Ohio News Briefs

Reports: Rate of drug-addicted babies spikes over 10 years

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — New state reports indicate the rate of drug-addicted newborns in Ohio in 2015 was more than eight times higher than in 2005.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the rate of neonatal abstinence syndrome increased to 159 per 10,000 live births in 2015, compared with 19 such hospitalizations for every 10,000 live births a decade earlier.

The condition involves withdrawal from drug addiction by newborns born to mothers who used drugs while pregnant. It can cause breathing problems, seizures, tremors and excessive crying.

The Ohio Department of Health says there were about 84 infants a day being treated for drug withdrawal in 2015. Health officials say caring for newborns suffering from the syndrome was associated with more than $133 million in health system charges that year.

Gang member in murder, racketeering case sentenced in Ohio

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Federal prosecutors who pursued cases against 20 members of a central Ohio gang have wrapped up that work with the remaining defendant’s sentencing.

Thirty-six-year-old Lance Green was sentenced Monday in Columbus for a fatal shooting in 2005 and paying for a second killing in 2006. Authorities say he pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy and murder in aid of racketeering.

He was the last of 19 Short North Posse members sentenced. Another was prosecuted, but died before trial.

Prosecutors alleged Green led a hit squad and shot a woman while intending to kill a member of a rival gang.

A message seeking comment was left for Green’s attorney.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the judge noted Green had a stable life and couldn’t use dysfunction at home as an excuse.

ACLU asks Ohio city to stop charging overdose survivors

WASHINGTON COURT HOUSE, Ohio (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is asking an Ohio community to end the practice of charging drug users revived by emergency responders using an overdose antidote.

The ACLU’s Ohio chapter says the practice is dangerous because it discourages people from calling for help when a loved one overdoses.

Police in Washington Court House began citing people in February with a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic if responders revive them with naloxone. The city is about 40 miles southwest of Columbus.

The city says the strategy helps authorities track overdose victims and offer them help. People who call 911 won’t be charged.

A message was left with the city attorney seeking comment on the ACLU letter.

The ACLU says 12 people have been charged so far.

Feds: Ohio school broke law in handling sex assault reports

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — The U.S. Department of Education says a small, private Ohio university violated federal law in handling complaints related to sexual assaults and has agreed to make some changes.

Complaints filed in 2011 and 2013 alleged Wittenberg University in Springfield didn’t promptly, equitably respond to reports of students being sexually assaulted. Each involved allegations of a male student-athlete assaulting a female, in one case at a party hosted by athletic team members. The team wasn’t disclosed.

The complaints launched a civil rights probe under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education.

Wittenberg’s Title IX coordinator tells the Dayton Daily News the school disagrees with the findings but will make some technical policy changes.

The department says Wittenberg’s agreement also includes reviewing whether some old rape-related complaints were properly handled.

Columbus passes ban on using conversion therapy for minors

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Officials in Columbus have voted to ban conversion therapy for minors in the city.

The Columbus City Council voted to ban the practice in a meeting Monday night. Conversion therapy is any practice that seeks to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Professionals in the medical community say the practice is illegitimate and doesn’t work.

LGBTQ rights groups within the city worked with Equality Ohio and other civil rights organizations to ensure the law was passed.

Columbus follows other cities like Cincinnati and Toledo that have already passed similar ordinances.

Cincinnati status unclear under warning to sanctuary cities

CLEVELAND (AP) — The U.S. attorney general’s latest warning that so-called sanctuary cities could lose federal funding has raised more questions about whether Cincinnati might be in jeopardy of losing grants after adopting that legally ambiguous label.

Some sanctuary cities block cooperation between city police and federal immigration authorities.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Mayor John Cranley says Cincinnati shouldn’t be at risk of losing money because police there comply with federal law and don’t inhibit immigration officials’ investigations of citizenship or immigration statuses. Cranley says the sanctuary-city declaration was protected free speech in protest of President Donald Trump’s orders.

It’s not clear if the government could legally block Cincinnati from federal grants.

The city has received over $14 million in U.S. Justice Department grants since 2003.

Sheriff: Ohio jail inmate dies after apparent hanging

PORT CLINTON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a female inmate was pronounced dead at a hospital after being found unresponsive in her cell at a northwest Ohio jail.

The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office says it appears the woman hanged herself in the jail.

The office says a corrections officer making rounds at the jail found the woman Monday night and tried to resuscitate her. Paramedics rushing her to a hospital also tried unsuccessfully to revive her.

The sheriff’s office didn’t immediately release the woman’s name, age or other details about her.