AKA sorority chapter at Fort Valley State University embroiled in sexual misconduct investigation

In March, before a gymnasium packed tight with friends and family, 21 young women from Fort Valley State University in central Georgia marked a milestone.

Glowing with pride, wearing matching black dresses, pearls and pink hats, the undergraduates were officially “crossing over” into the campus’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, one of the oldest and most-esteemed black Greek campus organizations in the country.

But just a month later, the Fort Valley chapter of the same sorority is now bogged down in a scandal over allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment.

Rolling Out, an Atlanta-based online magazine, reported that the controversy involves allegations that recent members of the sorority were involved in a sex ring to pay for pledging the organization. Citing unnamed sources, the magazine alleged that customers included local businessmen and politicians.

The controversy centers on Alecia Johnson, a Fort Valley State employee and graduate adviser to the campus’s AKA chapter, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Johnson, an AKA member, resigned her position in the university’s president’s office as news of a criminal investigation broke on campus in April. The scandal has lit a firestorm of speculation on social media and in the tightknit world of historically black colleges and universities.

On Monday, Nicole Carr of Atlanta’s Channel 2 asked Adrian Patrick, Johnson’s attorney, to address accusations that sorority hopefuls were “pimped out” to get money to join the organization.

“I just think that’s incredulous,” Patrick said. “I mean, I know people want to be in a sorority. I got that part. I just don’t think you’re going to sell your body. Plus, it’s inconsistent with the reputation of Alpha Kappa Alpha.”

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, both the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the University Systems of Georgia have begun investigating reports of sexual misconduct and hazing tied to the school’s AKA chapter. The sorority’s national office is also looking into “unauthorized activities and misconduct involving current and former members,” according to an April 22 letter sent to the Fort Valley chapter. The same letter disqualified the Fort Valley AKA from participating in sorority activities while the investigations continue.

In a statement to Atlanta’s 11 Alive, the national office said it has a “zero-tolerance policy for hazing, member sexual misconduct, and harassment, and we take any allegations of this nature very seriously.”

Johnson’s attorney maintains that she is innocent.

“She’s not a pimp, and she’s not a madam. None of that,” Patrick told Channel 2. “She’s not guilty. She did not do anything.”

The allegations are not the only recent news to trouble Fort Valley State University, a historically black college southwest of Macon.

In June 2017, the school came under scrutiny after receiving an accreditation warning from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission of Colleges. It said that the university did not fulfill core requirements such as programs that support student learning and financial aid.

Amid the sorority inquiry, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation also is investigating an alleged “sexual battery” incident that took place between an 18-year-old female student and a former Fort Valley campus police officer.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. is part of the “Divine Nine,” one of nine historically black Greek letter organizations that make up the National Pan-Hellenic Council. AKA was established for African American women and remains one of the largest multicultural sororities in the country. Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-Fla.), actress Phylicia Rashad and author Toni Morrison are among the organization’s notable members.

To become a soror — the Latin term for sister — one must pledge, going through an initiation process that can last months. Essence magazine wrote an article about the things to know before pledging a historically black sorority, including being financially prepared and remaining secretive during the process.

Sorors are required to pay an initiation fee, monthly and/or yearly dues and other expenses, such as clothing and conference tickets. The average initiation cost for joining a National Pan-Hellenic Council sorority can run from $700 to $2,500, according to Auburn University. One student at the University of Texas at Arlington asked for donations on GoFundMe to pay for her $1,680 initiation fee to join AKA.

In 2007, Natasha S. Alford, the deputy editor at the Grio, wrote in the Harvard Crimson that “being Greek is a socially acceptable aspect of the African American community. Elevated and popularized by movies like ‘Stomp the Yard’ and by respectable members of the black community and historical figures like Martin Luther King Jr. who have donned Greek letters, being a member of black fraternity or sorority retains positive connotations in spite of the challenge of becoming one.”

According to the AKA’s website, “hazing will not be tolerated in any form.” The AKA chapter at the University of Pittsburgh was suspended in February after a hazing incident during which 12 pledges were allegedly forced to eat rotten food and were beaten with a wooden paddle in an off-campus basement.

According to a statement released by the University System of Georgia, the current investigation of the Fort Valley AKA chapter began with two complaints.

“On April 5, 2018, administrators from Fort Valley State University received two separate reports of alleged wrongdoing,” the statement said. “One report was made anonymously as a tip on a campus complaint hotline. The second report was made separately by an employee to the campus Title IX coordinator.”

The statewide system and Fort Valley immediately began investigating the allegations.

