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Travel Brings Couples Closer Together

   If you're looking for a way to strengthen your relationship, try hitting the road. Together.

   According to a survey by the U.S. Travel Association, couples who travel together find more satisfaction. They experience better communication and have longer-lasting relationships. They are more romantic.

   Today is Valentine’s Day and millions of cards, boxes of candy and restaurant dinners will be purchased. And then tomorrow morning life will go back to the old routine. But that’s the thing important thing about travel. After a trip, nothing is ever quite the same again. Even if it is only the addition of a few more photos on your cell phone, or a kitschy souvenir on a shelf in the living room, the everyday world we live in has been subtly changed.
 
   Shared experiences deepen our connection with one another. We can be one of thousands of passengers on a cruise ship but the memories we will bring home are intimate and singular: sunsets watched from the deck, wine at dinner, a kiss in the dark.

   Whether it is crossing Europe by train, watching geysers in Yellowstone, thrilling to the sight of whales breaching off the coast of Alaska, exploring ancient ruins in Mexico or even a spur-of-the-moment weekend in the city, what comes back with us after any shared travel experience is the sense of having been a part of something that now belongs to us alone. We linger over memories of having had an adventure, of overcoming the ordinary obstacles that complicate any kind of travel. We celebrate the planning and saving and scheduling that made the trip happen or the exhilaration of giving into an impulse to escape.

   Travel with the one we love sparks the imagination and teases curiosity. It soothes us and relaxes us. It helps us remember what drew us to one another in the first place.

   Humans are hardwired with a need to share and couples who travel together fall into another kind of love. They get hooked and want more. They look forward to another destination, another pin on the map, more photos in the album. And, always, one more kiss.


Read the U.S. Travel Association study here

Cheryl-Anne Millsap is a travel writer based in Spokane, Washington. Her audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and public radio stations across the country. She is the author of ‘Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons’ and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

  

One way to observe Veterans Day

“How about make love to a veteran,” wrote Karen Reinhart. “My husband was in Vietnam for a year from 1969-70.”

Jury: Man groped Moody bible student

A man who sexually assaulted a 19-year-old Moody Bible Institute student at Mission Park in March has been convicted of a sex offense.

A Spokane County jury deliberated for about an hour and a half Tuesday before convicting John L. Sanders of indecent liberties.

Sanders faces five years to life in prison when he's sentenced Sept. 11, said Deputy Prosecutor Patrick Johnson. Intern Amanda Tufts served as co-counsel with Johnson.

Sanders, 41, will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Sanders, who was represented by public defender John Whaley, was arrested March 16 after a bible school student told police she'd walked to the park to relieve stress and saw someone trying to get her attention. She was not wearing glasses and “assumed it was someone from her acting class or her church,” according to court documents.

When she realized she didn't know the man, the woman said “she felt she might have an opportunity to minister” to him, according to documents.

Sanders then touched her breast and asked her to smoke marijuana with him, she told police. The woman tried to leave, but Sanders kissed her on the lips, grabbed her and made inappropriate comments and noises.

Two female officers arrested Sanders and say he repeatedly made kissing sounds at them and asked them have sex with him.

Police say Sanders was arrested for a similar incident in downtown Spokane in August 2011 for which he pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault. Sanders also has three convictions for second-degree theft.

Superior Court Judge Kathleen O'Connor presided over Sanders' trial this week.

7th suspected brothel owner arrested

The owner of two Spokane businesses suspected of being prostitution fronts was released from jail Thursday after being arrested Wednesday.

William R. Westover, 41, faces money laundering and promoting prostitution charges after a 14-month investigation culminated in raids at eight suspected brothels.

Westover owns the Far East Oriental Spa, 213 E. Sprague Ave., and the Asian Spa, 3130 N. Division St. Investigators with the Airway Heights Police Department developed confidential informants after a prostitution sting at Northern Quest Casino.

One of those informants applied for jobs with Westover and told detectives he had her display her naked breasts. Another informant said she gave Westover a massage and had sex with him, accepted payment, then declined his job offer.

