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CHILDREN'S MINISTER-SEX ABUSE
Ala children's minister pleads guilty to child sex
TUSCUMBIA, Ala. (AP) - A former children's minister has pleaded guilty to sexually molesting a child at the church where he worked for years.
Jeffrey Dale Eddie pleaded guilty Friday to 20 counts of sodomy, child sexual abuse and possession of child pornography. A judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison.
The 42-year-old Eddie was the children's pastor at Highland Park Baptist Church in Muscle Shoals. He worked there from 1998 until his arrest earlier this year.
Authorities say the charges involve one boy who was 11 years old when the abuse began. Court documents show Eddie admitted molesting several church children multiple times.
Authorities say they've talked with several children with similar allegations and more charges are expected.
The church says it has established a counseling fund to help abuse victims.
Trial approaches for former Ala. Senate leader
FORT PAYNE, Ala. (AP) - A prosecutor says he will show that former Alabama Senate leader Lowell Barron gave $58,000 in campaign funds to campaign aide Rhonda Jill Johnson to help her pay a debt to him and a credit card company.
Defense attorney Joe Espy says Johnson earned the money and there is nothing wrong with using a paycheck to cover debts. Espy represents Barron.
Espy and assistant Attorney General Bill Lisenby explained their cases Friday in a court hearing in Fort Payne. The hearing was in preparation for the trial of Barron and Johnson, which will start next month.
They are charged with misusing $58,000 in campaign funds from Barron's unsuccessful re-election campaign in 2010. Both Barron and Johnson have pleaded not guilty.
Student in fight at Moss Point school dies
MOSS POINT, Miss. (AP) - A 12-year-old junior high school student in Moss Point has died from injuries suffered in a fight.
Moss Point Superintendent Maggie Griffin identifies the victim as Lorel Malone. He was a seventh grader at Magnolia Middle School.
Officials did not release the grade, age or name of the other student involved in Thursday's fight.
Griffin says the investigation is ongoing. She offered no details on the altercation.
Moss Point School District spokeswoman Stephanie Packer says in a news release that the altercation between two students occurred during a class change.
Griffin says Malone was taken to Singing River Hospital and then transferred to the University of South Alabama Children's & Women's Hospital in Mobile where he died.
King family wants input on Georgia MLK monument
ATLANTA (AP) - The family of Martin Luther King Jr. has warned Georgia's governor it wants input on any monument to the slain civil rights icon that might be erected on the grounds of the state Capitol.
A bipartisan bill is pending before the Georgia Legislature that calls for a statue of King to be placed on the grounds of the Capitol or another prominent location. Gov. Nathan Deal in January said he'd work with the Legislature on the effort.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports Intellectual Properties Management, which is run by King's family, sent a letter to the governor's office this week reminding him that the estate owns all rights to King's "name, image, likeness, words, rights of publicity, copyrighted works, recorded voice, and trademark interests."
Deal's chief of staff replied by email, saying they were monitoring the legislation. King was born in Atlanta.
ATTORNEY GENERAL CANDIDATE-POARCH CONTRIBUTIONS
Tribe gives $250,000 to attorney general candidate
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Poarch Band of Creek Indians is contributing heavily to the Democratic challenger for attorney general, who has criticized Attorney General Luther Strange's legal action against the tribe.
Montgomery Rep. Joe Hubbard filed campaign finance reports this week showing he received $250,000 from political action committees funded by the tribe.
The money represents the bulk of the $326,827 that Hubbard raised in the first month of his campaign for attorney general.
Strange filed a lawsuit to shut down the tribe's new casino in Wetumpka. He has also told federal regulators that the tribe's electronic bingo machines are more like slot machines and should not be allowed in the state.
Hubbard says the tribe is under federal jurisdiction. He called the efforts a waste of state resources.
NORTH ALABAMA PRESIDENT-RETIREMENT
University of North Ala president retiring
FLORENCE, Ala. (AP) - The president of the University of North Alabama is retiring.
The school says William G. Cale Jr. is stepping down after more than nine years in the position.
Trustees will discuss the process for finding a replacement during a meeting set for March 17, and the university says Cale will be available to assist during a period of transition.
Cale came to North Alabama from Penn State University-Altoona, where he was the chief executive and dean. He also worked at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.
Cale and his wife plan to remain in the Florence area.
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