Local Youth Minister Accused of Sexually Assaulting a Member of Church Youth Group

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A former local youth minister has been arrested in New York City, accused of sexually assaulting a young girl at the local church where he once worked.

Police in New York arrested 33-year-old Jude Ramdial on charges of sexual assault of a child last week after the local victim reported the alleged assault to authorities in Harris County. Authorities say Ramdial was the pastor of a New York church at the time of his arrest.

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Texas Companies are Pretty Awesome About LGBT Equality, According to Report

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Even if politicians in our deep red state are lagging behind, it seems Texas businesses know a thing or two about good, old fashioned equality, according to a new report from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

Each year, the HRC looks at Fortune 500 companies and top law firms around the nation and ranks them according to their LGBT equality on the Corporate Equality Index using five categories: Non-discrimination policies, employment benefits, demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBT diversity and inclusion, public commitment to equality, and responsible citizenship.

This year's index included 44 Texas businesses, and what they found is pretty darn astounding. According to the new rankings, Texas private sector businesses now lead the nation in workplace equality.

Yep, we were surprised too.

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UPDATED: Houston Business Owner Sued for Allegedly Taking Creepy Photos of Women

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Pro-tip: Be sure everyone is really okay with your surreptitious photo-taking.

UPDATED November 19, 2014 at 6:50 p.m.: We were able to get in touch with BJ Farmer and get his explanation. His responses are in bold type throughout the story.

Here's a pro-tip: If you're going to take, shall we say, unusual pictures of your friends and neighbors, make sure said friends and neighbors are explicitly okay with it. If you can't get around to doing that, you probably don't want to keep the photos.

Benjamin Farmer (also known as BJ Farmer, according to social media and the interwebs) has been the president (and is the founder) of CITOC, a Houston-based consulting company for IT and cloud services, since 1995. The company has been named Microsoft Partner of the Year three times consecutively, including this year, and has also picked up a bevy of awards from the Houston Business Journal. All this happened with Farmer at the wheel. So it's fair to say his professional life is going well.

However, things seem a little more murky on the personal side. Farmer and his wife, Felicia Leigh Farmer, filed for divorce last year. Over the course of the divorce proceedings, Farmer's soon-to-be-former wife went through some computers and other things left in her possession and found some pretty unsettling things. Namely, she discovered a whole bunch of creepy photographs of various women, including Andrea Villareal, a woman who had been in the Farmers' social circle for more than ten years, according to Villareal's lawyer, Tommy Hastings.

Farmer says the photos in question were taken during a pool party, and are simply photos of everyone enjoying the party. He says he is a photo enthusiast and he takes a lot of photos of things happening in his life and stores them digitally. "This was just a pool party that was going on with a bunch of people hanging out and enjoying ourselves. I can see the issue if I'm taking nude photos but that's not even the case here. They're just pictures of a party," Farmer says.


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Houston Police Officer Charged With Raping Teen Girl He Met at Chick-fil-A

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A Houston police officer is out on $50,000 bond after being arrested on allegations that he raped a teenage girl he met while she was working at a local restaurant.

Ruben Anthony Carrera has been charged with sexual assault of a child under 17, a second-degree felony, according to court documents, after allegedly having sexual contact with a 15-year-old victim he met at a Chick-fil-A restaurant, where the girl worked.

A coworker at the fast-food place reported the sexual contact after seeing Carrera hugging and kissing the girl on multiple occasions at the restaurant, according to court documents.

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HPD Shootout With Disgruntled Motel Guest Ends in Suspect Stealing, Crashing Cop Car

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Getting in a shootout with the Houston Police Department after getting kicked out of a motel is one thing. But getting in a shootout with HPD after getting thrown out of said motel, and then stealing and crashing a cop car? Well, that's a whole other ball of ballsy wax.

Apparently 26-year-old Patrick Ray Castro really didn't want to leave a motel off of Hempstead Road Wednesday morning after a motel employee tried to throw him and a woman with him out, according to an HPD report on the incident.

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Houston's LGBT Equality Score Is Mediocre, While Dallas Is Awesome, According to HRC Report

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Peter Corbett via Flickr
So, it seems that the city of Houston rates right around "pretty darn mediocre" when it comes to supporting LGBT folks, according to a new report by the The Human Rights Campaign.

HRC, the nation's largest LGBT civil rights organization, released its third annual report assessing LGBT equality in 353 cities across the nation earlier this week, which included scores for 22 cities in Texas.

