Archive for Saturday, July 16, 2005

Briefly - Nation

July 16, 2005



Gay-rights opponent stands by outed aide

The senior spokesman for Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., Friday confirmed to a web log that he is gay.

According to PageOneQ, an online gay and lesbian publication, director of communications Robert L. Traynham, said that he was an "out gay man who completely supports the senator."

Santorum, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate leadership has been an outspoken opponent of homosexual rights and a leading proponent of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Santorum, who was traveling in Pittsburgh, released a statement saying Traynham is not only "an exemplary staffer, but he is also a trusted friend confidente to me and my family. Mr. Traynham is a valued member of my staff and I regret that this effort on behalf of people who oppose me has made him a target of bigotry in their eyes."

During an interview with The Associated Press two years ago about a challenge to the constitutionality of Texas's sodomy law, Santorum said that if the Supreme Court allows gay sex at home (which it ultimately did), "you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."


Police: Coach told player to harm teammate

A youth tee-ball coach paid one of his players to throw a baseball at the head of a mentally disabled, 8-year-old teammate so the boy wouldn't be able to play in a game, police said Friday.

Mark R. Downs Jr., 27, of Dunbar, offered one of his players $25 to hit the boy in the head, police said. The player hit the boy in both the head and the groin.

Witnesses told police Downs didn't want the boy to play in the game because of his disability.

Downs had an unpublished telephone number and could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.

He was arraigned Friday on charges of criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault, corruption of minors, criminal conspiracy to commit simple assault and recklessly endangering another person in the June 27 incident. He was released from jail on an unsecured bond.


Police: Mother injected toddler with feces

A former pediatric nurse has been charged with trying to poison her toddler son by injecting human feces into his bloodstream.

Stephanie McMullen, 29, was charged Thursday with assault and reckless endangerment counts and released on bail.

Doctors at the hospital where McMullen worked alerted police that her 22-month-old son had been hospitalized six times since he was four months old for "serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses," acting police chief Lt. Col. Scott McLaren said.

During one examination, doctors found E. coli, a bacteria found in feces, in the boy's bloodstream, and said the only way it could have entered the bloodstream was "through injection, not consumption."

"This could have eventually led to the death of the child," McLaren said.

A search of McMullen's hospital locker turned up needles, a syringe holder and an intravenous line tap, and an examination of her home computer indicated she had been researching child poisoning, according to court records.

McMullen's attorney, Elwood Eveland Jr., said the child has an eating disorder, and that he has consulted with a medical expert who believes the child is suffering a medical condition.


Oreos recalled because of peanut butter filling

Nabisco Foods issued a national recall Friday for 838,000 boxes of Pure Milk Chocolate Covered Oreo Sandwich Cookies because some boxes may contain cookies with peanut butter creme filling, posing a health hazard to people allergic to peanuts.

The recall covers 7.5-ounce boxes of chocolate-covered Oreos with the UPC product code number of 44000 01094 and "Best When Used By" dates through 05NOV05. The cookies are supposed to have vanilla creme filling.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to peanuts run the risk of serious or life-threatening allergic reaction if they eat these products.

Consumers and retailers who purchased the recalled cookies may return them to the store where purchased for a full refund.


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