Mercedes Carrera Pretrial Date Postponed Again

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. — The pretrial hearing in the Mercedes Carrera criminal case concerning multiple child sexual abuse charges against Carrera and her husband, which was scheduled for last Friday at the Rancho Cucamonga courthouse in San Bernardino County, California, has been postponed once again, this time until April 19.

Carrera and her husband, Jason Whitney, were arrested after a police raid of their Rancho Cucamonga home on Feb. 1, 2019.

They have now been in county jail without trial for over three years, first without bail and later, after they had liquidated their assets and had no source of income due to their incarceration, with bail set at $2 million for each.

A pretrial hearing to determine the jury selection process, and the date of the beginning of the actual trial, has already been postponed numerous times, most recently yesterday.

The new date of April 19, like several previous postponements, appeared in a document filed online.

The earliest date for the actual trial to begin has been set for late June.

For more of XBIZ’s coverage of the Mercedes Carrera case, click here.

LSU suspends fraternity for hazing after alleged ‘Hell Week’ kidnapping, assault

Louisiana State University suspended one of its fraternities after a probe into hazing allegations found that the organization engaged in numerous “Hell Week” activities between 2017 and 2020, including an instance in which some members kidnapped and assaulted one of their own.

According to a letter provided to The Advocate that was sent to the fraternity by LSU’s Division of Student Affairs, the school suspended its Sigma Alpha Epsilon chapter through May 31, 2023, after it found the organization forced pledges to engage in “various levels of personal servitude,” including having them run errands, buy food and clean members’ homes and cars. Pledges were also forced to eat condiments and do lineups and calisthenics, the document says.

The letter, which was dated March 24, also claims that on Oct. 18, 2020, a “large group” of individuals “kidnapped and assaulted an active member” of the fraternity during a traditional initiation practice.

As a result, the school determined that Sigma Alpha Epsilon “violated the policies of coercive behavior, endangerment and hazing,” wrote Kyrsti Wyatt, assistant director of LSU’s Student Advocacy and Accountability Office.

Louisiana state law requires that hazing policy violations result in automatic suspension.

During its suspension, the fraternity will be prohibited from meeting on campus and hosting or participating in social or university events or activities. It will also be banned from soliciting or initiating new members.

Due to the severity of the violations, Wyatt said the organization will enter a two-year disciplinary probation period from June 1, 2023, through May 31, 2025. Before returning to campus, members must meet a number of requirements, including convening with the Office of the Dean of Students to develop a two-year plan to “ensure the chapter’s successful reintegration into LSU’s Greek community.”

“Successful development of the plan is a prerequisite for Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s reinstatement as a registered student organization,” she said. Wyatt noted that the organization had three days to decline the outcome of the letter and request that the case be reheard by a University Hearing Panel. 

It was not clear if the fraternity tried to appeal the letter. 

Wyatt also noted that throughout the investigation, fraternity members “continually provided false or misleading information” to police and SAA. However, she said other mitigating factors helped determine the length of the suspension, including the amount of time that had passed since the allegations took place, as well as the chapter’s “high level of collaboration” with the university in other areas of Greek life.

Canadian Church Hosts Palestinian Terrorist Amid Deadly Attacks…

B’nai Brith Canada has denounced a Canadian church’s decision to host an event celebrating a Palestinian Arab terrorist.

The Jewish advocacy organization is asking Canadians to voice their outrage by emailing the Grandview Calvary Baptist Church to let them know that facilitating the event is morally reprehensible but asked those who do so to “please remember to remain civil.”

According to B’nai Brith, on Saturday the Grandview Calvary Baptist Church in Vancouver, British Columbia is providing space for “Iftar in the Old City,” an event organized by the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM).

“Despite its innocuous-sounding name, the event description makes clear the purpose is to honour Ghassan Kanafani, through a scholarship named after him,” B’nai Brith said in a statement.

Kanafani was a leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist entity in Canada, and was killed in 1972 by Israel for his role in organizing that year’s Lod Airport Massacre in which 26 civilians were murdered.

B’nai Brith noted that the PYM “has a long record of glorifying terrorism,” including in a 2017 email promoting “resistance, whether by pen or gun” and hailing as “martyrs” other perpetrators of terrorist attacks.

“The leadership of the Grandview Calvary Baptist Church should take a long, hard look in the mirror,” said B’nai Brith Canada CEO Michael Mostyn. “Just last week, 11 Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists, and last year, Canadian Jews were subjected to an unprecedented barrage of hatred and violence, in which the PYM played a role. Another terrorist shooting attack took place today in the heart of Tel Aviv, murdering at least two with 12 shot. By hosting this event, the Church is knowingly painting a target on the back of our community.”

In 2019, following a campaign by B’nai Brith, Trinity-St. Paul’s United Church in Toronto cancelled a PYM event they were to host. The “Ghassan Kanafani Resistance Arts Scholarship Launch” glorifying Kanafani was cancelled at the last minute after public pressure.

At the time, Mostyn said: “This story is not over. We will continue to investigate how a youth scholarship named after a notorious terrorist is permitted to function in Canada and the United States, and take all possible steps to thwart it.”