- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 22, 2005


Monsignor arrested on sex charges

PHOENIX — The former vicar general of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix was arrested yesterday on charges he fondled boys and asked them questions about sex that he misrepresented as being part of the church rite of confession.

Monsignor Dale Fushek is one of the highest-ranking priests to be charged in the sex scandal that has engulfed the church. The vicar general is the highest-ranking administrator of a diocese next to the bishop.

Monsignor Fushek was charged with three counts of assault, five counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and two counts of indecent exposure.

Prosecutors said Monsignor Fushek committed the acts between 1984 and 1994 at St. Timothy’s Catholic Church in Mesa, or on property belonging to the church. The reported victims were seven young men and boys.


Two sentenced in killing sheriff-elect

ATLANTA — Two men convicted in the murder-for-hire killing of a man who was elected sheriff of DeKalb County were sentenced yesterday to life in federal prison.

Melvin Walker and David Ramsey were convicted in August of conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire. They had been acquitted in a state trial in March 2002.

Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown was shot at least a dozen times in front of his home on Dec. 15, 2000, days before he was to have succeeded DeKalb County Sheriff Sidney Dorsey, the man he had defeated in that year’s election.

Suspicions immediately turned to Dorsey, who was convicted of plotting the murder in a separate state court trial and is serving a life prison sentence.

Prosecutors argued that Walker, the suspected triggerman, was promised a promotion to deputy sheriff if he helped kill Mr. Brown. Ramsey, the suspected backup shooter, was promised a job as a detention officer, they said.


Vendor error inflates casino coupons

JOLIET — About 11,000 patrons of Harrah’s Joliet Casino got a big surprise in the mail: a coupon for $525 in wagering.

Perhaps most surprised were casino officials.

The casino’s direct-marketing vendor mistakenly made the coupons for an amount much higher than the usual $15 to $20, the casino said.

The company will honor the coupons, which were sent out last week, said Joe Domenico, Harrah’s Illinois regional president. The announcement was issued after the Illinois Gaming Board was deluged by complaints from people who said they were told by casino workers that the coupons were no good, gaming board spokesman Gene O’Shea said.

The casino, owned by Las Vegas-based Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., has not said how much money it could lose from the coupon error.


Store apologizes to banned customer

METHUEN — Home Depot Inc. apologized to a carpenter who was banned by the chain worldwide after he absent-mindedly pocketed a pencil he had used to do some quick math.

Michael Panorelli, 51, of Lawrence, was accused of shoplifting from the Methuen store Thursday and banned from all Home Depots.

Mr. Panorelli took his story to the Eagle-Tribune newspaper in Lawrence, which published it over the weekend.

On Sunday, Atlanta-based Home Depot issued a written apology, saying the incident was prompted by a narrow interpretation of its shoplifting-prevention rules.

But the carpenter said he had no intention of doing business there again, adding, “Why should I put money in someone’s pocket when they treat me like this?”


Janitor with AIDS wins bias lawsuit

LEWISTOWN — The Elks Lodge here must pay a former janitor $10,700 for discriminating against him because he has AIDS, the state labor department ruled.

The Elks violated Eric Billings’ rights by refusing to consider him for a bartender job and by making conditions of his janitorial employment “more onerous” after learning of his illness, the department said.

Elks secretary Bill Larson said the organization had no comment on the ruling.


Threat on computer closes high school

OLD TAPPAN — A high school was closed yesterday while authorities investigated a threat that a student received in a computer instant message, police said.

The message, which appeared to be from a former student, probably will be ruled a hoax, police Chief Joseph Fasulo said.

The student at Northern Valley Regional High School saw the message Saturday and told his parents, who called police, Chief Fasulo said. The FBI and Bergen County prosecutor’s office also were brought in to investigate, he said.

The instant message read: “I just bought my new Glock handgun and you better watch out.”

“Everybody at NVOT ought to be careful,” it added. The initials refer to Northern Valley in Old Tappan.


Custer State Park sells 225 buffalo

CUSTER STATE PARK — The annual auction of buffalo in Custer State Park brought prices averaging about $650 per head.

The park sold 225 buffalo to keep the park herd at a manageable level of about 1,250 head after the spring calving season.


State buys property for disaster housing

CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s housing development fund is buying land as part of what Gov. Joe Manchin III says is the nation’s first plan to establish permanent housing sites for people displaced by natural disasters.

Mr. Manchin said purchasing land for temporary housing is part of his administration’s effort to be proactive.

Although the land could be used in case of a national emergency such as Hurricane Katrina, Mr. Manchin said, it is intended mainly for use by West Virginia residents, especially those in southern counties where flooding is frequent. Six federal states of emergency have been declared in southern West Virginia because of floods since 2000.

Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives in Philadelphia and Washington did not return phone calls about the plan yesterday.


Man who stored mom in freezer jailed

LA CROSSE — A recluse who kept his dead mother in his freezer and shot at his neighbors when they came to his door was sentenced to seven years in prison yesterday.

Philip Schuth, 53, was sentenced for attempted homicide, reckless endangerment and concealment of a corpse.

Schuth told investigators that his mother died of natural causes in 2000, and an autopsy confirmed that. Schuth, who never held a real job, said he hid his mother’s death because he was afraid authorities would blame him and because he wanted to keep collecting her Social Security checks.

He was arrested in April after an all-night standoff with police at his house on French Island, which lies in the Mississippi River just outside La Crosse. The standoff began when Schuth shot at a couple and their 10-year-old son after they confronted him over whether he had hit the boy.

During negotiations with police, Schuth said he had his dead mother in a freezer in the basement. Officers found her encased in a block of ice.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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