- The Washington Times - Friday, March 18, 2005

Archdiocese ruled liable for molestation

SAN FRANCISCO — The Archdiocese of San Francisco knew or should have known that one of its priests was molesting boys during the 1970s, a jury decided yesterday in a landmark case. The jury now will decide how much to award the victim.

By a 10-2 vote, jurors decided in favor of 47-year-old Dennis Kavanaugh, who had sued the archdiocese, accusing the late Rev. Joseph Pritchard of molesting him during the early 1970s.

The verdict and any subsequent award for damages in his case could have broader implications for the hundreds of other lawsuits by increasing the pressure on the church to settle.

An attorney and a spokesman for the archdiocese declined comment.

Former governor gets year in prison

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Former Gov. John G. Rowland was sentenced to a year in prison and four months’ house arrest yesterday for selling his office in a corruption scandal that destroyed his career as one of the Republican Party’s brightest and fastest-rising stars.

The judge imposed the sentence after Rowland, 47, pleaded for leniency and confessed he had lost his way morally and developed “a sense of entitlement and even arrogance.”

The former governor pleaded guilty in December to a corruption charge, admitting he sold his influence for more than $100,000 in trips to Las Vegas, vacations in Vermont and Florida, and improvements at his lakeside cottage. He resigned last summer amid a gathering drive to impeach him.

Rowland also must serve three years of probation, perform 300 hours of community service and pay an $82,000 fine. He was ordered to report to a federal prison in Ayer, Mass., on April 1, and could be released from prison after serving 10 months.

Atlanta police admit errors after shootings

ATLANTA — The city’s embattled police department acknowledged yesterday that it made mistakes after last week’s deadly courthouse rampage, and the chief promised a full investigation.

Police Chief Richard Pennington said he will oversee a top-to-bottom review of his department’s response to the attacks in which Brian Nichols is accused of stealing a deputy’s gun, then killing four persons before surrendering to authorities.

Wildlife officials on lookout for bear

ANDOVER, N.J. — Wildlife officials set a trap, baited with bacon and molasses, in hopes of catching a bear yesterday that killed a pony and dragged its carcass away.

“No other animal would have the strength to do that kind of harm,” said Elaine Makatura, a spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Protection.

The owner found the pony’s body Thursday at her farm in Sussex County in northern New Jersey. The 15-year-old pony, named Phantom, suffered a broken neck and was dragged through two electric fences and up a hill.

Bear prints were found.

“It was a big, big print,” Patrolman Rod Mosner said. “It’s amazing (the bear) had that much strength and power to drag a pony that far.” The pony weighed at least 250 pounds.

Authorities investigate cow dung fire

LONGMONT, Colo. — Authorities are investigating whether Forest Service workers can be charged with arson for a 900-acre wildfire that was ignited after gusty winds carried flaming cow dung outside a controlled burn site.

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck said he received several complaints from farmers and ranchers in the Pawnee National Grassland area, where the Forest Service was conducting a controlled burn of prairie weeds March 11.

Callers complained the fire shouldn’t have been set because of high winds, and that the fire endangered farm property.

The sheriff’s office this week agreed to investigate. District Ranger Steve Currey said Forest Service officials also are investigating. Mr. Currey said the Forest Service will have to replace 14 power poles and a fence damaged in the fire.

RNC outpaces DNC in fund raising

The Republican National Committee raised $11.6 million in the month of February to give it more than a 2-1 advantage in money raised over the Democrats during the first two months of this year.

Republicans announced yesterday the amount the party raised in February, in addition to $10.2 million raised in January. The party had $22.4 million on hand at the end of February.

Democrats announced in early March that new party Chairman Howard Dean had raised $3.4 million in the first three weeks as head of the party he took over Feb. 12.

The Democratic National Committee reported in early March that it had raised nearly $9.6 million at that point in 2005, but has not announced how much money it has in the bank.

From staff reports and wire dispatches

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