Ryan Rotela, the student who says he was reprimanded by Florida Atlantic University for objecting to a classroom exercise dubbed “Stomp on Jesus,” wasn't always so attached to religious principles.
At least, that’s if you believe court records in Broward.
Rotela, 22, was arrested twice over the course of four days in August 2009, shortly after he turned 18.
Both arrests were on drug-related charges, and one was for felony possession of methamphetamine.
Records show his first arrest came at the hands of police in Margate on Aug. 6, 2009. Rotela was charged with possession of cannabis, loitering and possession of drug paraphernalia.
On Aug. 10, Rotela was arrested in Coral Springs after going through a stop sign. Cops who searched his car reported finding enough meth to justify a felony charge.
Rotela, whose FAU incident made him into a hero of the religious right, overnighted in jail both times and was released on his own recognizance.
Rotela, however, was not prosecuted.
Ron Ishoy, spokesman for the Broward County State Attorney, said prosecutors declined to formally charge Rotela in both cases.
FAU professor Deandre Poole, who asked students in his communications class to write down the name Jesus on a piece of paper and step on it, claimed Rotela was reprimanded for balling his fists while telling Poole he wanted to beat him.
Rotela says he got into trouble for objecting to the exercise, a violation of his freedom of religion.
Rotela describes himself as a “very religious” Mormon — partly because jail scared him straight.
“I started striving to find redemption,” he said of the arrests. Both came, he said, when he found himself “in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong people.”
WFOR-Channel 4 star anchor Shannon Hori may be on her way out.
Hori, mother of twins, is reported to be trying to negotiate a new contract before June, when her current deal runs out.
It’s not going well.
Hori has told co-workers she wants to leave, and newsroom dwellers close to management say the CBS affiliate wants her out.
Hori is not talking.
Said CBS 4 spokesman Lee Zimmerman: “I don’t know anything about it.”
Said one co-worker who asked that his name not be used: “Shannon is a hard worker and a great professional, but CBS is quietly holding a national search to replace her.”
Weekend anchorwoman Cynthia Demos has made it clear she wants Hori’s gig.
Hori, who anchors with Eliott Rodriguez during the high-audience slots at 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 11 p.m., has been at the station since 2007.
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Miami’s own Rick Sanchez, who now has an afternoon drive-time show on WIOD-AM 610, is still on a tear when it comes to the treatment of minorities by media companies.
The latest: Sanchez made news on Easter weekend when he wondered in a tweet if NBC demoted Today co-host Jenna Wolfe because she is a “pregnant lesbian.”
Wolfe was replaced this week by former CBS early riser Erica Hill. And Wolfe indeed came out last week, saying she is four months pregnant and in love with another NBC staffer.
Sanchez, meanwhile, didn’t comment about his tweet — which seems ironic two years after he was fired by CNN for talking smack about Jews for their “owning the media.”