Just weeks before the attempted bombing of a trans-Atlantic flight by a suspected terrorist with explosives in his sneakers, recidivist voyeur Daniel W. Searfoss, 43, was charged with his own shoe-related crime. Searfoss allegedly used a tiny lens, hidden inside his shoe and attached to a video camera he carried in a bag, to photograph underneath women's skirts at a flea market in Brandon, Fla. He had just finished probation for a similar incident at a Wal-Mart last year. And, after detectives scanned 45 videotapes from Searfoss' home, they charged him with yet another incident at a Plant City church (perhaps the one in which he performed his community service on the Wal-Mart charge). At a court hearing, the prosecutor told the judge that Searfoss had also tried to point his shoe under the dresses of several women in the county probation office.
Transgender aspirant Jamie Cooper, 16, of Birmingham, England, told reporters last month that he planned to store some of his sperm before he changes sexes so that, with the use of a surrogate womb, he can eventually be both the father and the mother of a child. If it happens, it would be a world's first. Cooper is now living openly as a girl, has begun anti-testosterone injections and, under National Health Service rules, will be eligible for surgery in five years.
Losing my religion
Rangers at the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee canceled a massive search they had scheduled when the missing man, Chien Nguyen, 47, a school custodian from Smithfield, N.C., turned up in a homeless shelter in Knoxville. Nguyen said he had gone first to the park, and then to the shelter, because he needed to get away from women. He explained that he believed his status as a Buddhist monk was being jeopardized by too much intergender contact. (Indeed, the Knoxville shelter was men-only.)
My aim is true
Howard Strumph has filed a lawsuit against the Voorhes, Pa., Police Department, claiming that its officers were responsible for his wife's death in 1999 because they failed to enter the family home quickly enough to save her. The reason the police were reluctant to enter was because Strumph had just shot Mrs. Strumph, along with a handyman the couple employed. Police therefore thought they might be in a standoff with a homicidal maniac. Strumph later offered proof that he intended only to shoot the handyman, whom he saw attacking his wife, but he was unsteady when he fired from his wheelchair and accidentally hit his bride.
Open and shut case
Kane Rundle, 22, filed a lawsuit for $1 million (Australian) against the New South Wales State Rail company based on his severe injuries from a 1994 incident. Rundle is brain-damaged because he hit his head while leaning out of a moving train to spray graffiti. Rundle's lawyers believe the company knew that some passengers were spray-painting graffiti from open train windows and should have done more to prevent them from doing it.
Park and hide
In November, Philadelphia City Councilman Angel Ortiz was revealed to have been driving for the last 25 years without a license, including the last 17 years while he has been a municipal employee or council member. Said Ortiz, "I kept trying to make time to get a new license, and it seemed that something pressing always took precedence." A few days later, Ortiz also was discovered to have 53 outstanding parking tickets (face value, about $3,000). As is often the case with public officials' misconduct, Ortiz denied that he knew about any of the violations.
In November, a court in Birmingham, England, ordered plumber John Walker, 25, to pay what amounts to nearly $100,000 for an episode in which a much older woman seduced him when he was 15. Though he never saw her again, she remembered him and now claims she needs help raising their child. After a positive DNA match, Walker must pay until the kid turns at least 19.
Bits and pieces
A 53-year-old Fort Lauderdale man was hospitalized after two of the four homemade bombs he was carrying around in case he got mugged exploded ... A fired postal worker pleaded guilty to splattering former colleagues with a mixture of worms and porcupine feces in a vengeful return visit to his workplace in Grand Rapids, Mich. ... A large woman in Peoria, Ill., was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after the 49-year-old man she was sitting on -- in an attempt to persuade him to pay for the sex act he had allegedly purchased from her -- died.