Also, according to court documents, “during an interview with a confidential informant, Westover told the confidential informant that she could use a condom for a client the first time she saw the client but was not permitted after that.”

Police reviewed Westover's bank records and found he'd made 41 large deposits between January 2010 and April 2012 totally $165,000.

Six people connected to five other suspected brothels were released from jail Wednesday.

Suspected brothel owners released

Five women and one man arrested in a sweeping anti-prostitution investigation at Spokane-area spas and massage parlors have been released from jail.

The suspects, who own four of eight suspected brothels raided Tuesday, have no criminal records and were allowed to leave without posting bond. Prosecutors did not object to their release, and they were ordered to return to court July 23 to be arraigned on charges of second-degree promoting prostitution and money laundering

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

July 10: Eight suspected brothels raided in Spokane

Suspected area sex houses raided

Eight suspected brothels, including the Oriental Spa South at 515 S. Maple Ave., were raided across the Spokane area Tuesday by a multi-agency law enforcement task force. (SRphoto/Colin Mulvany)

A yearlong investigation into widespread prostitution in Spokane County culminated Tuesday with raids at eight suspected brothels in what authorities say is an attempt to permanently close the longtime businesses.

Complaints from Northern Quest Casino officials about prostitution activity prompted the Airway Heights Police Department to conduct undercover strings of suspected prostitutes who in turn agreed to work as confidential informants.

Read the rest of my story here.

Alleged sex slave traders released

Four people arrested in what investigators believe is Spokane County’s first human trafficking case were released this weekend because no charges have been filed.

Spokane County sheriff’s investigators still are working on the case against Lawrence Dean Johnson, 43, his wife, Dina K. Tellez, 43; Christopher G. Foster, 33; and Foster’s girlfriend, Shanell L. Haddon, 28.

The suspects were released from the Spokane County Jail because prosecutors did not file charges within three days of their arrest as required by law. They can still be charged, and investigators still are working on charging recommendations for prosecutors.

Read the rest of my story here.

Past coverage:

May 24: Sex slave claim leads to 4 arrests

Sex slave claims lead to four arrests

A frightened young woman’s descriptions of being held captive and sold for sex at drug houses and motels over the past year has led to several arrests in what’s believed to be Spokane County’s first human trafficking case.

Lawrence Dean Johnson, 43, his wife, Dina K. Tellez, 43; Christopher G. Foster, 33; and Shanell L. Haddon, 28, who is Foster’s girlfriend, are in the Spokane County Jail as prosecutors consider formal charges against them.

Dave Skogen, a detective with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, said Thursday that more victims could be identified.

Foster denied the allegations in an interview with The Spokesman-Review from jail Thursday evening.

“They should get a psychiatric evaluation done on this chick,” Foster said. “Then the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office will realize what a big mistake they’ve made.”

Read the rest of my story here.

Lawsuit says circumcision ‘robbed’ man

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — A South Dakota prison inmate is suing the hospital where he was circumcised as a newborn, saying he only recently became aware that he'd undergone the procedure and that it robbed him of his sexual prowess.

Dean Cochrun, 28, is asking for $1,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. He also asks in the lawsuit that his foreskin be restored “in the hopes I could feel whole again,” though he acknowledged that he didn't expect such a restoration to be anything more than aesthetic.

Cochrun, who is imprisoned in Sioux Falls on a kidnapping conviction, filed the federal lawsuit Friday against Sanford Hospital. Cochrun claims that an “unknown doctor” at the then-named Sioux Valley Hospital misled his mother to believe that the procedure was medically necessary. Cochrun argues that the procedure was unnecessary, unethical and without medical benefit.

“I was recently made aware of the fact that I had been (circumcised) and that … I was robbed of sensitivity during sexual intercourse as well as the sense of security and well-being I am entitled to in my person,” he argued in the lawsuit, adding that neither he nor his partners would “have that sensitivity during sexual intercourse and have a normal sex life.”

