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News of the Weird



Lead Story

In September the Houston Chronicle reported that there was growing support among American Muslims for Sadri Krasniqi, an Albanian-American who was accused of child molesting. Krasniqi was arrested in Plano, Texas, in 1989 after witnesses reported seeing him fondle his four-year-old daughter under her dress. State authorities then placed the girl and her brother with a Christian family. In 1994, after many delays, charges against Krasniqi were dropped when prosecutors became convinced that because parent-child sex is so unimaginable in Albania, parental fondling--even genital fondling--is accepted. (Some Muslims said such fondling is correctly forbidden among Americans because pedophilia is so common here.) However, even though he's no longer facing charges, Krasniqi and his wife have so far been denied the return of their children.

The Continuing Crisis

In a study of the psychological well-being of 91 Canadian customs officers earlier this year, researchers at the Kingston Sexual Behavior Clinic in Ontario concluded that those officers whose work consists of looking at pornography all day showed no ill effects. (Canada generally has stricter laws against pornography than most U.S. states because authorities more readily accept that viewing pornography is dangerous.)

In May the city council in Raleigh, North Carolina, was set to approve a request to rezone land on behalf of Schlotzsky's Deli. At the last minute the executive vice president of the North Carolina Restaurant Association, whose office is next door to the proposed site, said the group is opposed to having a restaurant there, citing parking problems among other reasons.

According to a Texas district attorney, more than 100 prosecutions for drug possession are in jeopardy because defendants paid the state drug tax after their arrests. A court ruled recently that to both collect the tax and prosecute would be unconstitutional double jeopardy. In August drug charges were dismissed against San Marcos college professor Harvey Ginsburg, who'd paid $2,450 in taxes on 11 ounces of marijuana.

In September the Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Kalmar, Sweden, applied for a permit to connect the crematorium in its memorial park with its other buildings. The church wants to use the heat from the crematorium to inexpensively warm the other buildings.

In October Juanita Winston, 27, fresh out of jail on probation and child-support violations, found her old boyfriend, William Narr, in the liquor store where he worked in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and tried to persuade him to resume the relationship. According to police, Winston--who outweighs Narr by 40 pounds--threw him onto a truck ramp in back of the store, wrapped him in an apron, and sat on him for more than two hours until he agreed to reconcile.

In July the Minnesota gambling control board OK'd for public use the latest gambling machine from Scientific Games of Atlanta. To win the game, called Kiss My Butt, players must receive from the machine cards that have three red lips on them. And in Lapeer, Michigan, in July a judge turned down a petition from 55-year-old John Jakubowski, who wanted to change his name to Kiss My Ass.


Two career firefighters and six volunteers were suspended in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, in September after brawling over who should get to carry the big hose into a burning house.

In August principal Al Williams of Hotchkiss High School in Colorado resigned after his conduct at a student assembly came under criticism. According to news reports, Williams allegedly demonstrated for students the concept of "maturity" by having two girls, one flat-chested and the other developed, stand in profile and touch their elbows behind their backs.

In October a jury in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, awarded $277,000 to Gary Beharrie, a former high school soccer player who was severely kicked by an opponent in a 1992 game. The jury found that the kick was administered on orders from the opposing coach, Phil Drosdick, who told a player near Beharrie to "waste him" because Drosdick's team was losing.

Geographic Centers of Weird

Peterborough, Ontario: In October Robert McKellar, 36, pleaded guilty to spying on female coworkers through a two-way mirror in the employee changing room at a local Kentucky Fried Chicken. And in July police said Darren Laite, 26, was discovered lurking in the tank of a women's outhouse just east of town.

Union, South Carolina: In the town of killer mom Susan Smith, Doris Murphy, 41, pleaded guilty in October to beating her partially paralyzed elderly aunt, stomping on her prescription bottles, and tossing her walker into a tree.

Dover, New Hampshire: Jeremy Brown, 21, was arrested for beating up his girlfriend in October during a dispute over whether O.J. Simpson's jury had reached the proper verdict. And in August David Cobb, 59, was charged with assault and 594 counts of child pornography. Cobb, a former Phillips Academy teacher, reportedly took kids into the woods, left them briefly while he changed clothes, and reappeared in pumpkin mask and underwear asking the kids to fondle him. He then supposedly went back into the brush and reappeared clothed as himself.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Shawn Belschwender.

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