- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 1, 2001

Court upholds rape conviction

HARTFORD, Conn. — Former high school wrestler Alex Kelly, who spent eight years in Europe avoiding trial on rape charges, was properly convicted and sentenced, the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

Kelly is serving 16 years on two rape charges. While upholding the conviction, the high court cut his post-prison probation from 10 years to five years.

Attorneys had appealed Kelly´s conviction for the rape of his 16-year-old neighbor on 13 different grounds. Among other things, they argued that pretrial news coverage of the case had denied him a fair trial, and that the judge erred when he decided not to sequester the jury.

Kelly was an 18-year-old wrestling standout at Darien High School when he was charged in the rapes of two teen-age girls four days apart in February 1986.


San Francisco passes sex-change subsidies

SAN FRANCISCO — The Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to pay for sex changes for city employees.

The measure would pay up to $50,000 in benefits to city workers who want to switch their sex. Approved 9-2, the bill awaits the signature of Mayor Willie Brown.

San Francisco apparently would be the nation´s only governmental body to extend the benefit. Minnesota's state government offered such benefits, but the program was phased out in 1998.

The benefit, available starting July 1, would cover male-to-female surgery, which costs about $37,000, as well as female-to-male surgery, about $77,000.

Employees would have to work for the city at least a year before they would be eligible. People wanting sex-change surgery would have to pay 15 percent out-of-pocket if they use a doctor in the city´s health network, 50 percent if not.


Bin Laden followers rest their case

NEW YORK — Attorneys defending four followers of Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, charged with conspiracy that included the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, ended their case yesterday.

The move means closing arguments will most likely begin this morning in Manhattan federal court.

None of the defendants testified on his own behalf and during yesterday´s court session U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand questioned each of them to verify that they did not want to take the stand.

Prosecutors say the plot included the August 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 persons, including 12 Americans.


Teens drive drunk less with strict limits

Teen-agers´ drinking and driving has dropped by nearly one-fifth in states with stricter blood-alcohol limits for young people, according to a 30-state survey of high school seniors.

The survey shows that policies that discourage risky drinking can have an effect on society, said Alexander C. Wagenaar of the University of Minnesota, first author of an account appearing today in the American Journal of Public Health.

Mr. Wagenaar said all 50 states set blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) level at .02 percent for drivers under 21 so the effects should eventually be seen in every state.

He said data from the new survey are consistent with other studies that have shown a 10 to 20 percent decline in alcohol-related car crashes in states with a .02 blood alcohol level for youthful drivers.


Central Park attacker gets up to four years

NEW YORK — One of two men convicted of a series of daylight sexual attacks on women in New York´s Central Park after a parade last year was sentenced yesterday to up to four years in prison.

David Garcia, 33, was among the 30 men arrested at the June 11 Puerto Rican Day parade in which dozens of women were doused with water, groped and sexually abused. Sixteen men pleaded guilty and charges against 11 others were dismissed.

"I know my conduct was inappropriate. I have sisters and have daughters, and I can understand how the victims feel," Garcia told State Supreme Court Justice Bernard Fried before he was sentenced to 30 months to four years in prison on his convictions of sexual abuse, riot and assault.


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