MONDAY, JANUARY 27 This week of vicious verdicts, vocal victims, and victorious Veahawks kicks off with a V-free story out of Colorado Springs, where a Christian pastor is facing an array of felony charges after allegedly posing as a US marshal to rob gay men. Details come from CBS4 News, which identifies our subject as Pastor Michael Abromovich—husband and new father, pastor at Colorado Springs' Set Free God's House (a ministry for the homeless and those suffering from addiction), and alleged predator of homosexuals. "According to court and police documents... a man calling himself 'Mike' was posting ads on Craigslist last fall offering to engage in casual sex with other men," reports CBS4. "One man told police he exchanged messages and pictures with 'Mike' and agreed to meet him at a Denver motel. But he says when he got there, 'Mike' leaped from a car yelling 'U.S. marshals'... threw him against the door, and then handcuffed and searched him." As the man told police, "Mike" then allegedly forced him into a motel room, held him at gunpoint (with what turned out to be a paintball gun), then made off with his laptop, iPad, iPhone, cash, debit card, and car keys. Charged with aggravated robbery, kidnapping, and impersonating a peace officer, Abromovich is being held in a Denver jail in lieu of $75,000 bond.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 28 In better news, the week continues with Gabby Giffords, who, as an Arizona congresswoman, survived a murder attempt that sent a bullet through her brain in 2011, and who today lobbied Washington State lawmakers for improved gun control. Giffords spoke in favor of Initiative 594, which "would expand criminal background checks to include gun shows and private transactions," reports KIRO. "Gun rights advocates have qualified their own initiative for the ballot, Initiative 591. It would prohibit the state from adopting restrictive background checks. Since lawmakers are not likely to pass either initiative, they will both appear on the ballot this coming fall."
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29 The week continues with the first, but not the worst, of the week's stories involving heroin. Our setting: Pittsburgh, where today authorities arrested a McDonald's employee accused of selling heroin inside Happy Meals. "Officers say customers looking for heroin were instructed to go through the drive-thru and say, 'I'd like to order a toy,'" reports KDKA News. "The customer would then be told to proceed to the first window where they would be handed a Happy Meal box containing heroin. The customer would pay for the transaction at the first window and leave without having to stop at the second window." This afternoon, a coalition of undercover agents and cops followed the above instructions in a controlled buy at the restaurant, during which they reportedly recovered 10 stamp bags of heroin from a Happy Meal box and another 50 bags from the suspect—McDonald's employee Shania Dennis, who was arrested at the scene. "Another McDonald's employee was also arrested earlier this month for selling heroin in Murrysville," reports KDKA. (Apparently, workers are finding better ways of making ends meet than the "break your food in smaller pieces!" suggestions supplied by the McDonald's employee website.)
THURSDAY, JANUARY 30 Nothing happened today, unless you count the fresh murder conviction handed down by an Italian court to Amanda Knox.
FRIDAY, JANUARY 31 In even worse news, the week continues in an enclosed garage in Pennsylvania, where this evening Keith Payton and Salina Johnson, both 40, were apparently having a lovely time making love in a car with the engine running until they were fatally overcome by carbon monoxide. "The car's ignition switch was on but the vehicle had run out of gasoline," reports the Patriot-News. "Carbon monoxide poisoning was the cause of death." Dear Nashville: We look forward to your tearjerkingly tuneful musical summation of this tragedy. (Suggested title: "TGIF Romeo, RIP Juliet [Engine Runnin'].")
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1 "When I was seven years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim, closet-like attic on the second floor of our house. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother's electric train set. Then he sexually assaulted me." So writes Woody Allen's daughter Dylan Farrow in an open letter published today on the New York Times website. Following a couple weeks of renewed attention on the 20-year-old allegations, spurred by Diane Keaton's rapturous bestowal of a lifetime achievement award on Allen at the Golden Globes and Mia and Ronan Farrow's attendant sniping on Twitter, Dylan Farrow's open letter stands as rare firsthand testimony in a case that's been primarily hearsay, and it's heartrending. "When I asked my mother if her dad did to her what Woody Allen did to me, I... didn't know the firestorm it would trigger," writes Farrow. "I didn't know that my father would use his sexual relationship with my sister to cover up the abuse he inflicted on me." (Allen's publicist will decry today's allegations as "untrue and disgraceful.") In closing, Dylan Farrow will praise the mother who "saved us from the chaos a predator brought into our home," and call out the celebrities who seem blind to her father's alleged deeds and her own pain. "You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?"
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 2 The week ends with a day of great and terrible things, commencing with news of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the radically talented actor who today was found dead in his Manhattan apartment, due to what authorities suspect is a heroin overdose. The world does not need any more proof of heroin's ability to kill even the most richly gifted people, but apparently we got some. RIP, Philip Seymour Hoffman; the tender way you spoke the name "Dude" in The Big Lebowski and the brutal way you bounced off the roof of that mattress truck onto distant asphalt in the outtakes for Punch Drunk Love will live forever in our hearts. Meanwhile, mere hours after the entire universe took to Twitter to share variations of "It is sad that Philip Seymour Hoffman is dead," the Seattle Seahawks deftly and mercilessly trounced the Denver Broncos from all available angles—offensively, defensively, spiritually—to win Super Bowl XLVIII. Thank you, Seahawks, for a win so decisive the city could enjoy it while it was happening, and condolences to Broncos QB Peyton Manning. (Can you imagine having your worst-ever day at work coincide with the most-watched television event in history?)