News Briefing: Oct. 14-20, 2016

News Briefing: Oct. 14-20, 2016

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Trial date set for HIV-bias case

A trial date has been scheduled for September 2017 in the case of “Bonnie Jones,” a York woman with HIV who claims she was denied aquatic therapy because of her serostatus.

Jury selection is slated to begin 9:30 a.m. Sept. 11 in Courtroom 4 of the U.S. Court House in Harrisburg. U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane will preside.

Jones contends that in June 2015 she was denied use of a therapeutic pool at OSS Orthoepaedic Hospital in York.

Timothy Burch is the hospital worker who allegedly denied Jones access to the pool. Additionally, Burch divulged Jones’ serostatus to people who didn’t have a legal right to know it, according to court papers.

However, attorneys for Burch and the hospital deny Jones’ allegations.

Jones is seeking an unspecified amount in damages, along with corrective actions by the hospital.

 

Extension granted in Farnese case

State Sen. Lawrence M. Farnese (D) has been granted a two-week extension to file defense papers in his federal corruption case.

Farnese has until Oct. 21 to file defense papers, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office has until Nov. 18 to file a response.

Farnese is accused of bribing Ellen Chapman — an Eighth Ward committee member — in order to ensure his 2011 election as Democratic leader of the ward.

Farnese allegedly diverted $6,000 in campaign funds to help pay the college tuition of Chapman’s daughter.

Farnese and Chapman are charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and related offenses. But they deny the allegations.

Both defendants remain free, pending the outcome of their trial.

The Eighth Ward is a political subdivision, largely in Center City west of Broad. It serves as a conduit to party leadership, and it’s a source of information during campaigns and elections.

A joint trial for Farnese and Chapman is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Jan. 23 in Courtroom 12A of the U.S. Court House, 601 Market St., with U.S. District Judge Cynthia M. Rufe presiding.

— Timothy Cwiek

 

Chesco LGBT advocate helps launch suburban biz pub

An online publication focused on the suburban Philadelphia LGBT business community launched last month under the leadership of Rachel Stevenson, an advocate based in Phoenixville.

Stevenson serves as managing editor of Outword.today. It’s part of the American Community Journals family of publications. Ken Knickerbocker, the founder of American Community Journals, approached Stevenson over the summer about the publication.

The site will feature community profiles of LGBT leaders in the area, as well as companies that are operated by LGBT people or involved with LGBT initiatives.

Stevenson will also seek community partnerships with local companies. Ten percent of any sponsorship will benefit suburban LGBT nonprofits, she said.

“Our blog is celebrating the suburban LGBTQ+ experience,” Stevenson said, referencing the site’s tagline. “I like to call it paying it outward.”

 

Anne Holton gets out the vote in Pennsylvania

Anne Holton, the former secretary of education of Virginia who is married to Democratic vice-presidential nominee Tim Kaine, spoke with PGN last weekend while she was in Pennsylvania encouraging voters to get to the polls in November.

Holton said she had a number of LGBT friends with her family in the audience for this month’s vice-presidential debate. She regretted there wasn’t a specific question about LGBT issues, including impacts on the community from the religious-freedom law that Mike Pence signed as governor of Indiana. Pence, the Republican nominee for vice president, gained national notoriety for the backlash to the bill.

“Tim is a passionate friend of the LGBT community, including speaking against Gov. Pence’s positions,” Holton said.

As a Congressman for Indiana, Pence also advocated for conversion therapy and opposed protecting LGBT people in anti-discrimination laws.

Holton recalled an anti-LGBT amendment to Virginia’s constitution that passed in 2006, while her husband served as governor. She and Kaine, as well as her parents, stood on the steps of the governor’s mansion — “in the shadow of the Confederacy” — and affirmed that same-sex couples getting married would not threaten marriage. Holton said she and Kaine were glad the amendment became moot after the 2015 Supreme Court case that ruled in favor of marriage equality.

“We both are fundamental believers in the idea of stronger together,” Holton said, referencing the campaign slogan for Democrat Hillary Clinton. “We absolutely must help our society continue to move forward.”

— Paige Cooperstein


Sigma2017
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