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6/12/1997 - Military Court Convicts U.S. Army Sgt. in Germany of Rape

U.S. Army Sgt. Paul Fuller of the Darmstadt Germany training center has been convicted by a military court of raping a subordinate, indecent assault, and three counts of forcible sodomy. Though Fuller could have faced life in prison for the rape charge alone, he was sentenced to only five years in prison and given a dishonorable discharge. A second rape charge was downgraded to the indecent assault charge, and Fuller was also found guilty of three counts of cruelty and maltreatment, fraternization, kidnapping and a reduced charge of unlawful entry. Another count of rape and an indecent exposure charge were dismissed on technicalities earlier this week. Six soldiers sat on the jury.

Fuller denied all charges, and his lawyers argued that the sex was consensual while prosecutors said Fuller used his rank to intimidate the women. Last week, the same military court cleared another soldier at Darmstadt of six counts of rape but sentenced Sgt. Julius Davis to two years in prison on a conviction of multiple counts of indecent assault. Davis also was reduced in rank and got a bad-conduct discharge. Fuller, Davis, and a third sergeant also under investigation have been relieved of their duties at Darmstadt.

6/12/1997 - Women Flyers Gather at Smithsonian for Opening of Special Exhibit

Pioneer female pilots gathered at the Smithsonian National Air and Space museum in Washington, D.C. on June 10th for the opening of an exhibit dedicated to the history of women in flight. At the opening, Fay Gillis Well, 88, handed Doris Lockness, 87, Amelia Earhart's blue flag. Both of the women flew with Earhart in the early part of this century. Lockness, who still pilots her own plane, will carry that flag to Kansas where Earhart's 100th birthday anniversary will be held in late June. Gayle Ranney, a bush pilot in Alaska, was another member of the large group of women pilots who attended the opening. She talked of the self-reliance necessary to fly in Alaska. She commented, "[if a 60-knot storm blows up] you have to tie that puppy down…I've had moments when I've said: 'Hey if I get out of this, I'm not coming back.' But I always did." Smithsonian photographer Carolyn Russo compiled the exhibit, which includes photos and biographies of more than 35 female aviators.

6/12/1997 - First Syrian Female Pilot Begins Work

Wadad Shujaa, 18, Syria's first female pilot, will shortly begin working as a co-pilot with Syrian Airways. Shujaa graduated from the Aviation Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma after completing 190 hours of flying time. She took her first solo flight after only twelve hours of training.

6/12/1997 - Woman Catches Flasher with a Flash

On May 23rd, Myko Kona was flashed by a handyman who had stopped to ask her for directions. Jimmy Robert Jewell exposed himself and also began masturbating. Kona, however, had a disposable camera ready and quickly took pictures of him, his actions and the license plate on his van. Jewell tried to grab her through the passenger side window of his van after she took the pictures, but she broke free and ran away. With her pictures, the police were able to identify Jewell and track him down to his home in San Pedro, California. Jewell, already on parole for a drug conviction, was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon (the van) and indecent exposure. He told police that he had exposed himself ten to twelve other times since he had been released from prison.

6/11/1997 - Mifepristone Introduction in US Possibly Delayed

A dispute between the European company which agreed to manufacture mifepristone (formerly known as RU-486) and the Population Council, the U.S. sponsor of the pill, could delay the pill’s introduction into the U.S. The Population Council commented, "What we want to say is that there's a dispute [with the manufacturer] and we're continuing to talk to them, and our commercial partners are very actively looking for other manufacturers." The Population Council did not know why or whether this would delay the pill's introduction to the U.S. market.

Mifepristone is a drug which offers women an alternative to surgical abortion. It has been legal and popular in the European community for years, and won conditional U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval only in the fall of 1996.