Cochrun isn't represented by a lawyer in the lawsuit, which includes a letter from Sanford officials responding to a letter requesting that his foreskin be replaced. Patient relations representative DyAnn Smith replied that Sanford would not pay for the procedure.

“There will be no further correspondence about this matter,” she wrote.

Godly chance leads to sex offense arrest

A Moody Bible Institute student who hoped to teach a man she met in Mission Park about God was instead groped and asked to smoke marijuana, according to Spokane police.

Officers say 40-year-old John L. Sanders continued acting inappropriately after his arrest by repeatedly asking two female Spokane police officers to have sex with him.

Sanders told the officers he hoped they would strip search him and repeatedly made kissing sounds at them, according to court documents.

The officers had arrested Sanders on a warrant March 16 after the bible school student told them she'd walked to the park to relieve stress and saw someone trying to get her attention. She was not wearing glasses and “assumed it was someone from her acting class or her church,” according to court documents.

When she realized she didn't know the man, the woman said “she felt she might have an opportunity to minister” to him, according to documents.

The man then touched her breast and asked her to smoke marijuana with him, she told police. The woman tried to leave, but the man kissed her on the lips, grabbed her and made inappropriate comments and noises.

Officers responded to the park and arrested Sanders on the unrelated warrant.

A detective assigned to follow up realized Sanders was arrested for a similar incident in downtown Spokane on Aug. 22. Sanders pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault and was credited for 51 days served in jail.

The victim identified Sanders from a photo montage on Wednesday, and he was booked into jail on a felony charge of indecent liberties.

Man used transmitter to track wife’s sex

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (AP) — Police have charged a Pennsylvania man with hiding a remote listening device under his estranged wife's bed that he said he used to avoid overhearing her sex life in the house they still shared.

Raccoon Township police say 66-year-old Wayne Comet Cripe's wife contacted them after finding the transmitter under her bed last month. The Cripes are separated, but still share a home with separate bedrooms.

The Beaver County Times reports Thursday that Cripe acknowledged using the device, telling officers he put it there so he'd know when his wife and her boyfriend were having sex.

Police say Cripe was tired of overhearing the lovemaking and tried to use the device, which he said didn't work, to determine whether “the coast was clear” before returning home.

No attorney is listed for Cripe in court records.

Prisons chief quit after affair uncovered

 

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington’s former secretary of corrections said Tuesday that he abruptly departed his job last week because of an extramarital affair with a subordinate.

In an interview with The Seattle Times, Eldon Vail said that he learned last week of a video that apparently showed him and the employee leaving a motel near Olympia. He said he heard rumors that the video may be made public, so he decided his only choice was to resign.

“This is no one’s fault but my own,” Vail, 59, told The Times. “It’s not the employee’s fault. It is not my wife’s fault.” 

Read the rest of the Associated Press story here.

Man robbed while looking for prostitute

A man looking for sex with a prostitute was robbed of his cash after soliciting women on East Sprague Avenue in Spokane last weekend, according to court documents filed Tuesday.

Jessica N. Shelton, 22, and Joel M. Arevalo, 19, were arrested on first-degree robbery charges Saturday after Rodney G. Tongue said Arevalo attacked him after he approached Shelton and another female, whose name was not released because she is a juvenile, for sex, according to the Spokane Police Department.

Tongue said he believed the women were prostitutes, and they agreed to walk behind a dumpster at a gas station at 3602 E. Sprague to discuss “a prostitution deal,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Arevalo knocked Tongue to the ground, knocking out his hearing aid, then left with Shelton, the juvenile and Tongue's $20. Police helped Tongue find his hearing aid. Officers located the three suspects at East 3rd Avenue and South Freya Street, and Tongue identified them in photo line ups.

Arevalo told police he devised the plan to rob Tongue with Shelton and the juvenile. Shelton said Arevalo gave her the money and they bought Camel cigarettes and five cans of Blast, an alcoholic energy drink by Colt 45, which police photographed as evidence.
  

