National Roundup

Hate crimes charged in ­Pittsburgh ­synagogue ­massacre case

A man accused of opening fire at a Pittsburgh synagogue in October , killing 11 people and wounding seven others, was indicted Tuesday on additional counts that include allegations of hate crimes.

A federal grand jury added 19 charges to the 44 counts previously levied against Robert Bowers, 46, of Baldwin, Pennsylvania.

Thirteen of the new counts are hate crime violations and the others accuse him of obstructing religious beliefs and discharging a firearm during crimes of violence.

Messages left for Bowers’ lawyers were not immediately returned.

The indictment said Bowers posted criticism of a Jewish charity on a social media account and linked to a page that said Dor Hadash, one of the three congregations in the synagogue building, hosted refugee-related events.

“You like to bring in hostile invaders to dwell among us? We appreciate the list of friends you have provided,” Bowers posted on Oct. 10, the indictment said.

On the day of the attack, Oct. 27, Bowers again posted that the immigrant aid society “likes to bring invaders that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going on,” the indictment said.
Bowers was carrying several guns as he approached the Tree of Life synagogue building and shot out a large window on the building’s facade before he entered it, the indictment said.

Bowers is accused of shooting to death members of the Dor Hadash, Tree of Life and New Light congregations, which were all conducting Sabbath services when the attack began. He is accused of injuring two other congregants and five officers. Authorities had previously reported four officers were injured.

Survivors described how they hid in a supply closet and other places in the vast building as the gunman searched for more victims. Authorities said he expressed hatred of Jews during the attack and told investigators “all these Jews need to die.”

Bowers’ new charges include 11 counts of hate crimes resulting in death, two of hate crimes involving an attempt to kill, three congregant victims were added to counts for obstruction of religious beliefs, and three additional firearms charges for those three congregants, federal prosecutors said.

Bowers had previously pleaded not guilty to counts including using a firearm to commit murder and obstruction of religious exercise resulting in death.

Judge says city can move ­Confederate ­statue

LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit aimed at blocking a Florida city from moving a statute honoring Confederate soldiers.

District Judge Virginia Hernandez Covington dismissed the lawsuit this week filed by Confederate rights groups against Lakeland. The city plans to move a statue of a Confederate soldier from a park where it was erected in 1910 to a veterans cemetery where it will be placed among statues honoring the dead from other wars.

The groups argued the city was violating their free speech and due process rights by moving the Civil War statue. Hernandez Covington disagreed, saying the statue belongs to the city and it can move it if it wants. African-American residents had pushed for its removal, saying it represent racism.

The Confederate groups plan to appeal.

North Carolina
Lawsuits: At least 3 abused at camp for ­chronically ill kids

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Lawsuits against Duke University allege counselors at a camp for sick children negligently left campers unattended and that at least one child coerced others into sex acts.

The lawsuits from 2017 and 2019 were filed by guardians of two children who say they were abused by another camper at Camp Kaleidoscope, and one child who says he was psychologically harmed by seeing the acts. The lawsuits were first reported Tuesday by Indy Week .

Duke University spokesman Michael Schoenfeld said that the university was declining to comment.

The lawsuits allege the sex acts happened in a cabin housing five boys between the ages 7 and 10 when adults left them unsupervised while attending meetings. The lawsuits allege that at least one of the bunkmates had a pre-existing sexually transmittable disease.

Man pleads guilty to forging ­museum artifact

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Massachusetts man has pleaded guilty to forging an artifact that ended up in a Connecticut museum.

Harold Gordon faces up to 20 years in prison after entering his plea Tuesday to wire fraud.

Prosecutors say the 69-year-old turned a plain writing desk into the “Bingham Family Civil War Memorial Secretary” and sold it to an antiques dealer for $64,500.

The piece was said to be a gift given to a Civil War veteran in honor of his brother who was killed in the Battle of Antietam.

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art purchased the piece at a New York antiques show in 2015.

Gordon says he sold the piece because he needed the money.

The museum said it has been offered a full refund.

Feds indict ­powerful Philly union boss, ­councilman, ­others

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A powerful union boss who has held a tight grip on construction jobs and politics in the Philadelphia region and beyond has been indicted in an FBI probe along with a city councilman and at least six others.

Federal prosecutors say Johnny “Doc” Dougherty used union funds as “his own personal bank account.”

Dougherty leads the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, along with the city’s Building Trades Council. He has been at the helm of the century-old electricians union for 25 years.

Dougherty is credited with helping Mayor Jim Kenney win office in 2015, the same year his brother, Kevin Dougherty, won a seat on the state Supreme Court. City Councilman Bobby Henon is also charged.

During the long-running investigation, Dougherty has denied any wrongdoing.

His lawyer had no immediate comment.


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