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serious charges

4/18/14 8:30am

'X-Men' Director Accused Of Drugging, Raping Teenage Boy

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Bryan Singer, best known as the director of several films in the X-Men film franchise and The Unusual Suspects, has been accused of drugging and raping a teenage boy multiple times in the late 1990s.

A lawsuit filed on Wednesday in U.S. Court in Hawaii claims that Singer, whose latest film X-Men: Days of Future Past is scheduled to be released in just a few weeks, sexually assaulted Michael Egan as a teenager at house parties in both Hawaii and in California. Singer allegedly used drugs and alcohol to force oral and anal sex on Egan while promising film roles in exchange. Egan, who was 17 at the time of the alleged assaults, is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial.

Marc Collins-Rector, a former entertainment business executive and registered sex offender, is listed in the suit as the initiator for the meetings between the two, which took place at “notorious parties” in Encino, Calif. in 1998. The teenager was also flown to Hawaii twice for week-long trips where the sexual abuse also took place. The lawsuit also claims that Egan was paid $1,500 per week by Collins-Rector's former entertainment company and sent on private jets to “attractive locations,” despite not having a designated role within the business.

He was also allegedly threatened by Singer and other men to keep quiet, telling him that they "controlled Hollywood and would destroy his hopes and dreams of an acting career if he did not keep them happy.” Collins-Rector was not available for comment, but an attorney for Singer denied the “absurd and defamatory” accusations.

"It is obvious that this case was filed in an attempt to get publicity at the time when Bryan's new movie is about to open in a few weeks," wrote attorney Marty Singer in a statement. Egan’s attorney, Jeff Herman, has also filed sex abuse lawsuits against Kevin Clash, the former voice of Elmo, and the Roman Catholic Church.

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By McCarton Ackerman

headlines

4/18/14 7:00am

Morning Roundup: April 18, 2014

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By Shawn Dwyer

adhd drugs on campus

4/17/14 7:30pm

More College Students Taking ADHD Drugs to Study

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On campuses across the country, students looking for a way to cram for exams or write papers have increasingly turned to taking ADHD drugs in order to increase their productivity in the shortest time possible.

While taking drugs in college is nothing new, the rise in the last 10 years of students using ADHD drugs like Adderall and Ritalin without being diagnosed with the condition has given campuses cause for concern.

"Our biggest concern...is the increase we have observed in this behavior over the past decade," said Sean McCabe, research associate professor at the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Research Center.

According to a 2009 study by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, full-time college students were twice as likely to take such substances without a prescription than students who went to school part time. "When we look at upperclassmen, the number really begins to jump," said Alan DeSantis, a professor at the University of Kentucky. "The more time you stay on campus, the more likely you are to use."

Students believe that taking stimulant drugs like Adderall or Ritalin helps them become more productive, a problem that grows worse due to the increasingly competitive atmospheres of college. The drugs "strengthen the brain's brakes, its inhibitory capacities, so it can control its power more effectively," said Dr. Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist and ADHD expert. "They do this by increasing the amount of certain neurotransmitters, like dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine."

But the potential harms that using ADHD stimulants can cause when taken non-medically have been vastly overlooked by students. "College students tend to underestimate the potential harms associated with the non-medical use of prescription stimulants," McCabe said.

Not only do they underestimate the harms, but many times they don’t even think about them. "The fact that it's illegal really doesn't cross my mind," one university student said. "It's not something that I get nervous about because it's so widespread and simple."

"I just feel very alive and awake and ready for challenges that come my way," another student said after taking Adderall. "I'm very confident in it."

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By Shawn Dwyer

domestic violence

4/17/14 5:30pm

Columbus Short Allegedly Threatens Wife With Knife While Drunk

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Columbus Short could really use Olivia Pope to fix this mess.

According to divorce papers and a restraining order filed by Tuere Tanee McCall, Short allegedly threatened to kill his wife then himself after drunkenly accusing her of having affairs.

