Monday, November 20, 2006


Ex-executive pleads to child-porn charges

A former human resources director for The Washington Times pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court to possession of child pornography and online child exploitation.

In accord with a plea agreement, Randall Casseday, 53, could be sentenced to 7 years in prison and supervised release of no less than 10 years and up to life. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly must approve the plea agreement before imposing a sentence on Feb. 15.

The Times terminated Casseday’s two-year employment a week after his arrest at 9:40 p.m. on Sept. 26.

Yesterday, Casseday said in court that pictures of his and a young girl’s private parts were sent and received on his laptop computer. Officials for The Times cooperated with police by securing the laptop and other possible evidence in Casseday’s office.

Casseday was arrested after a two-hour online conversation with a person he thought was a 13-year-old girl. Instead, it was an undercover D.C. police detective, using photographs seized in previous child-pornography investigations.

Smoke prompts embassy evacuation

The German Embassy was evacuated yesterday after a worker used the building’s central vacuum system to suck hot embers from a fireplace.

Smoke spread throughout the building, but fire was contained in the vacuum canisters, said Alan Etter, a fire department spokesman.

The employee apparently had attached a cleaning tool to a wall inlet for the system and then let the powerful vacuum go to work on the embers, he said.

“You shouldn’t do that,” Mr. Etter said. “If you have a central vacuuming system in your home, don’t use it to dispose of ashes.”

Firefighters were called to the building in the 4600 block of Reservoir Road Northwest about 12:30 p.m.

Mr. Etter said there was no structural damage to the embassy and that employees were allowed to re-enter the building after an hour.

Fenty holding town hall meetings

D.C. Mayor-elect Adrian M. Fenty last night began holding a series of town hall meetings to get feedback from D.C. residents as he prepares to take office Jan. 2.

The meetings, which will be held in all eight wards, are aimed at gathering residents’ opinions that Mr. Fenty’s transition team said will be the “blueprint” of his administration.

The first meeting was held last night in Ward 8 at the Ferebee Hope Recreation Center in Southeast.

The second meeting — for Ward 7 residents — will be held at 6:30 tonight in the gymnasium of the Benning Park Community Recreation Center in Southeast.



Missing toddler returned to mother

A 1-year-old child in Fairfax County who was abducted Sunday night was returned home yesterday, Fairfax County police said.

Zian Armani Holeman was found at 2:45 p.m. in the 2400 block of Buckman Road with Vernice Simmons, 26. Miss Simmons was arrested, and the baby was reunited with his mother, police said.

The child was not injured.

Authorities had issued an Amber Alert for when Miss Simmons did not take the boy back to his home in the 3500 block of Buckman Road.

Miss Simmons was supposed to take the child to a movie Sunday but never brought him home, authorities said.

She was taken to the Fairfax County jail, where she was charged with abduction.


Tooth test adds to Jamestown mystery

Remains discovered in 2002 at the site of America’s first permanent English settlement could be those of a knight or one of two captains who died in the early 17th century.

A tooth analysis did not rule out that the skeleton is, as Jamestown researchers had theorized, that of Capt. Bartholomew Gosnold, principal organizer of the expedition from England that established Jamestown in 1607.

But test results released yesterday also suggest two other possible candidates: Sir Ferdinando Wenman, the master of ordnance at Jamestown, and Capt. Gabriel Archer, a lawyer who was the first recorder of Jamestown.

Gosnold still is the leading candidate, based on historical, archaeological and forensic evidence, said William Kelso, director of archaeology at the Jamestown site.

“I still think the evidence lines up, until proven otherwise, that we have Gosnold,” Mr. Kelso said.

The Church of England, however, said in statement that the tests show the Jamestown skeleton is less likely to be Gosnold.

Last year, the church permitted researchers to take a bone sample from a grave in an English church to try to confirm the Jamestown skeleton’s identity through DNA testing — the first time the church had authorized such research for scientific purposes. The tooth test was conducted after the DNA results were inconclusive.

The body was buried in a coffin — usually reserved at the time for people of higher status — with a captain’s staff placed on the lid, in a spot outside Jamestown’s triangular fort.

Mr. Kelso said that makes Wenman, who was 34 when he died in 1610, the least-likely candidate because a knight more likely would be buried with his sword.

Archer was a 35-year-old captain who died during the “Starving Time” winter of 1609-1610, when food was scarce. Mr. Kelso said it is doubtful Archer would have been ceremoniously buried in a coffin outside the fort during that period, when Jamestown was under siege by Indians.

