- Attorney of woman accused of livestreaming rape claims she tried to help victim
- Residents raise pointed questions at Spallumcheen water meeting
- ‘GownTown’ comes to Calgary: taking the stress out of the hunt for a grad dress
- Ted Cruz defended ban on the sale of sex toys in Texas
- Halifax pays homage to victims of Titanic, 104 years later
COLUMBUS, Ohio — An 18-year-old Ohio woman accused of livestreaming the rape of her 17-year-old friend with a social media app was trying to record the assault as evidence, the woman’s attorney said Friday in a defense a prosecutor flatly dismissed.
Marina Lonina pleaded not guilty Friday to multiple charges including rape, kidnapping, sexual battery and pandering sexual matter involving a minor. A judge set bond at $125,000 for Lonina, a student at New Albany High School, outside Columbus.
Her co-defendant, Raymond Gates, 29, also pleaded not guilty, with a judge setting his bond at $300,000. A public defender representing Gates did not comment about the allegations.
READ MORE: Woman charged after livestreaming alleged rape of 17-year-old friend on Periscope app
Lonina and her friend — who attends the same high school — met Gates at a Columbus mall for the first time the day before where he bought them a bottle of vodka and encouraged them to meet him the following day, her lawyer Sam Shamansky said.
He acknowledged his client filmed the February assault of her intoxicated friend but said she was trying to get the girl out of the house where the attack happened.
Lonina is in the habit of filming everything with Periscope, Shamansky said. The app for smartphones allows users to stream live video.
“She does everything possible to contain the situation even to the point of asking while it’s being filmed to these Periscope followers, ‘What should I do now? What should I do now?’” Shamansky said.
WATCH: Woman indicted, accused of live streaming friend’s rape on Periscope
Lonina and her friend are naturalized U.S. citizens from Russia, and Gates is also of Russian descent, said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien. The comments on the video are in Russian.
O’Brien said Lonina is seen trying to help only briefly during the 10-minute video. O’Brien said the victim was clearly screaming “stop” and “no” during the assault.
Although Lonina told police she was trying to record the assault as evidence, her behavior as people watching via Periscope “liked” the assault painted a different picture, O’Brien said.
“She got, I guess, taken up with all the ‘likes’ that her livestream was getting and therefore continued to do it, and did nothing to aid the victim,” O’Brien said.
Independent of the rape count, Lonina is also charged with livestreaming her friend nude the day before the assault, which is a felony, O’Brien said.
SPALLUMCHEEN – There was clear frustration at a public meeting in Spallumcheen Thursday night. The aim was for provincial ministries and the local health authority to explain the province’s plan to deal with high nitrate levels in a local drinking water supply.
“Sure the public is frustrated. I understand that,” conceded Rob Birtles with the Interior Health Authority. “We had to give the public an opportunity to provide comment back to us. We had to have an opportunity to provide information to the public. We are moving forward with our action plan and we will come back to the public.”
Some have been living with a water quality advisory since 2014 because of high levels of nitrates in their water source: the Hullcar Aquifer.
In July 2014 the health authority recommended babies, the elderly and those with certain health conditions not use the water from that aquifer because of the nitrate levels.
“We can’t drink the water from the tap that is the bottom line,” said resident Ric Parker. “A couple times a week I’ve got to go get a five gallon jug [and] take it up for my elderly parents because they can’t drink the water from the tap.”
The provincial plan includes inspecting farms and reviewing water quality data with the stated aims of “scientifically” determining where the nitrates are coming from and having safe drinking water.
But some were clearly not satisfied with the meeting.
“This is a real serious issue for everyone in this valley and we don’t see government doing a heck of a lot to protect us,” shouted one man.
“There have been a whole series of meetings and discussions have been going on and on and on and really nothing is moving forward,” said Parker.
Read More: IHA investigating high nitrate levels in water supply
However, the health authority says it needs data to back up its actions.
“The request has been to issue a Section 25 order under the Drinking Water Protection Act. In this case we would have to have some form of empirical evidence to indicate who the offenders are in this aquifer,” said Birtles. “When I say offenders these are the nutrient contributors.”
