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The QueQue: Tower of Hope's whistleblower alleges school refused protections, Wentworth files defamation suit

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Photo: Michael Barajas, License: N/A

Beatrice McKinnon and family attend a vigil Sunday to remember victims of East Side violence. McKinnon's brother, U.S. Air Force vet Charles Ray English, was shot multiple times and killed on an East Crockett Street porch late last year in a wave of violence that rocked the East Side. Local, state, and federal officials this month heralded the results of a months-long East Side crackdown that resulted in 738 arrests (338 for felony charges) along with major firearms and drug seizures. Councilwoman Ivy Taylor and local police have scheduled an East Side community meeting on public safety for 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 5, at the Barbara Jordan Community Center (2803 E Commerce). For more info, contact Taylor's office at (210) 207-2122. 

While the Express-News editorial board defended the crosses, given the experience of Bradford and others, it's hard not to agree with the editorial's conclusion that praises the prompt response by the VTLM Group, writing: "It is probably for the best, because the quick action served to defuse the situation before it could get more heated."

Good thing, indeed.

Given how commonly those who complain about such church-state are targeted, it would seem UPD would be even more vigilant. "Individuals who raise these concerns often are the target of a backlash in their community," said Heather Weaver, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's program on the freedom of religion. "That's why many of the plaintiffs sue anonymously. Across the country they face extreme vitriol from certain segments of the community: threats, instances where houses have been fire-bombed, certainly many harassing remarks are made, death threats.

"The school has an obligation to treat [Bradford's] claim for investigation or request for protection in the same manner that it would treat [anyone else]," Weaver added. "To refuse that request based upon the fact that she complained about these crosses is just wholly improper."

But for those still squinting their eyes for signs of the Antichrist in Bradford, you won't want to hear the message of her former student Linda Rodriguez. After a fellow sociology student at Northeast Lakeview College killed themselves in 2010, professor Bradford joined two teary students in the restroom to offer comfort — and then (despite not sharing their faith) joined them both in prayer. When Rodriguez heard all the things being said about Bradford at A&M-SA last fall, she said she cried all over again. "I really did break down and cry because she is a really, really extraordinary lady."

The day the Current first reported on Bradford's harassment, Bradford got an email from William Bush, interim head of TAMU-SA's School of Arts and Sciences, informing her she will not be teaching any of the four classes she had been scheduled to teach in the fall.

Watch for a Rick Casey interview with Bradford to air on KTSA later this week.

Wentworth files defamation suit

As Texans hit the polls for early voting in the state's long-awaited political primaries last week, state Senator Jeff Wentworth and challenger Elizabeth Ames Jones headed to court. We've already seen Wentworth label the former railroad commissioner a clueless puppet ("marionette," to be exact) steered by shady lobbyists. Meanwhile Jones has charged Wentworth of serious "ethical lapses" in office and employed Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed to lob the not-so-veiled woman-hater bomb Wentworth's way. (She calls his most recent TV spot against Jones a work to "belittle all women.") Already one of Texas' more heated primary challenges, the GOP race for D-25 hit a new level of nasty last week when Wentworth opted to sue Jones for "defamation of character and reputation, in the form of verbal slander and written and electronically recorded libel."

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