- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 13, 2009

‘Rockefeller’ gets prison for kidnapping

BOSTON | A German man who called himself Clark Rockefeller and spun fantastic stories about himself during three decades in the United States was convicted Friday of kidnapping his 7-year-old daughter and was sentenced to four to five years in prison.

Rockefeller, whose real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, snatched the girl on a Boston street during a supervised visit last July and fled to Baltimore with her.

The jurors, who began deliberating Monday, rejected the theory put forth by Gerhartsreiter’s lawyers: that he was suffering from a delusional disorder and was legally insane. Prosecutors called the diagnosis “preposterous” and said he planned the kidnapping for months because he was angry that his wife had divorced him and gained custody of their daughter, Reigh.

Gerhartsreiter also was convicted of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon for ordering the driver of a sport utility vehicle to pull away with a social worker clinging to the door. The jury acquitted him on another assault count and on a charge of giving a false name to police.

The judge sentenced him to four to five years in state prison on the kidnapping count and a concurrent two to three years on the assault charge.

Climbers fall to their deaths

ANCHORAGE, Alaska | Two experienced climbers have fallen to their deaths on Alaska’s Mount McKinley.

National Park Service rangers have recovered the bodies of John Mislow, 39, of Newton, Mass., and Andrew Swanson, 36, of Minneapolis.

The climbers, both doctors, were roped together when they fell Thursday afternoon along Messner Couloir, a steep, hourglass-shaped snow gully on the 20,320-foot mountain, North America’s tallest peak.

Park Service spokeswoman Maureen McLaughlin said many factors about the fall remain unknown, including its starting point and whether the climbers were ascending or descending the mountain, which is in Denali National Park and Preserve.

Miss McLaughlin said the men fell at least 2,000 feet to Messner Couloir’s base at 14,500 feet.

5 accused in plot to kill drug agent

NEW YORK | Four men and a woman including a Panamanian court employee were arrested in Panama in a plot to kill a U.S. drug enforcement agent, prosecutors said Friday in announcing the five would face a U.S. trial.

The five belonged to a Colombian drug organization that considered itself at war with U.S. drug agents, authorities said.

The defendants were arrested Thursday in Panama by Panamanian authorities and were expelled to the U.S. for prosecution, Acting U.S. Attorney Lev L. Dassin said.

They were being brought to the U.S. for initial court appearances. Two others were charged in the case but remain at large, authorities said.

Diocese appeals abuse data order

NEW HAVEN, Conn. | The Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport asked the Connecticut Supreme Court on Friday to reconsider a ruling that would make public thousands of pages of documents that detail purported sexual abuse by priests.

The court’s 4-1 ruling last month covers more than 12,600 pages of documents from 23 lawsuits against six priests that have been under seal since the diocese settled the cases in 2001. Most of the victims were altar boys or belonged to church youth organizations.

The records could shed light on how recently retired New York Cardinal Edward Egan handled the allegations when he was Bridgeport bishop.

The diocese, which has said it was “deeply disappointed” in the ruling, wants the full court of seven justices to hear the case.

From wire dispatches and staff reports.

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