News of the Weird May 21 2008

Sex surveillance, extreme plastic surgery and more

LEAD STORY: “Many of my young patients think about getting plastic surgery the way they’d think about getting their hair done,” explained Dr. David Alessi of Beverly Hills, Calif., who is still amazed at women’s willingness to endure “extreme” cosmetic alterations. “Vaginal rejuvenation” (labiaplasty) might be the most sensational procedure, but surgeons also do “forehead implants” and ankle and shoulder liposuction, break and reset jaws to tweak smiles, and lengthen or shorten toes (for “toe cleavage” with certain shoes). Alessi told a Glamour magazine writer for an April story that one 25-year-old recently asked him to “remove” her navel (whereas most umbilicoplasty patients merely request reshaping). Said a bemused colleague, “There’s some consensus about what makes for an attractive ... face, but we have no definition of the ideal navel.”

Chutzpah! Gulfport, Miss., resident Michael Petro pleaded to a documentary filmmaker (in a clip later uploaded with his permission to the Internet) for help in recovering from his shattering loss during Hurricane Katrina, when his 115-year-old house was destroyed. Since then, he said on the video (reported by WLOX-TV in April): “Church groups have not come through, the government has not come through, insurance has not come through like was promised,” and “Somebody has to fight to get these things back and going.” According to WLOX-TV, the house that stockbroker Petro lost was 2,500 square feet, and the replacement he’s pleading for help with is 6,000 square feet. Said Petro to the station, “I’m not too proud to ask ...”

Jerome Kerviel told reporters in April that he’s planning to sue Societe Generale bank in Paris for unfair dismissal, even though he is the “rogue” derivatives trader the bank says cost it the equivalent of about $7.5 billion by making risky, unauthorized deals that came to light in January and for which he is under indictment for fraud. Kerviel pointed to an independent investigator’s conclusion that SocGen management had ignored 75 warning signs about Kerviel’s trades and continued to support him, but SocGen said Kerviel doctored paperwork to disguise trades.

Ironies: Cumberland County (Pa.) Commissioner Bruce Barclay resigned in April after disclosure that he had built a hidden video system in his home and recorded as many as 500 sexual episodes with unknowing men. While the videos may have violated state law (investigation is underway), one of them has exonerated Barclay of a separate rape charge filed by a 20-year-old man, in that the video evidenced a consensual relationship. (The young man has been charged with making a false police report.)

Instant Karma: 1) In March in Leesburg, Va., driver’s license test-taker Nita Sureka was told by the examiner to park beside the Department of Motor Vehicles building, but she accidentally crashed into it, tearing a hole in the wall and forcing the department to close for the day. 2) The Manitoba (Canada) Bar Association, which was hoping to file a brief in a controversial police investigation case in Winnipeg in March, announced it would have to forgo participation because it lacked sufficient funds to hire a lawyer.

Compelling Explanations: World’s Greatest Lawyer: Oregon public defender Ethan Levi agreed to represent Eric Kincaid, 29, who had been identified by DNA as the man who, one night last year, had hidden in the closet of a woman he did not know before fleeing. Kincaid denied that he meant the woman any harm, maintaining that he had been invited by a mysterious second woman to have sex but had realized after seeing the first woman that he was in the wrong apartment, and he left. In April, Levi convinced the jury to accept Kincaid’s explanation and acquit him of all charges.

Well, That Explains That! 1) Gene Morrill, 57, hoping for a shorter sentence after his conviction for soliciting sex from teenage boys over the Internet, told a court in Fredericksburg, Va., in March about his rough life as a child, beginning with the time he was sexually molested by Bigfoot. 2) A 26-year-old driver was arrested in Bay County, Fla., in April after being spotted on the side of a road masturbating. According to the police report, the man said “he had just left work and explained that he needed some personal time with himself that he could not have at home.”

I Want My Rights! Student Vinicios Robacher, 15, said in March he was preparing to file a lawsuit against school officials in Danbury, Conn., over an ear injury. Robacher said that, while he had his head down, sleeping in class, the teacher slapped his desk so hard with her palm, to wake him, that he still has constant pain.

Astrid Literski, in prison after pleading guilty to murdering her 4-year-old daughter in 2003, is due in tax court in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in May to argue that she should not have to give back $1,296 in tax benefits she was wrongly paid for the child during 2002. Actually, the girl was living with her father at the time, but Literski says she deserved the tax benefits, anyway, because she provided “emotional” support.

Armed and Clumsy (all-new): Mr. Roland Scott, the victim of a street robbery, took away the perp’s shotgun and started beating him with it, but jarred the trigger, and it fired, hitting Scott, fatally, in the stomach (Baltimore, March). A 20-year-old man shot himself in the groin when he stuffed a shotgun (that he had allegedly just stolen) inside his pants (Seattle, April).