Suit seeks removal of Bladensburg cross

The American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit last week in federal court in Maryland calling for the removal of Bladensburg’s 40-foot Memorial Peace Cross, which honors men from Prince George’s County who died during World War I.

The association and three individual plaintiffs contend that the cross, which is on state property, violates the constitutional principle of separation of church and state. The cross was dedicated in 1925.

The lawsuit states that the humanist association is an organization that advocates progressive values and equality for humanists, atheists, and freethinkers. One of the individual plaintiffs, Steven Lowe of Washington, contends that the cross “associates a Christian religious symbol with the state and gives the impression that the state supports and approves of Christianity, as opposed to other religions,” the suit says.

— Michael E. Ruane

Disabled vet will join FBI academy class

The disabled U.S. Army veteran who successfully sued the FBI over his removal from the agency’s training program for special agents will reenter the academy June 1, according to a court filing and the veteran’s attorney.

Justin Slaby, whose left hand was blown off by a defective “flash-bang” grenade in 2004, was admitted to the FBI’s training academy in 2011 after he passed the agency’s basic fitness-for-duty tests. But instructors removed him, concluding that he could not safely fire a gun with his prosthetic hand.

Slaby, 31, sued over the removal, and last year won a verdict that deemed him qualified to train as a special agent and gave him $75,000 in damages.

— Matt Zapotosky

Va. approves ban
on ‘revenge porn’

Getting back at an ex-lover by posting his or her private pictures on the Internet will soon be a crime in Virginia if Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) signs a bill that passed out of the General Assembly on Friday.

The legislation’s passage “is a huge weight off my shoulders,” said Nicole Coon, a Virginia nursing student who worked with lawmakers on the legislation. A video she sent to a former boyfriend ended up on a Web site that demanded $500 for its removal.

The bill would make it a Class 1 misdemeanor to “maliciously” distribute a nude or sexual photograph of another person with “intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate” without license.

— Rachel Weiner