Why Frat Scandals at Penn State and Elsewhere Actually Matter

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It was awful when we discovered that a Penn State fraternity had allegedly been posting pictures of nude, unconscious college women on a secret Facebook page. It became worse when one member offered up an in-all-seriousness “boys will be boys” defense of the monstrous act. But you know what really sucks about the “Facebook frat” scandal?

It’s this: The men of Kappa Delta Rho are, in all likelihood, our future leaders. Read more »

Should We Ban Fraternities? Or Just Watch Them Destroy Themselves?

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At this point, we probably shouldn’t bother pretending that we’re shocked by the news coming out of Penn State. (Which is unfortunate, as shock makes great fuel for Internet opinion pieces. Outrage, thankfully, is still on the table.)

It’s not as if fraternities have much of a reputation to uphold lately. Just two weeks ago, we got a peek behind the scenes of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity at the University of Oklahoma, which apparently has absurdly racist and violent sing-alongs when they think no one is looking. Now, police are investigating Penn State’s Kappa Delta Rho for allegedly operating two private Facebook accounts that included nude pictures of unconscious women.

And yet, there is a part of me that’s surprised, if not shocked. Read more »

Trial Starts for Cops in Federal Case

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The federal trial for the six former Philadelphia police officers accused of robbing and extorting drug dealers is set to begin this week, with jury selection expected to begin on Tuesday.

The officers — Thomas Liciardello, Brian Reynolds, Michael Spicer, Perry Betts, John Speiser and Linwood Norman — were part of the narcotics unit in the Philadelphia Police Department

“The enterprise (1) conducted traffic stops of vehicles driven or occupied by persons suspected of being engaged in criminal activity and robbed such persons of money, drugs, and property; (2) entered premises used or occupied by persons suspected of being engaged in criminal activity and stole money and property; and (3) shared proceeds illegally obtained from individuals and premises,” federal prosecutors said, summing up the case in a pretrial memorandum filed March 6. Read more »

More Sting Charges Expected

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The “double-dog dare” continues to backfire on Kathleen Kane.

Nearly a year after the attorney general invited Philadelphia D.A. Seth Williams — one of her loudest critics — to try to prosecute the “abandoned sting” of corrupt Philly lawmakers she had decided not to prosecute, despite having recordings of those lawmakers accepting gifts that were never reported to the state. Williams gleefully accepted the offer and not long after started cranking out the prosecutions.

He’ll add three more names to that list today at a news conference where he’ll announce charges against “two current and one former” state representatives. He did not name them, but the Inquirer and Daily News identified the three as State Reps. Louise Williams Bishop and Michelle Brownlee and former State Rep. Harold James, all Democrats from Philly. Read more »

Report: Feds to Charge N.J. Senator with Corruption

Courtesy of the Office of Sen. Menendez

Courtesy of the Office of Sen. Menendez

Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on charges against New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, CNN reports. The report, which cited sources briefed on the case, says federal prosecutors allege Menendez used his office to “push the business interests of a Democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts.”

Menendez, a Democrat who served in the House from 1989 to 2006, was appointed to the post in January of 2006 after New Jersey Governor-elect Jon Corzine vacated the seat. He won re-election twice: Over Thomas Kean in 2006 (53-44 percent) and Joseph Kyrillos in 2012 (59-39 percent).

But a grand jury has been investigating Menendez since at least 2013, when news broke that the feds were interested in his dealings with Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen. Read more »

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