year-old Rachael Bey in Palm Beach County. He pleaded not guilty.

In Volusia County, a grand jury has issued three indictments against Hayes, all first-degree murder with a firearm, for the Daytona Beach area slayings of three other women: Laquetta Gunther, Julie Green and Iwana Patton, State Attorney R.J. Larizza said at a news conference on Thursday.

Gunther was killed on Dec. 26, 2005; Green was killed less than a month later, on Jan. 14; and Patton on Feb. 24, 2006. All three were shot in the head and found naked and facedown on the ground, authorities said.

Two of the three victims were linked by forensic evidence, while two were linked by DNA, Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri said in September. DNA recovered from Bey's body also matched the mystery suspect in Gunther's and Green's killings.

But Hayes was not identified as a suspect until genetic genealogy was used in 2019.

Genetic genealogy compares unknown DNA evidence from a crime scene to public genetic databases to identify suspects through their family members, who voluntarily uploaded their DNA to those databases.

Genetic genealogy has been called a "game-changer" in the effort to crack cold cases. Since the arrest of the suspected "Golden State Killer" in April 2018, about 100 suspects have been identified through the technology, according to genealogy expert CeCe Moore.

Moore, who worked on the Hayes case, has appeared as an expert in ABC News "20/20" episodes and has been quoted in ABCNews.com articles.

Once genetic genealogy identified Hayes as a possible suspect, investigators collected a cigarette he had discarded, according to a probable cause affidavit. The DNA from the cigarette matched the DNA from Bey's killing and from one of the Daytona Beach killings, according to court documents.

Authorities are also now speaking with a woman who allegedly survived an attack by Hayes during that same time frame. The woman, who was not named by authorities, came forward after seeing media coverage of Hayes' arrest in September, Larizza said Thursday.

.@SAO7FL says it received 3 murder indictments against Daytona Beach suspected serial killer, Robert Hayes. It will seek the death penalty. State attorney says a survivor from 2004-2005 has also come forward pic.twitter.com/um4jMkyYOf

— Mike Springer WFTV (@mspringerwftv) November 21, 2019

The survivor is now telling prosecutors "exactly what he did and how he did it," Volusia County Sheriff Michael Chitwood said at the news conference.

That alleged attack was not reported to law enforcement at the time, Larizza said. A witness has also been interviewed, Larizza said.

Hayes' public defender did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

How to watch over 400 meteors shoot through the sky for an hour Thursday night

shaunl/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The night sky could light up with hundreds of shooting stars for an hour on Thursday thanks to a spectacular celestial event.

The alpha Monocerotid meteor shower is set to be at its peak late Thursday night into the early hours Friday morning with up to 400 meteors per hour, according to the NASA AMES Research Center.

This rare meteor shower gets it's name from the Monoceros constellation which sits southwest of Orion, according to ABC News Baltimore affiliate WMAR.

Two meteor scientists Peter Jenniskens and Esko Lyytinenen predicted the latest outburst.

Though the alpha Monocerotids are active every year around the same date in November, the last predicted major activity was documented in 1995.

People who hope to catch a glimpse of the predicted 30-minute long light show will need to look just above the horizon from east to southeast to see the outburst of meteors above.

In order to ensure an optimal view, WMAR suggested star gazers use a telescope or a good pair of binoculars and set up around around 11:15 p.m. to 11:20 p.m. since the peak of the meteor shower is set for around 11:50 p.m.

Setting up far enough from bright ambient city lights in a spot that is a bit elevated will also help ensure catching a glimpse of the shower with maximum visibility on the low eastern horizon.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Active weather patterns begin as US heads into holiday week

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The first major winter storm is moving through the Southwest with more than 4 inches of rain falling in San Diego County in southern California.

Las Vegas had a daily record rainfall of 0.5 inches which is the most rain in a single November day since 2013.

Snow totals so far are near a half foot from California to Arizona and it’s still snowing.

Storm alerts continue for 14 states Thursday morning from California to Maine as a complex storm system moves through the U.S. from coast to coast.

On Thursday morning, this double low system stretches from the Rockies to the Great Lakes bringing heavy snow and rain along with it.

Heavy snow and rain is falling Thursday morning in parts of the Upper Midwest, where some areas are seeing more than half a foot of fresh powder.

Chicago is seeing heavy rain Thursday morning and northern Minnesota is seeing heavy snow. This area of rain and snow should move into the New England by Thursday night and will bring snow and icy mix to Maine.

For the rest of Thursday, heavy snow will continue in the Rockies, especially in the Colorado Rockies with snow even flying in Denver. Denver should not see much snow, but up to 2 feet of accumulation is possible in the mountains.

By the Friday evening commute, or if you are beginning your holiday travel, the Northeast will clear out but the southern part of that western storm will redevelop along the Gulf Coast bringing heavy rain to the southern states.

