- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 9, 2004

Assailant gets jail for illegal abortion

TROY, N.Y. — A man who stabbed his pregnant girlfriend will go to prison for performing an illegal abortion, even though the child survived.

Sean Brown, 20, of Albany pleaded guilty Friday in Rensselaer County Court to one count each of abortion and assault. He will be sentenced June 2 to prison terms of 11 years for assault and one to three years for abortion, prosecutors said.

Abortion is illegal in New York if it causes or intends to cause a miscarriage without the woman’s consent, or if it is performed by someone other than a licensed physician.

Brown lunged at Cashawnda Rowlett in her darkened apartment and stabbed her 10 times in the fingers, thigh, hip and abdomen shortly after she told him she was two months pregnant, police said. The July 2003 attack left her permanently injured and disfigured.

Prosecutors originally thought the unborn child was hurt. This week, they said the infant hasn’t shown any signs of injuries.

Officer faces charges for shower photos

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. — A former National Guard commander accused of photographing naked female U.S. soldiers as they showered at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison faces legal proceedings, officials said.

Capt. Leo V. Merck, 32, of Fremont, Calif., supposedly took the photos Nov. 12 and was turned in the next day by the three women.

Capt. Merck and the women were part of the 870th Military Police Company of Pittsburgh, which patrolled parts of the same prison where other U.S. soldiers photographed their humiliating treatment of naked Iraqi prisoners.

Soldiers from the 870th passed through the Army’s Fort Lewis in Washington state last month after leaving Iraq, where they served on active duty for just over a year. Capt. Merck has been ordered to return to Fort Lewis to face legal action.

A spokeswoman for Capt. Merck’s local National Guard company said Friday he will face “the process in which soldiers are held accountable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”

City sues drug maker over OxyContin

NEW YORK —The city has sued the manufacturer of OxyContin, charging the company cost it millions of dollars in Medicaid payments by blocking a generic version of the popular painkiller.

The lawsuit filed Friday in federal court against Stamford, Conn.-based Purdue Pharma says the city would have saved money on a less-expensive, generic alternative. New York pays 25 percent of elderly and poor residents’ Medicaid costs.

The lawsuit seeks damages equaling three times the amount the city lost by not using a generic brand. City officials said it cost $5.5 million to provide OxyContin to residents in 2002, and they are still calculating losses from using the brand name rather than a generic product.

A federal court ruling in January found that Purdue Pharma deliberately misled the U.S. Patent Office when it sought to protect its patents for the popular painkiller. The ruling would lead the way for the manufacture of generic brands, but Purdue Pharma has appealed.

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