J.T. Ricketson, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations, told the Journal-Constitution that his agency began a “wide-ranging inquiry” into possible crimes on April 12. Six days later, Johnson resigned from her position with the school.

“We haven’t confirmed any of the allegations that we have heard,” Ricketson told the paper. “The story is out in front of us, but we have to be very thorough, because there is a lot of stuff out there. I told my agents that there is a lot of street committee talk out there.”

On April 19, the chancellor of the University System of Georgia blasted Ricketson for providing a false timeline to the media on the events leading up the investigation. “Ricketson has from the moment he got on the case been talking to the media,” Chancellor Steve Wrigley said in a letter to GBI Director Vernon Keenan asking for Ricketson’s reassignment. “He has talked to more reporters than Fort Valley State University students and officials. Such behavior damages the quality, credibility and integrity of the investigation.”

The case has since been handed to an investigator who reports directly to the GBI’s deputy director, the Journal-Constitution reported.

But Johnson’s attorney remains adamant that his client will be found innocent.

“She’s been demonized by social media, but not one piece of evidence has shown what’s happening,” Patrick told the Atlanta paper.

Former metro Atlanta cop arrested for child porn in Forsyth

A man from Cumming who formerly worked for law enforcement agencies in metro Atlanta was arrested Monday for possession of child pornography.

Arthur Durand Handley Jr., 42, was the subject of a GBI investigation that lasted nearly a month. Working with GBI, the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office investigated Handley for child exploitation and eventually obtained a search warrant of his home and computers.

Handley was charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of children, distribution of child pornography and possession of child pornography. The investigation into Handley began on April 6.

The police report and other information about the investigation is off limits right now due to the age of the victims, a spokesperson for the Forsyth Sheriff’s Office said.

Handley’s LinkedIn profile says he most recently worked as an account manager for LexisNexis Risk Solutions in Alpharetta from October 2016 to January 2018.

Before that, his profile says he worked for law enforcement agencies in Alpharetta, Smyrna and Albany from June 2000 to Oct. 2016.

A spokesperson for the city of Alpharetta confirmed Handley was a police officer for the city’s department of public safety from 2008 to 2016, and left via a voluntary resignation.

“We’ve not had any affiliation with him since then,” the spokesperson emailed.

His file with Georgia’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST) indicates that he worked as a jailer in Dougherty County in 1996, was a police officer in Albany from 2000 to 2002, and worked with Smyrna and Cobb County police departments from 2002 to 2008.

On Oct. 8, 2012, Handley completed training for “child abuse investigations” according to his POST records.

Handley’s LinkedIn also says he was a United States Navy officer from 1993 to 1996.

Handley is still being held at a Forsyth County jail.

Sex offender charged in ex-wife’s death found hanging in Georgia cell

A registered Georgia sex offender was found hanging in his jail cell Friday night, a day after he was charged with his ex-wife’s murder.

Charles Michael Patrick, 72, was pronounced dead at the scene after being found around 10 p.m. Friday in his isolation cell at the Gilmer County jail. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is investigating Patrick’s death and an autopsy is scheduled for Monday, officials said.

Patrick had been arrested Thursday, the same day officials from the GBI and the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office found remains believed to belong to his ex-wife, Drusilla Patrick, on his Ellijay property.

The last time Drusilla Patrick had been seen alive was in Dec. 2016 or Jan. 2017, officials said. An autopsy determined she had been shot.

The remains were found after a probation officer supervising Charles Patrick became concerned about the woman’s whereabouts and notified authorities.

Charles Patrick — who had remarried, having divorced Drusilla in 1970 — purportedly gave conflicting statements about his ex’s whereabouts.

“The investigation further revealed that Charles Patrick had given a variety of reasons for Drusilla Patrick’s absence to several different people, each contradictory to the other,” GBI spokeswoman Nelly Miles said.

It was not immediately clear specifically when — or why — Drusilla Patrick may have been killed.

Georgia doctor allegedly threatened to ‘slit’ employees’ throats, ‘cut’ worker’s head off, ‘roll it down hallway’

A doctor in Georgia has been charged with making terroristic threats after she allegedly threated to “slit” her employees’ throats.

Marian Antoinette Patterson, a family practice doctor who’s worked in the Valdosta area for almost 30 years, allegedly shouted a slew of threats at her employees, WCTV reported.

Authorities reportedly responded to Patterson’s South Georgia practice on Feb. 21 after reports of a disturbance.

Patterson, according to authorities, told employees she would “slit their throats,” and even told one worker she was going to “cut her head off and roll it down the hallway,” and that she’d call the employee’s children to show them.