The southern storm will move up the East Coast Saturday night and will bring heavy rain from Washington, D.C. to New York City and Boston and heavy snow to northern New England.

Locally, 3 inches of rain possible in the South and up to 2 inches of rain is possible in the Northeast.

Snow could be heavy in northern New England Sunday morning and, locally, more than a half foot is possible.

This unsettled stormy pattern will continue into the holiday week next week.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

One officer killed, another wounded while responding to home invasion

kali9/iStock(DETROIT) -- A Detroit police officer was killed and another was wounded after responding to a home where a man apparently broke in looking to confront his girlfriend.

The officers arrived at the home invasion on the city's west side Wednesday evening when the suspect opened fire with a high-powered rifle, authorities said. The residents of the home ran out to meet police and informed them the man inside was armed, police said.

Police entered the home and cleared the second floor before they came under fire from the ground floor.

One officer, an 18-year veteran of the force, died after sustaining a gunshot wound to the neck. The other officer, a three-year veteran, was being treated for a single gunshot wound to the leg. He was listed in serious condition as of late Wednesday.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the officer's death marked "a tragic day for the Detroit police family."

"Unfortunately, our 18-year veteran succumbed to his injuries. He passed," Craig told reporters Wednesday night. "Our hearts and prayers go out to his family, certainly, our community and all the officers in the Detroit Police Department. He really is a hero. He fought a good fight."

Investigators said one of the officers managed to return gunfire, striking the suspect. The suspect was able to flee the scene, but officers apprehended him nearby.

Craig said the suspect had a "lengthy criminal history," including previous weapons charges. He said the suspect was recently released from parole.

The details of the initial incident are still unclear, but investigators say it appears to have been a domestic situation.

"At this point, we don't believe there's any additional suspects. What we do believe is that this was a part of a domestic situation," Craig said. "Preliminarily, I can say that he was looking for his girlfriend. He was angry. We're not certain if that was her residence, but that's what we know right now in terms of why he was there and why he was acting in a threatening manner."

The names of the officers and suspect have not been released.

The death is the 41st officer to be intentionally shot and killed in the line of duty in 2019, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. They are the first member of the Detroit Police Department to die in a shooting since Glenn Anthony Doss on Jan. 28, 2018.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Hidden camera found in boy's bathroom at elementary school, food worker arrested

Stratol/iStock(EL CAMPO, Texas) -- A food worker at a Texas elementary school has been arrested after allegedly placing a small hidden camera inside a boy’s bathroom.

Scott Gelardi, a 42-year-old contract Aramark food worker at Northside Elementary School in El Campo, Texas, was arrested as he arrived to work on Tuesday morning after a police investigation using school video surveillance footage identified Gelardi as the suspect.

The El Campo Independent School District said that maintenance workers found the hidden camera while carrying out routine maintenance to the building and, according to ABC News’ Houston station KTRK-TV, the camera allegedly contained video and photos of unknown students in the bathroom.

“El Campo Independent School District (ECISD) is saddened, disturbed, and angered by the alleged actions of this individual. We thank and applaud the El Campo Police Department for its work related to this incident,” the ECISD said in a press release.

According to KTRK, investigators have also searched the suspect's apartment in Rosenberg, Texas.

None of the children involved have been identified and there is no evidence that Gelardi had any physical contact with the children. Additionally, Northside Elementary School conducted an extensive search on all of the other bathrooms and no other devices were discovered.

According to El Campo Police Department, Gelardi has since been charged with possession of child pornography, a third-degree felony, and possession of child pornography with the intent to promote, a second-degree felony.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Security guard indicted for choking, punching 11-year-old shoplifter

AndreyPopov/iStock(BOSTON) -- A security guard at a clothing store in Boston has been indicted for choking and punching an 11-year-old girl who was shoplifting.

A grand jury returned indictments on Tuesday charging 36-year-old Mohammad Khan of Cambridge, Massachusetts, and his New Jersey-based employer, Securitas Security Services, with one count each of assault and battery on a child under 14 as well as civil rights violations, according to a press release from the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office.

The alleged incident happened on June 9 at a Primark store on Summer Street in downtown Boston. Khan, a special police officer, is accused of using "excessive and unreasonable force" to detain the girl, who had admitted taking an estimated $175 worth of clothing. He allegedly grabbed the girl, pulled her back into the store and pushed her into a corner, blocking the view of the CCTV security camera. He then allegedly grabbed her by the head and neck and threw her to the ground, punched her in the face while straddling her as she was on the floor over the course of more than seven minutes, according to the district attorney's office.

Khan allegedly reengaged in struggling with the girl even after being separated from her by police officers. Coworkers and onlookers had also urged him to stop.

The alleged incident was captured in part on video by a witness and later shared on social media.

Khan was under explicit orders not to touch any customer, including suspected shoplifters. A lengthy investigation found that he had been reprimanded at least four times previously for using more force than permitted by his employer and for violating protocol, according to the district attorney's office.

