- - Monday, November 21, 2011

MICHIGAN

Congressman denies sexual abuse claims

DETROIT — A Michigan congressman is disputing allegations of sexual abuse made by his 63-year-old second cousin.

The man told Saginaw CBS affiliate WNEM that U.S. Rep. Dale E. Kildee sexually abused him starting when he was 15 years old. He says Mr. Kildee acknowledged the abuse during a visit decades later.

Mr. Kildee told the Associated Press in a Monday telephone interview that the allegations are “false and outrageous” and stem from his cousin’s mental illness and an attempt to blackmail him.

The 82-year-old Democrat from Flint says he went to the FBI this fall after his cousin’s son contacted him in late September “indicating that he needed money very badly.”

Attempts to contact Mr. Kildee’s cousin and his son by phone Monday afternoon were unsuccessful.

CALIFORNIA

Plea deal in gay classmate killing

LOS ANGELES — A Southern California teenager pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder in the killing of a gay classmate in a deal that will send him to prison for 21 years, authorities said.

The plea deal was reached in the case of Brandon McInerney, 17, who gunned down 15-year-old Larry King at a school in Oxnard in February 2008. McInerney was 14 at the time.

McInerney pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm, said Ventura County Chief Deputy District Attorney Mike Frawley. He’s scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 19.

COLORADO

Gunman barricaded in building at air base

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE — An airman armed with a pistol barricaded himself in a building at an Air Force base in Colorado that controls all GPS satellites, but operations haven’t been disrupted, officials said Monday.

The building was evacuated, and no shots were fired and no one was injured, said Schriever Air Force Base spokeswoman Jennifer Thibault.

A negotiator and a SWAT team from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department were on scene at the Air Force’s request, said Air Force Lt. Marie Denson.

Miss Thibault said the airman is a member of a security squadron and is armed with his own handgun. Officials were investigating how he got the weapon past security and onto the base.

ALASKA

Ruling that Cook Inlet belugas are endangered upheld

ANCHORAGE — Alaska’s Cook Inlet beluga whales were correctly listed as endangered, a federal judge ruled Monday, rejecting a state lawsuit that claimed the listing will hurt economic development.

Judge Royce C. Lambeth of U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., said the National Marine Fisheries Service properly followed requirements of the Endangered Species Act and used the best science available in making its determination.

Cook Inlet beluga whales did not bounce back after a decade, despite a ban on subsistence hunting blamed for depleting their numbers, he said.

Sharon Leighow, a spokeswoman for Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, had no comment on the decision but said the Department of Law would prepare a response.

OHIO

Ban on owning exotic animals proposed

COLUMBUS — A study group on Monday proposed that Ohio ban new ownership of venomous snakes, monkeys, tigers and other dangerous animals with only limited exceptions and give state officials’ the authority to take from private property any wildlife that’s being kept illegally.

The group has held expedited meetings in private since last month, when police were forced to kill 48 wild animals, including endangered Bengal tigers, after their owner freed them from his Zanesville farm and then committed suicide.

A summary of the group’s input and state agencies’ recommendations for new regulations was obtained Monday by the Associated Press after the panel’s final meeting.

The working group’s recommendations for updating the state’s laws are due to the governor by Nov. 30. Its finalized report will be sent next week.

NEW YORK

Ex-Madoff trader pleads guilty in plea deal

NEW YORK — Jailed financier Bernard Madoff’s multibillion-dollar Ponzi scheme stretched back at least to the early 1970s, when his employees used historical information about stocks to create false trades that could be placed on customer statements, a former trader revealed as he pleaded guilty Monday to criminal charges.

David Kugel pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to conspiracy, securities fraud, bank fraud, falsifying business records and falsifying the books of an investment adviser, charges that carry a potential penalty of up to 85 years in prison.

A cooperation deal with prosecutors that leaves Kugel free on $3 million bail would earn him leniency at a sentencing tentatively scheduled for May 4. As part of the plea, he agreed to forfeit $3.5 million to the government.

PENNSYLVANIA

Executives get prison for fatal bone cement trial

PHILADELPHIA — Three former executives of a Pennsylvania medical devices company have been sentenced to prison for unapproved medical trials that left three people dead.

Former Synthes North America President Michael Huggins of West Chester, Pa., and former Senior Vice President Thomas B. Higgins of Berwyn received nine-month prison terms. Ex-Director of Regulatory Affairs John Walsh of Coatesville was on the job for less time and received a five-month prison term.

They are among the first company leaders sent to prison after pleading guilty to misdemeanors as “responsible corporate officers.”

Prosecutors say they bypassed safety rules and let surgeons test bone cement in frail patients even though animals had died in earlier tests.

Vice President Richard Bohner’s sentencing was postponed indefinitely Monday after his lawyer became ill.

SOUTH CAROLINA

Police: Woman tried to smuggle drugs in hollow Bibles

LANCASTER — Deputies say a woman used two hollowed-out Bibles to try to smuggle weapons, drugs and a cellphone to a prison inmate.

Sheriff Barry Faile said Monday authorities began investigating Shareca Latoya Jones, 28, earlier this month after a package mailed to Lieber Correctional Institution was returned to a post office in Lancaster. Inside the package were two Bibles containing razor knives, a cellphone, ecstasy pills and more than 28 grams of cocaine.

Deputies identified Miss Jones as the person who mailed the package from a Kershaw post office. In her car, authorities found a loaded handgun, drugs, cellphones and cash.

Miss Jones is facing drug and contraband charges. She was released from jail on bond.

From wire dispatches and staff reports