News Around the State

Motel clerk says boss told him he needed exorcism

HAZARD, Ky. (AP) — A Kentucky motel clerk says his manager told him he had demons that were causing his marital problems, and would have to undergo a process akin to an exorcism at her church.

News outlets report Jason Fields is suing Hampton Inn & Suites and Sharon Lindon, saying he had to quit after being subjected to religious discrimination and harassment.

Fields says Lindon provided a packet of invasive questions about his religious beliefs and sex life. One question asked if he belonged to a cult, listing “Mormons,” ”Native religions,” Buddhism and Islam as examples.

Fields say Lindon punished him and brought church members to pray for him in the lobby when he didn’t turn the form in.

Hampton Inn’s statement says they oppose discrimination and will investigate.

Court upholds earlier ruling in disability benefits case

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Hundreds of people in Appalachia are closer to having their disability benefits restored after a federal appeals court upheld an earlier decision.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in November that the Social Security Administration used an unconstitutional process to revoke the disability benefits for hundreds of clients of disgraced former attorney Eric Conn. Conn is in prison for bribing doctors and judges to win approval for his clients.

The Social Security Administration asked the court for a rehearing. Friday, the court denied that motion.

It’s unclear what the Social Security Administration will do next. It could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Or it could hold a second round of hearings to determine eligibility. An agency spokesman referred questions to the Department of Justice.

2 Fla. men sentenced in lottery scam of Ky. woman

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Two Florida men have pleaded guilty to theft and exploitation charges for using a phone scam to con a Louisville woman out of more than $104,000.

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear says 40-year-old Manfred Sinclair and 50-year-old Rony Meza, of Miami, Florida, were sentenced and ordered to pay restitution to the victim.

The AG says in a news release Thursday that the men admitted to telling an 81-year-old woman she had won a $7.5 million lottery prize. They told her she needed to send tax money to claim it. The woman sent money to them between October 2015 and April 2016.

Both men were sentenced to five years in prison, but the sentences were diverted until restitution is paid. Sinclair agreed to pay $89,000 in restitution, and Meza $15,000.

Ivanka Trump visits Ky. Toyota plant, touts training

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (AP) — Ivanka Trump toured the Toyota Motor Manufacturing plant in central Kentucky, viewing several stages of the manufacturing process.

The White House says in a release that Ivanka Trump, an adviser to her father, President Donald Trump, has focused on workforce training.

The Georgetown plant’s CEO Jim Lentz says the company is investing in workforce training to prepare for “the highly skilled jobs of the future.”

During the visit Thursday, Toyota officials signed the administration’s “Pledge to America’s Workers,” a promise to create new opportunities for workers. After a tour, Trump participated in a workforce development roundtable discussion with Toyota officials, employees and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin.

Ex-firefighter gets probation for purposely burning building

CROFTON, Ky. (AP) — A former Kentucky firefighter has been sentenced to probation for intentionally burning down an empty Crofton building.

The Kentucky New Era reports 19-year-old Dakota Oglesby was sentenced Wednesday to five years of probation, pending restitution payment. The former Crofton Volunteer firefighter pleaded guilty in December to arson and burglary, and is one of four former firefighters convicted in the crime.

Twenty-nine-year-old former Chief Jeremy P. Marlar and 24-year-old former firefighter Glen R. McGee were convicted in a trial last year and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Nineteen-year-old ex-firefighter Dylan M. Hodge and Oglesby pleaded guilty last year. Hodge took a plea deal and was sentenced to a diversion program pending restitution payment.

All four are also involved in a civil case by the family who owned the building.

Lawsuit: Comments on transgender treatment led to demotion

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A medical professor is suiing the University of Louisville saying he was demoted over his comments on how to treat transgender children.

The Courier-Journal reports Dr. Allan Josephson says in the federal suit filed Thursday that university officials retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment rights.

Josephson was demoted in 2017 after 15 years as chief of the medical school’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology. He says it happened after he spoke at an event for the conservative, nonprofit Heritage Foundation. His comments included advising parents to listen empathetically to their transgender children while guiding them to align with their biological sex.

University spokesman John Karman said the school doesn’t comment on pending litigation.