Read More: Interior Health pushed to act on nitrate in drinking water
However, the public also had questions about why it is taking government so long to officially pinpoint the causes.
Al Price, of the advocacy group Save Hullcar Aquifer Team, pointed out that as far back as July 2014 interior health said it was “involved in investigating the source of the nitrates” along with the Environment Ministry.
“That is two years ago. If they can’t figure it out in two years, there is something wrong. Either that or they haven’t really been doing what they said they were going to do,” says Price.
Interior Health has argued in the past that it is difficult to tell where the nitrates in the aquifer are coming from as there are many public practices that can contribute.
“The land over top of the Hullcar Aquifer is agricultural and residential based. Everyone is actually contributing nitrates to that aquifer via their animals, via their agricultural practices, septic systems [and] lawn nitrification,” said Birtle in February. “All those practices do contribute.”
The Ministry of Environment says it is “taking all necessary actions to ensure the residents of Spallumcheen have safe drinking water, while preserving the region’s agriculture economy.”
However, it seems officials have a way to go to convince the public their plan will be enough to fix the problem.
“We have gowns; we have short, we have long, we have puffy,” Kim Wiltse explained, as she wheeled a rack of dresses through Calgary’s Marlborough Mall on Friday.
The organizer of this weekend’s “GownTown” event, Wiltse was pleased with all the donated dresses she’d received.
“A little bit of everything. Enough to suit every girl’s dream.”
GownTown takes away part of the high price tag that can come with celebrating the end of high school.
READ MORE: Spruce Grove woman asking for prom dresses and services for Alberta grads
Graduating students can pick up a dress that’d normally cost hundreds of dollars for $10 at GownTown, with all the proceeds going to charity.
Wiltse expects a big response this year, saying she’s “anticipating a lot more girls this year, just the way the economy is.”
Calgarians are stepping up to meet that demand, with GownTown receiving 200 dresses–double the usual amount of donations.
Two graduating students got an early chance to check out the selection on Friday.
Hadien Saley and Nicole Wilkes wearing the dresses the found at “GownTown.” Gil Tucker / Global News
Hadien Saley and Nicole Wilkes wearing the dresses the found at “GownTown.”
Gil Tucker / Global News
Nicole Wilkes was pleased with the peach-coloured gown she found, grateful for the people who donated.
“What they do for us is great!” she said.
READ MORE: Canadians plan to spend more than $500 on prom this year, says survey
Wilkes’ friend, Hadien Saley, was glad to find an elegant grey dress.
“I’m so thankful that we found our dresses and we can go party,”
Graduating students with photo ID are welcome to stop by GownTown between 10 a.m. and noon on Sunday, April 17.
If you’d like to donate a dress, you can drop it off during normal shopping hours at the customer service desk at Marlborough Mall, anytime before Sunday.
AUSTIN, Texas — Defending a Texas state law banning the sale of sex toys, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz argued in a 2007 court brief that individuals have no legal right to use them, even in the privacy of their own bedrooms.
Prior to becoming a U.S. senator, Cruz was for more than five years Texas’ solicitor general, arguing the state’s legal positions in court. He often cites that experience to burnish his credentials as a Christian conservative.
On the campaign trail, Cruz frequently reminds audiences that he used the job to defend capital punishment and oppose abortion, while preserving the words “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance and defending a monument to the Ten Commandments on the state Capitol grounds.
READ MORE: Donald Trump or Ted Cruz: Whose views are more extreme?
But Cruz makes no mention of a decade-old case he lost — his defense of Texas’ sex-toy ban. The story was first reported by Mother Jones magazine.
The law, approved in the 1970s, banned as obscene any device “useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.” The same law also declared that anyone possessing six or more such items was presumed to be promoting sex-toy usage through manufacture, sale, lending, delivery or other means.
Joanne Webb, a 43-year-old mother of three and former fifth-grade teacher, was arrested in 2003 after selling a sex toy to an undercover police officer during a gathering of adult couples similar to a Tupperware party held at a home in a Fort Worth suburb.
