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No charges related to abuse allegations at Florida school

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No one will be charged in connection with allegations of sexual abuse and murder at a now-shuttered reform school for boys in Florida, with prosecutors saying the passage of time has erased crucial evidence and left many potential witnesses dead. State Attorney Glenn Hess, the lead prosecutor for six north Florida counties, told state investigators in late May there was no way to bring charges after authorities quietly investigated for two years. Fifty alleged victims have come forward. “While wine…

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Rick Scott says money set aside for Orlando efforts

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Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday state agencies were setting aside millions of dollars for the Orlando area in the wake of Sunday’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub there. Also Wednesday, his office revealed Scott and President Obama finally had a one-on-one phone conversation in advance of the president’s scheduled Thursday visit to the area. In a press release, Scott’s office said the Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) “set aside more than $520,000 in residual Justice Assistance Grant funds for…

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Ed Narain and Arthenia Joyner say there’s been “a level of justice” achieved after Rick Scott signs Dozier School for Boys bill

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The families of the more than 50 deceased children discovered from the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys will receive $7,500 for reimbursement of burial and grave marker expenses after Governor Rick Scott signed legislation on Wednesday. The bill also establishes a Dozier Task Force headed by the secretary of the Department of State to recommend creation of a memorial and permanent site for the re-interment of unidentified or unclaimed remains. The reform school, Florida’s first juvenile detention center for boys, was…

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Lake Ray bill would require state background checks of Syrian refugees

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Saying that states have the right to protect themselves from “acts of war,” state Rep. Lake Ray of Jacksonville has filed legislation that would compel Florida’s refugee resettlement organizations to allow state background checks on refugees being brought in from Syria and other troubled areas. “It addresses the concerns the state has and many citizens have related to refugees being brought into the state, without having any solid background checks. The federal government is doing some checks, but in appearing before Congress,…

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Florida investigators: Planned Parenthood didn’t sell organs

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State investigators say there’s no evidence Planned Parenthood in Florida purchased or sold human organs or tissue. Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger confirmed in an email Monday that an inquiry into Planned Parenthood has closed and didn’t move into a full investigation. State health officials inspected 16 Planned Parenthood facilities in August and reported that three clinics were illegally performing second-trimester abortions. Planned Parenthood representatives have maintained that abortions were performed during the first trimester and that…

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Gov. Rick Scott seeks $8.5 million to help process rape kits

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Gov. Rick Scott is seeking $8.5 million to help process a backlog of nearly 11,000 untested rape kits. Scott announced his proposal in a news release Wednesday. The money would be used to upgrade Florida Department of Law Enforcement crime laboratories. It would be spent on lab equipment, DNA database upgrades and crime scene vehicles. Scott’s office said that will reduce the turnaround time for processing evidence, including rape kits. Attorney General Pam Bondi held a news conference in September calling…

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FDLE “can’t keep up” with officer-involved shooting caseload, requests $3.4M for new agents

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Whenever there is a police officer-involved shooting, supervisors often call the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for an independent investigation. Now the agency is struggling to keep up. According to WFTS Tampa, FDLE’s caseload on officer-involved shootings jumped 31 percent last year; and rising 117 percent during the past five years. The backlog is leaving the FDLE “overwhelmed.” “We anticipate the requests for FDLE to investigate officer involved shootings to continue to increase,” FDLE representative Gretl Plessinger told WFTS. Dealing…

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