The U.S. at a glance ...
Serial killer caught? The discovery of a missing woman chained inside a metal shipping container on a rural South Carolina property last week led to the arrest of an alleged serial killer suspected of having committed at least seven murders. After Kala Brown, 30, and her boyfriend, Charles Carver, 32, disappeared in August, investigators traced the couple’s last cellphone signal to a 100-acre lot owned by real estate agent Todd Kohlhepp, 45, in Woodruff. When police served a search warrant on the property, officers heard Brown banging on the inside of the padlocked shed. Carver’s body was later found on the site; Brown told police Kohlhepp had shot Carver in front of her after the couple answered Kohlhepp’s ad about a cleaning job. Authorities said that after Kohlhepp’s arrest, he confessed to a 2003 quadruple homicide at a nearby motorcycle shop and led police to two more graves on his property. Kohlhepp had previously served a prison sentence for kidnapping and raping a 14-year-old neighbor when he was 15.
Arpaio’s 24-year run over: Joe Arpaio, the self-styled “toughest sheriff” in America, lost his bid for a seventh term in Maricopa County this week as Latino voters flocked to the polls to reject his divisive law enforcement tactics. Weeks before the election, the Justice Department announced it was pursuing criminal contempt-of-court charges against Arpaio for his refusal to abide by a judge’s order to halt racial profiling of Latino drivers as part of a wider anti-immigration effort. Arpaio was praised by Republican President-elect Donald Trump, but he was defeated by Democratic opponent Paul Penzone, a former Phoenix police sergeant, by 55 to 45 percent. Advocacy groups registered tens of thousands of new Latino voters in the run-up to the election. “The people Arpaio targeted decided to target him,” said Carlos Garcia, head of the migrant justice group Puente.
Lewd ‘scouting report’: Harvard University suspended its men’s soccer team for the rest of the season after it emerged that players created sexually explicit “scouting reports” each year that rated members of the women’s soccer team based on their sexual appeal. The Harvard Crimson first reported that a spreadsheet from 2012 ranked female recruits with a score from 1 to 10, assigned them hypothetical sexual positions, and theorized in graphic terms about each player’s sexual behavior. One player “looks like the kind of girl who both likes to dominate and likes to be dominated,” the document read. About another: “I decided missionary would be her preferred position.” A university investigation later revealed that the reports had continued through the 2016 season. The team was in first place in the Ivy League when the documents emerged, and will forfeit its two remaining games.
Rolling Stone libel: A federal jury this week ordered Rolling Stone and one of its writers to pay $3 million in damages to a University of Virginia administrator who said her life had been ruined by a now discredited article about a purported gang rape at the school. In the 2014 article, reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely wrote about a student she called “Jackie,” who said she was lured upstairs at a 2012 fraternity party and raped by several men. The piece was retracted after the fraternity disputed Jackie’s account and the Charlottesville police found no evidence the episode had occurred. The associate dean of students, Nicole Eramo, said she was cast as the “chief villain” in the article, which implied she discouraged students from reporting sexual assaults to police, and that the initial uproar over the article led her to contemplate suicide. A Virginia jury found that Erdely and Rolling Stone had defamed Eramo with “actual malice,” the legal standard for libel.
Bridgegate verdicts: Two former allies of Chris Christie were convicted in federal court last week for their role in the Bridgegate plot, breathing new life into the scandal that torpedoed the New Jersey governor’s presidential run. Christie’s former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and former Port Authority executive Bill Baroni were found guilty of conspiracy and wire fraud for closing lanes to the George Washington Bridge in 2013 as an act of political retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, who had refused to endorse Christie, a Republican, for re-election. The story that effectively ended Christie’s national bid also sank his local popularity; his approval ratings in New Jersey sit at just 19 percent. Christie, who heads Donald Trump’s transition team, said this week that he doesn’t remember being told about the lane closures while they were happening—disputing the testimony of four witnesses—and insisted the verdicts wouldn’t put a damper on his political future.
Too close to call: North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory was teetering on the edge of defeat this week following a nail-biting governor’s race that put his Democratic opponent, Attorney General Roy Cooper, just 4,500 votes ahead with all precincts reporting—with the victor likely to be determined by a few thousand provisional ballots set to be counted later this month. While the state’s voters backed Republican Donald Trump and GOP Sen. Richard Burr, they were torn over McCrory’s decision to sign a controversial law known as HB2, which restricted restroom access for transgender people. In exit polls, 66 percent of North Carolina voters said they opposed the law. Cooper declared victory on election night, but his razorthin lead means that officials will now tally provisional ballots on Nov. 18. If the final overall tally shows a victory of fewer than 10,000 votes, the loser can demand a recount.