6/11/1997 - Bill to Prevent Discrimination Against Lesbians and Gay Men Introduced in Congress

A bi-partisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation which would make employment discrimination against lesbians and gay men illegal. Senator Jim Jeffords (R-VT), the bill's chief Republican sponsor in the Senate, has yet to schedule a date for considering the bill in the Labor Committee, which he chairs. The House did not take up the legislation last year, and there are no assurances that it will take up the bill this year. Senator Max Cleland (D-GA), however, who replaced Sam Nunn, said he would vote for the legislation. Nunn voted against the measure in 1996 when it failed in the Senate by only one vote. The bill's sponsors have also modified it in order to reflect some concerns from last year's opponents. This bill will not allow the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to collect information on employees’ sexual orientation. It also will not allow the government to require quotas for hiring lesbians and gay men. The bill also specifically excludes religious organizations.

6/11/1997 - Sex and Race Bias Exist in Federal Court, Study Finds

A task force drafted to study sex and race bias in the federal courts in New York, Connecticut and Vermont has concluded its three-year study and concluded that bias does exist in the federal court system. The task force's report found that bias occurred in many ways and during all aspects of legal proceedings. The bias included ethnic slurs, patronizing behavior and imitation of the language of people of color. The report expressed concern of "stereotyped thinking about the seriousness or the reality of sexual harassment claims." The report cited an unnamed judge who said in open court that a plaintiff's sexual harassment claim was not serious because, "her employer only stared at her breasts, rather than touching them, and 'most women like that.'" The nine-member task force was composed of six women and three people of color, six judges and three lawyers. Charles Ogeletree, professor of law at Harvard Law School, hoped that the study would "serve as a wake-up call that not only are incidents of bias widely perceived by participants, but there's enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that bias really does exist in the system."

6/11/1997 - Randy Tate Named as Christian Coalition Director

Former U.S. Congressional Representative Randy Tate (R-WA) has been chosen to replace Ralph Reed as the Director of the Christian Coalition. Tate lost re-election in 1996 after having served only one term in the House. Tate was recently tagged by Washington state's Democratic Chair as the "poster boy of the radical right." Tate was also known as one of House Speaker Newt Gingrich's closest allies in the Class of 1994. Tate will have a lot to deal with as the Christian Coalition is in the process of answering a federal suit filed in July of 1996 by the Federal Election Commission. The suit alleges that the Coalition violated its tax exempt status by spending thousands of dollars to promote Republican candidates.

6/10/1997 - Supreme Court Refuses to Hear F.A.C.E. Challenge

In a decisive victory for pro-choice supporters, the United States Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act. The court, without comment, refused to hear an appeal by leading abortion opponents. In 1994 when President Bill Clinton signed the law, which prohibits the use of force, threats or blockades that interfere with access to reproductive health, Randall Terry and Reverend Patrick Mahoney filed a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. They claimed that the law prohibited the expression of their beliefs and assembly. A federal judge and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia disagreed, finding that the law "prohibited conduct, and not speech." The appeal also claimed that Congress did not have the authority to enact the law because the anti-abortion activities were not related to interstate commerce. Again, the courts disagreed with the abortion opponents and sided with the government. The government had argued that, "The evidence before Congress demonstrated that the campaign to eliminate abortion services through violence and obstruction was succeeding and had forced many clinics to close…Interference with abortion services is a problem of national scope."

6/10/1997 - FBI Releases Sketches of Possible Atlanta Bombing Suspects

Leaders of the task force investigating the bombings of Atlanta Northside Family Planning Services clinic and the Otherside Lounge, a lesbian and gay night-club, held a press conference on June 9th to ask for the public’s help in locating possible suspects. The multi-agency task force released photographs of two men who were spotted at the abortion clinic the night before and the morning of the bombing. The agency also released parts of a letter, in which a group called The Army of God claimed responsibility for the bombings and promised that they would bomb more places. The investigators are certain that the people who wrote the letter committed the bombings because of details contained in the letter but not publicly available. They called special attention to phrases in the letter, which includes many grammatical and spelling mistakes, such as the reference to the Otherside Lounge as the "sodomite bar" and a statement that the abortion clinic bomb was "aimed at agents of the so-called Federal government, i.e. A.T.F. F.B.I. Marshall’s etc." The letter also threatened to "wage total war on the ungodly communist regime in New York and your legislative bureaucratic lackey’s in Washington."

If anyone has any information which could help the agency, or recognizes phrases in the letter or the men in the photographs, they should call 1-800-ATF-BOMB.

