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Boy Scouts ordered to pay $18.5M in punitive damages in sex abuse case

PORTLAND, Ore.

Scouts told to pay $18.5M in sex abuse case

An Oregon jury has ordered the Boy Scouts of America to pay $18.5 million in punitive damages in a sex abuse lawsuit. It is believed to be the largest award ever granted by a jury in a sex-abuse lawsuit against the organization. The amount is in addition to $1.4 million awarded to Kerry Lewis in compensatory damages last week after the jury found the Scouts were negligent for failing to prevent abuse by an assistant Scoutmaster in the early 1980s. The punitive damages award on Friday came in the second phase of a monthlong trial centered on files the Scouts have kept on suspected child molesters since the 1920s.

OKLAHOMA CITY

Governor vetoes two abortion bills

Gov. Brad Henry vetoed two abortion bills that he says had flaws, including no exemption for rape and incest victims. One of the bills Henry denied Friday would have required women seeking abortions early in their pregnancies to undergo an invasive form of ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before having the procedures. Henry also vetoed a bill to prohibit pregnant women from seeking damages if physicians withhold important information or provide inaccurate information about their pregnancy.

NEW YORK

Guilty plea in plot to bomb subway

Zarein Ahmedzay, 25, of New York said Friday that a plan to attack the city subway system in 2009 was ordered by al-Qaida leaders two years ago while he was in Pakistan with Najibullah Zazi, a former airport shuttle driver who has since admitted to the plot. Ahmedzay pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to charges including conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction. Asked by the judge what kind of operations he was to carry out, Ahmedzay responded: "Suicide-bombing operations." He faces a possible life term at his sentencing on July 30.

Elsewhere

Salt Lake City: Utah is set to execute Ronnie Lee Gardner, 49, by firing squad on June 18 after a judge agreed Friday to the inmate's request for the method. Gardner was sentenced to death for killing an attorney 25 years ago during a failed escape attempt.

Pearl, Miss.: White supremacist lawyer Richard Barrett, 67, was stabbed and beaten to death by a black neighbor who had done yard work for him, police said Friday. Vincent McGee, 22, was charged with murder.

Norfolk, Va.: Eleven suspected Somali pirates accused in separate attacks on two Navy ships off the coast of Africa were indicted in U.S. federal court Friday on charges of piracy, attacks to plunder a vessel, assault with a dangerous weapon and use of a firearm during a crime of violence.

United Nations: Diplomats said Friday that Iran has dropped its bid for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council. Peggy Hicks, global advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, praised Iran's decision to withdraw as a "good thing."

Bolivia: President Evo Morales said Friday that he is creating a "Mother Earth Ministry" to promote the planet's rights. He launched a campaign to plant 10 million trees by April 22, 2011, and said he would like to set up an international court to punish nations that fail to obey emissions-reduction pacts.

Times wires

Boy Scouts ordered to pay $18.5M in punitive damages in sex abuse case 04/23/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 23, 2010 11:39pm]

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