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McKayla Maroney Says USA Gymnastics Attempted To Silence Her Sexual Abuse

“He abused my trust, he abused my body and he left scars on my psyche that may never go away.”

These days, instances of sexual misconduct is coming to light at rapid speeds. On Wednesday (Dec. 19), gold-medal-awarded gymnast McKayla Maroney filed a suit against the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and USA Gymnastics. According to the suit, Maroney alleges that she was required to sign a confidential financial settlement to keep the sexual abuse she suffered as a teen at the hands of team doctor Larry Nassar under wraps.

The 22-year-old also says that the USOC hid its knowledge of Nassar’s misconduct, calling it part of a “culture and atmosphere that conceals known and suspected sexual abusers.” John Manly, Maroney’s attorney, called the confidentiality agreement "an immoral and illegal attempt to silence a victim of child sexual abuse."

The agreement was inked just a few months after the first public accusations against Nassar, who has since pleaded guilty to molesting 10 girls and possessing child pornography. Manly is seeking to have her released from the non-disclosure agreement she signed with USA Gymnastics because in California, where the gymnast lives, a victim of child sexual abuse cannot be forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement as a condition of a settlement.

While the documents do not disclose how much she was paid, sources familiar with the deals say that Maroney received $1.25 million last winter.

“He abused my trust, he abused my body and he left scars on my psyche that may never go away,” Maroney said in a statement. “He needs to be behind bars so he will never prey upon another child.”

 

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Michigan Man Awarded $1.5 Million After Serving 46 Years On A Wrongful Conviction

When Richard Philips was 27-years-old, he was found guilty of dragging a man named Gregory Harris out of his car and shooting him to death. Harris' brother-in-law corroborated the story and told investigators he met with Philips in a local bar to discuss the murder.

Yet despite the statement from the victim's relative, Philips maintained his innocence. It wasn't enough, however, and Philips went onto spend 46 years in prison.

Then in 2010, Richard Polombo came forward and admitted to the killing. It would be another four years before the Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan's law school heard Polombo's confession, and another three in legal proceedings before Philips was granted a new trial in 2017.

In March of 2018, Philips was a free man. CNN reports that Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has awarded Philips $1.5 million, $50,000 for each year he was imprisoned. The money will not be taxed and Philips won't lose any of it in lawyer fees.

In 1990, Philips began painting to "to stave off loneliness," and began selling his artwork in prison to fellow inmates. The money he made went into purchasing more supplies. Philips' watercolor paintings echoed themes of hope and survival.

Now, at 73 years old, Philips rents a small apartment and hopes to buy a home with his money. For now, he's enjoying life's simple pleasures and along with his new home, he says he also wants a German Shepherd puppy.

"He is pretty well-adjusted. He says that he is not bitter," Gabi Silver, Philips' attorney said.

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Drew Angerer

Facebook Bans Maryland Artist For Turning 'MAGA' Hats Into Klan Hood And Swastika

A Maryland artist says her livelihood is in jeopardy after Facebook banned her page prohibiting her from contacting her followers of upcoming art shows. The offense? Turning Donald Trump's 'MAGA' hats into Ku Klux Klan hoods and Swastikas.

Kate Kretz says she rips apart the well-known red Make America Great Again hat and turns them into other divisive symbols. While speaking with WUSA 9, she said her art is meant to start a dialogue.

"The armband is actually titled, 'Only the Terrorized Own the Right to Name Symbols of Terror,' and so if people are afraid of people that are walking around with MAGA hats because they’re afraid of violence," Kretz said. "It’s not really up to the wearer to say 'oh you shouldn’t feel afraid of me.' "

Kretz said she mostly received positive feedback, but about four or five days after an image of a reimagined Swastika band made from the red MAGA hat appeared, Facebook shut down her page citing it violated community standards. Kretz appealed the decision but says she hasn't heard anything.

The Mount Rainier, Md resident said she buys knock-off MAGA hats for her art. "I wanted to make sure I wasn’t putting any money in [Trump’s] pocket,” Kretz said.

And while she knows art is subjective, as one of the many artists that help to make Facebook, she thinks Facebook should exercise more diplomacy.

"I understand doing things for the greater good," Kretz said. "However, I think artists are a big part of Facebook’s content providers, and they owe us a fair hearing.”

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102-Year-Old Woman Evicted From Home To Make Room For Landlord’s Daughter

A 102-year-old woman living in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Ladera Heights is being evicted from her home of three decades. Thelma Smith was notified on March 8 that she has to move out so that the landlord’s daughter can move into the single-family home, after she graduates from law school.

Smith was on a month-to-month lease and has been paying “very low rent,” her longtime neighbor told the L.A. Times. She has to be out of the home by June 30.

While Smith’s eviction is legal, as landlords have the right to evict tenants to help relatives under L.A.'s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, Larry Gross of the Coalition for Economic Survival told the Times that the law is used to “target low-income paying tenants.”

Smith is a former director of the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charity aimed at serving underprivileged youth. She has yet to find a new home, and rejected her neighbor’s offer to move in, but it looks like she’ll be getting housing assistance from Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor and former California Governor vowed to help Smith, whom he called a “dear friend for a long time.”

“Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless,” he tweeted Friday (May 24). Schwarzenegger went on to state that he will be reaching out to Smith. “Landlords, you’ll hear from me too,” he added.

Thelma has been a dear friend for a long time. Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless. Thelma, I’ll be reaching out to help. Landlords, you’ll hear from me too. https://t.co/IJQrclGQ6I

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) May 24, 2019

Landlord Arthur Hilton explained to CBS News that the home was never meant to be a rental property, even though Smith had been living there for 30 years. “This property was purchased by my parents not for rental but for the Hilton family,” he said.

Smith, a widow who never had children, planned to live in the home for the remainder of her life.

See more on her story in the video above.

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