6/10/1997 - Ralston Withdraws From Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Consideration

Air Force General Joseph Ralston has withdrawn his name for consideration as the next Chair of the Joint Chief of Staff, the highest non-civilian military post. U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen’s decision to consider him for the post came under heavy criticism after the Pentagon revealed that Ralston had had an extra-marital affair. Members of Congress and the military saw a double-standard applied to Ralston because of his rank and gender. Recently, First Lt. Kelly Flinn faced a possible court-martial and was forced into a general discharge, because she, who is single, had an affair with a married civilian man. Ralston had a prolonged extra-marital affair thirteen years ago while he was married and trying to reconcile with his wife. Ralston eventually divorced, and court records show that his inability to end the affair was a prime reason.

Representative Nita Lowey (NY-D), who led the Congressional outrage at the military’s double-standard, commented on Ralston’s decision, "Gen. Ralston did the right thing and now we can focus on the policy rather than just on this case, and hopefully the panels will come up with recommendations that make sense. The Pentagon has two options – either change the rules or apply them consistently."

6/10/1997 - Some U.N. Officials Hiding Behind International Law to Avoid Paying Child Support and Alimony

U.S. Congress Representative Rick Lazio (R-NY) has charged that some United Nations Officials are refusing to pay alimony and child support to families they abandon in the United States, and he charges that the officials are hiding behind international law and U.N. personnel policies to avoid the payments. Diana Boernstein of the U.N. Family Rights Committee has reported that her group has received over 40 letters from ex-wives of U.N. employees complaining that their husbands are not paying U.S. court-ordered support. The husbands either claim diplomatic immunity, which protects them from civil and criminal prosecution, or they rely on international agreements that protect their salaries from garnishments. Representative Lazio has sponsored legislation which would block $10 million in back payments to the United Nations, by the United States, until the organization addresses the problem.

6/9/1997 - FBI Releases Army of God Atlanta Bombings Letter

At a press conference held in Atlanta, Georgia, investigators of the Atlanta abortion clinic and lesbian and gay bar bombings have released an Army of God letter claiming responsibility for the bombings. The Federal Bureau of Investigation hopes that someone will recognize the writing style or wording of the letter and provide clues as to who committed the bombings. The letter was sent they day after the attack on the lesbian and gay bar in February. Members of the self-proclaimed Army of God took responsibility for the bombings in the letter and claimed that more bombings would occur. On January 16th, a family planning clinic in Atlanta was bombed, and, on February 21st, a lesbian and gay clubbed named the Otherside Lounge was bombed. At both sites, a second bomb was planted, it was designed to explode after law enforcement personnel arrived on the scene.

6/9/1997 - New Hampshire Governor Signs Lesbian and Gay Rights Law

New Hampshire's first female Governor, Jeanne Shaheen, has signed a bill which offers lesbians and gay men protection against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. At the bill-signing ceremony, Shaheen commented, "If we are to be true to our belief that all people are created equal, we must ensure that all of our people enjoy the same basic rights under the law." May Bonauto, an attorney for the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders commented, "This locks up New England as a region which condemns discriminatory treatment on the job. It is also a step forward for the business community, which recognizes that discriminatory business practices don't pay." New Hampshire becomes the eleventh state to offer lesbians and gay men protection against discrimination. The law takes effect on January 1, 1998.

6/9/1997 - New Hampshire Governor Signs Lesbian and Gay Rights Law

New Hampshire's first female Governor, Jeanne Shaheen, has signed a bill which offers lesbians and gay men protection against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation. At the bill-signing ceremony, Shaheen commented, "If we are to be true to our belief that all people are created equal, we must ensure that all of our people enjoy the same basic rights under the law." May Bonauto, an attorney for the Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders commented, "This locks up New England as a region which condemns discriminatory treatment on the job. It is also a step forward for the business community, which recognizes that discriminatory business practices don't pay." New Hampshire becomes the eleventh state to offer lesbians and gay men protection against discrimination. The law takes effect on January 1, 1998.

