USC Med School loses second dean; court overturns Highland Park murder conviction; monument honors L.A. River advocate

  • USC Dean: USC announced that Rohit Varma is no longer dean of the university medical school in Lincoln Heights. The announcement was made as the L.A. Times was preparing a story about how the university paid $135,000 to settle  sexual harassment allegations made against Varma in 2003.  Varma was dean for only about a year, replacing Carmen Puliafito, who was the subject of numerous complaints and later embroiled in a scandal about his involvement with drug users.
  • Conviction Overturned: A man who was convicted to 84 years in prison for a 2005 Highland Park gang killing could be released in the wake of a ruling by federal appeals panel. The judges overturned the murder conviction of Jessie Rodriguez, who was 14 at the time, after determining that police prevented him from seeing a lawyer and put him under intense pressure to confess to the killing of Cynthia Portillo. Rodriguez could go free if prosecutors decide not to retry him on the charges. EGP News
  • MacAdams Monument: A concrete monument in honor of poet and L.A. River advocate Lewis MacAdams will be dedicated on Saturday in Marsh Park in Elysian Valley. The monument was created as the 74-year-old MacAdams works on a memoir focused on his decades-long effort to revive the river channel. L.A. Times
  • Recycling Fire: One firefighter was injured in a blaze that broke out Thursday afternoon in a Boyle Heights paper recycling plant in the 2400 block of E. Porter St. The fire was described in good condition after suffering a back injury. The firefighter was brought under control in about two hours. LAFD

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