CORRECTION: This item was amended to remove information about how the incident came to light.

Man charged after allegedly whipping teen girls

CHATTANOOGA — A Hamilton County man has been charged with two counts of child abuse after he allegedly whipped two teenage girls while they were showering.

Police responded to a child abuse complaint Wednesday, according to court documents. The 15- and 16-year-old girls said they returned home on the 2700 block of Taylor Street late Monday night and Victor Idlett, 41, whipped them individually. Specifically, the girls said he whipped them with an extension cord or vinyl cord while they were in the shower.

Police noted each girl had severe bruising on her hands, arms and legs. Idlett spoke with an investigator and denied whipping the girls in the shower and denied using an extension cord, but admitted to whipping them with a belt.

His next court appearance is on Sept. 27 before General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck.


Researcher gets zapped by electric eel — for science

NASHVILLE — For the sake of science, a Vanderbilt University researcher stuck his arm into an electric eel tank to study its shock power.

The conclusion: touching a small eel, like the 16-inch one Ken Catania worked with, feels like accidentally touching a horse fence. For big eels 8 feet or longer, it's like getting shocked by nine TASER guns at once.

A Vanderbilt news release and video Thursday show Catania put his arm into the tank 10 times. He says that was the only way to accurately measure the circuit created by the eel, his arm and the water.

Catania used an equation to extrapolate data from the small eel to measure the power of bigger ones.

The biological sciences professor previously documented how eels leap out of water to attack.

Tennessee AG: student info must be given to charter schools

A legal opinion by the Tennessee attorney general says school districts must give a variety of student data to approved charter schools and their operators.

In the opinion Wednesday, Attorney General Herbert Slatery writes that school districts with policies that ban releasing the information can only do so temporarily.

It says districts must first give parents a chance to opt out and then amend their policies to release the information, which ranges from students' contact information to their participation in sports and activities.

The opinion requested by state Education Commissioner Candice McQueen comes after Nashville and Shelby County, which includes Memphis, have recently refused to release the information to charter schools operators.

Charters use the data for recruitment and marketing purposes but may not share the information with outside parties.



Tennessee professor helps ID prehistoric crocodile species

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee says one of its professors has helped identify a species of giant prehistoric crocodiles that roamed the coasts and waterways of what's now north-central Texas about 95 million years ago.

A university news release Wednesday says Stephanie Drumheller-Horton was on the team that identified the species that grew up to 20 feet long and likely ate whatever they wanted, from turtles to dinosaurs.

The team found the fossilized bones at an Arlington, Texas dig site discovered in 2003.

The species, Deltasuchus motherali, is named for dig site volunteer Austin Motheral, who first uncovered fossils of the crocodile with a small tractor when he was 15 years old.

The university says the crocodile is the first of what may be several new species from the fossil site.


Sheriff: Woman admits to using drugs while pregnant

GADSDEN, ALA. — An Alabama woman accused of using multiple drugs while pregnant has been arrested and charged.

Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin tells local news outlets the 27-year-old was arrested Sept. 6 during a traffic stop. She was initially arrested on traffic charges, but allegedly told the officer she was six months pregnant and had used heroin.

Entrekin says Haley Michell Fischetti told an investigator that while she knew she was pregnant, she used heroin, methamphetamine, Norco, Rocy and Suboxone. She tested positive for Suboxone, amphetamine and methamphetamine.

Fischetti faces one count of chemical endangerment of a child. She must successfully complete a drug treatment program and will be supervised by Etowah Community Corrections upon her release from the Etowah County Detention Center.

It's unclear if Fischetti has an attorney.


Alabama teen faces spate of charges including rape, assault

BESSEMER, ALA. — An Alabama teenager accused of committing several crimes ranging from rape to animal cruelty has been arrested and charged. reports that according to court records, 19-year-old Treveon Weaver was arrested Aug. 9 on dozens of charges, including second-degree assault, first-degree rape and cruelty to animals. Weaver's lawyer, Fred Pickard, says his client maintains his innocence.

Charging documents say Weaver entered a couple's home on July 22 armed with a gun. Documents say that while Weaver stole two cell phones, he knocked out two teeth of the family's dog and assaulted the man and woman. They say he also raped and sodomized the woman.

Weaver was awaiting trial on a 2016 burglary in Midfield at the time of his arrest.