MONDAY, APRIL 7 This week of haunted hearts, mysterious arguments, and impassioned Blue Oyster Cult group-sings kicks off with Seattle Public Schools, which today announced it will pay $3 million in settlements after failing to act on dozens of warnings that a popular elementary-school teacher was sexually molesting his students. Details come from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which reports that 58-year-old Laurence E. "Shayne" Hill, a fifth-grade teacher at North Seattle's Broadview-Thomson Elementary School, has a full two decades of sexually inappropriate behavior under his belt, complete with eyewitnesses. In addition to the 30 official reports made by teachers and staff members to school administrators about Hill's longstanding habit of fondling female students, school employees said in depositions that they observed "hundreds of incidents of Hill's sexually inappropriate behavior" with girls since the mid-1980s. On at least two occasions, principals warned Hill to maintain "appropriate physical boundaries" with his students, but no administrator or teacher ever reported the complaints to police or to Child Protective Services—which is required by law—and Hill wasn't placed on administrative leave until April 2005, when a mother caught him in the act of fondling her daughter. In December 2005, Hill pleaded guilty to two counts of child molestation and was sentenced to five and a half years in prison. Which brings us to the $3 million settlement, approved today in King County Superior Court, acknowledging the school district's negligence in protecting students from a well-documented child molester. One of Hill's victims—identified by the P-I as the "most abused girl"—will receive $2.5 million, another will receive $300,000, and the mother of the first girl (who's undergone counseling for anxiety, depression, and suicide attempts) will receive $250,000. "[The school] did nothing," said Ron Bemis, a lawyer for the two girls. "In effect, they protected a popular teacher at the expense of 10- and 11-year-old girls."
TUESDAY, APRIL 8 The week continues with a deeply freaky story out of Hilton Head, South Carolina, where our saga began 12 years ago, when Sonny Graham, then a 57-year-old on the verge of congestive heart failure, got a call that a heart was available for transplant. The source of the heart: Terry Cottle, a 33-year-old Charleston man who'd fatally shot himself. After the successful placement of Cottle's heart in Graham's body, the Associated Press reports, Graham began writing grateful letters to Cottle's family. In 1997, Graham met his donor's widow, 28-year-old Cheryl Cottle. "I couldn't keep my eyes off her," said Graham to the Hilton Head Island Packet in 2006. "I felt like I had known her for years." In 2004, Graham and Cheryl Cottle married, and today, 69-year-old Graham followed his heart to its original end: fatally shooting himself in a shed behind his house. As someone once said, you can take the heart out of the suicide, but you can't take the suicide out of the heart.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 9 In worse news: We continue with the saga of Dawn Leamon, the U.S. woman (and mother of two active-duty soldiers) who today told members of Congress of her brutal rape while working for the U.S. contractor KBR in Iraq. As Leamon told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, she was working as a contracted paramedic in Iraq when she was raped by a U.S. soldier and a KBR colleague. Further details come from ABC News: After reporting the attack to the KBR Employee Assistance Program, Leamon said she was discouraged from taking any further action and assigned full-time security guards, which gave her no privacy to talk about the incident to anyone. Like Jamie Leigh Jones, the young Texan woman who also says she was gang-raped while working for KBR in Iraq, Leamon believes she was drugged before her attack; as with Jones, no charges have been filed in Leamon's case. However, as ABC News reports, "the Justice Department has agreed to send a representative to the Senate hearing entitled 'Closing Legal Loopholes: Justice for Americans Sexually Assaulted in Iraq and Afghanistan.'" Stay tuned.
THURSDAY, APRIL 10 Nothing happened today, unless you count American Airlines' second day of airport hell, a four-day extravaganza that will see the cancellation of 3,300 flights before things get back to normal on Sunday.
FRIDAY, APRIL 11 The week continues with an extraordinarily seedy tale out of Burien, Washington, where a 15-year-old girl was arrested today on suspicion of fatally stabbing a 49-year-old man who'd hired her as a prostitute. Details come from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, which reports the fatally stabbed john was found dead in his garage on April 4, with a steak knife in his chest. As for the girl: She told police the victim had arranged to pay her $120 for sex, but after spending a few hours with him, she tried to back out, after which came an argument and the alleged stabbing. The young woman has been arrested for investigation of homicide and is being held at the King County Youth Service Center.
SATURDAY, APRIL 12 Today brings a beguiling eyewitness report and an equally beguiling follow-up question from Hot Tipper Skweetis. "Late last night in the parking lot on Second and Virginia there was a low-grade domestic dispute between two girls and either a guy or a real butch dyke. It had a Three Stooges flavor, where the guy/dyke would climb into the giant parked truck, there would be a little tussle, and then he or she would get kicked back out of the passenger-side door. Then there would be some yelling and some throwing of things across the parking lot and the cycle would repeat. Eventually, the girl in the driver's seat yells, 'When did I become Elisabeth Shue?!' She was clearly proud of the line and dissatisfied with her companions' reactions because she proceeded to repeat it in different configurations: 'What am I, Elisabeth Shue?' 'Hey, I'm not Elisabeth Shue over here!' etc. My question is, what the hell does that expression mean? And should I be incorporating this into my vernacular? BTW, I'm not evil. It didn't look like anyone was really in any danger. Pretty mild by downtown, late-night skirmish standards." Dear Skweetis: Thank you for noticing and sharing. As for your question, we put it to the people of Slog: To what does the hollering lady's Elisabeth Shue reference refer? From the respondents: 49 percent said Shue's experience taking care of two obnoxious pubescents in Adventures in Babysitting, 39 percent said Shue's experience taking care of a suicidal drunk in Leaving Las Vegas, 13 percent said her experience traveling through time then being forcibly tranquilized in Back to the Future II, and a significant number of write-in votes pitched Elisabeth's "star turn as Ralph Macchio's loyal girlfriend in The Karate Kid," a scenario presumably casting the parking-lot brawlers as karate-tournament finalists Daniel Larusso and "that evil Cobra Kai blond fascist kid."
SUNDAY, APRIL 13 Nothing happened today, unless you count Last Days' inadvertent eavesdropping on the dozen or so people partaking in a rambunctious group-sing of the Blue Oyster Cult classic "Don't Fear the Reaper" in a second-floor residence near 18th Avenue and Union Street just after midnight. (Insert "Insert 'More Cowbell' Joke Here" joke here.)
Thanks and farewell to Dan Paulus, Last Days designer and master caption-writer. Everyone else, send Hot Tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.