News in Brief

Ky. clerk Kim Davis appeals order that put her in jail

LOUISVILLE (AP) — Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has asked a federal appeals court to scrap a series of unfavorable rulings issued by the district judge who sent her to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In a 126-page filing with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals late Monday, Davis’ attorneys called U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning’s order that Davis license same-sex marriage a “rush to judgment” that trampled the clerk’s religious liberty.

Davis, the clerk of rural Rowan County, spent five nights in jail in September for defying that order, igniting a fierce debate about the collision of religious freedom and public service.

Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in June. The American Civil Liberties Union sued her on behalf of four couples, and Bunning ordered her to issue the licenses. When she continued to refuse, Bunning held her in contempt and sent her to jail.

Jonathan Christman, Davis’ lawyer with the Liberty Counsel, asked the appeals court to reverse four of the lower court’s rulings, including the order that Davis issue licenses and the decision to hold her in contempt.

“By imprisoning Davis and threatening to hold her hostage indefinitely as a prisoner of her conscience, the district court imposed direct pressure and substantial burden on Davis, forcing her to choose between her religious beliefs and forfeiting her essential personal freedom on one hand, or abandoning those beliefs to keep her freedom on the other hand,” Christman wrote.


Ex-Louisville pastor faces child porn indictment

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A federal grand jury in Louisville has indicted a former Roman Catholic pastor in a child pornography case.

Prosecutors say 57-year-old Stephen Pohl was charged in a criminal complaint in August after searches of areas used by Pohl in the parish office and rectory of St. Margaret Mary parish in Louisville.

Pohl was arrested in Indian Rocks Beach, Florida, in August and appeared in U.S. District Court in Kentucky in September.

The indictment returned Tuesday accuses Pohl of accessing child pornography material on the Internet earlier this year.

Pohl resigned in August. Attorney Ted Shouse, who represents Pohl, declined to comment in an email Tuesday.

Archdiocese of Louisville officials have said that FBI investigators found 200 images of students from the school on Pohl’s computer. The students were clothed but some of the images were “inappropriate.


WWII soldier may receive posthumous Medal of Honor after all

LEXINGTON (AP) — World War II Army Officer and Clinton County native Garlin Murl Conner is one step closer to posthumously receiving the Medal of Honor.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that the Army Board for Correction of Military Records went against the advice of its staff and voted unanimously in late October that the evidence “was sufficient to warrant a recommendation” that Conner receive the Medal of Honor for life-saving actions he took.

The Conner family now awaits a decision from the Senior Army Decorations Board. Conner’s widow, Lydia Conner, has been campaigning to have the Army reconsider the record of her late husband ever since Conner’s application was rejected in 1997.

Conner earned four Silver stars, four Bronze Stars, seven Purple Hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross for his actions during World War II.


Jury indicts Scottsville man on 100+ counts of sex crimes

SCOTTSVILLE (AP) — A grand jury has indicted a Scottsville man on more than 100 counts of sex crimes.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports an Allen County grand jury indicted 62-year-old John Knight on 120 counts of incest and 127 counts of first-degree sexual abuse.

Kentucky State Police Trooper Joe Gregory arrested Knight on Oct. 29.

Kentucky State Police Post 3 spokesman Trooper B.J. Eaton says there are three juveniles considered victims in this case.

Knight is being held in the Allen County Detention Center without bond. It isn’t immediately clear if he has an attorney.


Man could face execution for killing 87-year-old Ohio woman

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — Jurors will hear evidence and recommend to a judge whether a Kentucky man should be executed for killing an 87-year-old Ohio woman and leaving her body in the trunk of her car.

The same jury that found 57-year-old Daniel French of Berea, Kentucky, guilty of aggravated murder is to begin hearing arguments for and against execution on Wednesday in the penalty phase of French’s trial.

French was convicted Oct. 29 of aggravated murder in the slaying of Barbara Howe in 2012.

Prosecutors say French cut Howe’s throat after gaining entry by posing as a maintenance worker in her Monroe retirement community.

The defense insisted French had no plan to kill her and is expected to call members of French’s family to testify about why his life should be spared.


Ex-teacher sentenced to 5 years in prison after guilty plea

BENTON (AP) — A former Paducah middle school teacher has been sentenced to five years behind bars after having been accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 14-year-old female student.

The Paducah Sun reports that a Marshall County judge accepted a plea agreement Monday in the case against 24-year-old former Reidland Middle School teacher Chelsea Rose.

Denying Rose’s request for probation or any lesser alternative, Circuit Judge Dennis Foust said Rose’s sentence is to run concurrently with any jail time handed down in a related McCracken County case.

The judge also said that Rose will be required to register as a sex offender.

Rose pleaded guilty Sept. 21 to charges of first-degree attempted unlawful transaction with a minor and third-degree unlawful transaction with a minor.


Man who stole political donations sentenced to 2 years

LOUISVILLE (AP) — A federal judge in Kentucky has given a two-year prison sentence to a man who admitted to stealing more than $1 million in contributions to conservative political causes, including campaign funds for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Samuel K. Pate Jr. owned a Virginia company that contracted with campaigns and political action committees to process campaign funds. Prosecutors say he stole contributions totaling more than $1.1 million for personal expenses and luxury items.

The Courier-Journal reports that Pate asked to be placed on house arrest, saying he felt “a lot of pressure” to be financially successful. On Tuesday, the judge declined. Additionally, Pate must pay restitution.

Pate’s attorney, Scott C. Cox, noted that sentencing guidelines call for 41 to 53 months and said, “we believe the court did justice here.”


Sustainment Brigade change of responsibility ceremony set

FORT CAMPBELL (AP) — A new leader is taking responsibility of the 101st Airborne Division’s “Lifeliner” brigade at Fort Campbell this week.

Command Sgt. Maj. Ian Griffin will transfer responsibility of the Sustainment Brigade to Command Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Perry in a ceremony Friday morning at the post.

The post says Griffin took responsibility of the brigade in April 2014 and helped lead it on deployment to Liberia and Senegal as the soldiers helped in the effort to fight Ebola virus. He also helped lead the brigade during its first rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana.


Coroner’s office: Teen run over by forklift at business dies

LANCASTER (AP) — A teenager has died after officials say a forklift ran over him at a business in Lancaster.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports the Fayette County Coroner’s Office says 17-year-old Grant Thomas Oakley was riding on the side of a forklift when he fell off and was run over on Tuesday.

Authorities say the incident happened around 4:45 p.m. at Bluegrass Agricultural Distributors.

Authorities say Oakley was airlifted to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital, where he died.


Perryville battlefield site sharing in grants

LOUISVILLE (AP) — The site of Kentucky’s largest Civil War battle will share in a new round of grants announced by the National Park Service.

Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said Tuesday that the Perryville Battlefield site in central Kentucky will receive a $91,012 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Park Service says the award is part of more than $500,000 in grants being given to help preserve land at three Civil War battlefields threatened with damage or destruction by urban and suburban development.

The other recipients are at Corinth, Mississippi, and Brandy Station, Virginia.

The grants are funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was established in 1964 and has helped conserve land in every state.

The Battle of Perryville was fought on Oct. 8, 1862.

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