Man indicted on 329 counts
A grand jury on Friday handed up hundreds of charges against a man accused of holding three women captive for a decade, including one count for the death of the unborn child of one of the victims, local media reported. Ariel Castro, 52, accused of kidnapping and sexually abusing his hostages for a decade at his home in Cleveland, Ohio, was indicted on 329 counts related to the crimes, local news reports said. A 142-page indictment included one act of aggravated murder for allegedly causing the unlawful termination of the pregnancy of one of his captives. Prosecutors have alleged that the woman miscarried as a result of beatings by Castro, and have said that they may seek the death penalty against him. Last month, the three women — Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight and Amanda Berry — were freed from Castro’s house, as was the young daughter that one of the women gave birth to during her captivity.
Army general suspended
The commanding general of US Army forces in Japan was suspended on Friday due to allegations he failed to properly investigate a sexual assault complaint, the Pentagon said. The suspension came as the military seeks to crack down on the problem of sexual assault following a jump in reports of unwanted sexual contact in the services and a spate of embarrassing assault cases that have raised questions about the military’s ability to deal with the problem. Major General Michael Harrison “was suspended ... due to allegations that Harrison failed in his duties as a commander to report or properly investigate an allegation of sexual assault,” the Pentagon said in a statement. The Pentagon did not immediately release further details on the sexual assault case in question. Army spokesman George Wright said there were no allegations of sexual misconduct against Harrison. While a number of officers have been suspended in recent months in sexual assault-related cases, Harrison’s was the first in which an officer was suspended for failing to properly investigate a case.
Fujimori denied pardon
President Ollanta Humala on Friday denied a request to pardon former president Alberto Fujimori, who is serving a 25-year sentence for human rights abuses committed during a 1990s war against leftist guerrillas. Humala — who as a young army major led an abortive coup against Fujimori in 2000 — accepted a special committee’s recommendation against granting the aging former leader a pardon on humanitarian grounds. “Having examined the concept of what is repentance, especially for corruption and human rights crimes, I have come to the conclusion that I will not grant a pardon,” Humala said at a press conference.
Radiohead promoter charged
Authorities have charged the promoter of a Radiohead concert with safety violations in connection with a stage collapse that killed the band’s drum technician and injured three other crew members. The Ontario Ministry of Labor on Friday charged that Live Nation Canada Inc and Live Nation Ontario Concerts GP Inc, as well as Optex Staging and Services failed to ensure the stage structure was being built in a safe manner. Part of the massive outdoor structure came crashing down on June 16 last year at Toronto’s Downsview Park during setup for the concert, killing British drum technician Scott Johnson.