Tag Archives: probation

Dustin Diamond back in jail for parole violation

 

Former TV star Dustin Diamond is back in jail in Wisconsin after an official says he violated the terms of his parole.

Ozaukee County jail records show Diamond, who was recently released after serving time for disorderly conduct and concealed-weapon convictions, was arrested on May 25.

Diamond became a minor celebrity for playing Screech in the 1990s show Saved by the Bell.

An official at the jail (who declined to give his name) told AP that Diamond was returned to custody because of a probation violation. The official said he didn’t have further details.

The 39-year-old Diamond was convicted in Wisconsin last year on charges stemming from a 2014 Port Washington bar room brawl. Diamond faced a felony charge of second-degree recklessly endangering safety and two misdemeanors — carrying a concealed weapon and disorderly conduct. The jury found him innocent of the felony charge, which could have carried a sentence of up to 11 years.

In January, Diamond began serving a four-month sentence. He was released in April.

Diamond’s case draw attention from the tabloids and internet gossip sites.

During his trial, Diamond told the jury that he didn’t intentionally stab a man, as prosectors alleged.

According to Diamond’s testimony, he and his girlfriend Amanda Schutz created a stir when the went to a bar in Port Washington on Christmas Day. Some people wanted to shake his hand and pose for photos. But other bar patrons badgered him and Schutz.

“I felt like we were being set up for antagonistic purposes,” said Diamond.

Defense attorneys said no one saw Diamond stab the man and video footage of the altercation is murky.

Diamond said the brawl started after Schutz got in a fight with another female bar patron. Bethany Ward said Shutz started the conflict but acknowledged punching her in the face. Diamond said he got involved to protect Schutz when he saw her nose “pouring blood.” Diamond said he took out his pocketknife to deter the group from hurting her more.

“I figured it would take the fight out of the people,” he said.

Diamond said he yelled out that he wanted Ward and others to let his girlfriend go, and he scuffled with a man before Schutz was released and both of them left the bar.

The man who was stabbed, 25-year-old Casey Smet, testified that he didn’t know he’d been stabbed until he left the bar and was talking to police.

Diamond said he thought Smet hurt himself when he grabbed at Diamond.

“Casey didn’t even know he was injured, so how would I?” Diamond told the jury.

Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol argued that Diamond lied about what happened and that the actor had scripted his testimony.

Gerol showed body-camera footage of Diamond’s testimony to a Port Washington police officer the night of the fight. In the video Diamond first said he might have struck Smet with a pen. In a video of testimony later that night, Diamond said he had a knife at the bar, but hadn’t used it to stab anyone.

 

Defense attorneys said no one saw Diamond stab the man, and video footage of the altercation was murky.

 

 

 

Chris Brown faces felony assault charge for D.C. fight

Chris Brown allegedly punched a man who tried to get into a photo with the singer outside a hotel in Washington, D.C., according to a report from The Associated Press.

Brown faces a felony assault charge. So does Christopher Hollosy, who according to police was involved in the altercation at about 4:30 a.m. Oct. 27 near the W Hotel.

The police report indicated that a man tried to get into a photograph with three people, one of them was Brown, who reportedly said, “I’m not down with that gay shit” and “I feel like boxing.” The AP said the exact context of Brown’s remarks was not immediately clear.

Brown then allegedly punched the man in the face and then a second man stepped between them, also punched the man, and then grabbed Brown and led him to a tour bus.

The police report, according to The AP, referred to an “S1” and an “S2.” Brown is “S1.”

Police said the victim is Parker Isaac Adams, 20.

Brown currently is on probation for assaulting Rihanna in 2009. He pleaded guilty to felony assault and was sentenced to five years’ probation.

Brown also was involved in an altercation with out singer Frank Ocean over a parking space at an LA recording studio.

Iowa man who didn’t tell his sex partner he had HIV wants conviction overturned

A Plainfield, Iowa man sentenced to 25 years in prison for failure to notify his sex partner he carried HIV went before the Iowa Court of Appeals this week.

Nick Rhoades had pleaded guilty to failing to disclose his HIV status before having sex with a Cedar Falls man in June 2008.

His attorneys say the contact was consensual, Rhoades used a condom and HIV was not transmitted.

Rhoades, whose sentence was reduced and who has been on probation, claims he should not have been advised to plead guilty because he lacked the intent to spread HIV required to be proven by state law.

Rhoades, who had to register as a sex offender for life, wants his conviction overturned.

Anti-gay evangelist gets three years’ probation for masturbating at public park

Armed with bullhorns, Bibles and picket signs, the Rev. Grant Storms and his anti-gay evangelical followers protested in 2003 against Southern Decadence, a three-day gay festival held in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Storms even shot video of the event to use as evidence when he pleaded with lawmakers to shut down the festival.