Morbid question leads to legal oddity

Questions about whether an accused killer had sex with his victim before or after she was dead has led to the suspect's lawyer being named a witness in the case.

A judge ruled Monday that defense attorney Chris Bugbee will continue to represent accused crossbow killer Cole K. Strandberg (pictured in February).

Bugbee has a different recollection of what his client said during a mental health exam regarding when he had sex with the victim than the doctors, putting the defense lawyer in the unusual position of having to present Strandberg’s legal defense as well as present testimony as a sworn witness.

Because of that potential conflict, Deputy Spokane County Prosecutor Mark Cipolla asked Superior Court Judge Tari Eitzen to remove Bugbee as Strandberg’s attorney. The judge rejected it.

Read the rest of Tom Clouse's story here.

Man w/ HIV gets 31 months for assault

A Spokane Valley man with HIV who had unprotected sex with two girls has been sentenced to 31 months in prison.

 Edward I. Casto, 20, will be credited for 212 days served in the Spokane County Jail. He was arrested last October.

Police said he told his 15-year-old girlfriend he had HIV when their relationship began but didn't use a condom when he had sex with her and didn't tell her friend, also a minor, that he was infected.

Casto pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and two counts of first-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct and was sentenced by Judge Maryann Moreno last week.

His arrest came less than a week after another Spokane Valley man, Zuriel E. Roush was sentenced to 87 months in prison for lying to his sex partner about his HIV status.

Police saw signs smuggler liked bestiality

By GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer

SEATTLE (AP) — Last week’s animal-abuse arrest of a convicted cocaine smuggler wasn’t the first time authorities had found something linking him to bestiality.

A Monroe police commander said Monday that when Douglas Spink’s sport utility vehicle was pulled over in 2005, Spink was strangely protective of a female German shepherd that was with him, and he had stickers on the car indicating he was an animal-man-love activist.

Investigators didn’t bother with those clues because they had much more pressing concerns, namely the 372 pounds of cocaine in the SUV, Cmdr. Steve Clopp said.

“It struck us all as very odd,” Clopp said. “We really hadn’t ever dealt with it before. I mean, you’re driving around with 169 kilos of cocaine, you might be concerned with yourself or the predicament you’re in. But he was just really concerned with the dog.”

Authorities searched Spink’s farm Wednesday after prosecutors received a tip from a public defender’s office in Tennessee. The office reported that Spink had been calling them incessantly about a jailed defendant in a bestiality case in Tennessee.

That man, James Michael Tait, (right) had previously admitted filming a man having sex with a horse in Enumclaw, Wash., in 2005. The man Tait filmed died of internal injuries suffered during the incident. He received a minor sentence in the case because Washington had relatively weak bestiality laws at the time. It’s not immediately clear why Spink was calling Tennessee about the Tait case.

Spink’s lawyer insists there’s no evidence Spink engaged in bestiality.

Read the rest of the Associated Press story by clicking the link below.

Spokesman-Review columnist Doug Clark dedicated a column to this case today. Check it out here, and enjoy a song he wrote about Tait’s case here.

After years of trying, advocates pass law extending statute of limitations in child sex crimes…

(This admittedly falls into the category of better-late-than-never news, but I suspect that proponents would say the same thing of the bill itself.)

Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed into law a bill — closely watched in Spokane — to extend the statute of limitations for some sex crimes against children. Instead of having to prosecute things like first-degree rape of a child under 14 by the time the victim turns 21 or 24, for example, law enforcement could go after the perpetrator up until the time that same victim turns 28.

For years, former local prosecutor Don Brockett has been beating the drum for complete elimination of the statute of limitations in major child sex crimes. Some things, the reasoning goes, are so horrific and life-changing that the offender should spent the rest of his life looking over his shoulder, worried about a police knock on the door.