While Houston certainly isn't even close to the bottom rung for equality in Texas, there's definitely room for improvement on both the state and national level.


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Veterans Day and the Other Holidays That People Just Don't Celebrate Like They Used To

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Armistice Day, the holiday Veterans Day was built on, was and is a really big deal in Canada.

These days Veterans Day is simply a holiday celebrating veterans and their service. That's it. But the U.S. version of this holiday used to be a much bigger deal, and in the days before that it was actually another holiday entirely, Armistice Day.

Today some people will definitely remember and maybe they'll thank someone if they see them wearing a uniform or some other hint that they might have served in one of the many wars. But in the public's mind, it's really not the big deal that it once was. In the spirit of the lack of spirit that now surrounds Veteran's Day, we've come up with a list of holidays, including Veterans Day, that are no longer (and in some cases never were) the big, much-celebrated deal they once were in certain parts of the country.

5. Columbus Day. So way back in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue arriving on this side of the ocean on October 12,1492. Of course, Columbus wasn't actually the first to discover the New World. There were Native Americans there forever and the Vikings made it across the big water like 500 years before Christopher Columbus even got his first boat. But Columbus Day has been celebrated in some form since colonial times, by patriotic Americans who want to celebrate patriotism and stuff and by Italian-Americans in particular who view the holiday as a chance to celebrate their heritage, since the guy was Italian and all (the holiday is big in Italy too.) Thus the holiday has been celebrated for the American version of forever (i.e. longer than the United States has existed) and is a particularly big deal in places up North, like New York.

But then once you get to places like Texas, Columbus Day is decidedly less of a thing. Sure we all learn the poem about the sailing and some of us learned the song that talks about the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria, but this is nothing close to a shut-the-world-down-we're-having-a-holiday kind of event in this part of the country. It's not that we don't care, so much as we forget to remember this is a big deal. But those who look forward to Columbus Day shouldn't feel too slighted. Texans forget our own holidays almost as easily.


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Former Kroger Worker Sues Grocery Chain, Says Managers Ignored Sexual Harassment

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Michael Kudela via Flicker

Months of unanswered complaints about disturbing sexual harassment by a coworker led a local man to file suit against a Texas grocery store chain last week.


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Police Looking for Fred Durst Doppelgänger Linked to Sexual Assaults

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Investigators with the Harris County Sheriff's Office are looking for a man who they say is preying on women in the Fifth Ward and is responsible for at least four sexual assaults in the past six weeks.

While the police sketch may bear a strange resemblance to Fred Durst, the '90s white-boy rock-rapper popular with aggro frat boys who like to break stuff, this guy is much, much more dangerous.

According to police, the tattooed suspect has been picking up women who are working as escorts in the Fifth Ward area, just northeast of downtown. The women were then driven to Penn City Road in east Harris County, where they were brutally physically and sexually assaulted.


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Texas Man Plays the Ebola Card to Dodge Jail (It Didn't Play Well)

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Victoria County Sheriff's Office
Robert Kirchener claimed he went on missionary trip to Sierra Leone right before he was picked up for public intoxication.

Nobody wants to go to jail, but some people are willing to go that extra mile to try and avoid being behind bars. And sometimes, every so often, there's an extra-special almost-brilliant type who comes up with a get-out-of-jail plan so brazen that all the rest of us can do is stand back in wonder. Robert Brandon Kirchner, of Victoria, is such a man.

Last Thursday, Kirchner, 29, was arrested by the Victoria Police Department for public intoxication. He was duly transported to the Victoria County Jail. That's where things got entertaining, because Kirchner took a rather interesting route to try and avoid jail, according to a Victoria County Sheriff's Office release.

Now, in case you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, people across the Lone Star State have been pretty freaked out since the nation's first Ebola patient arrived in Dallas in late September. We've heard about people dodging Texas weddings over Ebola fear. One family even forbade a relative from visiting after a trip to South Africa (keep in mind that this bout of Ebola has been confined to West Africa, which is a long way from the southern part of the continent.)

Over in Victoria, the Victoria County Sheriff's Office has changed its intake procedures. When booking someone, sheriffs now ask questions -- subtle stuff like, "Have you been to Africa and do you potentially have an incredibly infectious and dangerous disease?" -- meant to determine if you might possibly have Ebola. (Though if the Fox News pundits are right and Ebola is actually being brought in from Mexico, we detect a flaw in their questioning.)


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