The doctor allegedly grabbed at least one employee and threw a catalog, reflex hammer and prescription bottles, along with trying to throw a large potted plant. Patterson also tossed water on two employees, according to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Ashley Paulk called Patterson’s situation “unfortunate,” and blamed issues happening in her life for her actions.

“It’s unfortunate, there’s some factors in her life that brought about some emotional problems I feel like,” Paulk told WALB. “I hope this is something she can put behind her, because she has a lot of patients, a lot of people that trust her as their doctor, and it’s just one of those things that I hope she can work through.”

Patterson’s medical license was temporarily suspended in March, according to Georgia Composite Medical Board records. WCTV reported the board mentioned the Feb. 21 incident in the suspension order and reportedly said it had received allegations that Patterson had been under the influence at the office several times.

Patterson has been charged with three counts of terroristic threats and false imprisonment, according to reports. She turned herself in last week and has since been released on bail.

Man hits lottery, moves all of his Stuff out without telling his gf

A $6.1-million lottery prize is in limbo after a court injunction prevented an Ontario man from cashing in a Lotto 6/49 ticket that his former live-in girlfriend claims is half hers.

Maurice Thibeault showed up at OLG’s Toronto prize centre recently with one of the two winning tickets in the Sept. 20 jackpot worth $12.2 million.

But before the Chatham resident could collect the money, Denise Robertson, 46, obtained an emergency court injunction and alerted OLG not to hand over the disputed millions.

Sources close to Robertson say she had asked Thibeault days earlier if the ticket — with the numbers 6, 17, 29, 37, 45, and 47 — had won and he responded it hadn’t.

Friends say she thought nothing of it until he moved out of her house five days after the draw.

Over their two years and one month of living together in her house — along with her teenage daughter from a previous marriage — the couple frequently played the lottery, alternating each week who would buy the tickets, said a source close to the long-time federal public servant.

Thibeault’s associates dispute that there was any such arrangement, pointing out he purchased the ticket at a Chatham convenience store using a debit card linked to his personal bank account.

Sources said the surveillance footage of him buying the winning ticket has been erased, but there is a bank receipt of the transaction.

They also said she texted him to ask only if he had bought a ticket, not whether their numbers had come up.

His friends also maintain he had been planning to separate from her for months and only managed to do so when he “got lucky” and won the lottery.

On Sept. 25, Robertson arrived home from work to find Thibeault, a 46-year-old father of three, had cleared out all his belongings from their shared home, according to three people who know the couple.

She then learned from mutual friends he had also quit his job at a local granite and glass supply company. A colleague had emailed the entire office that Thibeault had won, which is how she learned of the windfall.

“She couldn’t believe it,” said a person close to her, who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke on condition of anonymity.

Robertson contacted Windsor lawyer Anita Landry, who immediately phoned OLG headquarters in Toronto and obtained an injunction in a Windsor courtroom on Sept. 28.

“This motion, made without notice, by the plaintiff for an order that the defendant Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation not distribute the proceeds of the winning 6/49 lottery ticket from Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017 in the amount of $6,146,722.60 until the ownership issue can be disposed of ,” the court document reads.

But the legal injunction wasn’t necessary — everything was put on hold as soon as the Crown gaming agency was aware there was a dispute surrounding the ownership of the ticket.

That means Robertson, who declined to comment through her lawyer, could be entitled to more than $3 million of the prize.

Thibeault — who is “laying low” in an undisclosed location until the matter is resolved, according to a friend — also declined to comment.

The other half of the $12.2 million bonanza was won by a ticket holder in Quebec.

OLG’s senior manager of media relations Tony Bitonti said there are very strict procedures surrounding the awarding ofprizes.

“The prize claim process is a process OLG would have followed regardless of whether there was an injunction or not,” said Bitonti.

“Anyone or group presenting a ticket worth $1,000 or more is subject to the prize claim review process to determine ownership of the specific ticket. For prizes of $10,000 or more, this review process includes a mandatory in-person interview of the claimant conducted by an OLG prize claims investigator,” the spokesperson said.

“While OLG has key information about the ticket — where and when it was purchased, was it purchased with other lottery products, etc. — in addition, we ask the claimant certain questions about the ticket and the circumstances surrounding its purchase in order to confirm ownership,” he said.

“If, for any reason, our prize claim review team cannot confidently determine the ownership of the ticket from the answers to the questions from the interview, then the claim is sent to OLG general investigations for further review. This further review can include interviewing other individuals with relevant information surrounding the prize claim.”

