05 24 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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Robert L. Reece, doctoral candidate at Duke University and co-author of the study.

WASHINGTON (NNPA) – There is a direct correlation between the geographic concentration of slavery and today’s K-12 school segregation, according to a new study.

The study, “How the Legacy of Slavery and Racial Composition Shape Public School Enrollment in the American South,” appeared in the publication Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, the official journal of the American Sociological Association.

According to the study, counties in the Deep South that had large enslaved populations currently have the highest levels of racial segregation between public and private schools.

“This is fundamentally still a White flight process. We tested whether or not White students were leaving public schools to attend private schools because they were better schools. That’s not the case,” said Robert L. Reece, a doctoral candidate in the sociology department at Duke University and co-author of the study.

“They’re leaving public schools because of integration, because there are Black students in these schools; [and] because slavery created conditions that normalize segregated schooling in these areas.”

Reece and co-author Heather O’Connell at Rice University examined Census and National Center for Education Statistics data along county lines in states that were original members of the Confederacy: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Texas, and South Carolina.

After Brown v. Board of Education, a wave of private schools washed across these and other states in defiance of integration. Because this White flight was a response to Black students entering previously-White public schools, Reece and O’Connell expected there to be more private schools in places that had been particularly attached to slavery.

Instead, they found that the correlation rested in the level of use of private schools, not the number of schools.

“We argue that the social structural legacy of slavery may separately affect the use of private schools by amplifying their legitimacy as a means to escape integrated public schools,” the study stated. “The strongly demarcated social hierarchy associated with the legacy of slavery may make the use of private schools more likely among Whites, regardless of the number of private schools.”

In other words, there weren’t necessarily more private schools in counties that had had high concentrations of enslavement, but the school segregation in these areas was stark.

Reece and O’Connell explain that high enrollment and racial segregation in private schools in the Deep South was, and still is, partly a result of “racial threat” – the rise of Black students and families in a given county or public school, which then leads to White flight and greater Black-White disparities. To test this hypothesis, they analyzed the same data for counties in the “Upper South:” Arkansas, Delaware, Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Their results suggested no link between racial threat and racial school segregation in the Upper South, while showing a statistically significant link in the Deep South.

The study noted, “The Deep South was much more reliant on the plantation economy and is argued to have subsequently developed a more rigid set of racial politics that remain in place today.”

Although the researchers focused on the former Confederacy, they make it clear in their writing that this type of segregation happens everywhere – but in different ways and for different historical reasons.

“Everyone [in America] had a connection to slavery. Like New York, for example – a lot of plantation investment money came out of New York, from Wall Street,” said Reece. “We’re measuring how this one specific type of racial inequity was grown and protected in this area. School segregation exists in other areas, but the history is just different.”

As the nation changes demographically, with young children of color already the majority in their generation, Reece asserts that race relations will not change much without examining and targeting these roots.

The study is part of a developing field of social science research on the legacy of slavery that examines the system’s social and economic consequences. Reece and O’Connell hope to advance the field and encourage others to study history as a path toward correcting present-day racial inequality in communities all over the United States.

“What we’re trying to demonstrate is that history mattered. The history of slavery matters,” Reece says. “We can’t really understand the social determinants of things like segregation, and poverty, and income disparity without taking a long pause and historical look at what has been happening. And considering that antebellum slavery, I’d argue, is the most prominent historical period in the country’s history, we have to understand how it affects our current society if we want to be able to fix these social inequities.”

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