- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 29, 2009



Pipe device found on resort beach

An apparent pipe bomb was found Tuesday on the beach of an Ocean City resort, authorities said.

It happened about 1:50 p.m. on 40th Street and the beach. Police evacuated the area for about an hour.

Using robotic equipment, technicians with the Ocean City bomb squad removed the device from the beach.

Technicians found that it was an improvised explosive device and rendered it safe.

The incident is under investigation by the Ocean City Fire Marshal’s office.


Ex-professor enters plea in abuse case

A retired U.S. Naval Academy professor accused of raping and molesting a 12-year-old girl entered an Alford plea in the case on Tuesday.

Patrick Harrison, 66, of Hot Springs, Ark., entered the plea to second-degree sexual assault in Anne Arundel Circuit Court. Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges the prosecutors have enough evidence to convict.

Police said Harrison abused the girl while he was working as a computer science professor in 1994 and 1995.

He will be sentenced in September.


Woman pleads guilty to trafficking girls

A Maryland woman pleaded guilty Tuesday in a conspiracy to sell sex with girls in more than 100 hotel rooms from the District to New York.

Lea Bell, 29, of Reisterstown, Md., pleaded guilty on sex trafficking of a minor and conspiracy charges.

From January to April, her plea and court documents show she and Byron Thompson, 25, trafficked two 15-year-old girls and a 17-year-old girl.

Prosecutors said Bell took payments from customers and trained the sex workers. The three girls were prostituted in more than 100 hotel rooms in Maryland, the District and New York.

Thompson and Bell were arrested in April after creating a Craigslist posting advertising sex with two of the girls. Thompson pleaded guilty this month and will be sentenced in October.


Youth league official pleads guilty to theft

The former treasurer of a youth sports league pleaded guilty Tuesday to a plot to steal more than $58,000 from two groups.

Kathy Carey, 55, of Frederick, pleaded guilty to felony theft scheme. Frederick County Circuit Judge Julie Stevenson Solt suspended a 15-year prison term, and ordered Carey to pay restitution.

She must pay more than $58,000 to the Frederick Youth Sports Association and just under $6,700 to the Tuscarora High School Athletics Booster Club.

The thefts occurred over a two-year period.


Results mixed in child survey

Maryland fared well on child poverty and poorly on low-birth-weight babies, landing it 25th among the 50 states in the latest Kids Count survey.

Maryland had the second-lowest percentage of children living in poverty, but ranked 43rd in low-birth-weight babies.

One child-advocacy group says the ranking survey should serve as a wake-up call. Advocates for Children and Youth says the state slipped from 19th in the last survey despite being the wealthiest state in the nation.

The annual report on the health and well-being of America’s youth was released Tuesday by the Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation.



3 officers charged in beating acquitted

A Richmond jury has acquitted two more officers who were charged with obstruction of justice in the beating of a man in a bar.

A jury of seven women found Richmond police Officers William A. House and Ian McCloskey not guilty on Tuesday. Judge Bradley Cavedo acquitted a third defendant, Floyd T. Campbell II, on Monday.

Authorities had said Officer McCloskey beat up a man in a downtown Richmond bar on Jan. 22, 2008, while he was off-duty and that Officers Campbell and House tried to cover it up.


Dominion to offer new programs

Dominion Virginia Power is seeking permission from state regulators to offer new energy-saving programs to its customers.

The Richmond company said it has filed a request with the State Corporation Commission to begin offering 12 programs that are estimated to save $1.2 billion over 15 years. The savings would come from reduced customer energy usage and company fuel purchases.

Dominion officials said the Environmental Protection Agency estimates the programs could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 15 million tons by 2024.

If approved, a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity each month would see a rate increase of about 95 cents beginning in April. The company said it will cost about $600 million for changes needed to implement the programs.


Treasurer accused of embezzling

Albemarle police have charged the former treasurer of a community association with embezzling from the group.

Albemarle police Lt. Todd Hopwood said Michael Comer, 45, turned himself in Monday evening at Wintergreen Resort in Nelson County. He was being held Tuesday at the Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Jail on five counts of embezzlement.

Mr. Comer’s wife, former professional golfer Kandi Comer, reported him missing July 1. He had been scheduled to attend a meeting that day to discuss Glenmore Community Association’s first external audit, which revealed more than $650,000 was missing.

The disappearance of Mr. Comer and the money prompted a criminal investigation by local authorities and the FBI.


Mortgage executive sentenced for fraud

A mortgage executive was sentenced Tuesday to three years and nine months in federal prison for mortgage fraud and wire fraud.

U.S. Attorney Dana Boente said Stacy Lynn Chamberlain, 42, of Unionville, also was ordered to pay more than $1.2 million restitution after pleading guilty.

According to court documents, Chamberlain lied about her credentials to get work in the field and to obtain seed money from investors to start her own mortgage company. Those investors lost about $1.2 million.

Chamberlain also used a straw purchaser and falsified documents to buy a $489,900 home in Maryland.


Backfiring generator causes boom, smoke

A loud boom heard near Union Station on Tuesday was caused by an emergency generator backfiring at a nearby building, D.C. fire officials said.

Fire department spokesman Pete Piringer said several fire and rescue units were dispatched at about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday after receiving reports of an explosion and a plume of smoke at Union Station.

But Mr. Piringer said officials found no evidence of either after searching the area. Instead, he said they narrowed it to an office building in the 700 block of North Capitol Street. Mr. Piringer said maintenance crews there were working on an emergency generator when it backfired, causing a boom and releasing smoke.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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