A prize is awarded only after OLG — which has revamped its procedures after ascandalsurrounding questionable insider wins a decade ago — completes its investigation.

OLG investigators sometimes examine months-old surveillance video from variety stores and gas stations where tickets are sold to determine buying patterns.

They use computerized “data analysis and retrieval technology” to analyze billions of transactions per second and can identify ticket purchase characteristics to thwart fraudsters.

Longer prison sentences: Good for the crime rate, bad for the criminal

In practical terms, the memo to prosecutors reverses the Obama policy of looking the other way at serious crimes and, where a criminal was arrested for multiple crimes, charging him with one of the lesser ones in order to lock him up for a shorter sentence, or not lock him up at all.  The memo also restores the law to the way Congress wrote it in the first place.

By directing federal prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” in felony cases,  as Attorney General Jeff Sessions did last week, he is fulfilling the government’s primary responsibility:  protect American citizens from harm, and provide them with a safe environment.

Sessions’ new policy is aimed at serious habitual offenders – not first offenders, casual marijuana users or shoplifters.

Sessions’ new policy is aimed at serious habitual offenders – not first offenders, casual marijuana users or shoplifters.  Only the most serious crimes are brought before the federal courts, illegal drug cases being the most common – there were over 22,000 drug prosecutions in federal court during 2015, one-third of all federal prosecutions.  Just under 90 percent of those cases, according to the US Sentencing Commission, involved drug trafficking, usually involving interstate transport of drugs, and more often than not using firearms. Knowing what we do about drug traffickers, those who were caught were career criminals – people who trafficked in drugs dozens, hundreds, even thousands of times for each arrest.

 

Tiger Woods gets Arrested for DUI

Golf legend Tiger Woods was arrested around 3 a.m. Monday on suspicion of driving under the influence in Jupiter, Florida, Jupiter police spokeswoman Kristin Rightler said.

Woods was booked into a local jail and released on his own recognizance with no bond a few hours later, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office’s online records.
It’s unclear whether Woods tested positive for alcohol or drugs. It’s also unknown at this time whether Woods was the only person in the vehicle. An arrest report was not immediately available on Monday.
Woods has a home on Jupiter Island.
Tiger needs to get remarried and start cheating on his new wife. This will put him back on top of the Golf world. When he got divorced it all fell apart.

Daycare worker who poured bleach into coworker’s soda sentenced to ten years

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) — A former daycare worker accused of pouring bleach into a coworker’s bottle of Mountain Dew has been sentenced to five years in prison followed by five years probation.

Sharon Lavette Sexion has been sentenced for the offense of criminal attempt to commit aggravated assault, after taking a plea deal. Superior Court Judge Daniel J. Craig sentenced Sexion in court on Thursday.

Judge Craig said the entire incident was caught on video.

The video showed Sexion going into the laundry room of the daycare center where she worked. She put some bleach in a plastic cup, went to the refrigerator and removed the bottle of Mountain Dew of her co-worker, Juanita Quattlebaum. She then poured the bleach into the bottle and returned the Mountain Dew bottle to the refrigerator.

The initial report was made on the next day when Quattlebaum stated she poured the drink into her cup and noticed a strong odor of bleach. According to the incident report, surveillance video couldn’t immediately link Sexion to the incident so Quattlebaum did not know who poured the bleach in her drink at the time.

Three days later, a separate report was filed naming Sexion for reckless conduct after investigators reviewed the video some more. Sharon Sexion is seen in the video bending into the refrigerator and pouring an unknown substance from a white cup into the soda bottle.

According to the arrest warrant, Sexion was accused of felony aggravated assault for using a deadly concoction which could result in serious bodily injury.

 

Mother’s Day card for grandma leads to mom beating boy, police say

A South Carolina mother has been accused of beating her young son after the boy made a Mother’s Day card for his grandmother, but not one for her.

Spartanburg Police said Shontrell Murphy, 30, repeatedly hit her 6-year-old son after ripping up the card, Fox Carolina reported.

Murphy was charged with cruelty to children. She was released from jail on a personal recognizance bond.

Police said they found the boy crying when they went to the home Thursday for a report of a disturbance, the station reported. Officers said the grandmother told them her daughter slapped her grandson multiple times around the head.

Investigators said the boy’s sister told them their mother was upset because the Mother’s Day card her brother made wasn’t for her. She said the card was for their grandmother, according to the station.

The police report states that when Murphy realized the card wasn’t for her, she ripped it up and hit the boy repeatedly about the head, according to the station.

He was evaluated at a hospital and released.

The station reported that Murphy admitted to smacking the child but “does not believe it was in a hard or violent manner.”

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