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West Side Police News & Notes

3/21/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Akron, APS investigating alleged sexual abuse

AKRON — On March 14, the city of Akron released a statement that Mayor Don Plusquellic and Akron Public School (APS) Superintendent David James had become aware of incidents that involve a juvenile victim of alleged sexual assaults.

Little more information has subsequently been available, but APS Communications Officer Mark Williamson confirmed those involved are Firestone High School students. He said three students — no teachers or staff members — allegedly are involved.

The location of the incident could not be identified by presstime, as Akron Police Department officials did not return calls for information.

On March 13, according to the release from the city, APD detectives responded when authorities at Akron Children’s Hospital notified them of the alleged incidents involving the juvenile victim. APD and APS personnel are gathering statements, collecting evidence and reviewing video, according to city officials, who added that police also are working with the victim’s family to address the victim’s needs.

“We are taking these allegations seriously and want to protect the victim,” Plusquellic stated in the release. “We will do everything we can to find out what happened and take appropriate action after a thorough and complete investigation.”

“We still have very few confirmed facts, but I want to assure everyone that our staff is working — right now — with Akron Police to get to the bottom of this,” stated James in the March 14 release. “If the allegations are true, my heart goes out to the victim and the victim’s family. This is truly reprehensible behavior.”


Akron Municipal Court ups fees for delinquent offenders

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Outstanding fines will be more expensive for delinquent cases involving criminal, traffic and parking offenses in the Akron Municipal Court as of April 1, according to Clerk of Courts Jim Laria.

Laria said a 30 percent fee increase will be added to every delinquent case, and Akron Municipal Court will begin using a collection agency to collect past-due fines starting April 1. The increased cost for collections will be passed on to the defendant, per state law. According to Laria, it is a citizen’s responsibility to know when their payments are due to the court.

The Akron Municipal Court district includes Akron, Bath, Fairlawn, Lakemore, Richfield Township, Richfield Village and Springfield and the part of Mogadore located in Summit County.

For more information, contact Laria at 330-375-2263 or visit courts.ci.akron.oh.us.


Advocates unite to launch branding symbol for domestic violence, sexual assault

The Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Center of Summit and Medina Counties has joined with other organizations across the country to support the first unifying branding symbol for domestic violence and sexual assault.
Graphic courtesy of the The Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Center of Summit and Medina Counties
GREATER AKRON — The Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Center of Summit and Medina Counties have joined other major domestic violence and sexual assault prevention organizations across the country to support the launch of the first unifying branding symbol for domestic violence and sexual assault, called NO MORE.

NO MORE is designed to unify everyone working to combat these issues, as well as corporate leaders from a variety of business sectors.

“We needed to create a powerful icon that would subconsciously communicate strength, solidarity and optimism while consciously communicating the idea of zero tolerance for [domestic violence and sexual assault (DV/SA)],” said Christine Mau, European design director at Kimberly-Clark, who joined NO MORE as a branding and communication expert. “By breaking the silence and shining a light on how these issues negatively affect everyone in our society, and empowering people with knowledge, we will end the stigma and shame associated with DV/SA as we move toward our goal of prevention.”

NO MORE has been in the making since 2009.

For more information on NO MORE, to get involved or to get the symbol, visit www.nomore.org.

The blue vanishing point originated from the concept of a zero — as in zero incidences of domestic violence and sexual assault. The symbol was designed by Sterling Brands, and focus-group tested with audiences across the country, according to shelter officials.


Summit County Common Pleas Court expands website features

SUMMIT COUNTY — Judge Tom Parker, administrative judge of the Summit County Court of Common Pleas, General Division, has announced the availability of expanded search features on the court’s website, www.sum mitcpcourt.net. 

This upgrade has been implemented by court staff and accomplished at no added expense to taxpayers, according to court officials.

With the upgraded search functionality, members of the public can now search for their matters by judge name, case name or case number. Attorneys can search for their specific schedule in two-week increments by using their Supreme Court identification numbers.

“This expanded search feature will allow civil and criminal attorneys to use their Supreme Court identification number to search their schedules here at the Common Pleas Court,” Parker said. “This system is tied into the court’s SCORS internal scheduling system and is updated immediately upon a date being scheduled or changed.”

The Court’s General Division serves all of Summit County in the administration of civil cases and felony criminal cases. The court annually concludes more than 15,000 cases. 


Program offering information on human trafficking

BATH — Limited space is available for the free “Close-Up on Human Trafficking” program scheduled for April 9 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Akron General Health & Wellness Center-West, 4125 Medina Road.

The program is part of the 26th Annual Child & Family Awareness Month celebration coordinated throughout Summit County during the month of April by Summit County Children Services.

“Close-Up on Human Trafficking” will offer the latest information on this criminal enterprise, specifically information regarding domestic sex trafficking of minors. The program also will help professionals and parents understand how to identify victims, as well as youths who are at risk for future trafficking.

Among the program participants will be: Summit County Domestic Relations Court Judge Carol Deszo; Melinda Haggerty, director of children’s initiatives for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office; Charles Johnson, special agent from the FBI; Karen Walsh, director of the Collaborative Initiative to End Human Trafficking; Leanne Graham, executive director of the Summit County Victim Assistance Program; and Terry Heckman, executive director of the Summit County Battered Women’s Shelter/Rape Crisis Center.

Advance registration is required. For more information or to register, call Summit County Children Services at 330-379-1994 or visit www.summitkids.org.


Ohio AMBER Alert Steering Committee addresses recent Wireless Emergency Alert

COLUMBUS — During the most recent AMBER Alert, a majority of Ohio residents received an early morning message to their cellular phone with a loud audible tone. This alert is part of the new Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) program instituted by the wireless industry providers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

Different from past opt-in programs, all new WEA-capable cellular phones are automatically enrolled to receive these messages. This program is an update to the Emergency Alert System used to communicate emergency preparation messages, extreme weather emergencies and AMBER Alerts.

Several states have limited the use of the WEA to specific hours when the general public would be out and on the road. Due to the recent alerts and feedback received, the Ohio AMBER Alert Steering Committee has put temporary measures in place to limit use of the AMBER Alert WEA to between 6 a.m. and midnight.

The measure will be discussed further at the next Ohio AMBER Alert Steering Committee meeting and a permanent set of WEA operational hours will be implemented. There will be no Ohio AMBER Alert WEA messages between midnight and 6 a.m.

Cellular phone users who wish to opt out of the program can contact their service provider; however, the Ohio AMBER Alert Steering Committee urges the public to keep the program active, considering the adjustment in operational hours, so they can possibly help find a missing or abducted child.


Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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