“The Boston Police were exemplary in deescalating the situation when they arrived, and the other Securitas employees in the store behaved appropriately during the encounter,’’ Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins said in a statement Wednesday. “Being a special police officer allows someone the power of arrest, but with that power comes great responsibility. I applaud the vast majority of Boston Police officers and SPOs who behave professionally and with restraint.’’

Khan is scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 17 in Suffolk County Superior Court. It's unclear whether he has obtained a lawyer.

ABC News has reached out to Securitas for comment.

Massachusetts state law mandates that the girl involved could not be charged with shoplifting, due to her age.

The girl's mother, Sherrice Williams, told Boston ABC affiliate WCVB-TV that the encounter left her daughter bruised, swollen and also emotionally scarred.

“She does counseling now,” Williams said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Washington State University student died hours before classmates called 911, coroner says

iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A Washington State University student died four hours before fellow fraternity members first called 911 to report that he was unresponsive, investigators revealed Wednesday.

Sam Martinez, a 19-year-old freshman, died at the Alpha Tau Omega house in Pullman, Washington, at about 4:30 a.m. on Nov. 12, according to Whitman County Coroner Annie Pillers. Police said classmates called 911 at around 8:30 a.m., saying Martinez was "unconscious and not breathing."

Fellow fraternity members had attempted to perform CPR on the young man, but medics ultimately pronounced him dead at the scene, according to the Pullman Police Department.

The department said alcohol may have played a role in the student’s death, but the Whitman County Coroner's Office, which is investigating the case, has yet to make an official determination on the cause and manner of his death. The office said it will take at least two months to complete the investigation.

At this time, investigators don't believe the incident meets the definition of hazing, police said.

Washington State University described the student's death as "heartbreaking" in a statement last week. School counselors and student affairs staff have met with "those most closely affected by this tragic loss," the university said.

All fraternities and sororities on campus have self-imposed an immediate suspension of social events for the rest of the semester amid the ongoing investigation.

"Washington State University will be working with the Pullman Police Department and the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity in the coming days to investigate the circumstances surrounding this death," the school said in a statement. "Today, however, we are focused on supporting the student’s family and our University community."

The Alpha Tau Omega National Fraternity, headquartered in Indianapolis, released a brief statement last week, saying in part, "Alpha Tau Omega mourns the death of a member who passed away overnight. The chapter is working with local officials and university administrators in their investigation."

Martinez's death came just two days after a San Diego State University freshman, Dylan Hernandez, died after leaving a fraternity gathering. Hernandez fell off a bunk bed following an event at the Phi Gamma Delta house on campus. All 14 fraternities at the school were suspended in the wake of his death.

Separately, an Arizona State University student, Ivan Aguirre, was found dead Nov. 11 at the Greek Leadership Village, but school officials have not released details about the circumstances of his death.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

'Bigotry in our midst': 4 Syracuse students suspended after racist incidents

iStock(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- Four Syracuse University students have been suspended in the wake of approximately a dozen racially charged incidents reported recently at the school.

Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud said Wednesday night that those suspended have been accused of verbally assaulting a black, female student.

The "immediate issue," the chancellor said in an address to the university's Senate, "is the bigotry in our midst."

Last week, an African American female student was subjected to a verbal, racial epithet from a group of students and visitors to the campus, according to a public safety notice posted on the school's website.

The student, according to the notice, "reported being verbally harassed by a large group of individuals who reportedly were yelling the 'N-word' as she walked by. There was no physical altercation."

As a result, a fraternity that the university said was involved in the incident, Alpha Chi Rho, had its social activities suspended for the rest of the semester, the chancellor said. He also said that all fraternities' social activities had been suspended for the duration of the semester.

In another on-campus incident, a swastika was found drawn into the snow, Matt Malinowski, a Syracuse Police spokesperson, told ABC News.

The most recent incident happened on Monday. There were reports of students in the school's Bird Library receiving a white supremacist document via AirDrop -- an iPhone app for transferring files.

That incident, Syverud said on Wednesday, is being investigated as a possible hoax.

"To date, there have been 12 cases of racist and anti-Semitic graffiti found on or adjacent to our campus. From my conversations with Department of Public Safety Chief Bobby Maldonado from earlier today, the indications are that there are between one to five members of our community perpetuating this hate speech in our buildings and on our walls," Syverud added.

He also said that the school was partnering with the New York State Police Hate Crimes Task Force and the New York State Division of Human Rights.

The case involving the African American female student has been referred to the Onondaga County District Attorney.

In his remarks, the chancellor shared his own personal experiences with racism.

"I do understand it," he said. "While raising a mixed-race family in the South, my kids were threatened, my wife was subjected to many racial epithets, our car tires were slashed, and my kid's dog was shot."

"That was then, that was the South," he continued. "But this is Syracuse. This is 2019. I do not accept this hatred here and now."

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