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Nation in brief

Academy details assault policy

By Times Wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 7, 2003

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - The Air Force Academy on Friday released a new policy that creates a team to handle sexual assault cases but denies confidentiality to cadets who lodge complaints.

A spokesman for a Colorado senator who has helped alleged victims said the policy was a step in the right direction, but victims' advocates criticized what they saw as shortcomings.

The policy calls for the creation of a team trained to deal with victims' needs and to conduct investigations.

But victims' advocates expressed concern about the lack of confidentiality. Some cadets might not want their chain-of-command officers or other third parties to get involved, said Cari Davis, executive director of the Colorado Springs-based rape-crisis center TESSA, which has counseled 38 cadets over the past dozen years.

Democrat asks Ashcroft to seize donation records

WASHINGTON - The head of the Democratic Party asked the attorney general on Friday to seize records of leading Republican lawmakers regarding more than $55,000 in political donations by an energy conglomerate that was seeking favorable treatment from Congress.

The request followed news reports Thursday on internal documents of Topeka, Kan.-based Westar Energy about campaign donations and the company's desire to get "a seat at the table" of a House-Senate conference committee on the Bush administration's energy plan.

Elsewhere . . .

EARTHQUAKE HITS KY.: A 4.5 magnitude earthquake shook portions of far western Kentucky early Friday, cracking sidewalks, dislodging bricks from buildings and rattling pictures off walls. There were no reports of injuries. The quake - classified as moderate - hit shortly before 7:30 a.m. near Blandville.

PETERSON AUTOPSY STILL SEALED: The judge in the Laci Peterson murder case ruled Friday that the autopsy results on Peterson and her fetus would remain sealed. He also declined to issue a gag order on the lawyers involved.

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