Though the criminal charges against Webb were eventually dropped, a collection of sex-toy companies sued in federal court to challenge the constitutionality of the state’s ban.
WATCH: Ted Cruz rides rollercoaster to show ‘ups and downs’ of campaigning
A three-judge panel of the U.S. District Court of Appeals later ruled that the Texas law violated 14th Amendment privacy rights. Then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, now the state’s Republican governor, unsuccessfully appealed, asking the full appeals court to review the case.
As solicitor general Cruz co-wrote an 83-page brief arguing that the U.S. Supreme Court “has never suggested that the substantive-due-process doctrine ensures individuals’ ability to stimulate their genitals in ways that are neither connected to procreation nor associated with any particular lifestyle.”
Cruz campaign spokeswoman Alice Stewart sought to distance the presidential candidate from his old legal brief, noting in an email that as solicitor general, Cruz had an obligation to defend Texas’ laws in court, regardless of whether he agreed with them.
READ MORE: Republican voters standing by Donald Trump, champion of political incorrectness
“Senator Cruz personally believes that the Texas law in question was, as (Supreme Court) Justice (Clarence) Thomas said in another context, an ‘uncommonly silly’ law,” Stewart said. “But the office was nevertheless duty-bound to defend the policy judgment of the Texas Legislature.”
Cruz defended the Texas ban as “protecting public morals — discouraging prurient interests in sexual gratification” and argued that in doing so the state had a vested moral interest in discouraging “autonomous sex.”
Cruz’s brief also suggested that the legal sale of sexual enhancement drugs such as Viagra was different because it can’t be described as a “device.” Couples, even married ones, willing to use sex toys may also “believe that hiring a willing prostitute or engaging in consensual bigamy would enhance their sexual experiences,” Cruz warned.
The mighty ship that was hailed as “unsinkable” went down 104 years ago, on April 15, 1912.
The RMS Titanic set sail from Southampton, England on April 10, destined for New York City.
She never made it.
READ MORE: Impact of Titanic still felt in Halifax 104 years later
Just before midnight on April 14, the ship struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The damage was irreversible and the ship began to gradually fill with water. By 2:30 that morning, she broke apart and foundered, sinking with over 1,000 people still on board.
Halifax led the rescue expedition and is the resting place of 150 victims that were recovered from the sinking site.
“All the bodies were brought back here,” David LeBlanc with the Titanic Society of Atlantic Canada explained.
“Other than the ones that were paid for and sent back by the families, back to their home burial places.”
104 years ago today – the #titanic sank in the Northern Atlantic. #Halifax led the rescue @globalhalifax pic.twitter长沙桑拿/vtXhcP01Kv
— Alexa MacLean (@AlexaMacLean902) April 15, 2016
The deadly sinking is considered one of the greatest marine disasters of all time.
Halifax has three different Titanic grave sties.
“There’s Fairview Lawn Cemetery, there’s one just up above at the Jewish cemetery and then there’s the Catholic site, the Mount Olivet,” LeBlanc said.
Many of the graves at the Fairview Lawn Cemetery are only identified by the number marking the order they were pulled from the ocean.
An angel lays at the grave of the unknown child at #titanic grave site in #halifax @globalhalifax pic.twitter长沙桑拿/E6QDvx2eLE
— Alexa MacLean (@AlexaMacLean902) April 15, 2016
There’s also a grave dedicated to the memory of an unknown child.
Who was identified in 2008 as Sidney Leslie Goodwin, a 19 month old boy from London.
On Friday, the day of the anniversary, there was an angel placed beside it.
Report added to Titanic exhibit in Halifax
Titanic commemoration in Halifax begins with candlelight procession
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EDMONTON – Friday was supposed to be the final day of the fatality inquiry into the death of a 22-year-old woman in an isolation room at Alberta Hospital.
However, Dr. Anny Sauvageau, the chief medical examiner at the time of Lisa Goltman’s death in May 2013, was on the stand far longer than expected – almost two whole days.
