Region/state digest 02/12/05

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Jackson teen faces molestation charges

A Jackson teenager has been charged with molesting an 8-year-old girl. Dustin R. Parker, 17, was arrested and charged with three counts of felony first-degree child molestation, according to Lt. Rodney Barnes of the Jackson Police department. Jackson police were notified Wednesday, Barnes said. During the investigation, the alleged victim identified Parker, a neighbor, as her assailant. Parker is in the Cape Girardeau County Sheriff's Department in lieu of a $50,000 bond.

State phasing out raised road reflectors for safety

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Transportation said it plans to phase out the raised reflectors used on roads across the state after several accidents were caused by the reflectors coming loose and crashing through vehicle windshields. Dale Ricks, a district engineer in Springfield, said the state will replace the five-pound reflectors with reflective tape or centerline rumble strips coated with reflective paint. Ricks said the department found enough loose road reflectors during a recent survey to recommend removing them all.

Prosecutors: Courtney breached plea deal

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Federal prosecutors want Robert Courtney, the Kansas City pharmacist convicted of diluting chemotherapy medications, resentenced because they claim he broke a promise not to appeal his sentence. Courtney was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2002. Last month, the Supreme Court sent Courtney's case back to the St. Louis-based 8th Circuit for reconsideration of his sentence. It was part of a larger ruling that invalidated sentences for 450 defendants who claimed the federal guidelines under which they were sentenced are unconstitutional.

Judge: Muslim pilot not fired because of religion

ST. LOUIS -- Being seen in a bar while in uniform, not religious bigotry, was behind the firing of a Muslim pilot a week after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a federal judge has ruled. U.S. Magistrate Thomas Mummert III tossed out the claims of Mohammed Shanif Hussein, of San Bruno, Calif., saying in a summary judgment that attorneys for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Hussein had not provided evidence showing that Bridgeton-based Trans States Airlines had a "discriminatory attitude."

Judge upholds law barring adult billboards

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- A federal judge on Friday upheld a law barring most sexually oriented billboards along Missouri roads. The law, passed last year, faced a challenge from the owners of a Kansas City strip club and a company that operates adult bookstores along Interstate 70, which claimed their free-speech rights were violated. U.S. District Judge Gary Fenner on Friday denied the businesses' request for injunctions blocking the law. The adult businesses' attorney said an appeal was likely. The law, which took effect in August, prohibits most signs for sexually oriented businesses within a mile of state highways and gives businesses three years to bring existing billboards into compliance.

-- From staff, wire reports

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