On April 7, an intoxicated Short reportedly approached McCall in her room, where he grabbed her phone from her hands and began hurling abusive comments. McCall claimed that Short lunged at her several times and "acted as if he was about to hit me with the [wine] bottle." The court documents also stated that he poured wine on the sofa, pinned her down, and held the knife to her throat before continuing to "berate her abusively" and aggressively question her about the affairs.

"He placed the knife close to my neck and threatened to kill me and then kill himself," McCall said according to the court documents. McCall was able to get away from Short, but was only able to go so far since the tires on her car were slashed. McCall is seeking sole custody of their two-year-old daughter.

Short has been in trouble with the law for violence before. Back in February, he was arrested for an altercation with McCall in front of their children. He pled not guilty to spousal battery. The following month, he was arrested again, this time for his involvement in a Los Angeles bar fight that left a man hospitalized. In 2010, he was alleged to have broken another man’s jaw while playing pick-up basketball.

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By Shawn Dwyer

gone legit

4/17/14 3:30pm

Coachella Founder Once Ran Pot Smuggling Operation

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Gary Tovar, founder of Goldenvoice Productions, which puts on the popular Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, has claimed in a wide-ranging interview with The Guardian that he was once California’s biggest marijuana smuggler.

"When I was doing both my things – smuggling and concerts – I considered them crusades," Tovar said. "Now I think we won on both ends. Our music won - you can hear a Ramones song in an elevator - and we won on the marijuana front."

Tovar began smuggling illicit goods when he was 14 years old, transporting fireworks from Tijuana, Mexico into California. He graduated to pot sometime in the late 1960s by distributing seeds he obtained from LaRue, a guru in Timothy Leary’s Brotherhood of Eternal Love, who himself smuggled hashish from East Asia.

Throughout the 1980s, Tovar used the money he made from smuggling to finance an array of punk bands, including GBH, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Damned. But eventually, the feds caught up with Tovar in March 1991 when agents arrested him in Los Angeles.

"It was Ronald Reagan's 'Just Say No' era. There was hysteria,” he said. “They were telling schoolchildren to tell on their parents. It was a total waste of time and money, and a waste of people's lives." Tovar successfully fought off conspiracy charges, but wound up imprisoned for seven years in October 1992 on four counts of drug trafficking in Arizona.

Now legit, Tovar saw his Goldenvoice business partner, Paul Tollett, launch Coachella in 1999 and has claimed something of a victory with the recent push for marijuana legalization across the country.

“You could say I feel gratified," he said.

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By Shawn Dwyer

addicts on tv

4/17/14 1:00pm

Edie Falco Talks 'Nurse Jackie' and Sobriety

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Photo via Showtime

Last season, when Edie Falco's Nurse Jackie relapsed on the first anniversary of her sobriety, it broke the hearts of many fans of the show. In the wrong hands, a turn like this could be the worst kind of melodrama. But by the same token, if things stayed fine for the character, it could have been deemed a big cop out.

As Falco recently told The Daily Beast, “Very rarely do people get sober and then it’s clear sailing from that point on. I think the rule, rather than the anomaly, is that people tend to struggle.”

Falco, who has been sober from alcohol for over twenty years herself, was also hurt about her character’s relapse. “I don’t know if it was a dramatic decision, or if just was an effort to keep things realistic. I kind of stay away from storyline stuff," she said. "But as far as when we’re dealing with addiction stuff, it’s very important to me to be depicted as realistically as possible."

Showrunner Clyde Phillips confirmed that the decision to take such a bold dramatic step was a desire to keep it real. “There needs to consequences; you can’t just do it as a one-time thing and say to the audience, ‘Hey, come back and watch year six and she’s on the wagon again'", he said. "I don’t think that’s fair to the dynamic of authentic story telling. Her struggles will be even deeper [this year].”

The show has already been renewed for its seventh season, with Falco promising that “[i]t's only going to get more complicated.” But considering the character’s relapse, that’s a given, especially considering she’s dealing with her daughter’s struggles with addiction as well.

"Many kids see this in their families growing up and one thing they promise is that they’ll never be like that," Falco said. "And lo and behold, so many of them end up being just like that. Because it’s what they see and what they know. It’s a really complicated issue, but it’s not unusual that it picks up exactly where the parent left off, or still is.”

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By David Konow

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