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6 charged in NH youth detention center sex abuse probe

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6 charged in NH youth detention center sex abuse probe

CONCORD, N.H. — Six former staffers at New Hampshire’s state-run youth detention center were arrested Wednesday in connection with the abuse of 11 children over the course of a decade, including one who continued working with children for nearly 20 years after he is accused of holding a boy down while colleagues raped him.

The Sununu Youth Services Center, formerly known as the Youth Development Center, has been under investigation since July 2019, when two former counselors were charged with raping a teenage boy 82 times in the 1990s.

Those charges were dropped last year in order to strengthen the expanded investigation, but both men were arrested again Wednesday and charged with rape, the attorney general’s office said. Two others also were charged with rape, while other two were charged with being accomplices to rape. The allegations span from 1994 to 2005.

The attorney general’s office didn’t comment on the possibility of further arrests, but said the latest developments were “merely a step forward” and that the investigation will continue.

“Today’s arrests make clear that this administration is committed to holding these perpetrators accountable for their detestable actions,” said Gov. Chris Sununu. “This is not over, and we will continue to investigate these horrific allegations.”

The center is named for former Gov. John H. Sununu, father of the current governor.

Several of those arrested Wednesday were previously named in a civil lawsuit filed last year in which more than 200 men and women allege they were physically or sexually abused as children by 150 staffers at the Manchester facility from 1963 to 2018. According to their attorney, children were gang raped by counselors, beaten while raped, forced to compete for food in “fight clubs” set up by counselors and locked in solitary confinement for weeks or months.

“My clients are thrilled that the state has taken the important next step in holding these men criminally responsible for the unspeakable crimes they have committed,” attorney Rus Rilee said. “We have faith that this is just the beginning of the arrests and indictments of not only all of the perpetrators, but also all of those that allowed it to happen.”

The new arrestees include Lucien Poulette, 65, of Auburn, who is charged with 33 counts — including rape and sexual assault — involving seven victims between 1994 and 2005. Bradley Asbury, 66, of Dunbarton, is charged with being an accomplice to the rape of a former resident between 1997 and 1998. And Frank Davis, 79, of Hopkinton, is charged with one count of rape and five counts of sexual assault involving two victims between 1996 and 1997.

Instead of the dozens of charges they previously faced, Jeffrey Buskey, 54, of Quincy, Massachusetts, is now charged with five counts of rape involving four children between 1996 and 1999, while Stephen Murphy, 51, of Danvers, Massachusetts, is charged with five counts of rape involving three children between 1997 and 1999.

James Woodlock, 56, of Manchester, was charged with three counts of being an accomplice to rape between 1997 and 1998. David Meehan, the lead plaintiff in the civil lawsuit, alleges that Woodlock repeatedly beat him, held him down while Buskey raped him and told him he had “simply misunderstood events” when he spoke up during a group counseling session.

Woodlock later left the Youth Development Center job and became a juvenile probation and parole officer, a position he held until he went out on leave in 2017. He declined to comment on Meehan’s allegations when a reporter visited his home in early 2020, and his employment was terminated Wednesday, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

“The alleged actions that occurred several decades ago at the former Youth Development Center are horrific,” said Jake Leon, spokesperson for the department. “The Department continues to cooperate with the ongoing investigation and prosecution of these charges.”

The New Hampshire men are expected to appear in court Thursday, while authorities seek extradition from Massachusetts for Buskey and Murphy. Messages were left for their lawyers Wednesday; it was unclear whether the others are represented by attorneys.

In 2000 and 2001, the state Division of Children, Youth and Families spent seven months investigating 25 complaints of physical abuse and neglect at the center, including a boy who said he lost the tip of his finger when staff members slammed a door on it and others who accused staff members of wrapping boys’ heads in towels and slamming them against pool tables. It concluded teens had been abused in five of the cases.

A newspaper article published during that investigation quoted Brad Asbury, then head of the state employees union chapter at the youth center, as saying the allegations were offensive.

“We take them personally,” Asbury said. “That stuff does not take place. It’s not tolerated. We don’t have time to abuse them.’”

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Author reveals how his brother killed his mother in new memoir

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Author reveals how his brother killed his mother in new memoir

Most memoirs are a recounting of the author’s own life and experiences. “Everything is Fine” by Vince Granata (Atria Books), out April 27, is a memoir of an entire family — and a tragedy that forever changed its members. 

Granata was an only child for the first 4 ½ years of his life. On the day his mother and father returned home from the hospital, he remembers writing “welcome home mommy” in sidewalk chalk outside their Connecticut home. His parents had arrived home with not one but three siblings in tow — triplets Christopher, Timothy and Elizabeth. It was a joyful event. But the birth of his siblings put in motion a tragedy that would take years to unfold. 

