- - Tuesday, April 26, 2011


‘Cop’ revealed as illegal with false ID

ANCHORAGE — A Mexico-born illegal immigrant working as a police officer in Alaska was caught only after the U.S. citizen whose identity he stole applied for a passport, authorities said Tuesday.

Rafael Mora-Lopez, 47, was arrested last week after federal agents processing his passport-renewal request discovered he was using the identity of Rafael Espinoza, a legal citizen. Mr. Mora-Lopez pleaded not guilty to a federal charge of passport fraud, which carries a maximum 10-year sentence.

Mr. Espinoza, who has dual citizenship, lives outside of the U.S. and recently applied for a passport, Anchorage Police Chief Mark Mew said.

Around that time, the officer using Mr. Espinoza’s name applied for a passport renewal under the same identity, according to police and federal authorities.

Mr. Mora-Lopez has formally resigned from the police department, where he worked for six years, Chief Mew said. He was a well-regarded swing-shift patrol officer, winning an award after he and another officer conducted CPR on a person last year, the chief said.


Plea deal reached in school bullying case

HARTFORD — One of six teens charged in the notorious Massachusetts bullying case of a 15-year-old Irish immigrant who committed suicide has struck a plea agreement with prosecutors, according to new court documents.

If accepted by a judge, 17-year-old Sharon Chanon Velazquez’s plea deal would be the first case resolved in connection with South Hadley High School freshman Phoebe Prince’s suicide.

Phoebe hanged herself in January 2010 in her family’s apartment after what prosecutors call a relentless campaign of bullying by other students that included slurs about her Irish heritage, insults on Facebook and threats to beat her up.

Miss Velazquez and four other teens were charged two months after Phoebe’s death with offenses connected to the alleged bullying, and a sixth teen was charged with statutory rape for allegedly having sexual contact with the underage girl. All pleaded not guilty.


Sword fight erupts at Sikh temple; 7 charged

NEW YORK — A brawl involving cricket bats and small swords at a Sikh temple in New York City has led to riot and assault charges against seven people.

Police said the defendants interrupted prayer services at the Baba Makhan Shah Lubana Sikh Center in Queens on Sunday. They were arraigned Monday.

Temple president Jamail Singh told the Daily News that the fight was instigated by a dissident group of followers who are opposed to opening up membership.


High radiation levels prompt nuke inspection

CLEVELAND — High radiation levels recorded at a nuclear reactor in northeast Ohio have prompted a special inspection by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Workers at the Perry Nuclear Power Plant immediately evacuated on April 22 when radiation levels rose while the plant was in the process of shutting down for a refueling outage, the commission said Tuesday. Plant officials do not think workers were exposed to radiation levels “in excess of NRC limits,” the commission said.

“The plant is in a safe condition, and there has been no impact to workers at the plant or members of the public from this issue,” the commission said in a statement.

NRC investigators began inspecting the plant on Monday. The investigation will determine whether worker performance may have contributed to the incident and evaluate the level of radiation exposure to workers.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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