- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 22, 2003

Senator criticizes GOP for senior drug plan

Sen. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, used her party’s weekly radio address yesterday to criticize Republican plans to privatize a prescription-drug benefit for the elderly.

Mrs. Boxer, a member of the Democratic leadership in the Senate, said that under the Republican proposal, millions of older Americans would find their benefits shut down for several months every year even though they were still paying their premiums.

Mrs. Boxer said the vast majority of the elderly would not be able to receive the drug benefit directly from Medicare but would have to rely on health maintenance organizations and insurance companies, which could raise their premiums.

Death-row inmate resentenced for murder

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A former death-row inmate was resentenced to life in prison for the 1993 murder of a 12-year-old girl who was beaten, raped and set afire in the San Mateo Mountains.

Frank Martinez, a teenager at the time of the killing, was convicted in 1995 of killing Crystal LaPierre and was sentenced to death, but the sentence was thrown out last year by the state Supreme Court because Martinez was not informed of his right to be sentenced by a jury.

The case went back to state district court, which sentenced him Friday to life in prison.

Teacher who had sex with student sentenced

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — A former teacher who had sex with a 15-year-old student during a three-day trip to Las Vegas was sentenced to two years in prison.

Tanya Hadden, 34, pleaded guilty last month in a deal that spared her from a possible eight years in prison. As part of her sentencing, Miss Hadden must register as a sex offender and can no longer teach.

“I think she’s relieved it’s over,” defense attorney Mark McDonald said after Friday’s hearing.

Miss Hadden was arrested in May 2002, when she and the boy were found in a hotel in Las Vegas, after police questioned her about their relationship. She has admitted having sex with the teen, who is now 16.

Cleanup begins after train derailment

COMMERCE, Calif. — Crews worked yesterday to remove tons of lumber that demolished homes along a railroad line when more than two dozen runaway freight cars came spilling off the tracks.

City officials and residents said it was amazing no one was killed, and they questioned the decision to derail the runaway cars without warning local police, who could have evacuated the homes.

Thirteen persons, including three children, were treated for minor injuries after the derailment Friday shattered two homes and damaged at least two others in a blue-collar area east of Los Angeles. Twenty-eight freight cars derailed, unleashing a blizzard of wood and fiberboard.

The decision to derail the runway cars was defended by railroad officials, who said they were worried that if the train continued barreling toward Los Angeles it could slam into passenger trains or cars containing hazardous materials

Synagogue’s former director pleads guilty to embezzling

PHILADELPHIA — Prosecutors said Temple Sinai’s “Breakfast Club” was an exclusive affair with only two members — the synagogue’s executive director and bookkeeper — who embezzled $1.2 million from the congregation.

Former temple executive Barry Wilf pleaded guilty in federal court Friday to bank fraud, mail fraud and tax evasion.

Wilf, 47, acknowledged that from 1993 to 2000 he wrote hundreds of checks, some as big as $10,000, from accounts at the Dresher synagogue and deposited the money in an account for “The Temple Sinai Breakfast Club,” an entity invented to cover his tracks.

A federal grand jury charged Wilf’s bookkeeper, Betty Shusterman, 73, with helping him implement the scheme and taking a cut of the money.

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