6/9/1997 - Female Citadel Cadet Hazed Because She Did Not Know Particulars of the KKK

A female cadet of The Citadel, who left the military college because of excessive hazing, says she was starved for weeks because she failed to answer questions about the Knights of the Golden Circle, a faction of the Ku Klux Klan. Jeannie Mentavlos claims there was an "obsession" with the Klan at the school. She told the news magazine 60 Minutes that "I could not come up with the answer. So for two weeks straight, I sat there in front of a full plate of food and I was not allowed to eat [by higher-ranked students] because I didn't know who they were. There was a certain degree of obsession with the KKK." CBS plans to air photographs and video of Nazi paraphernalia during the spring. The network claims that the KKK and the Nazi have been glorified at the Citadel for decades. Citadel interim President Clifton Poole has ordered an investigation of the school's mottos and symbols to be completed by September 1, 1997.

6/9/1997 - 2nd U.S. Army Sgt. in Germany Tried for Rape and Sexual Harassment

Sergeant Paul Fuller has become the second sergeant at the Darmstadt, Germany training center accused of rape or sexual harassment. Fuller is charged with 17 counts, including rape and attempted rape. The trial opened with prosecutor Captain Christopher Hellmich telling the court of he will prove "the devastating impact that one out-of-control noncommissioned officer can have." He also said that one of the rape victims would describe "a night of horrors that none of us can imagine."

6/5/1997 - Candidate for Chair of Joint Chiefs of Staff Had Affair

In what same are decrying as proof that a double-standard for women and men exists in the military, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen has told key lawmakers that one of his candidates to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff had an adulterous affair. Air Force General Joseph Ralston, now the vice-chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had an affair thirteen years ago, but was never charged or reprimanded for the affair. Cohen claims the affair was outside of military law; Ralston was separated at the time of the affair and later divorced. Yet, earlier this week, an Army two-star general has announced his retirement in light of the revelation that he had an affair with a civilian woman while separated from his wife. Recently, the Air Force had threatened to court-martial Lt. Kelly Flinn, who is not married, for her affair with a civilian married man. Flinn was drummed out of the military with a general discharge late last month. Cohen has not yet decided who he will pick as his candidate to serve as the chair of the Joint Chiefs; two other men are being considered in addition to Gen. Ralston.

6/5/1997 - Woman Graduates Number One At Harvard Law With Straight A's

Lisa Grow, 23, of Sandy, Utah, has become the first person in fifteen years to maintain a straight-A average during her entire stay at Harvard Law School, one of America's most prestigious law schools. She is also the first woman to graduate number one in her class at the law school. Harvard Law, the oldest law school in the nation, began accepting women in 1950. Today, women compose 40 percent of the school's 1,646-member student body. Grow served on the school's law review and plans to work for a judge on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia. Next year, she plans to clerk for Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

6/5/1997 - Authorities Claim Atlanta Bombings Linked

Lab work conducted by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms show that the bombings of an abortion clinic and lesbian and gay night-club in Atlanta are most likely linked. Authorities are trying to confirm whether or not the bombings are also linked to the Atlanta Olympic bombing in July. Dynamite was used in both the abortion clinic and night-club bombings in January and February, and the bomber left secondary bombs to maim or kill incoming rescue workers at both sites. The key components and tool markings from bomb fragments at both sites were also similar.

6/5/1997 - Clinton's Lawyer Decides Not to Explore Jones' Sex Life

U.S. President Bill Clinton's attorney has retracted his earlier plans to make Paula Jones' sexual history an issue in her sexual harassment case against the President. Lawyer Robert Bennett faced intense pressure to not pursue that type of case. U.S. Press Secretary Mike McCurry himself pointed out that President Clinton had signed a law making it harder to explore the sexual histories of alleged victims of sexual harassment. Patricia Ireland, President of the National Organization for Women, was pleased with the change in tactics and commented, "The result is the President's going to show leadership by not mounting this kind of attack against Paula Jones. I'm very pleased."

