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Episcopal Church Leader Speaking In Dallas & Midday Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX –

The head of the U.S. Episcopal Church is set to debate a more conservative cleric as part of a Dallas lecture series. Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori will share the stage Saturday with the retired Bishop of Colorado, the Rev. William C. Frey, at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas.

Organizers say they'll discuss their beliefs about Jesus and who Christ is for the world.

Jefferts Schori is the national Episcopal Church's first female leader. Controversy has loomed during her tenure as several conservative dioceses opposed to women priests and openly gay clergy have broken away from the denomination.

Nigerians facing forced servitude charges in Texas

A Nigerian couple faces charges of forcing a widow from their country to work as an indentured servant for nearly a decade in Texas.

A grand jury indicted Emmanuel and Ngozi Nnaji this week on charges of conspiracy, forced labor, document servitude, alien harboring and false statements.

Prosecutors say the couple promised the woman a salary and financial support for her six children in Nigeria. But once she arrived in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 1997, authorities allege the Nnajis took her travel documents, forced her to work long hours with no days off and refused her requests to return home or be paid.

The Nnajis each face up to 55 years in prison if convicted. Their attorneys did not immediately respond to messages Friday.

Escape prompts outside review of Estelle Unit

An independent security review will be done at a Texas prison where a gun was smuggled to a convicted sex offender and he escaped. Department of Criminal Justice Executive Director Brad Livingston on Friday told the prison board, in a meeting in Austin, that the review team should be in place next week.

Livingston says any staff who helped 49-year-old Arcade Joseph Comeaux Jr. escape "will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Guard Michael Price was fired Thursday from the Estelle High Security Unit near Huntsville. Officials say Price should have searched Comeaux before the transfer to a unit in Beaumont on Nov. 30.

Comeaux, who was in a wheelchair, overpowered two guards and forced them to drive to the Baytown area, where he ran away. Comeaux was captured Monday in Houston.

7,000 drop Texas prepaid tuition plan since August

The state's prepaid college tuition plan will face a financial review during the 2011 Legislature after thousands dropped the program.

The state comptroller's office says about 7,000 investors left the Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan since August, when the state announced a now-defunct plan to cut refunds.

Agency spokesman R.J. DeSilva says about $110 million was withdrawn, equal to slightly more than 7 percent of the fund's value, which topped $1.4 billion as of Oct. 31.

The Texas Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board on Nov. 5 decided to cancel new rules that would have cut the value of refunds, amid shortfall projections.

State Rep. Richard Pena Raymond of Laredo, vice chairman of the Texas House Appropriations Committee, said Thursday the panel will review the tuition plan. Recommendations will to the 2011 Legislature.