National Roundup

Ex-college student charged with sharing intimate photos

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) — A former student at a Connecticut university has been charged with sharing intimate photos of a female student without her permission.

Nicholas Otto-Bernstein, 20, is charged with illegally disseminating intimate images, voy­eurism and disseminating voyeur­ism images, police said. He is free on a promise to appear in court on Feb. 28, according to the Connecticut Post.

Police identified Otto-Bernstein as a student at Sacred Heart University and a member of the Omega Phi Kappa fraternity. But a Sacred Heart spokesman said he has voluntarily withdrawn from the university, and a representative of the fraternity says although Otto-Bernstein went through the initiation process, he was never inducted as a member.

A message was left with his attorney.

The 20-year-old woman told police she attended an off-campus party in October and blacked out.

She said she later received a text from a friend saying that a nude photo of her had been posted on Snapchat, police said.

The woman said the image had been sent to members of the fraternity. She told police she met Otto-Bernstein at the party.

Rhode Island
Woman takes legal action after daughter’s arrest

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island woman is taking legal action against the city of Pawtucket for handcuffing and arresting her 13-year-old daughter after a fight with another student, the American Civil Liberties Union says.

Tre’sur Johnson, an honors student who had no prior disciplinary infractions, was charged with disorderly conduct and kept in a police station holding cell for about an hour last June, ACLU lawyer Shannah Kurland said at a news conference Monday.

The ACLU is representing the girl’s mother, Tiqua Johnson, who is seeking $100,000 for physical pain, emotional distress and other damages.

The school and police violated state law that bars the arrest of someone on misdemeanor charges, Kurland said.

The brief confrontation at Goff Middle School involved physical contact, Kurland said, but neither student was hurt and it was quickly broken up.

A city spokesman defended the police response to what he described as a “serious, violent incident” and said the claim is without merit.

“Unfortunately, the actions of the juveniles warranted the decision to arrest and charge both students involved with disorderly conduct,” city spokes­man Wilder Arboleda said.

The claim is required before filing a suit. If the city doesn’t settle the claim in 40 days, the ACLU will sue.

State DOJ to review sexual assault investigations

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Wisconsin Department of Justice plans to review a series of sexual assault investigations from the Wisconsin National Guard after a federal report found many were conducted improperly.

An email from the National Guard Bureau obtained by The Cap Times says at least two accusers were told the DOJ would review some cases.

The National Guard Bureau is the agency that wrote the report that revealed multiple shortcomings in the Wisconsin Guard’s sexual misconduct reporting protocols, most notably commanders opening their own internal investigations into complaints rather than referring them to Army or Air Force criminal investigators as required by federal law and Department of Defense policy.

The Wisconsin Guard’s top commander, Adj. Gen. Donald Dunbar, resigned at Gov. Tony Evers’ request hours before the report was made public last month.

One accuser says she wants her case reviewed by the DOJ and the other is still considering it. The reviews could lead to some cases being fully re-investigated and prosecuted.

Evers asked Attorney General Josh Kaul to review cases that were mishandled as a part of ongoing reforms he is making to the Wisconsin National Guard.

“I was saddened and sickened by the federal investigators’ findings that the Wisconsin National Guard failed to appropriately handle allegations of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and retaliation for reporting sexual assault and harassment. Our service members deserve to be safe and supported while carrying out their important mission,” Evers said in a recent statement.

Kaul said the review will help the DOJ “determine where further investigation and potential prosecution is appropriate.”

Ex-waitress sentenced for role in slot machine scam

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (AP) — A former cocktail waitress at a Pennsylvania casino has been sentenced for her role in a $420,000 slot machine scam.

Rochelle Poszeluznyj, 39, was sentenced Thursday to two years of probation with the first six months on house arrest, The Morning Call reported.

Poszeluznyj pleaded guilty to a federal money-laundering conspiracy charge. Prosecutors said she passed on player’s card information to a former casino executive, Robert Joseph Pellegrini, and her boyfriend, Mark Joseph Heltzel, between May 2014 and April 2015 to defraud the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino.

At the sentencing, Judge A. Richard Caputo said Posze­luznyj’s role was “substantially less” than that of her co-conspirators. Poszeluznyj apologized for her actions during the hearing.

Poszeluznyj’s attorney Robert Buttner said his client was seeking only her boy­friend’s approval and didn’t realize how much money they were stealing.

Poszeluznyj collected only $2,000, but she did receive vacations and manicures, prosecutors said.

Heltzel and Pellegrini pleaded guilty to money-laundering conspiracy charges and were ordered to jointly pay over $420,000 in restitution. Heltzel was sentenced this month to 18 months in prison.
Pellegrini was sentenced in June to 32 months in prison.