National Round Up

Pennsylvania: Man charged with child porn found by college worker
LATROBE, Pa. (AP) — A 19-year-old student has been charged with possessing child pornography allegedly found on his laptop computer after he asked workers at his western Pennsylvania college to fix the device.

State police say Tyler Jacob Hess, of Erie, dropped off the computer in April, at a student-work program at St. Vincent College near Latrobe. Hess was attending the private, Catholic school then and wanted the computer repaired thinking it had a virus.

State police say workers found child pornography videos in folders labeled “Best,” “Good,” and “Rare.”

Hess faces a preliminary hearing Aug. 30.

A school spokesman has declined comment. Hess’s home telephone has been disconnected and online court records don’t list an attorney for him.

Arkansas: Out-of-state judge sought in circuit court judge’s case
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — All the federal judges in Arkansas have recused from a case involving an Arkansas circuit judge.

Federal court officials say they’re asking the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals to appoint a judge from another state to decide a request by Judge L.T. Simes to block a judicial discipline hearing.

Simes of Marianna faces the hearing on allegations he improperly pressured the Helena-West Helena mayor to reinstate a fired police chief.

Simes is currently suspended without pay after the Arkansas Supreme Court found he violated judicial canons by practicing law while he was a judge. He was unopposed for re-election in May and will resume his post in January when his suspension ends.

Illinois: Family sues over death at Illinois Veterans Home
OTTAWA, Ill. (AP) — The family of a man who died at the Illinois Veterans Home in LaSalle says the home’s employees shouldn’t have let him have solid food.

The family says 79-year-old Howard Engler was on a restricted diet because he had trouble swallowing. He choked to death last year.

The state of Illinois is asking for the lawsuit to be dismissed. In court documents, it says Engler himself was at least partly to blame because he should have known better than to try to eat food he couldn’t swallow.

A LaSalle County judge has scheduled a Sept. 30 hearing on whether to dismiss the lawsuit.

Washington: Kent man pleads guilty to sexual exploitation
SEATTLE (AP) — A Kent man has pleaded guilty in federal court to sexual exploitation of a child during a trip to Cambodia.

Court documents say 59-year-old Craig Carr took a trip to Cambodia to have sex with underage girls. According to a plea agreement, Carr used the Internet to contact a person in Cambodia who agreed to find girls for him to have sex.

Carr traveled to Phnom Penh from Seattle on Jan. 13 and was arrested nine days later. He has admitted having sex with three girls during his time in Cambodia. Investigators say his camera contained pictures of three girls, two of whom have been located.

Carr faces between 15 and 30 years in prison. He will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Richard A. Jones on Oct. 29.

New York: Photographer sues producers of musical “Fela!” 
NEW YORK (AP) — A New York City photographer claims one of her images is being used without her consent as a backdrop in the Tony award-winning Broadway musical “Fela!”.

Marilyn Nance is asking $150,000 for copyright infringement. She’s filed a lawsuit in Manhattan federal court against the show’s producers.

The photo is of musician Fela Kuti’s nightclub in Lagos, Nigeria. The musical is about the late Afro-beat Nigerian superstar.

Nance’s photo also appears on the show’s souvenir material.

The producers include Jay-Z and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Their spokesman says they’ve tried but weren’t able to resolve the dispute.

Iowa: Woman to use insanity defense for embezzlement
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A woman accused of embezzling nearly $6 million from West Des Moines insurer Aviva USA will use an insanity defense.

Phyllis Stevens’ attorney, William Kutmus, gave notice in court documents filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Des Moines.

Stevens is charged in a 20-count indictment with fraud, money laundering and other charges. A judge ruled earlier this month that Stevens was competent to stand trial.

Her partner, Marla Stevens, is also charged in the case. Marla Stevens’ attorney, Trever Hook, on Tuesday asked that she be tried separately.

Lawyers for both women have sought a delay in the Aug. 16 trial to permit Marla Stevens to recover from cancer surgery and treatment.

Maine: Man pleads not guilty to topless coffee shop fire
AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A 49-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to two counts of arson for allegedly setting fire to a topless coffee shop in central Maine.

Raymond Bellavance Jr., of Augusta, entered his pleas Tuesday in Kennebec County Superior Court.

Bellavance is accused of setting fire to the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop in Vassalboro in the early morning hours of June 3, 2009. Prosecutors say he set the fire because he was angry at his ex-girlfriend, who worked at the shop and allegedly had a relationship with the owner.

Bellavance is being held on $200,000 cash bail

South Dakota: Pierre won’t appeal gutter lawsuit ruling
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Pierre city commissioners have begun the process of reimbursing more than $55,000 in assessed curb and gutter fees to about 45 property owners who won a lawsuit against the city.

The South Dakota Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that the fees assessed on some property owners in Pierre were unconstitutional because they exceeded any special benefits received by the property owners.

Mayor Laurie Gill says the city will not appeal the ruling. The City Commission on Tuesday night voted to dismiss about $27,000 in liens placed on the plaintiffs’ property.

Gill also has asked city staff to consider how to reimburse another $27,500 property owners have paid in assessments. The commission will discuss the matter next Tuesday.

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