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News of the Weird

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Lead Story

Theaters in North Carolina recently began showing a short, state-funded film advocating teenage sexual abstinence. In The Power to Create Life, a teenage couple in a car are contemplating having sex when the sky lights up and an alien emperor implores, "You have the power to create life. Don't abuse it." The kids decide to go to a movie instead.

Oops!

Minneapolis prosecutors were expecting a long and difficult trial against Robert G. Swan for child molestation because the incriminating photographs they had of him blurred his face. Then in January, Swan's wife brought her imprisoned husband a fresh change of clothing for his court appearance, giving him the very articles of clothing he was wearing in the photographs. Swan quickly pleaded guilty.

In January an Orlando Sentinel subscriber had just settled down to breakfast and her newspaper, which she was removing from its plastic bag, when along with the paper out came the dentures of her newspaper carrier, Warren Gregory, 43. Gregory had placed them in the wrong plastic bag after they began to irritate him.

In Saint Louis in January, Thomas Hall pulled into what looked like a fast-food restaurant drive-through and placed an order. However, the speaker he yelled into was actually an intercom at a Saint Louis police station, and an officer came out and arrested Hall for DUI. (The next day, after Hall's arrest made local news, deejay "Wacky Pat" Fortune drove up to the same intercom to carry out a gag for his listeners. An officer checked Fortune out on the computer, discovered unpaid traffic violations, and arrested him as a fugitive.)

James Bridgewater, 32, was arrested in Kankakee, Illinois, after a mishap at the First America Bank's drive-in window. He was carrying two white sacks, one containing money for deposit and the other containing two grams of marijuana and rolling papers, and put the wrong bag into the pneumatic tube.

Teachers From Hell

To quell unruly seventh-graders in Irvington, New Jersey, in February, substitute teacher Monique Bazile, 57, cast a voodoo spell on the class. According to pupils, Bazile began shaking and chanting, threw ritual powder on them, and warned them that their houses would burn down because of their rowdiness. Criminal charges of endangering the welfare of a child and making terroristic threats were later brought against her.

Cherry Florence, a high school teacher in Milford, Utah, was fired in February for an indiscretion: after the school, for health reasons, interviewed students individually as to their level of sexual activity, Florence released to her classes a list of which of the school's 170 teenagers were virgins.

Acting principal Steven Stocker, 31, voted outstanding young educator of Fredericksburg, Virginia, in 1988, was arrested in January after he engaged a nine-year-old girl in what the district attorney called a "servant-master" game. Stocker, the servant, had allegedly kissed the girl's feet and sucked her toes.

The board of education in Worthington Hills, Ohio, disciplined teacher Alan Brady in February on charges that he poked a student teacher in her backside with a fork and had third-graders line up and jump on and hit a fellow student who had been bad.

Krystal Gail Allen, a substitute teacher in Immokalee, Florida, was fired in January after parents complained that she had described her sex life in great detail to an eighth-grade geography class and invited students to share their own tales with her. One student had tape-recorded the class.

Least Competent Person

In January burglars at Rich's department store in Salem, Massachusetts, were forced to flee empty-handed after the welding torch they were using to break into a safe accidentally ignited the money inside, causing a fire and setting off the store's smoke alarm.

Creme de la Weird

Daniel Hendricks, 34, of Saint Louis was charged in February with several counts of aggravated battery in Tampa for ramming at least six cars on an interstate highway and forcing others off the road as he sped at 100 miles an hour toward nearby Clearwater, where Barbara Bush was speaking. Hendricks told police he had to warn Mrs. Bush that Saddam Hussein was preparing to invade the United States.

The Diminishing Value of Life

Montique Ramon Brown, 18, surrendered to police in Richmond, Virginia, in March and confessed that he had shot a man to death at 12:05 AM on January 1. He told police he did it because he wanted to commit Richmond's first murder of 1992.

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

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