Notre Dame president apologizes for no mask at White House

SOUTH BEND — The University of Notre Dame’s president has issued an apology for not wearing a mask at a White House event after pictures surfaced online of him shaking hands and sitting shoulder-to-shoulder with people without one.

Rev. John I. Jenkins attended the Rose Garden ceremony Saturday for Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. Jenkins’ letter Monday explained he was there because Barrett is a Notre Dame alumna and law professor. He also pointed out that upon arrival, he and other guests received rapid-response COVID-19 tests, the South Bend Tribune reported.

“I regret my error of judgment in not wearing a mask during the ceremony and by shaking hands with a number of people in the Rose Garden,” Jenkins wrote in his letter to students, faculty and staff. “I failed to lead by example, at a time when I’ve asked everyone else in the Notre Dame community to do so.”

Notre Dame students Ashton Weber, Makira Walton and Patrick Kelly-Dutile shared an online petition with students on Sunday, calling for the Student Senate to demand that Jenkins resign. They have the minimum 200 signatures needed to present their resolution to the board, which meets Thursday.

“To see him appear on a national stage not following the rules he’s asked us to follow is frustrating and a bit hypocritical,” Weber said by phone Monday before Jenkins issued his apology.

Masks must be worn on campus at all times when in public spaces, according to Notre Dame’s website.

Man charged in death of missing teen dies before trial

CONNERSVILLE — A man charged in July in the death of an Indiana teenager who vanished in 1986 has died following an undisclosed illness, leaving the teen’s family still searching for answers to her fate.

Shawn McClung, 56, died Saturday at an Indianapolis hospital before he could stand trial in the death of Denise Pflum, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Department said.

Pflum was an 18-year-old high school senior in southeastern Indiana when she disappeared on March 28, 1986, after telling her family she was returning to the site of a bonfire where she had misplaced her purse the previous night.

The Connersville resident’s body has never been found. But McClung, who was Pflum’s former boyfriend when she vanished, was charged in July with voluntary manslaughter in her death.

The sheriff’s department said in a statement at that time that McClung had recently admitted that he killed Pflum in March 1986.

Pflum’s family said in a statement that “we were very disappointed that he didn’t give us the information we wanted but are hopeful that his attorney may be authorized to reveal more information after his death.”

2nd girl dies after 4 pulled from burning home

FORT WAYNE — A second child has died after being pulled along with two siblings and her mother from a burning home in northeastern Indiana.

Eleven-month-old Lilly DeFord died Friday, a day after the fire swept her family’s home in Fort Wayne, the Allen County corner’s office announced Monday.

Her 2-year-old sister, Hazel DeFord, had died hours after the Sept. 24 fire. Autopsies were completed, but the cause and manner of death for both siblings are pending, The Journal Gazette reported.

Authorities said the girls were taken along with a sibling and their mother to a hospital in critical condition after all four were pulled from their burning home. They were found in the home’s living room.

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