Mother breaks down during fatality inquiry for Lisa Goltman
Fatality inquiry into the death of 31-year-old Alberta Hospital patient
Goltman was a patient at the hospital, diagnosed with bipolar disorder. On the night she died, she was placed in a seclusion room around 11 p.m. At 2:30 a.m., a visual check reported her alive and breathing. At 3 a.m. she was unresponsive. Staff began CPR and paramedics were called. By the time EMS arrived at about 3:45 a.m., rigor mortis had already set in, the inquiry heard.
READ MORE: Family searches for answers after Alberta Hospital patient dies
On Friday, Sauvageau said her autopsy showed Goltman had been dead for at least four hours by the time staff said they reported it.
“I had, based on a lack of information, concluded the death was natural,” she testified.
Sauvageau said she didn’t have access to Goltman’s medical records at the time. She said, since receiving them, she would now classify the cause of death as undetermined.
READ MORE: Mother breaks down during fatality inquiry for Lisa Goltman
She was questioned about the possibility that Goltman was asphyxiated by a blanket in the isolation room.
The inquiry is proving so complex, at least three more days have been added to its schedule, likely at the end of May.
With files from Emily Mertz, Global News
REGINA – Canada’s brain power just got a big boost.
MP Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, sat in for the Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan this morning during an announcement at the University of Regina.
“Today’s announcements involve 33 different universities,” Goodale said.
“There are 94 projects a total investment of approximately $23 million over the next number of years to support scientists and make it attractive to do their work in Canada.”
Teams at both the University of Regina and the First Nations University of Canada are receiving grant money from the Canada Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund.
Dr. Carrie Bourassa received $205,178 and is working on an action plan for cultural safety practices.
“Our research is community-based, indigenous community-based, we’re the cultural safety evaluation training and research lab… We’re really looking at Patient safety,” Bourassa said.
Her team will be focusing on making sure indigenous patients are properly respected, to help prevent situations like Attawapiskat and La Loche.
Dr. Garth Huber received $49,980. He is a physics professor at the University of Regina studying the interactions of subatomic particles. He spoke about how his childhood dream was to be a scientist.
His high school physics teacher was in the front row as he explained what the grant money would be used for.
“Our goal is to better understand nature at the most fundamental level. When you go to the very, very smallest scale and what goes on there. There are many mysteries going on at the smallest scale of nature that we don’t understand.”
Huber’s team, in theory, will be team Canada of the science world. Multiple countries will work together to build one large subatomic particle detector.
Goodale hopes this will attract ambitious students to the University of Regina. Ones that are curious, creative and can now better collaborate with other students across Canada, and even the world.
REGINA – “I like the laughing game because Dusty’s face goes red and it kind of scares me, but it makes me laugh,” Montana, a student at Peepeekisis School, said.
Montana and her classmates were playing a variety of theatre games with two researchers from the Indigenous People’s Health Research Centre.
Dustin Brass and Erin Goodpipe travel to Peepeekisis School every Thursday to run their program and research project “Acting Out! But in a Good Way.”
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On the surface, it looks like they’re just running artistic programming, but there’s something much deeper at work.
“It started off as a suicide prevention measure, but we found that kids already know what they’re doing is wrong, right?” Goodpipe said.
“We’re not trying to talk down to them, what we’re trying to do is insert strength into their identities through the arts as a health intervention.”
“That’s why now we use theatre games, visual arts, filmography, and we want to use that approach to teach them some skills and enjoy working in relational ways with each other,” Brass explained.
Recently, a mental health crisis has been taking place across the country, linked to suicides in First Nation communities.
The remote Ontario community of Attawapiskat recently declared a state of emergency following 10 suicide attempts on the weekend of April 8-10 and a suicide pact involving 13 youths.
READ MORE: Attawapiskat in state of emergency after 11 suicide attempts on Saturday; nearly 100 since August
In Manitoba, the Pimicikamak Cree Nation has had six suicides in the past two months and 140 attempts in the last three weeks.
Georgina Jolibois, the MP for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, said La Loche, Sask. is also walking a dangerously fine line.
Back at Peepeekisis, located about an hour’s drive northeast of Regina, Brass said Acting Out is having the desired effect on helping kids’ mental health.
