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In the Nation

Anti-assault soldier accused

WASHINGTON - A soldier assigned to coordinate a sexual-assault prevention program in Texas is under investigation for "abusive sexual contact" and other alleged misconduct and has been suspended from duties, the Army said Wednesday.

The announcement came a week after an Air Force officer who led a sexual-assault prevention office was accused of groping a woman in a parking lot.

The Army said a sergeant first class, whose name was not released, is accused of pandering, abusive sexual contact, assault, and maltreatment of subordinates. He is being investigated by the Army Criminal Investigation Command, but no charges have been filed, the Army said.

He was assigned as an equal opportunity adviser and coordinator of a sexual harassment-assault prevention program at the Army's Third Corps headquarters at Fort Hood, Texas, when the allegations arose, the Army said. - AP

Gay-marriage bill signed in Minn.

ST. PAUL, Minn. - As a crowd of thousands roared from the lawn of the state Capitol, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed the bill Tuesday that makes gay marriage legal here come Aug. 1.

"What a day for Minnesota," the Democratic governor declared, as American and rainbow flags flapped in a sweltering hot wind. Officials estimated 6,000 people made up the crowd, and many headed to downtown St. Paul afterward for a street party celebrating the bill's passage.

Dayton's signature ended an intense two years for gay-marriage supporters and opponents in the state, which swung from a failed push to constitutionally ban same-sex weddings into a successful bid to becoming the 12th state to affirm them. - AP

Colo. scrambles over prisoners

DENVER - Hundreds of Colorado criminals were apparently given erroneous prison sentences, and judges and corrections officials across the state are scrambling to keep them from getting out early - or, in some cases, to return them to the prisons they just left, authorities said Tuesday.

Prison officials have alerted courts to 281 inmates whose sentences seem to be incorrect in some way, according to Allison Morgan, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Corrections. Judges have adjusted the sentences in 56 of those cases and are reviewing others. They have declined to change sentences in about 70 percent of the cases they have considered, officials said, but it's unclear why.

An unknown number of the cases involve people who have been paroled or are in halfway houses or other community correctional facilities.

The information comes in the course of an audit ordered by Gov. John Hickenlooper after it was revealed the man suspected of killing the state's corrections chief was wrongly freed from prison four years early. - AP