Ohio politician arrested on 26 sex charges involving teenagers

Ohio politician Phillip Garcia

A long-serving Ohio politician has been arrested on 26 felony charges involving sexual misconduct with teenagers. His lawyers say it’s an attack because of his identity as a gay man.

Phillip Garcia, 63, is the councilman for Ward 2 in Conneaut. He is also a member of the Parks and Recreation committee, Economic Development Committee, and Public Service Department/Cemeteries committee.

Authorities indicted Garcia on Tuesday (28 August). They took him to Ashtabula County Jail, where he is being held on the charges. He was being investigated for several months prior to his arrest.

The charges include five counts of rape, four counts of corruption of a minor, and two counts of sexual conduct with a minor. The other 15 are counts of compelling prostitution.

According to court documents, the alleged misconduct took place between 1997 and 2005. Garcia’s apparent victims were five minors between the ages of 13 and 17. Four of the five worked for Garcia’s catering business.

Attorney General DeWine said there are also concerns there may be more victims.

An overzealous hunt?

The law firm DiCaudo, Pitchford & Yoder released a statement for Garcia’s attorney, Reid Yoder.

In it, they state the attack on Garcia is ‘unfair and unjust’. They also state it is happening ‘because he is a homosexual’ and that his actions have been ‘mischaracterized’.

It continues: ‘This indictment is an extreme example of police and prosecutors grossly overcharging a person based on their sexual orientation in attempt to gain media headlines.’

‘Mr. Garcia intends to fight these charges zealously and looks forward to his day in Court where the actual truth will be disclosed,’ the statement ends.

The City of Conneaut also released a statement, expressing their shock of the indictment.

‘The City condemns any act of sexual abuse against anyone at any time, particularly minors,’ it reads. ‘We are deeply concerned for the victims of sexual abuse and that their rights, as well as the rights of those who are accused, are protected.’

Garcia is appearing at an arraignment hearing this afternoon.

H/t: News 5 Cleveland

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States are asking the US Supreme Court to restrict protections for LGBTI workers

US Supreme Court

A considerable number of states in the United States are appealing to the Supreme Court to restrict protections for LGBTI workers.

16 states, including 13 attorneys general and three Republican governors, filed an amicus brief on Thursday (23 August) with the highest court in the nation.

Their argument focuses on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII does not allow discrimination by employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

This amicus brief argues Title VII’s protections do not extend to sexual orientation or gender identity.

Recently, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that transgender people are protected from workplace discrimination and harassment.

‘The Sixth Circuit’s opinion … erases all common, ordinary understandings of the term “sex” in Title VII and expands it to include “gender identity’”and “transgender” status,’ the brief reads.

‘In doing so, the lower court rewrites Title VII in a way never intended or implemented by Congress in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.’

Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson is leading this action.

A long back-and-forth

Democrats and Republicans have argued about the Civil Rights Act, and how far it extends, for years.

In 2014, Attorney General Eric Holder under President Obama issued a memorandum. In it, he aligned with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They both determined Title VII does, in fact, ban discrimination based on these identities.

This all changed when Jeff Sessions assumed the role of Attorney General under Trump.

On two different occasions, Sessions, as leader of the Justice Department, ruled the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not extend to gay people or protect trans people at work.

Another figure signing on the amicus brief is Maine Governor Paul LePage. The state’s Democrats condemned his participation.

‘After refusing to protect LGBTQ youth in Maine from conversion therapy, Governor LePage has turned his efforts toward making sure businesses can fire workers based on their sexual orientation and gender identity,’ they said.

‘By working to exclude LGBTQ Mainers from these protections, Governor LePage has once again shown that he does not stand with Mainers who are overwhelmingly in favor of upholding these basic standards of decency.’

The Supreme Court will decide in the coming months if they will take on this case during their next session.

H/t: Politico

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