Storms said that “having oral sex in the middle of the street or masturbating is illegal and immoral.”

But Storms was convicted yesterday for some public masturbation of his own. Judge Ross LaDart of the 24th Judicial District Court in Louisiana sentenced Storms to three years probation and ordered him to be evaluated by a psychologist.

He was arrested Feb. 25 after two people reported seeing him masturbating in front of a playground at a Metarie, La., park. At first, Storms insisted he was having lunch in his van when he decided to relieve himself using a bottle instead of going to the bathroom.

Eventually, however, he confessed that he had taken a break from his grass cutting business to sip a beer in the park, and then became “horny.” He claimed that although he was masturbating, he never exposed his penis.

“Lafreniere Park is a public place,” the judge said. “Lafreniere Park is a place that was chosen by this defendant to engage in a history of masturbation.”

“Why do you go to the park and do this, as far as masturbating?” Storms was asked by a local sheriff after his arrest.

“I don’t know,” Storms responded “I guess a thrill.”

The same year that Storms protested Southern Decadence, the gay rights group Action Wisconsin obtained a recording of a speech he made at the International Conference on Homo-Fascism in Milwaukee. They claimed Storms advocated violence against gays, issuing press release saying Storms made sounds like gunfire, as if he were shooting gay people, and said, “God has delivered them into our hands. Boom boom boom … there’s 20! Ca-ching! Glory, glory to God.”

Storms sued the group for defamation of character and lost. He was ordered to repay the group $87,000 in court costs. The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the decision.

At his March 1 news conference, Storms said he wanted to distance himself from that past and he apologized for targeting Southern Decadence.

“I understand the hypocrisy. I understand it clearly, and it deeply hurts me. And when I look back, there are a lot of things I would have done differently,” he said.

At that time, Storms still insisted he was not masturbating when he was arrested.

“That Friday I was reclined in the chair in the van, and I had opened my pants and I had my hand in my underwear,” Storms said. “I’m not a pedophile. I’m not a child molester, and I don’t go exposing myself to children.”

Storms did acknowledge having an addiction to pornography and said he’d been viewing porn about an hour before his arrest.

“Pornography is destructive and it can ruin a person’s life, and it ruined my life,” he said. “Do I have problems? Yes. Did I do something wrong? Yes.”

Storms has a wife and four sons.

The Times-Picayune called Storms a “self-styled ‘Christian patriot’” and reported that he led a small congregation called The Reformer Church. For a decade, he hosted “The Reformer Radio Show.”

3 in Atlanta sentenced to prison for beating gay man

Three young men have been sentenced to five years in prison for the videotaped beating of a gay man on an Atlanta street corner that was captured in a widely viewed video.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Dorian Moragne, Dareal Demare Williams and Christopher Cain were also given five years of probation on Friday.

Their sentences stems from the Feb. 4 beating of 20-year-old Brandon White.

The fourth suspect, identified as Javaris Bradford, is still at large.

Defense Attorney Jay Abt, who represents Moragne, says probation will include intensive community service and sensitivity education following their prison term.

The video showed men punching and kicking White as he walked out of a grocery store in the city’s Pittsburgh neighborhood, south of downtown. Gay slurs were heard on the video, and one man slammed a tire on him.

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Gay Marquette student forced out of leadership with Christian group

A Marquette student was dismissed from his leadership roles with a campus student group after informing its staff advisor that he’s gay, despite a university policy that bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. 

Campus officials investigated the incident and initially suspended the group for anti-gay discrimination. But the group appealed, and after an outcry from influential right-wing members of the university community, it was found guilty of a technical infraction of policy rather than discrimination. The suspension was lifted and the sentence was reduced to probation. 

The student, who asked to be identified only as “George” because he fears reprisal, said the events were reminiscent of last year’s reversal of a job offer to out lesbian Jodi O’Brien to serve as dean of the university’s college of arts and sciences.

Gay and Christian

George said he was a devout Christian who chose to attend Marquette specifically because it’s a Jesuit institution, which has a tradition of both faith and social justice.

“I grew up very Christian and struggled with that because I knew I was gay since I was a kid, and I came to Marquette hoping I would finally be able to reconcile these two identities in myself,” he said. “I was hoping I could be openly gay and still be Christian.”

George joined the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in January 2010 and was elected to two leadership positions with the group in May 2010. Although Marquette’s IVCF is a conservative Christian chapter that’s part of an international organization, as a registered student group, it’s still subject to university policy.

George said he felt compelled to come out to the group as gay before taking the leadership roles. “What if you want to have a relationship and you didn’t tell them and then they find out?” he said.

George said he disclosed his sexual orientation in June 2010 to Jen Wojtysiak, one of the group’s staff advisors, because he trusted her. “I came out to her – I’m gay. What do I do about this?” he said.

