Vatican Takes Issue With a Hollywood Fashion Trend

And now some fresh pickings from the wartime grapevine:

Prosecutors Plan Appeal
A New Jersey judge has decided to become embroiled in the debate about whether it is socially and psychologically permissible for adults to have sex with minors. Bergen County Superior Court Judge Bruce Gaeta decided to ignore a plea bargain in which 43-year-old schoolteacher Pamela Diehl-Moore agreed to serve three years in state prison for having sex with a 13-year-old student. According to the Bergen-Hackensack Record, Gaeta announced during sentencing that he really didn't  “see the harm that was done here, and certainly society doesn't need to be worried." Bergen County prosecutors plan to appeal. 

Family at Risk From Ad?
It turns out that tacky sex scandals aren't limited to the Oval Office anymore. Voters in Hazard, Ky., are getting an eyeful this election season — in a campaign for, of all things, the Democratic nomination for Floyd County Property Valuation Administrator. In that race, Glenn David May is taking on incumbent Connie Hancock — and, as if to prove he's really determined to win — he has put on a television ad featuring a video clip that purportedly shows Ms. Hancock sitting on a small bed, beginning to take off her clothes. May says the video shows how little Hancock "values her reputation and wedding vows." A spokesman for Hancock rejects the video as a fraud and calls it "an attempt to destroy her family." The spokesman dismisses the tape as "the biggest piece of sleaze I've ever seen in my life." A spokesman for May says he stands by the ad. He says the video was shot in a mobile home belonging to an unidentified courthouse employee. It appears to have been shot without Hancock's knowledge.

The Beat Goes On and On
Finally, the Vatican is taking issue with a Hollywood fashion trend. The Vatican's news agency says stars should not wear crosses merely as jewelry — and that those who treat the holy symbol as a sartorial gewgaw should cease and desist. In an editorial, the Vatican says the crucifix is sacred, and expresses outrage that actresses would use it as a fashion accessory. The opinion piece singled out such stars as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez and Cher — urging them not merely to wear the cross but follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. The editorial asked, "Is it consistent with the Gospel to spend millions on a symbol of the Christian faith and perhaps forget there are people all over the world who suffer and die of hunger?" Cher responded by lecturing the pope. Her spokeswoman says the Holy Father should "clean up his own house.”