- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2006

Former priest gets 111 years in prison

PHOENIX — A former Roman Catholic priest convicted of child molestation was sentenced yesterday to 111 years in prison.

The Rev. Paul LeBrun was found guilty in Maricopa County Superior Court of sexually abusing boys when he worked in the Phoenix Catholic Diocese from 1986 to 1991.

LeBrun, 49, has been jailed since 2003. He was posted at Little Flower Catholic Church in South Bend, Ind., before being removed from public ministry in 1999.

LeBrun was accused of abusing Arizona boys ranging from ages 11 to 16 at two suburban Phoenix churches — St. John Vianney Church and the Blessed Sacrament Church.

He was convicted Nov. 17 on three counts of child molestation and three counts of sexual conduct with a minor.

Flyover at MLK march prompts protests

SAN ANTONIO — Peace activists are protesting plans for a military flyover at the city’s annual Martin Luther King march, saying the gesture runs counter to the nonviolent beliefs of the civil rights leader.

The city’s MLK Commission said the flyover by two fighter jets from Randolph Air Force Base is meant to be patriotic and an honor to King in a city with a strong military presence.

The commission voted to add the flyover at a November meeting, and peace activists say an attempt to rescind it failed at a meeting this week. Some said they would stay home this year or wear yellow ribbons during the march Monday as a show of protest.

Court upholds Skakel conviction

STAMFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Supreme Court unanimously upheld Kennedy cousin Michael Skakel’s murder conviction yesterday.

Skakel, a nephew of Ethel Kennedy, was convicted in 2002 of bludgeoning his neighbor, Martha Moxley, to death with a golf club in 1975 in Greenwich. Skakel, who along with the victim was 15 at the time, is serving 20 years to life in prison.

He appealed his conviction to the Connecticut Supreme Court last year, arguing among other things that the statute of limitations had expired when he was charged in 2000.

Skakel still has a petition for a new trial pending in Stamford Superior Court.

Couple punished for abandonment

SAN FRANCISCO — A California couple who left a five-year-old autistic boy and his brother home alone to go to Las Vegas were punished in a courtroom plea bargain, a prosecutor said yesterday.

Jacob Calero and Michelle De La Vega pleaded “no contest” to charges related to deserting the boys in their San Ramon home.

The couple got a dog-sitter for their pooch, but left Mr. Calero’s 10-year-old son and the boy’s younger brother to their own devices, along with some cereal and frozen food, according to investigators.

In a negotiated deal, Mr. Calero pleaded “no contest” to two felony charges of child endangerment and was sentenced to three years probation and a 270-day jail sentence that he could spend confined to his home wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet.

Miss De La Vega was allowed to plea to a misdemeanor charge of being an accessory to child abuse. She was sentenced to probation and home detention.

Gun-wielding student shot by SWAT officer

LONGWOOD, Fla. — An eighth-grader was shot and wounded by a SWAT team officer in a school bathroom yesterday after he pulled out a pellet gun that resembled a real weapon, authorities said.

He was shot after raising the gun at deputies.

Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger said the 15-year-old boy brought the gun to Milwee Middle School in his backpack. Sheriff Eslinger said two students saw it and one persuaded the other to report it.

The purported gunman told one of the students to go into a closet, then ran from the classroom, he said. Deputies eventually isolated him in a restroom, and the school was evacuated.

The boy was taken to the hospital, where he was on “advanced life support” yesterday afternoon, Sheriff Eslinger said.

Homes destroyed by grass fires

OKLAHOMA CITY — Grass fires driven by high winds destroyed at least 24 homes and forced hundreds of evacuations in Oklahoma, which remained extremely dry despite snowfall earlier in the week.

The worst fire raged in southern Oklahoma near Ratliff City, where it burned through at least 20 homes overnight, said Michelle Finch, fire information officer for the forestry division of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.

The fire, which was four miles wide, burned 7,000 to 10,000 acres and was about 50 percent contained yesterday morning, said Richard Reuse, an information officer for the state’s fire response center.

At least four other homes burned near a high school several miles to the west in Stephens County, Mr. Reuse said.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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