Having a new home built is a dream come true for many families. Unfortunately, not all dreams end well. Families across our region are finding their homes are rotting from within. Former Philly students are coming forth to share their nightmare, raising new allegations of sexual misconduct against their former high school chess coach. And the Johnny Bobbitt story sounded like something out of a movie. According to prosecutors, the Good Samaritan tale was nothing more than a lie and what started a feel-good story is headed for a bad ending.
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Hundreds of families bought newly built homes in our area during the early 2000s housing boom — only to watch their American dream turn into a nightmare. An Inquirer investigation found that their homes were rotting from within due to extensive water damage — a problem that is hidden from the naked eye.
Shoddy construction work turned valuable assets into liabilities. More than 650 homeowners across 55 zip codes were left with houses that required massive repairs.
In some cases, water was creeping into these homes from day one. Even though some builders knew of the extent of the issues, many homeowners say they were never notified of what was happening inside their walls.
Allegations have painted a picture of decades of sexual misconduct from nationally acclaimed chess coach Stephen Shutt. Former students from Philly's Julia R. Masterman School say Shutt touched them and walked around naked or partially naked in front of them in the late 1980s through the mid-2000s.
The claims add to the list of allegations against Shutt — a list that includes former chess players from Frederick Douglass Elementary School in North Philly. Shutt taught there for two decades before leaving for Masterman in the 1980s.
Schutt denied the accusations brought by the Douglass students and has since referred all questions to his lawyer.
The Pro-Trump rally set for Philadelphia tomorrow has drawn national attention over claims that white supremacists or other hate-related groups might attend. Opponents of the event have called for the National Park Service to revoke its permit and have vowed to hold their own counter-rally.
Organizers have tried to calm worries, saying they plan to hold a peaceful "pro-Constitution rally." Still, Mayor Kenney says police will be on hand and that anyone who causes harm will be "arrested and charged."
Bobby Lawrence, who was scheduled to speak at the rally, said, "we don't want extremism on either side spewing hate and racism and bigotry."
I couldn't agree more, @thejonarons. I'm feeling pretty torn about this mid-November snow.
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