Local lawmakers, including state Sen. Chris Marr and former state Rep. John Ahern, tried to make that change in recent years, only to run into resistance from lawmakers and some victims advocates and prosecutors. It does no good, opponents argued, to wrongly give victims false hope of prosecuting a case decades after the fact, as documents are lost and memories fade. And defense attorneys argued that it would be extremely difficult to defend an innocent person in such cases.

“Who could imagine that protecting today’s kids from pedophiles by giving yesterday’s victims a chance to grow up and realize the harm and speak up would be controversial? But it was,” Spokane attorney Beth Bollinger wrote on her blog tracking progress of the bill all session.

Brockett (whom I couldn’t immediately reach) is clearly happy with the change, which makes it harder for rapists and molesters to run out the clock and avoid prosecution. But Brockett has long advocated no statute of limitations at all for a wide array of sex crimes involving children.

“You can be sure their molesters are keeping track of that time, knowing they will be able to continue to molest more children with the assurance they will not have the responsibility for their crimes and will not be recognized in the communities in which they live,” Brockett wrote today.

In February, Bollinger went to Olympia to testify on behalf of the change. Abuse victims feel shame and isolation, she and other advocates told the Senate Judiciary Committee, and even 28 is a pretty early age for someone to step forward and reveal past abuse.

After some starts and stops, the bill passed both houses unanimously and was signed into law last week by Gov. Gregoire. It takes effect July 26.

Bollinger wrote on her blog:

I ended up not going to the bill’s signing ceremony. Don didn’t go, and I just decided it would be a lot of driving for just a few minutes. It would have been fun but, in a way, it was unnecessary. The most important thing already had happened. The bill had become law.

More on the porn tax…

From an interview last night with Rep. Mark Miloscia, who’s proposed tacking on an extra 18.5 percent sales tax onto adult videos, cable shows, etc.

“Somebody brought this to me and I said `Wow. Well, why not?’” said Miloscia, D-Federal Way.

His bill is actually a nearly-verbatim copy of a 2004 proposal from Sen. Val Stevens: SB 6741. That bill never even got a hearing.

Unlike a lot of business taxes, Miloscia said he’s not worried about hurting the business climate for porn.

“My constituent, while they care about Microsoft or Boeing, I don’t think the adult entertainment industry is an industry that my constituents would worry about going out of state,” he said. He also said that in a decade in the statehouse, this is the first tax bill he’s ever prime-sponsored.

He gives his own bill “low odds” of passing.

“Tax increases tend to be the issue that people do not support,” he said. To improve its odds, he’s willing to have a statewide vote on the proposal. He said he’s confident that voters would approve.

But even if it passed, one big loophole would remain: Internet pornography.

“The Internet is really tough to tax,” said Miloscia. “The Internet is wild west.”

He spent much of Tuesday fielding calls from reporters about the proposal.

“I didn’t think it was going to get as much attention as it has,” he said.

Not illegal for a teacher to have sex with a student? Lawmakers in full “there oughta be a law” mode…

Lawmakers, unhappy with a recent court ruling saying that it’s not illegal for a teacher to have sex with a student, so long as the student’s 18, are trying to now make it illegal.

The recent court ruling “opens the door for this being open season on our 18-year-old students,” said Rep. Larry Haler, R-Richland.

At a hearing at the state capitol Wednesday, a spokesman for the state association of criminal defense lawyers argued against criminalizing sex with 18-year-olds, even if they’re students. It’s like “taking the proverbial sledgehammer to a fly,” he said.

“For the 18- or 19-year-olds, at some point in life, we have to say you’re old enough to make your own choices,” said Wade Samuelson.

Click here to read the print story.


Court: Teachers, 18YO Can Have Sex

Item: Appellate court rules teachers can have sex with 18-year-old students/AP

More Info: State law does not bar teachers from having sex with 18-year-old students. That’s the decision of a three-judge panel of the Washington Court of Appeals, which on today ordered the dismissal of a case brought against Hoquiam High School’s former choir teacher. The teacher, Matthew Hirschfelder, was charged with first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor.

Question: Do you agree with this ruling?