Arizona Republic's Uneven Victim Protection Program: Sex Suspect's Name Omitted in One Case, but Not in Another

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Bruce Branscom and Jose Alfredo Rivera were arrested on New Year's Day in separate cases on suspicion of molesting little girls.

The arrest of men on suspicion of sexual misconduct with their own family members makes for a journalistic conundrum: Name the suspect, and you've all but identified the victim.

Local media was presented with this challenge yesterday -- twice. Court records show that two men -- Jose Alfredo Rivera of Glendale and Bruce Branscom of Mesa -- were arrested on New Year's Day in separate cases after being accused of sexual activity with 12- and 13-year-old girls.

In our blog post yesterday, you'll see that we decided to name the men without stating their relationship to the victims. Not sure if that's the best way, but when a guy is accused of committing a horrific crime like that, we tend to believe that he doesn't deserve anonymity.

The Arizona Republic, on the other hand, decided for inexplicable reasons to name one suspect -- and describe his relationship with the victim -- but not the other.

The story by reporter Angela Piazza about Rivera states clearly that the victim is his stepdaughter. (Thus defeating New Times' attempt to cloak the relationship between the two, as New Times accidentally defeated the Republic's attempt to hide the suspect's identity.)

The Republic states that, "the suspect's name is being withheld by The Arizona Republic to protect the victim's identity."

But now the truth is out, for better or worse -- as it is in the Branscom case.

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Girl in Crosswalk Hit by Mesa School Bus Likely to Survive, Mesa Police Say; Driver to Get Ticket, "at Minimum."

Categories: News, Whoops

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An 18-year-old girl who was run over by a Mesa school bus yesterday has "survivable" injuries, Mesa police say.

Wynnona Brooks had been walking eastbound on Crismon Road in a crosswalk at about 6:50 a.m. when the bus, carrying about 20 students and driven by Kenneth Bischof, 59, struck her during a turn off of Broadway Road.

The impact knocked down Brooks, but the bus continued for a few more feet and stopped on top of her.

With a dislocated hip, broken femur and extensive road rash, cops say she remained trapped under the bus until rescue workers showed up and extricated her.

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AZ Urbanathlon Changes Name Before November 5 Race Due to Lawsuit by Men's Health Publisher; Now AZ Urban Race

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AZ Urbanathlon, an obstacle course scheduled for November 5, changed its name last week to AZ Urban Race following a federal trademark complaint.

AZ Urbanathlon, an obstacle-course race scheduled to take place on November 5 near Scottsdale, has changed its name to AZ Urban Race following a federal trademark complaint.

Rodale, the publisher of Men's Health magazine, says it owns the rights to the name "Urbanathlon" in the complaint it filed last week. Men's Health has operated its own Urbanathlon event since 2006 in various U.S. cities and overseas. One's taking place in New York on October 29, another in San Francisco on November 13.

In the events, participants jump over obstacles, climb walls, crawl under cars or perform other unusual challenges during a race of eight or 10 miles.

The local version runs through a three-mile, barrier-filled course and is scheduled to take place at the Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

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Prison Legal News Rejected by Mistake, Pinal County Sheriff's Office Says; "They Need to Settle" Federal Complaint, Says Mag's Editor

Categories: Whoops

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Magazines and paperbacks sent to the Pinal County Jail were rejected by mistake, a spokesman for Sheriff Paul Babeu said today in response to news of a federal lawsuit.

As we reported earlier today, the national Prison Legal News launched a federal complaint against Babeu and Pinal County this week after jail officials refused to let inmates have copies of its publications.

Babeu's spokesman, Tim Gaffney, called us back after we published the first blog post and told us the problem stems from a mail-room mistake.

The jail shouldn't have refused the printed materials and won't do so in the future, he said.

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Kid, 6, Left in Hot Van for More Than an Hour, Cops Say; Intellectually Disabled Kid is Fine, Workers for Service are Being Investigated

Categories: Whoops

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A driver and an aide for a school for a Phoenix school for intellectually disabled kids left a 6-year-old in a hot van yesterday for more than an hour, police say.

