National Roundup

City seeks funding for transporting drunk people

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska city has requested funds from local businesses to help support a program designed to transport people who are drunk in public, officials said.

The city of Fairbanks has sent 900 letters asking for funding from businesses in areas where the most Emergency Service Patrol calls have been made, the Fairbanks News-Miner reported Thursday.

The city has received 4,000 calls for the service and has transported 2,000 intoxicated individuals this year to a sleep-off facility, a sobering up center or to the Fairbanks Correctional Facility, city officials said.

The program protects drunk people from being victimized and from and cold-related injuries while easing the burden on emergency personnel and providing a safe public environment, officials said.

The service “can provide the quickest response for these individuals and it does benefit our residents, it benefits our public safety departments, our visitors and our local businesses,” Fairbanks Communications Director Teal Soden said.

The Emergency Service Patrol program is expected to cost $255,500, a 13% increase from last year because of the addition of a foot patrol, city officials said. Less than half of the funds are expected to come from the city and the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Funding for the service has come from four different sources since 2016 including a one-time state grant used from 2014 to 2017. City officials hope to fill funding gaps as state support and local tax revenues both fall, officials said.

State probes district attorney accused of sex harassment

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations that an Atlanta-area prosecutor sexually harassed a staffer for more than a year.

News outlets report the agency confirmed this week that it’s investigating Paulding County Judicial Circuit District Attorney Dick Donovan. Donovan denies the allegations, which are detailed in an investigative report by attorney Michael James Walker. The report cost the county nearly $18,000.

The report says county victim-witness coordinator, Jamie White, accused Donovan of repeatedly buying her gifts, kissing her, saying he loves her, and wanting to have sex with her. It says the behavior continued after she told him to stop, and she recorded some of the conversations.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the 73-year-old is an elected official and cannot be fired. He’s up for reelection in 2022.

Pastor pleads guilty to stealing $288,000 from church

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana pastor has been convicted of embezzling more than $288,000 from the United Pentecostal Church.

The Missoulian reports Kenneth Hogue of Butte pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal wire fraud charge.

Hogue was the former treasurer of the church’s Rocky Mountain District.

He was responsible for depositing church offerings and writing checks for church expenses.

Court documents say he wrote himself unauthorized checks, withdrew church money from an ATM and transferred funds into his account from 2012 to 2016.

A $5,000 transfer alerted authorities to Hogue’s thieving.

Hogue has agreed to pay back the money he siphoned. He’s scheduled to be sentenced in December.

Hogue has worked as a pastor at the Grace and Truth Pentecostal church in Butte since 1982.

The church did not return the newspaper’s call.

Man, 71, gets prison for child exploitation

LEAKESVILLE, Miss. (AP) — A 71-year-old Mississippi man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for forcing a 10-year-old to put on makeup and pose sexually while he photographed her.

Citing a prosecutor statement, news outlets report Homer Creel also was sentenced to pay $50,000 per count fine and $1,000 to the Mississippi Children’s Trust Fund and to register as a sex offender. District Attorney
Angel Myers-McIlrath says in the statement that Creel pleaded guilty this month to eight counts of child exploitation.

She says his sentence in this case will run consecutively with one he’s serving in Perry County on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Myers-McIlrath says the victim “showed enormous courage and bravery” by reporting the abuse.

New York
Ex-NYPD detectives to get probation for sex in police van

NEW YORK (AP) — A judge says he’s choosing probation over jail for two ex-New York City detectives accused of having sex in a police van with an 18-year-old woman they had arrested for marijuana possession.

Eddie Martins, 39, and Richard Hall, 34, pleaded guilty Thursday to official misconduct and other charges stemming from the September 2017 encounter.

Judge Danny Chun said he’ll sentence the men in October to five years of probation. Prosecutors wanted them jailed for at least a year. Sentencing is set for Oct. 10.

“These defendants engaged in a shocking abuse of power which they finally acknowledged,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez. “While I would have preferred to see them serve prison time, they are no longer members of our police department and with (their) pleas are convicted felons.”

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office had dropped kidnapping and rape charges against Martins and Hall in March, citing “serious credibility issues.”

The case spurred legislation to close what some called a police sex loophole. While New York law already bars sex between prison guards and inmates, it didn’t apply to officers and those in their custody. The loophole has since been closed.

The victim was driving with two friends near Coney Island when the two plainclothes detectives pulled her over and found marijuana. After they released her, the woman went to the hospital, where prosecutors say DNA was obtained that matched both men. The officers, who resigned after the allegations broke, pleaded not guilty and claimed the sex was consensual.

“This case was botched from day one,” Martins’ lawyer, Mark Bederow, told the New York Post. “They never should have allowed these men to be smeared as rapists and whatnot.”