Gosnold was 36 when he died after an illness in 1607, just three months after arriving in Virginia.


2 killed on I-64 in wrong-way crash

Two persons were killed early yesterday when a driver going the wrong way on Interstate 64 slammed into another vehicle in York County.

The accident happened close to the Camp Peary exit near Williamsburg just after 3 a.m. when a pickup truck headed east in a westbound lane smashed into a courier service van, Virginia State Police said.

Both drivers were killed, Sgt. D.S. Carr said.

The driver of the pickup truck has been identified as Terry Ray Apperson, 42, of Richmond.

The van’s driver was Dameon Lavell Wiggins, 27, of Virginia Beach, police said. His passenger, Paul Anthony Broderick, 20, also of Virginia Beach, was hospitalized.

Police began getting calls of a wrong-way driver several minutes before the crash, Sgt. Carr said.



Couple delivers son on Beltway’s shoulder

A baby who could not wait to reach the hospital was born on the Capital Beltway early yesterday, state police said.

A Montgomery County fire department spokesman said the agency received a call about 1:45 a.m. saying someone was having a baby on the shoulder of the Beltway at River Road.

By the time police arrived, the baby boy had been born. The trooper gave the mother a bottle of water and a blanket to keep the newborn warm.

An ambulance arrived to treat and stabilize mother and baby who were both in good condition, police said. They were taken to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda.

The parents are from Alexandria.


Man pleads guilty to money laundering

A Potomac man pleaded guilty yesterday to operating an illegal sports-gambling business.

Herbert Meyers, 61, operated Sports International 2000 which later merged into World Wide Wagering Inc., federal prosecutors said.

The business received more than 50,000 phone calls in 2002 and 2003 at an offshore wire room on a Caribbean island.

The business took in at least $2,000 every day, U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein said.

Meyers was charged with money laundering and conspiracy for bets taken on professional and college football and basketball games from March 2001 to January 2004.

Meyers and other employees will be sentenced in March.


Ex-teacher convicted of sexual abuse

A former teacher has been found guilty of one count of sexual abuse of an underage girl.

Christopher Tribbitt, 27, of Denton, is scheduled for sentencing in January.

Tribbitt, a former physical education and health teacher at Centreville Middle School, was charged after the student came forward last spring. He was accused of having a two-year relationship with the girl. The relationship began when she was 12 years old, officials said.

Queen Anne’s Circuit Judge Thomas G. Ross acquitted Tribbitt on 21 other charges, including 12 counts of using a computer to compile illicit sexual material. But prosecu-tors said the single conviction was the most serious charge.


Deputy indicted on arson charge

A Frederick County sheriff’s deputy has been indicted on a charge of second-degree arson.

Sgt. Theodore R. Dorsey, 37, of Knoxville, Md., is suspected of burning his girlfriend’s sport utility vehicle Sept. 2 in what investigators have said was an insurance scam.

Sgt. Dorsey has an initial appearance scheduled Dec. 11. He is on leave without pay from his job as a patrol team leader.

He was charged along with his live-in girlfriend, former Brunswick police officer Elizabeth Anderson, 28, in what investigators described as an insurance fraud scheme aimed at getting Miss Anderson a bigger SUV.

Miss Anderson was charged with second-degree arson, malicious burning, fraud and conspiracy.

The arson charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine.

Both Sgt. Dorsey and Miss Anderson are free on bail.


City eyes capping parking-ticket fees

The City Council is considering a bill that would put a cap on the accumulation of fines on unpaid parking tickets, which currently can mount exponentially.

Baltimore levies a late fee of $16 per month after a grace period until the ticket is paid, leaving late-payers with hefty bills and the possible impoundment of their cars.

The fines net millions of dollars each year, city officials said, although the exact amount was not immediately available.

But parking-related issues also rank each year as one of the primary reasons people are reluctant to visit — and shop — downtown.

A compromise worked out in committee on a bill introduced by council member Jack Young would cap the fines at six months.

Mr. Young’s bill originally capped the penalties at three times the face value of the ticket, a cap that initially was opposed by the both the city finance department and the police department.

The finance department argued that parking scofflaws were primarily not city residents, and that limiting the fines would be a disincentive for violators to pay.

Mr. Young said he is happy that the bill is finally moving forward, so he can set his sights on investigating the city’s impound lot.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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