"We think it's extremely lucky for this kid," says Phoenix police Sergeant Steve Martos. "It was over 100 degrees yesterday and he was in there for an hour and 15 minutes."

The driver and aide, who are affiliated with the service provider for disabled people, Quest Alliance, could face a neglect charge, Martos says.

A school van picked up the 6-year-old, a boy with Down Syndrome, from Peoria and made a few other stops before returning to the school at 7602 West Indian School Road just after 2 p.m.

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Joshua Seto was Under Influence of Prescription Drugs When He Shot Himself in Penis, Cops Believe

Categories: Whoops

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Chandler police on Thursday confirmed that the gun used in last Thursday's accidental penis-shooting was a .380 caliber Taurus similar to this one.

A man who accidentally shot himself in the penis while walking through the parking lot of a Chandler grocery store last week was under the influence of prescription drugs, police believe.

Cops who responded to the August 2 incident reported that Joshua Seto, 27, seemed too calm and oblivious to pain, says Chandler Sergeant Joe Favazzo. The officers thought the man was impaired by prescription drugs.

That would help explain how Seto could make such a blunder, though police also used the incident to emphasize the importance of holsters.

Police say the man and his girlfriend had been on their way to the store at about 7:30 p.m. when the woman pulled her pink .380 caliber, semi-automatic Taurus, specially made to promote breast cancer awareness, from her purse.

Seto took the gun and jammed into his waistband, where it went off.

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Cronkite News Service Corrects Story on Sentencing Guidelines; Ex-Inmate Wasn't Good Example for Reform


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Image: Arizona Department of Corrections
The Cronkite News Service issued a lengthy correction to an article that featured ex-inmate Candita Gottsponer (above) as a poster child for sentencing reform.
The Cronkite News Service issued a lengthy correction to a students' article about Arizona sentencing guidelines, but the misinformation persists on the Internet.

The May 18 article, which was widely published throughout the state and elsewhere, told readers about the sad case of Candita Gottsponer, a Flagstaff woman with a record for pot possession who supposedly received 23 months in prison for her first DUI.

The anecdote sounded fishy to us, as we explained in our May 27 blog post, and we soon discovered that Gottsponer had a much more extensive criminal history. Though not a violent criminal, the convicted thief, meth user and absconder is certainly no poster child for sentencing reform.

The mistake was a shame for three reasons: It slipped past Cronkite News Service editor Steve Elliott, a veteran from the Associated Press; it found its way onto the Web sites of several newspapers and countless blogs; and it distracted from the undisputed theme of the article, which was that some reform is needed because too many non-violent offenders are in Arizona's costly prisons.


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Kingman-Area Man Survives Four Days in Nasty Weather Following a 150-Foot Fall

Categories: Whoops


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​A Kingman-area man fell off a 150-foot cliff near his home and was stranded for four days in rainy, cold weather before being found.

Merideth Isom, 66, was walking on his property about 10 miles north of Kingman, intending to give treats to his dog, when he fell off the cliff, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

After suffering various cuts and bruises, Isom couldn't leave the spot. Remember that storm that hit Arizona earlier this week? Isom was out in it, without shelter, food or clothing. 

Neighbors discovered he was missing yesterday morning and called authorities.


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Mayor Phil Gordon's Business Deal With Protester-Killing Bahrain was Seriously Bad Timing

Categories: Whoops

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Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon and girlfriend Elissa Mullany, who was hired to set up the ill-timed economic deal with Bahrain.

Dealing with the ruling royalty in far-flung parts of the globe could have possible benefits for Arizona, but these non-democracies can be brutal, as Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon is finding out this week.

Gordon inked a five-year deal with Bahraini government officials on Monday aimed at developing stronger economic ties.

The same Bahraini government, led by the King of Bahrain, Sheikh Hamad ibn Isa Al Khalifa and his royal family, is shooting scores of protesters who want a constitutional monarchy that treats Shia muslims better.
At least six people have died and 66 are injured, according to the latest report by Al-Jazeera. People are being shot and beaten with rifle butts, says the report.
On Tuesday, Gordon was still sending upbeat messages on his Twitter account about his Monday meeting:

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