You are currently viewing the printable version of this article, to return to the normal page, please click here.

American Scene

- - Thursday, September 30, 2010

CALIFORNIA

Court says release friars' abuse records

LOS ANGELES | A California appeals court ruled Thursday that psychiatric and other confidential records of Franciscan friars accused of sex abuse should be made public in a long-awaited decision that could speed the release of similar documents about dozens of other accused priests and religious persons.

Unless the state Supreme Court takes up the case, the ruling from the 2nd District Court of Appeal means thousands of pages of files on six friars accused of sexual abuse will be released in the coming months.

The files are expected to contain records of the friars' sessions with therapists and psychotherapists, disciplinary and personnel files, and defrocking paperwork that could show how much the Franciscans knew about their employees' behavior and when they knew it.

MASSACHUSETTS

Slayings suspect cleared in bomb case

BOSTON | A former professor accused of killing three colleagues this year and her brother in 1986 won't be charged in an attempted mail-bombing in Massachusetts.

Amy Bishop and her husband were questioned in the 1993 mailings of two pipe bombs to Paul Rosenberg, but never charged. U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz reviewed the investigation after Mrs. Bishop was charged with the shootings at the University of Alabama at Huntsville in February.

Mr. Rosenberg received the pipe bombs shortly after Mrs. Bishop left a job as a researcher at Children's Hospital in Boston, partly because of a poor review by Mr. Rosenberg. The bombs did not detonate.

In June, Mrs. Bishop was indicted in the 1986 shooting death of her brother, Seth.

NEW YORK

Dozens charged in hacking scheme

NEW YORK | Computer hackers in Eastern Europe who used computer viruses to steal usernames and passwords teamed up with associates who opened bank accounts in the U.S. to snatch at least $3 million from American bank accounts, authorities said Thursday in announcing charges against more than 60 people.

Some of the defendants were charged in court papers unsealed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan with conspiracy to commit bank fraud for the invasion of dozens of victims' accounts, according to federal and state prosecutors in New York.

In a series of criminal complaints filed in the case, the FBI said the scheme originated with information gleaned from computers through the use of a virus that could access the bank accounts of small and midsized businesses and municipal entities in the U.S.

NORTH CAROLINA

5 motorists killed in heavy rainstorm

WILMINGTON | Five people were killed Thursday when a vehicle skidded off a road that had been slicked by a massive rainstorm that drenched the East Coast, the North Carolina Highway Patrol said.

The storm flooded parts of coastal North Carolina, driving some people from their homes, and snarled train, air and car traffic in the Northeast. Tornado watches extended from the Outer Banks to New Jersey. State Highway Patrol Sgt. J.E. Brewer said five people were in the car that wrecked in Creswell, about 145 miles east of Raleigh. The car hit a patch of standing water, hydroplaned and skidded into a ditch, Sgt. Brewer said.

The hardest rain fell in North Carolina, where Jacksonville picked up 12 inches between 3:30 and 9:30 a.m.

The rain was part of a system moving ahead of the remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole, which dissipated over the Straits of Florida on Wednesday.

PENNSYLVANIA

Duck boat captain sues towboat operators

PHILADELPHIA | A tour boat captain has sued the operators of a towboat that pushed a huge barge into his vessel in Philadelphia, leaving two passengers dead.

Gary Fox of Turnersville, N.J., said he cannot work and may not recover from physical and emotional injuries suffered in the July 7 crash.

The parents of two Hungarian tourists killed also have sued K-Sea Transportation Partners, the city and others.

K-Sea operated the towboat, which the city had hired to move sludge in the Delaware River.

Mr. Fox worked for Ride the Ducks. His 33-foot amphibious boat was stalled in the river's busy shipping channel when the 250-foot-barge struck it. The crash sent Mr. Fox, his deckhand and all 35 passengers into the water.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Mr. Fox's distress calls to the towboat went unanswered.

UTAH

Hundreds laid off with space program in doubt

SALT LAKE CITY | ATK Aerospace Systems is laying off hundreds of employees in Utah because of uncertainty over the direction of the U.S. space program.

A spokesman for ATK Aerospace said the division of Minneapolis-based Alliant Techsystems Inc. dismissed 414 engineers, factory workers and other employees at three northern Utah locations Thursday.

Spokesman George Torres said some of the layoffs are a result of the phase-out of the space shuttle program. ATK makes shuttle boosters in Utah, but the bulk of the layoffs are happening as President Obama and Congress cut back the scope of a successor space program.

TEXAS

U.S. man is shot in Mexican waters

SAN ANTONIO | An American tourist was shot in the back of the head in Mexican waters on Thursday after being ambushed by armed boaters, a Texas sheriff said. It happened near the U.S. boundary of a lake where run-ins with pirates already had fishermen and Texas officials on alert.

Zapata County Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez said a 30-year-old man and his wife were riding personal watercrafts back from Mexico when about six gunmen approached in two boats. Sheriff Gonzalez said the man was shot as the couple sped away at the sight of the boaters.

What happened to the man was unclear. Sheriff Gonzalez said the man's wife tried circling back to get him, but retreated back to U.S. waters after being fired upon again.

Sheriff Gonzalez said he has contacted the Mexican consulate and asked them to look for the man. He said there was nothing else he could do.

From wire dispatches and staff reports