A few weeks later, George was interrogated by Wojtysiak and the group’s other staff advisor Ryan Lospaluto about his religious beliefs.

“They asked me questions about celibacy,” George said. “I said, ‘I don’t think celibacy applies to me, because the Bible does not have a place that discusses gay identity. Also, what’s the point of being celibate if you can’t get married in the future? Do I have to stay celibate and single forever unless I pretend to be straight?’”

After George said he disagreed with Biblical teachings on celibacy and homosexuality, he was asked to step down voluntarily from his official positions. He refused and was told that he would be able to address the Student Executive Board to give his side of the story.

But the opportunity to have his say was never granted, he said. Instead, he received correspondence from group leaders letting him know that he’d been summarily dismissed from his leadership positions.

An e-mail that George shared with WiG informed him that he was “removed from the Night of Worship team” because he had “decided to make a lifestyle choice which (sic) contradicts the Christian lifestyle we are called to live as presented in the Word of God.”

The e-mail goes on to list a number of biblical injunctions against same-sex relations, including a verse that compares gays with murderers and says they “deserve death.”

George filed a discrimination complaint with Marquette’s Office of Student Affairs, alleging that he was he was dismissed for his sexual orientation and was singled out for questioning about his faith as a direct consequence of coming out.

Suspension overruled

In a July 14 hearing, George’s complaint was reviewed by conduct administrators Erin Lazzar and Ian Jamieson, who found the group responsible for discrimination based on sexual orientation. They suspended the group for one year, ordered a period of probation and issued guidelines for the group to attain re-recognition.

George said Jamieson notified him of the finding by phone on July 21.

At that point, Marquette’s Christian-right constituency stepped into the fray. Right-wing radio host Mark Belling reported on the group’s suspension, stirring outrage from the campus’ influential conservative constituents. John McAdams, a political science professor at Marquette and a right-wing blogger, posted an attention-grabbing item online on Aug. 4 titled “Marquette InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Threatened With Suspension for Failure to Accept Sexually Active Homosexual Officer.”

The publicity unleashed a letter-writing campaign from anti-gay conservatives just as Dean of Students Stephanie Quade was reviewing the case on appeal. She ultimately overturned the original decision, finding that IVCF had not broken the university’s anti-discrimination policy. Instead, she ruled the group had violated the organization’s constitution and a university policy requiring every student officer to be given a fair trial before dismissal.

She reduced the penalty for the group to probation.

“Any student organization has the right to place restrictions on it membership (for example, honors groups or academic groups have GPA or major requirements, fraternities and sororities can only have students of particular gender, etc),” Quade wrote to WiG in an e-mail. “Based on the principle of free association (you do not have to join a particular group, nor do you have to be an officer in a group), groups have the rights to establish reasonable parameters.”

But, Quade added, “Marquette expects all student organizations to adhere to the university’s Statement on Human Dignity which ‘recognizes and cherishes the dignity of each individual regardless of age, culture, faith, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, language, disability or social class.’”

Quade contended there was no reversal of decision in the case, because “no student conduct decision is final until the time in which to file an appeal has passed or an appeal is filed and decided.”

She also stated that “communication from alumni or other constituents from the university and outside community are not considered in a response to an appeal, as the Code of Conduct specifies that the parameters of an appeal are limited to a review of the materials related to the hearing.”

Denial

George said that what troubled him the most was that Jamieson later denied ever saying the group was guilty of discrimination. George provided WiG with documentation of that finding.

Reached by phone, Jamieson, whose title is coordinator for student organizations, declined to comment on the case. 

George said he felt betrayed by his fellow Christians as well as Marquette’s administration.

“I initially believed that Marquette would make the right judgment and would address this issue fairly,” he said. “And I also thought Marquette was an advocate for LGBT issues, because the university has a strong component of social justice and service. I don’t trust the university any more. When I received the final decision, I was considering transferring. But I had one year left.”

As a result of his experience at Marquette, George said he no longer identifies as a Christian and “the Bible is no longer a voice of authority for me.”

“I no longer hold the belief that this is the only religion,” George said. “People who profess to be Christian leaders only accept you if you are exactly as they are and abandon you in your greatest need.”

George said the university once again demonstrated, as it did in the Jodi O’Brien case, that it is wrestling with its dual identities as a Catholic and an academic-driven institution.

“They’re torn between the right and the academic left,” he said. “So at this point you could say they’re afraid of making any statement in any direction, because it would drive one part of their population nuts. So they try to play the middle ground. They’re trying to be inclusive of LGBT students but at the same time they do not want to make a strong stand about that. They’ll find that their strategy will continue to backfire and jeopardize their reputation in the long run.”