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Priest who used to be KKK member apologizes 40 years later

Priest who used to be KKK member apologizes 40 years laterARLINGTON, Va. (AP) — A former Ku Klux Klan member who burned a cross on a black couple's lawn 40 years ago, before becoming a Roman Catholic priest, has finally written his victims an apology.


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Trump salutes civil rights heroes at boycotted museum opening

The president's attendance at a private gathering to open the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History next door, which came at the invitation of the state's Republican governor, had triggered a backlash from some who march...

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While Trump Celebrates Civil Rights Museum, He's Done Little To Protect One Of Its Most Important Legacies

As President Donald Trump attends the opening of the Mississippi civil rights museum on Saturday, lawyers for his Justice Department are defending a voting law in Texas that a district court judge found intentionally discriminated against black and Lat...

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Oregon cedes freedom of speech case against red light camera critic

Oregon cedes freedom of speech case against red light camera criticIt is, perhaps, human nature to harbor grandiose dreams of fighting a traffic ticket, even to the point of arguing before a local judge. For the past four years, however, an Oregon man has taken that fantasy to extreme levels, ultimately resulting in the state’s senior assistant attorney general admitting in federal court that the state violated constitutional right to free speech. What started out as a simple traffic ticket in 2013—issued to the wife of Beaverton, Oregon resident Mats Järlström—resulted in a federal court case involving the first amendment. Ultimately, the Oregon Board of Examiners for Engineering and Land Surveying capitulated, agreeing that it violated the constitutional rights of a man who had the audacity to critique the timing of red light cameras. Mr. Järlström, who holds a degree in electrical engineering and served in the Swedish Air Force as an aircraft camera mechanic, wrote to the board in 2014 asking for nothing more than to present his research, which concluded that yellow lights in the state were too short, both creating a public safety risk and increasing state revenue via aggressive ticketing. The board, however, responded with a $500 fine in accordance with an Oregon law that prohibits anyone from practicing engineering unless they are licensed as such by the state. According to court documents, senior assistant attorney general Christina L. Beatty-Walters wrote on behalf of the Board of Examiners, “We have admitted to violating Mr. Järlström’s rights,” and acknowledged that the state’s use of its engineering practice law “was not narrowly tailored to any compelling state interests.” The board has since refunded Järlström’s $500, and the court has now officially ruled in his favor, but he isn’t happy with the result — yet. He and his lawyers intend to seek an injunction against the board from applying the same law to other engineers — licensed or not — when there’s no specific state interest in doing so. His attorney, Samuel Gedge, from the Institute for Justice, said "The existence of these laws and the way they've been applied time and time again has violated free speech rights. Past history suggests the board can't be trusted on how the laws should be applied constitutionally.”


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85-year-old former priest jailed for life for 1960 killing of schoolteacher and former beauty queen 

85-year-old former priest jailed for life for 1960 killing of schoolteacher and former beauty queen A jury on Friday sentenced an 85-year-old former priest to life in prison for the 1960 killing of a schoolteacher and former beauty queen who was a member of the parish he served. The same jurors in Hidalgo County in South Texas found John Bernard Feit guilty of murder Thursday night. Prosecutors asked jurors Friday for a 57-year prison term — one year for each year he had walked free since killing Irene Garza after she went to him for confession at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, Texas. The 25-year-old Garza disappeared April 16, 1960. Her bludgeoned body was found days later. An autopsy revealed she had been raped while unconscious, and beaten and suffocated. Prosecutor Michael Garza, who is not related to the victim, had asked the jury not to view the now elderly and weak Feit as he is today, but to try to imagine him as a 28-year-old man capable of subduing the woman. The jury deliberated just over four hours Friday before deciding on the maximum sentence. Afterward, Garza said at a news conference that he wished that he could take credit for the conviction and sentence, "but it was God-driven." "I can say this: Pigs are flying, and Irene is resting," he said. Feit, then a priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, came under suspicion in the investigation early on. He told police that he heard Garza's confession in the church rectory rather than in the confessional, but denied he had killed her. Among the evidence that pointed to Feit as a suspect over the years: Two priests told authorities that Feit had confessed to them. One of them said he saw scratches on Feit soon after Garza's disappearance. His portable photographic slide viewer was found near Garza's body.Feit had also been accused of attacking another young woman in a church in a nearby town just weeks before Garza's death. He pleaded no contest and was fined $500. John Feit enters the 92nd state District Court before the verdic Credit: Norman Lambrecht/The Monitor Prosecutors presented evidence earlier in the week that church and elected officials suspected Feit but didn't want to prosecute him. They feared it could harm the reputations of the church and Hidalgo County elected officials, most of whom were Catholic. Sen. John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, was running for president that year. Feit was sent to a treatment center for troubled priests in New Mexico, later becoming a supervisor with responsibility in the clearing of priests for parish assignments. Among the men Feit helped keep in ministry was child molester James Porter, who assaulted more than 100 victims before he was defrocked and sent to prison. Feit left the priesthood in 1972, married and went on to work at the Catholic charity St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix, training and recruiting volunteers and helping oversee the charity's network of food pantries. Garza's family members and friends had long pushed authorities to reopen the case, and it became an issue in the 2014 district attorney's race. Ricardo Rodriguez had promised that if elected, he would re-examine the case.


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