On July 24, 2014, his brother Tim, 24, attacked and killed their mother in the family home. Claudia Dinan Granata was 58. Tim suffered from schizophrenia. “I won’t take the medication, the medication destroys me, takes my mind, takes me away from God,” he ranted to his mother on the morning of the attack. He had frequently threatened suicide. 

“Tim’s demons, electric in his ill mind, convinced him that the woman who had made him peanut butter sandwiches when he was a grass-stained child was the source of his constant pain,” Granata writes. “…After he killed her, he dialed 911, sitting on our front steps, clutching a white Bible.” 

This is a memoir about a horrifying crime, but it is also a book about mental illness, and the family’s ongoing attempts to get help for Tim in a system that is hopelessly flawed. Tim was hospitalized at the Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital in February 2014. In the weeks leading up to the murder, there were numerous signs that he needed to return, but he refused to go back. 

“Eventually, I had no choice but to look at loss and pain, at all the pieces of my family’s story that I didn’t think I could ever understand,” Vince writes. “It was this process, recognizing the pieces, struggling to put them in order, that almost destroyed me. It’s also what allowed me to live again.” 

Tim was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

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These colleges require students to get vaccinated if they want to live on campus

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These colleges require students to get vaccinated if they want to live on campus

As academic institutions look toward the post-COVID-19 future of education, some are implementing strict vaccine requirements ahead of the upcoming semester as others incentivize or urge students to pick up the inoculations.

Many colleges already require students to provide proof of certain vaccines, but those have been in use for years. The three FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines are all less than a year old.

But now that vaccines are open in many places to people age 16 and up, colleges are beginning to look into how that can benefit their reopening plans.

Colleges that will require proof of vaccination for students who want to live on campus include Oakland University in Michigan, Cornell University in upstate New York, Rutgers University in New Jersey, and Brown University in Rhode Island.

“Students have an option to come to Oakland University and not stay in residence halls,” Oakland President Dr. Ora Pescovitz told Fox 2 Detroit this week. “Only 20% of our students live on campus. The other 80% are commuter students.”

The school is offering religious and medical exemptions to students who provide proof to the dean of students.

But she said more than 1,000 people signed up for vaccines within the first six hours after the school announced the new requirement.

Northeastern University in Boston is going a step further and requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all students before the fall 2021 semester as part of its plan to return to full-time, in-person learning.

Nova Southeastern University announced last week it would require vaccinations by Aug. 1 – then backtracked after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced a statewide ban on “vaccine passports,” citing concerns about individual liberty and patient privacy.

“We will continue to follow all state and federal laws as they evolve,” Nova President George L. Hanbury II said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Mars Perseverance rover takes selfie with Ingenuity helicopter ahead of historic flight

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NASA's Perseverance Mars rover took a selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter on April 6, 2021, using the WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering) camera located at the end of the rover's long robotic arm. Perseverance's selfie with Ingenuity is constructed of 62 individual images, taken in sequence while the rover was looking at the helicopter, then again while looking at the WATSON camera, stitched together once they are sent back to Earth.

To the delight of social media users, NASA’s Perseverance rover used a camera on the end of its robotic arm to snap a selfie with the Mars Ingenuity helicopter this week ahead of its historic flight mission.

Shown about 13 feet apart in the pictures taken on April 6, 2021, or the 48th Martian day of the mission, the rover used its WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and Engineering) camera on the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals) instrument.

In a release, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) said Wednesday that the selfie had been constructed using 62 individual images — taken in sequence — that were stitched together.

It noted that the Curiosity Mars rover, which landed on the red planet in 2011, takes similar “selfies.”

Ingenuity, which has been released on the Martian surface, is scheduled to attempt the first-ever powered and controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet no sooner than April 11.

NASA's Ingenuity Helicopter with its blades unlocked acquired by NASA's Perseverance Mars rover using its Left Mastcam-Z camera, on Sol 47, 08 April 2021. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover's mastcam-Z.
NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter with its blades unlocked acquired by NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover using its Left Mastcam-Z camera, on Sol 47, 08 April 2021. Mastcam-Z is a pair of cameras located high on the rover’s mastcam-Z.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/HANDOUT/EPA-EFE

Once the team at JPL is ready, Perseverance will relay the helicopter’s final flight instruction from mission controllers, according to NASA.

If all final checks and atmospheric conditions look good, the helicopter will lift off climbing at a rate of 3 feet per second and hover at 10 feet above the surface for up to 30 seconds.

After data and potentially images from the rover’s Navigation Cameras and Mastcam-Z are downloaded, the Ingenuity team will determine whether the flight was a success. 

The results will be discussed by the team at a media conference that same day.

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