National Roundup ...

Lawmakers push for right to sue child molesters

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New Yorkers who were molested as children have joined lawmakers at an Albany rally to push for lifting the state’s statute of limitations on suing abusers, saying the law closing the window at age 23 guarantees repeated victims.

Their effort has faced years of opposition from the Catholic Church and other institutions.

Lawmakers say the prospects are improving with a recent change in legislative leadership in Albany. They also credit Massachusetts’ passage two years ago of a similar measure and the recent Academy Award-winning film “Spotlight” about priest abuse of boys in Boston.

The film is being shown in a state building near the Capitol.

A dozen victims who spoke at a forum Wednesday recounted sex abuse by sports coaches, clergy and older family members. Most said it took years into their adulthood to begin to process what happened.

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Alleged members of street gang indicted by feds

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal indictment charges alleged members of the Gangster Disciples street gang, including an Atlanta area police officer, with racketeering activity.

The indictment, which names 32 people, was filed last week in federal court in Atlanta and was unsealed Wednesday.

The indictment says the alleged gang members engaged in multiple acts of murder, robbery, extortion, and drug trafficking, as well as wire fraud and financial institution fraud.

The indictment says Vancito Gumbs was a member of the Gangster Disciples while also serving as a DeKalb County police officer. It was not clear whether he had a lawyer who could comment on the charges.

The indictment says the alleged gang members named in the indictment were involved in criminal activity in states across the country.

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Facebook friend stole $78K from elderly woman

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania State Police say an elderly woman’s Facebook friend stole her $78,000 life savings by convincing her that they needed the money to import BMWs into the United States.

The friend told the woman that the money was needed to pay “port fees” and that she’d get her money back with interest.
Police say the scam started in August and continued until late last year, but the woman only recently reported the losses because she was embarrassed.

Trooper Thomas Kress tells the (Washington) Observer-Reporter that they’re trying to track down the money, which may have been sent to banks in California, Florida or Texas. The victim also told police she wired money to India.

Troopers from the Washington, Pennsylvania, barracks are also still trying to track down the Facebook friend.

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School pays player $712K to settle concussion suit

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A university in Ohio has agreed to pay $712,000 to a former football player who says he had concussions that led to a permanent brain injury.

Former offensive lineman Cody Silk said in a lawsuit that Bowling Green State University’s coaches and medical staff didn’t pull him from practice right after he suffered concussions in 2010.

The Sterling Heights, Michigan, native later wasn’t allowed to practice, dropped out of school and lost his scholarship.

The Falcons were coached that season by Dave Clawson, who is now the coach at Wake Forest.

Bowling Green says in a statement that it didn’t do anything to injure the former player.

The settlement was finalized this week. Silk agreed not to bring further legal action against the university.

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Man competent for trial in teen boy’s death

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A 54-year-old New Orleans man accused of fatally shooting a 14-year-old and wounding the boy’s teenage brother in retaliation for being bumped off his bicycle has been found competent to stand trial. Times-Picayune reports District Court Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier made the ruling Tuesday.

The judge’s order comes after a court-appointed sanity commission found no reason that Gregory Johnson could not participate in his own defense, despite a 28-year history of prescription drug treatment for depression.

Johnson is scheduled for trial June 13. He faces life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder in the killing of 14-year-old Miquial Jackson, who was shot in the back of the head on May 5, 2014.
Prosecutors say the shooting was in retaliation for Johnson being bumped off his bike.

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Reports: Ex-lab chemist high at work for 8 years
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Court documents say a former Massachusetts chemist was high on drugs almost every day for the nearly eight years she worked at an Amherst drug lab.

According to the documents released Tuesday, investigators found that Sonja Farak tested drug samples and testified in court while under the influence of methamphetamines, ketamine, cocaine, LSD and other drugs between 2005 and 2013.

A spokeswoman for Attorney General Maura Healey said the information gathered about Farak “will no doubt have implications for many cases.”

Many of the shocking details came from Farak’s own grand jury testimony, including that she once smoked crack before a 2012 state police accreditation inspection of the now-closed lab.

Farak pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence, stealing cocaine from the lab and unlawful possession in 2014.

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Firm’s founder sues decorator over $845K bill
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Billionaire Thomas Golisano is suing his Rochester-based interior decorator, claiming she overcharged him hundreds of thousands of dollars for furnishings for his 240-foot Florida yacht.

The Democrat and Chronicle reports the founder of Rochester-based Paychex Inc., a payroll processing firm, has filed a civil lawsuit against Norma Goldman in state Supreme Court in Rochester.

Golisano claims Goldman’s $845,000 bill for work she did on the West Palm Beach-based Laurel was $400,000 too high. He says the decorator overcharged him by reneging on a verbal agreement to sell Golisano the furnishings at her wholesale price.

Goldman denies promising that the furnishings wouldn’t be marked up.

The 74-year-old Golisano’s main residence is in Florida. The former owner of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres also has a home in suburban Rochester.