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Morning Headlines: Former Browns Player Pleads Guilty to Stealing from his Cleveland Charities

Top headlines: Southwest Ohio university probing frat, sorority hazing; Ohio gathering aims to combat campus sexual assaults

  • Former Browns player pleads guilty to stealing from his Cleveland charities
  • Southwest Ohio university probing frat, sorority hazing
  • Ohio gathering aims to combat campus sexual assaults
  • Ohio State band's interim director appointed permanently
  • Akron teen arrested for bringing loaded gun to school
  • Cleveland Clinic reports best fiscal year ever
  • Utica Shale player completely pulls out of Ohio
     

Former Browns player pleads guilty to stealing from his Cleveland charities
A former Browns player who stole money from Cleveland nonprofit groups he once ran has pleaded guilty to federal charges. A plea agreement signed Wednesday by 68-year-old Reggie Rucker calls for a federal prison sentence of about two years. Rucker was charged last week after an FBI investigation found he had withdrawn hundreds of thousands of dollars from his charities, Amer-I-Can and the Cleveland Peacemakers Alliance, to pay Las Vegas gambling debts and personal expenses. A defense attorney said Rucker accepts responsibility for his conduct. He'll be sentenced in May.

Southwest Ohio university probing frat, sorority hazing
Miami University is investigating hazing allegations involving a dozen fraternities and sororities at the Oxford school. University officials have gotten 21 complaints over the last three weeks and have ordered pledging to be wrapped up by tomorrow, two weeks earlier than planned.

Ohio gathering aims to combat campus sexual assaults
Ohio education officials are gathering ideas from state and national experts for improving sexual violence prevention and response on college campuses. Their summit today at Columbus State Community College was organized through the state Changing Campus Culture initiative. All Ohio's public institutions and several private ones were signed up. The Ohio Department of Higher Education launched Changing Campus Culture last fall amid concerns that, despite existing programs, nearly 150 sexual assaults were reported on Ohio's public campuses alone in 2014. The initiative provides resources and guidance for combating the problem to both public and private colleges and universities, whether two- or four-year. A 2015 survey found nearly a quarter of undergraduate women at more than two dozen participating universities reported experiencing unwanted sexual contact sometime during college.

Ohio State band's interim director appointed permanently
Ohio State University's interim marching band director has been named its permanent director. Christopher Hoch has been interim director since last May. He replaced Jonathan Waters, who was fired after an internal investigation concluded he ignored a "sexualized culture" inside the band. Waters disputes those findings. Hoch and Waters were among 25 people who applied to lead the celebrated marching band. Hoch joined Ohio State in 2012 as assistant and then associate director of marching and athletic bands. The university said Wednesday his appointment is effective June 1 through May 31, 2020. It still must be approved by the school's board of trustees. Other applicants included professors and band leaders from other Big Ten schools, such as Michigan State University, the University of Maryland, Purdue University and Penn State University.

Akron teen arrested for bringing loaded gun to school
A 17-year-old Akron student is in custody for bringing a loaded gun to school. Parents at Ellet High School were notified Wednesday morning after a staff member discovered the student sitting in class with a loaded semiautomatic handgun. The school was placed in lockdown while officers arrested the student without incident.

Cleveland Clinic reports best fiscal year ever
The Cleveland Clinic reported its best financial year ever at its annual State of the Clinic address. CEO Toby Cosgrove says operating income rose 3 percent last year to $481 million on total revenue of $7.2 billion. Cosgrove credits cost-cutting measures prevented what he says would have been “one of the worst financial years.” The Cleveland Clinic saw double digit increases in patient visits, admissions, and emergency room visits.

Utica Shale player completely pulls out of Ohio
The biggest player in Ohio’s Utica shale region has, for now, completely pulled out of what was once a booming natural gas play. Chesapeake Energy hopes to sell about $700 million in Utica assets. In a quarterly call, Chesapeake reported loses of nearly $2.2 billion in in the last quarter and $14 billion for 2015. The company says low natural gas and oil prices are to blame. Chesapeake says it’s planning a rebound in prices in 2017.