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The 13 churches were among 50 shut down or merged by Bishop Lennon.

Parishioners, many of them second- and third-generation members of the churches, challenged some of the closings, staged sit-ins and other protests and even created a breakaway congregation.

The cutbacks left the eight-county Cleveland Diocese with 174 parishes in all as Catholics and members of the wider community moved out of Cleveland to suburban communities.

Cleveland’s population has fallen 17 percent, to just less than 400,000, since 2000 and the number of Catholics in the diocese has declined from 797,000 to 710,000 since 2007.

The diocese had begun selling its closed churches, with some bought by other denominations and charter schools. The sale of churches was put on hold in cases where the closings were challenged.


‘Sextortion’ suspect faces out-of-state child porn charge

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana man charged with coercing two teenage boys into making sexually explicit online videos now faces similar federal charges in Michigan.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit has filed charges of production of child pornography against Richard Finkbiner, 39, of Brazil, Ind. He could face from 15 years to life in prison if convicted.

The criminal complaint alleges Mr. Finkbiner videotaped a 14-year-old Michigan boy who exposed himself in a chat room and then blackmailed the boy into performing sex acts on webcam by threatening to post the video on a gay porn website.

The Michigan charges apparently involve one of the same victims as the Indiana case. In Indiana, Mr. Finkbiner faces charges of sexual exploitation of a child.


Rescued woman says she owes life to mayor

NEWARK — The woman pulled from her burning home by Newark Mayor Cory Booker says she would be dead if he hadn’t come to her rescue and feels “blessed.”

Zina Hodge told WWOR-TV from her hospital room that she was gasping for air and delusional when Mr. Booker lifted her from her bed and carried her to safety Thursday.

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