The laughter program was Scott's idea. It costs the military virtually nothing, because Scott already travels to states as a director of military family support policy. He has taught National Guard family group leaders in Alaska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Idaho, and will do so in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida, he says. Another laughter trainer is working with folks in North Carolina.
"We believe our program prevents hardening of the attitudes," says Scott, in one of his wordplay aphorisms that beg for a rimshot. The founder and chief executive of the World Laughter Tour is psychologist Steve Wilson, who calls himself "Cheerman of the Bored." "The guiding principle is to laugh for no reason. And that's one of the reasons it works so well for military families," Scott says. "There's a lot they have to be stressed over, a lot of worries, a lot of concerns."
The mother of a disabled 14-year-old girl accepted $10,000 to not turn in a man who repeatedly molested her daughter, Will County State's Atty. James Glasgow alleged Thursday.
Glasgow's office charged the mother, a 32-year-old Wilmington woman, with criminal neglect of a disabled person, obstruction of justice and concealing a fugitive. She later turned herself in at the Will County Jail, where she was being held in lieu of $250,000 bail.
The mother accepted the money from Lawrence Lee Southwood, 68, of Wilmington Township, Glasgow said. Southwood was arrested Dec. 25 and charged with molesting the girl, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, the prosecutor said.
The mother failed to remove her daughter from Southwood's care after learning he was a convicted sex offender, accepted $10,000 in cash from him to not report the assaults to police and falsely told a police investigator she did not know about the abuse, Glasgow said. Police recovered the cash, he said.
"The combined allegations in both of these cases are beyond anything that I have ever encountered in my 28 years in the criminal justice system," and "unthinkable," he said.
The Tribune is not naming the mother--who if convicted faces a maximum of 17 years in prison--to protect the identities of her daughter and two other children. All have been placed in the custody of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Glasgow said.
In 2001, the mother was involved in a crash that injured two of her children. She had a blood-alcohol level exceeding the legal limit when she crashed her car into a ditch in Wilmington, Glasgow said. Neither her disabled daughter nor a son was properly restrained, resulting in the girl suffering a broken hip and thigh and the son, a broken jaw, Glasgow said.
In 2003, the mother pleaded guilty to aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced to 30 months of probation. She had prior convictions for not restraining a child in June 1996 and for driving on a suspended license in 2002 while awaiting trial in the DUI case.
Southwood, of the 30500 block of Readman Lane pleaded not guilty Thursday to three counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Indictments returned Wednesday by a grand jury said the crimes occurred between Aug. 1 and Dec. 20.
If convicted, Southwood faces 21 to 97 years in prison.
After his court appearance, Southwood, who is 6-foot-7 and weighs 300 pounds, was taken back to jail, where he was being held in lieu of $2 million bail.
Glasgow recounted Southwood's criminal history:
In a 1961 Peoria County case, Southwood was charged with rape, kidnapping and assault with intent to commit robbery. He pleaded guilty to rape and was sentenced to 9 years.
Two years after being released on parole in 1967, Southwood pleaded guilty to attempted murder in Fulton County and was sentenced to 15 to 16 years. He had approached a woman in a disabled vehicle, repeatedly stabbed her and fled at the sight of approaching headlights.
He was released in 1977, and 15 years later he was charged in Will County with having sexual relations with his daughter, with whom he had two children. He pleaded guilty and, over the objections of Glasgow, was sentenced to 30 months of probation and 400 hours of community service. He also paid $5,000 toward court costs and a fine.
Southwood was not required to register as a sex offender, as he would be today, Glasgow said.
Susan Clelland, Southwood's daughter, said her mother divorced him after his release in 1977. Clelland, then 17, moved to Will County with her father, she said.
"He declared me his wife," and they had a 15-year relationship, she said. After his 1992 conviction, their two children, now 20 and 24, were placed in the custody of DCFS, she said.
Clelland, who lives in Braidwood, said she knew her father was caring for the 14-year-old girl. "I was concerned about her safety," she said. "I knew what would be going on later."
She said a friend of hers told the girl's mother that Southwood was a sex offender.
Glasgow said an informant brought the molestation to light. Authorities have said Southwood is among more than 45 people whose DNA is being compared to that found on 3-year-old Riley Fox, who was discovered dead in a creek four miles from her Wilmington home in June 2004.
Her father, Kevin, who reported her missing the day her body was found, was jailed for nearly eight months until DNA tests showed no link to him.
The DNA from Riley is being compared with the DNA of family members, known sexual offenders from the area and people such as Southwood, who have been arrested in Will for sex crimes, authorities said.
The girl Southwood is charged with assaulting lives down the block from Riley's grandmother. A neighbor reported seeing Riley on the block the day she disappeared.
But sheriff's detectives concluded that potential witness was mistaken, said Pat Barry, spokesman for Sheriff Paul Kaupas.
"My client denies any involvement in the disappearance and murder of Riley Fox," said George Lenard, Southwood's attorney.
The former vice-president of Syria, Abdel-Halim Khaddam, has accused Bashar al-Assad of ordering the killing of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister.
Asked if he thought that the Syrian president was directly responsible for al-Hariri's killing in Beirut last February, Khaddam told Britain's Sky News on Thursday: "In my belief, yes, my personal belief is that he ordered it. But at the end of the day there is an investigation. They must give the final decision."
Khaddam has said he wants a popular uprising to overthrow the Syrian government, and Syrian officials call him a traitor. Asked if he would use the same word to describe al-Assad, he said: "Yes, I call him a traitor.
"Corruption in Syria is so widespread within the closed circle around the president. He's practised corruption so much that you see that his cousins control everything. And as far as foreign policy is concerned, his policy is causing humiliation
Reviews and press comments on "Munich" accumulate. Spielberg is quoted as saying that the real enemy in the Middle East is intransigence. He conceives of "Munich" as a prayer for peace. His screenwriter Tony Kushner says they do not wish to demonize either side.
Such remarks illustrate why, in an era of moral chaos, Hollywood is unlikely to restore clarity. With due respect to pop culture and its undisputed master, one doesn't reach the moral high ground by being neutral between good and evil. Spielberg is a fabulous entertainer, a magician of a director, a very astute businessman -- maybe, just maybe, it's too much to ask that he should be a significant moral philosopher as well. He brings to the screen an adolescent's fresh eye: that's his strength. He also brings an adolescent's naïve confusion: that's his weakness. Off-screen, his weakness takes over as he meanders in some peculiar La-La Landesque fantasy: he plans to distribute 250 video cameras to Palestinian and Israeli children, 125 to each group, so they can record their ordinary lives, exchange tapes, and foster dialogue. (Sure, says my wife, and some Palestinian kids will use Spielberg's cameras to record their statements as suicide bombers.) There's nothing like a touch of film director's megalomania mixed with "progressive" delusions.
A few leftist reviewers flavour their remarks with a soupcon of anti-Semitism. They hint that Jews object to "Munich" because they're racist, and can't stand that Spielberg-Kushner view Palestinians as human beings. Writing for Bloomberg, Margaret Carlson says Spielberg treats the Palestinians as people, and that's enough to turn off a large segment of frequent moviegoers (read Jews). But treating Palestinians as people doesn't turn off a large segment of the Jewish population, as Carlson implies; what might turn them off is treating terrorists as people. Not demonizing human beings is dandy, but in their effort not to demonize humans, Spielberg and Kushner end up humanizing demons.