“Just as you were filming others, a student talked to me about some good and bad times he was remembering to change his emotions during games. And I thought, jeez that’s exactly what we’re up to,” he said.
“We come together and show them that hey, we can be vulnerable, we can cry together, we can laugh together. We can do these things together and that’s ok.”
Brass and Goodpipe use holistic learning methods when they do their school visits. Over the past five years about 1,800 youths have been involved in lessons put on through Acting Out.
Now they want to take their programming and research to a bigger platform through developing policy.
“Policy change is so impactful, because it not only supports the one group that you worked with, but it starts to impact schools across this nation. So that’s where I’d like to see this work go in the next little while; to be able to listen and write that properly,” Brass said.
Both Goodpipe and Brass are hopeful that the Trudeau government will follow through on their promise to listen to First Nations concerns.
“I don’t know how many more statistics they need to see. We’re talking about human beings here that are under their care,” Brass said.
“At alarming rates, our suicide rates are astronomical. There needs to be something done, just like with the missing and murdered indigenous women, just like the survivors of residential schools.”
With files from Whitney Stinson
REGINA – Running a political campaign can be grueling experience.
But with a late budget not yet finalized and some key players noticeably absent, some are starting to ask the question: when is the government getting back to work?
Since the election, the legislature has been a quiet building. Political columnist Murray Mandryk is arguing that with such an important budget on the horizon, elected leaders should be working overtime.
“Everyone can say, ‘Oh, the MLA’s are tired, they just had a campaign.’ Of course they are, it’s grueling. I’m not making light of it all that much,” he said. “The fact of the matter is they were elected to do a job; do it.”
READ MORE: Brad Wall says election win a chance to keep promises
At a health press conference Friday morning, Health Minister Dustin Duncan was noticeably absent. Minister of Corrections and Policing, Christine Tell said she didn’t know where he was, but was “just asked to be here.”
Newly-elected MLA Eric Olauson was also spotted after the election at an Arizona baseball game.
READ MORE: UPDATE: Saskatchewan budget tanks on oil prices; deficit up to $427 million
Opposition leader Trent Wotherspoon said elected officials are taking too long to get back to work and that “action is required.”
Brad Wall was back in the rotunda again, assuring media that the treasury board has met a number of times since the election and that progress will be made on finalizing the June 1st budget.
“Next week cabinet will meet. Caucus will then get into the budget deliberations in an all day meeting on [April 22]. Then treasury board meets next week and we’ll be back earlier mid-May in the house,” he said.
But Mandryk believes tackling an economic package of this magnitude should require all hands on deck.
“I’m sorry that puts them in a bit of a bind… but not really. That’s their job, that’s what they got elected to do, so do it.”
EDMONTON — Human remains found in central Alberta earlier this month have been identified as an Edmonton man who went missing nearly one year ago.
Human bones were located in a wooded area outside Innisfail on April 5. The Calgary Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Friday the bones belonged to 42-year-old Dwayne Demkiw of Edmonton.
Mounties investigate after human bones discovered in central Alberta
The father of two was last seen at around 4 a.m. on Sunday, May 31, 2015 as he was leaving work in northeast Edmonton. His vehicle was found in southeast Calgary at around 11 a.m. the same day. He was reported missing that afternoon.
Demkiw’s disappearance was being investigated as a homicide by the Edmonton Police Service. In July 2015, police said they strongly believed that harm had come Demkiw.
READ MORE: Edmonton police believe ‘harm has come’ to missing man; homicide unit investigating
In June 2015, Demkiw’s father, who lives in Saskatchewan, plastered his Saskatoon neighbourhood with missing posters, doing anything he could to bring his son home.
At the time, Eugene Demkiw and his wife, Angeline Demkiw, said their son was a kind man who would never harm anyone. They said their son’s disappearance was like a bad dream.
Demkiw grew up in North Battleford and Saskatoon before moving to Edmonton 16 years ago.
Earlier in June 2015, police scoured an area of southwest Edmonton in relation to Demkiw’s disappearance.
The case is still under investigation by the RCMP and the EPS.