MARYVILLE, Mo. (AP) - Maryville city and school officials say they are on heightened alert in response to negative attention the city is receiving over a sexual abuse case.
City, school and police officials say they are concerned about reaction expressed on social media and in phone calls after the Nodaway County prosecutor decided to drop sexual assault charges against two 17-year-old boys who were accused of sexually assaulting two younger girls.
On Monday, the activist group Anonymous released an online statement criticizing the city and police for not prosecuting the case. However, the case was handled by Nodaway County, not the city.
The Maryville Daily Forum reports police are increasing patrols to protect anyone involved with the case and school officials met Monday at all three city schools to discuss security.
ST. LOUIS— AP -- St. Louis city prosecutors have dropped charges against a former teacher’s aide who was accused of molesting two 4-year-old boys.
John Cuneo was scheduled to go to trial this week on charges of first-degree child molestation, sexual contact with a student by a teacher and first-degree attempted child molestation. His attorney, Scott Rosenblum, was notified Tuesday that the charges had been dropped.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce’s office did not explain the decision, saying she does not comment on closed cases.
Rosenblum says the state’s main witness against Cuneo had credibility problems and several witnesses supported Cuneo.
Cuneo was an instruction care aide for the St. Louis Public School District. He is now retired.
HARRISBURG, Ill.—A southern Illinois high school Spanish teacher is accused of pulling a gun on a woman in a McDonald’s drive-thru lane.
WSIL-TV reports 61-year-old Larry Luna of Harrisburg was arrested Tuesday on two counts of aggravated assault with a weapon.
Harrisburg police say Luna was in his car in line outside a McDonald’s when he began yelling at the woman placing an order in the vehicle in front of him.
Police say Luna brandished a gun when the woman stepped from her car.
Harrisburg schools superintendent Dennis Smith says administrators are waiting for the court case to play out.
Luna is free on bond. Online court records don’t show whether he has an attorney. A message left Wednesday at Luna’s home wasn’t returned.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A federal lawsuit accuses the Jefferson City school district and two administrators of not doing enough to prevent a band teacher from having an affair with a student.
The band teacher, Christopher Knehans, pleaded guilty in 2012 to two felony counts of sexual contact with a student.
The Jefferson City News-Tribune reported Tuesday the lawsuit alleges that high school Principal Paul Dodson and Assistant Principal Tammy Ridgeway were warned several times that Knehans and the student were involved. It alleges that the administrators did not intervene to stop the relationship.
Knehans is also named in the lawsuit.
The district's attorney, Chris Rackers, said district officials would not comment on the lawsuit, which was filed earlier this year but amended this month.
The online site, Nextdoor, plans to announce a partnership with the city of St. Louis Wednesday that would enable several city departments to begin using the social networking site as an informational and crime-fighting tool.
Nextdoor looks to link neighbor to neighbor as a way to keep people posted as to what is happening in their area.
The St. Louis Post Dispatch reports that the police department could use the site to post crime alerts and crime trends that could be targeted citywide or to specific neighborhoods.
The city’s Emergency Management Authority will use it to share information about storm warnings, disaster preparations and heat advisories.
Michael Powers, legislative director for Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, says it is a unified way for officials to communicate with neighborhoods. Powers says 70 of the 79 neighborhoods in the city have established Nextdoor sites with about 54-hundred residents using the network.
Nextdoor is a San Francisco-based, private social network which launched in October 2011. Nearly 22-thousand neighborhoods are participating across the United States.
The site is free and the company says it will remain free to the neighbors who use it. Currently, businesses can’t be a part of the site, just residents.
Nextdoor also has teamed with police departments in several cities, but St. Louis is unique because the departments taking part extend beyond just police.
EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (AP) - East St. Louis officials and a local firefighters union say they've reached a deal that will avert layoffs of nearly one-third of the city's fire department.
Terms of the deal reached Tuesday between the city and the International Association of Firefighters Union Local 23 weren't disclosed.
But Mayor Alvin Parks Jr. tells the Belleville News-Democrat (http://bit.ly/1gKk3L2 ) that it spares having to lay off 16 of the city's more than 50 firefighters, at least through the end of the year. He says it's commendable that both sides worked out a creative solution.
The union local's president, Brandon Walls, wouldn't discuss the details but says he's glad no one will be laid off.
The layoffs were expected because of the city's budget issues.
The consequences of the federal government shutdown could ultimately have an effect on the health and safety of St. Louisans.
Missouri's attorney general Chris Koster has joined the call for federal regulators to proceed with required testing of a St. Louis County landfill that's been halted by the budget and debt ceiling stalemate.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decided to delay testing at the Bridgeton Landfill until federal funding for the work is enacted. There has been an underground fire burning at the landfill which is adjacent to the West Lake Landfill where radioactive waste is buried.
Chris Koster's office released a letter yesterday asking the EPA to reconsider its decision to delay testing.
Police in Richmond Heights continue their search for a bank robber who held up a US Bank inside a Schnucks store on Clayton Rd. yesterday morning.
The robber approached a teller at about 10:15, and though he did not display a weapon, he did threaten harm.
The suspect is described as a white male in his 60's, 6 feet tall, with salt and pepper facial hair. He was last seen wearing a green plaid flannel shirt, jeans, and white shoes.
He fled with an undisclosed amount of money. A $1,000 reward is being offered by Crimestoppers (866-371-TIPS).
CHICAGO (AP) - Gov. Pat Quinn has $2.9 million in his 2014 campaign fund - more than all four of his Republican rivals combined.
Reports filed with the state late Tuesday show the Chicago Democrat raised about $813,000 during the three-month period ending Sept. 30. He has no major challenger in the March primary since Bill Daley abandoned his bid.
Four Republicans are seeking the GOP nomination.
Billionaire businessman Bruce Rauner (ROW'-nur) raised about $1 million during the third quarter. But he spent $1.1 million, leaving him with about $594,000.
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford (ROOTH'-ur-furd) raised about $337,000 and finished the period with about $1.2 million.
State Sen. Bill Brady raised $66,000 and had about $273,000 on hand.
State Sen. Kirk Dillard brought in about $314,000 and finished with about $205,000.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A state appeals court says a Missouri man who roots for the University of Kansas Jayhawks may keep his personalized license plate expressing disdain for the University of Missouri Tigers.
The Administrative Hearing Commission last year rejected an effort by Missouri's Revenue Department to recall Toby Gettler's plate, which reads "MZU SUX." The Revenue Department had issued the plate, but tried to recall it on the ground that "SUX" is obscene.
Gettler presented evidence, including a dictionary definition, that the word has gained common usage as slang for "subpar or inadequate."
The Missouri Court of Appeals' Western District upheld the hearing commission's decision in Gettler's favor. The appellate court said there is evidence to support the commission's determination.