6/5/1997 - Sergeant Convicted of Indecent Assault, Cleared of Rape

A military jury has acquitted U.S. Army Sergeant 1st Class Julius Davis of rape but has charged him with multiple counts of indecent assault. Davis, stationed in the U.S. military base in Darmstadt, Germany, had been charged with six counts of rape. The indecent assault convictions carry a maximum penalty of 31 years in prison, reduction of grade, forfeiture of all pay and allowances and a dishonorable discharge. Two other Army sergeants charged with sexual misconduct at the overseas base are being charged separately.

6/5/1997 - Feminist Majority Condemns Push To Resegregate Military Training As Giant Step Backwards For Women

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Feminist Majority condemns recent calls for the resegregation of military basic training. The Feminist Majority, joining with a dozen other national women's rights organizations, has signed on to testimony submitted to the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services by Kathryn Rodgers, Executive Director, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, opposing sex-segregated basic military training.

"Resegregation would represent a giant step backwards for women and for the military," said Jennifer Jackman, Ph.D., Feminist Majority Director of Policy and Research. "When men have done wrong the answer is not to punish women. If military officers cannot relate with women in the military how are they going to relate with women civilians in the U.S. and worldwide. Criminal behavior must be treated as such and not accommodated as normal boys-will-be-boys behavior."

"Current attempts to resegregate basic military training are nothing more than the latest in a long line of strategies to keep women out of the military and to preserve military-related entitlements for men," stated Jackman.

Jackman continued, "First, we were told women were not qualified to be in the military or to serve in combat. How could we forget the fear-mongering about sending our daughters into foxholes? With the technology of modern day warfare and the significant contributions of women military personnel in the Persian Gulf War, arguments about women's inferiority increasingly rang hollow.

"As barriers to women in the military finally began to fall, sexual harassment became the next strategy to keep women out. Let there be no mistake about it: sexual harassment is first and foremost a boundary-setting strategy, the goal of which is to marginalize women.

"Ironically, women's rights opponents are now using the aberrant behavior of men and the abuse of power by some men in the military to cloak the latest strategy to keep women out -- the resegregation of basic training. Legislation, introduced in the House by Representative Bartlett, not only penalizes women recruits, but also limits the opportunities of women drill instructors who would be allowed to train only the smaller number of female units.

"Resegregation would be detrimental to both women and national security," Jackman concluded.

6/4/1997 - Wisconsin Recall Fails; Abortion Ban Supporters Delay Reconsideration of Bill in U.S. Congress

A recall vote against Wisconsin’s two Democratic U.S. senators who voted against a controversial late-term abortion ban has failed. Anti-abortion activists in Wisconsin fell some 50,000 votes short of the necessary 391,000 votes needed to force a recall against each senator, Sen. Russell Feingold and Sen. Herb Kohl. Both senators opposed a measure dubbed “the partial-birth abortion ban” by its supporters which would ban the D&X abortion procedure in all cases except to save the life of the woman but not her health. The ban passed the House by a wide veto-proof margin but fell three votes short of the two-thirds necessary to override an expected presidential veto.

Rep. Charles Canady (R-FL), the sponsor of the bill in the House, has said he favors delaying a second House vote until the Senate gains the needed 3 votes. The House must approve the amended version passed 64-36 by the Senate before the bill can be sent to President Clinton. However, Senate sponsor of the bill Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) said he did not favor an intentional delay but that budget, tax, and spending issues may force a delay.

6/4/1997 - Complaint Filed Against Schools for Athletic Scholarship Discrimination

The National Women’s Law Center has filed a complaint with the Education Department against 25 colleges and universities which the Center accuses of discriminating against female athletes in scholarship funding. The Education Department has 135 days to respond to the complaints which come under Title IX, the federal law banning discrimination in education based on sex. The law, passed in 1972, celebrates its 25th anniversary on June 23.

According to Marcia Greenberger of the National Women’s Law Center, “If the 25 schools...awarded female athletes their fair share, young women at these schools would receive a total of $5,076,615 more per year in scholarship.” The average disparity in scholarship money awarded to men and women athletes was $1,000 per year, but women at Vanderbilt in Tennessee receive $6,765 less each year than men. Two months ago, the U.S. Supreme Court concurred with previous rulings that Brown University discriminated against female athletes and ordered the school to increase the number of varsity team positions open to women.