- - Wednesday, December 19, 2012

CANTON — A former Ohio high school basketball coach who pleaded guilty to videotaping boys in a locker room shower for years has been sentenced to 15 years in prison — and must give $5,000 to the Connecticut community where a gunman killed 27 people.

Scott Studer pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to an eight-count indictment.

In addition to prison, Judge Frank Forchione in Canton ordered that Studer’s fine be directed to Newtown, Conn., scene of last week’s elementary school shooting spree. The judge didn’t specify the fund that should get the 46-year-old convict’s fine.

At least 74 boys were identified on the secretly recorded videotapes made over the span of eight years at Jackson High School near Canton. The judge ordered the tapes destroyed.

MINNESOTA

Nurse appeals convictions for encouraging suicides

MINNEAPOLIS — An attorney for a former Minnesota nurse convicted of going online and encouraging two people to kill themselves says his client was merely offering support and had no influence on their actions.

William Melchert-Dinkel was convicted last year on two counts of aiding suicide. His attorney is asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to overturn those convictions.

In court documents filed Wednesday, attorney Terry Watkins says Melchert-Dinkel did not directly participate in the suicides of an English man and a Canadian woman. Mr. Watkins also cites case law he says shows that his 50-year-old client had no legal duty to stop the suicides.

Melchert-Dinkel faces about a year in jail unless his conviction is overturned but remains free pending appeal.

MASSACHUSETTS

State fee to top $700,000 for murderer’s sex change

BOSTON — A federal judge says he will order Massachusetts to pay more than $700,000 in legal fees for a convicted murderer who successfully sued for a state-funded sex change.

The Boston Globe reports that Judge Mark Wolf said Wednesday he will decide the specific amount later. It was the first time a judge has ordered prison officials to provide sex reassignment surgery to an inmate.

The state is appealing and won’t comment.

Robert Kosilek was convicted of his wife’s 1990 murder but has since identified as “Michelle,” and the judge ruled in September that a sex change is the “only adequate treatment” for his gender-identity disorder.

The judge says the state has paid large legal fees in other prisoner rights cases. He notes Kosilek’s lawyers have offered to dismiss their request if the state drops its appeal.

Strike looms at East and Gulf Coast ports

BOSTON — East Coast businesses are bracing for a possible walkout of 14,500 workers that could close 14 ports from Massachusetts to Texas.

The latest talks between shipping companies and dockworkers broke down Tuesday, less than two weeks before the contract expires Dec. 29. That’s led to worries that a strike is inevitable.

The National Retail Federation wrote to President Obama this week to ask him to use “all means necessary” to head off a strike, which it fears could have catastrophic economic ripple effects.

A key sticking point is union workers’ royalty payments, which are based on the weight of cargo received at each port. The container carriers and port operators want to cap the payments, saying they are too large and eroding competitiveness.

COLORADO

Snowstorm cause problems from Rockies to Midwest

DENVER — A storm that has dumped more than a foot of snow in the Rocky Mountains was causing problems for travelers as it spread across the Plains on Wednesday.

The main east-west route across Colorado, Interstate 70, was closed from east of Denver to the Kansas line because of poor visibility due to blowing snow. Smaller highways were also closed in eastern Colorado.

Drivers in Iowa and Nebraska were warned to be cautious or stop driving altogether starting Wednesday evening as the Plains got its first major winter storm of the season.

From wire dispatches and staff reports