Morning Headlines: Conservative Groups Knew of Lawmaker's Same-Sex Affairs; Killer Files Appeal

Nov 22, 2017

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, November 22nd:

  • Wes Goodman's extramarital gay sexual encounters were no secret from conservative GOP groups;
  • East Cleveland trades undocumented arrest reports for Justice Department money;
  • Ailing condemned killer files another appeal;
  • Statewide billboard campaign seeks to spark conversations about drug abuse;
  • Federal judge tells Cleveland to catch up on complaint backlog;
  • Cleveland police union's controversial leader gets voted out;
  • Former Trump advisor endorses Hagan for Ohio's 16th District;
  • Congressman Ryan reacts to expected rollback of net neutrality;
  • Jail supervisor charged with assault;
  • County prosecutor to investigate suspicious absentee ballot applications;
  • Officer and former teacher's aide charged with sexual battery;
  • Signet Jewelers report 3Q losses;

Wes Goodman's extramarital gay sexual encounters were not a secret
The nation's leading anti-gay marriage organization was among the Christian conservative groups that knew a recently resigned Republican Ohio lawmaker had extramarital sexual contact with other men. A Citizens for Community Values board member has told The Associated Press that the Cincinnati-based group learned about Wes Goodman's consensual activity after it had endorsed him in last year's legislative primary. The 33-year-old Goodman resigned last week after having a sexual encounter with a man in his state office. Board member Seth Morgan says Goodman faced no general election opposition and was "dealing with it," so the issue was set aside by CCV and another group that was briefed, Ohio's Conservative Republican Leadership Committee. The Washington Post reported Friday that a third conservative group, the Council for National Policy, handled internally a complaint that Goodman fondled an 18-year-old college student at a conference.

East Cleveland trades undocumented arrest reports for Justice Department money
East Cleveland says it will report the arrests of any undocumented immigrants to federal authorities in return for $425,000 in grants from the Justice Department to hire to new officers. Cleveland.com reports the money will be used to combat gangs. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is giving special consideration to communities that promise to report undocumented immigrants, and says 80 percent of departments that got the money agreed to cooperate.

Ailing condemned killer files another appeal
A condemned killer whose poor veins led Ohio to postpone his execution has appealed a judge's decision upholding the state's lethal injection system. Alva Campbell argues that Ohio's process raises an unconstitutional risk of serious harm because the first of three drugs may not render inmates completely unconscious. Lawyers for Campbell and fellow death row inmate Raymond Tibbetts announced the appeal to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday.

Statewide billboard campaign seeks to spark conversations about drug abuse
State officials say a new billboard campaign will be used to raise public awareness about drug abuse and the need for public participation in tackling the problem throughout Ohio. The Ohio Outdoor Advertising Association and Ohio's Department of Public Safety and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services launched the campaign Tuesday. Association members are donating about 200 digital, poster, and bulletin billboards with messages aimed at combating the drug problem.

Federal judge tells Cleveland to catch up on complaint backlog
A federal judge has ordered Cleveland to develop a new plan and meet with the federal monitor overseeing the city’s police reform to clear up a backlog of unfinished investigations into citizen complaints. Nearly 400 cases are pending, and U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver told the city in a hearing yesterday that if Cleveland doesn’t resolve the delay in cases soon, he may take further actions.  The city’s law director told Oliver that two more positions are expected to the complaint investigations office next year. But the monitor, Matthew Barge, said the city has repeatedly made excuses, but remains pretty much where is was 2 ½ years ago. Oliver expects the city to have a new plan developed in about three weeks, and said he’ll hold another hearing if there aren’t improvements.

Cleveland police union's controversial leader gets voted out
The controversial head of the Cleveland police union is out. Steve Loomis, who steered the union’s endorsement of President Donald Trump, was beaten by Det. Jeff Follmer, who will take over as president of the 1200-member union in January.  Loomis was a critic of police reforms adopted under a consent decree the city signed with the Justice Department following a series of high-profile shootings by officers of unarmed black people. He also steered the union to its first presidential endorsement over the objection of African-American officers. In a statement, Loomis said “The silver lining in this election is that I will now be able to focus on my family and my health.”

Former Trump advisor endorses Hagan for Ohio's 16th district
A former and controversial national security adviser to President Trump has weighed in on an Ohio Congressional race. Sebastian Gorka, now a commentator for Fox News, is endorsing state Rep. Christina Hagan in her run for the 16th congressional district. Gorka is a hard-liner on Islamic relations and supporter of far-right political parties in Europe. Hagan was a prominent supporter of Trump in the 2016 race. The 16th District is now represented by Jim Renacci, who is running for governor. Other Republicans who want the open seat are former NFL player Anthony Gonzalez and Army vet Kit Seryak. A statement from Hagan’s campaign says Gorka will be advising her on foreign policy issues.

Congressman Ryan reacts to expected rollback of net neutrality
Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan says he is “furious” at FCC chairman Ajit Pai's plan to abandon rules on net neutrality. Ryan says net neutrality regulations ensure a “free and open internet.” Critics of the decision next week say it will allow internet service providers like AT&T and Time Warner Cable to dictate the speed of websites and charge higher fees for certain websites and competitors.

Jail supervisor charged with assault
A Cuyahoga County Jail supervisor has been indicted on charges of assault and civil rights violations. The indictment of Amirah Abdul-Kareem was filed yesterday. He’s accused of punching, kicking and pepper-spraying a female inmate in March. The incident was captured on surveillance cameras. Abdul-Kareem has been reassigned.

County prosecutor to investigate suspicious absentee ballot applications
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is asking the prosecutor to investigate applications for absentee ballots in Cleveland’s 5th Ward.  According to Cleveland.com, the board’s own investigation showed requests for 65 applications to be mailed to King Kennedy Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland. A handwriting expert helped determine that 57 of the requests were suspicious. More applications delivered by City Council candidate Richard Starr came under scrutiny.

Officer and former teacher's aide charged with sexual battery

A Cleveland police officer accused of having sex with a 13-year-old boy when she was previously working as an elementary school teacher's aide has been indicted on charges including sexual battery and intimidation of a crime victim. Maria Velez also was charged in the indictment Tuesday with attempted tampering with evidence. A message seeking comment was left for her attorney.

Signet Jewelers report 3Q losses
Summit County-based Signet Jewelers continues to struggle, reporting a third-quarter loss of more than $12 million and acknowledging it expects to earn less this year than it had anticipated. In a statement new CEO Virginia Drosos acknowledged it was a “challenging quarter” and blamed the weather, and “disruptions during the transition of our credit services.”