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Friday
Apr082011

Camp Loses Accreditation After Abuse Allegations, Employee's Suicide

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANDWICH, Mass.) -- Camp Good News, the Cape Cod summer camp at the center of a sexual abuse scandal, has just lost its accreditation with the American Camp Association. This latest news comes on the heels of new sexual abuse allegations by former campers.

A total of five men and one woman have now come forward with stories of being sexually abused while at the camp. On Wednesday, a former long-time maintenance worker at the camp, Charles Devita, shot himself in the head on camp property. Devita was reportedly the target of some of those sexual abuse allegations.

It's been all bad news for Camp Good News since February, when Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown wrote in his book Against All Odds that he had been abused as boy at a summer camp.

That summer camp is widely believed to be Camp Good News. Brown said the abuse happened more than once when he was at summer camp and that his abuser threatened to kill him if he told anyone. Brown has also said he is not interested in pursuing any charges against his alleged abuser or the camp. Officials for Camp Good News confirmed Brown was a camper there and issued a letter of apology to the senator.

The camp has been accredited with the American Camping Association since 1959. According to ACA officials, there have been no past complaints against the camp and it was last inspected in 2009.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr082011

Sex Offender Fakes Death Second Time; Allegedly Kills Homeless Man

WFAA Dallas-Ft. Worth(FORT WORTH, Texas) -- A convicted sex offender allegedly killed a homeless man in an attempt to fake his own death and evade rape charges, police in Fort Worth, Texas said.

Michael A. Gilbert, 42, shot a homeless man who he thought resembled him, stuffed him in his car's trunk and set the vehicle on fire in Eugene McCray Park, police said.

The car's license plate linked Gilbert to the car, but dental records proved the dead man was not Gilbert. Police are still trying to identify the dead man.

There were two outstanding warrants for Gilbert's arrest. One is for a sexual assault with a minor under 17 and the other is failure to register a change of address, Fort Worth Police Officer Sharron Neal said.

This isn't the first time Gilbert attempted to fake his death. Using the alias "Michael Brown," he called authorities in Biloxi, Miss., in 2002 and said that his cousin was drowning. Gilbert was faking his own death to avoid returning to jail over a parole violation, police said. He was charged with sending false distress signals and sentenced to six months in jail.

No body was ever found, police said.

When police came to arrest Gilbert on two outstanding warrants Tuesday, he didn't go quietly. After a seven hour standoff at West Chase Apartments, SWAT officers used tear gas to get into his apartment. Police found Gilbert hiding in the attic. He attempted to slit his throat during the arrest.

Gilbert is being treated at a hospital and when he's well enough, he'll be moved to jail.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr082011

Girl Vanishes from Bar Leaving Behind Friends, Phone and Purse

KMGH Denver(DENVER) -- Police say they are "very concerned" about the safety of a 19-year-old woman who went to a Denver nightclub with friends and mysteriously disappeared, leaving behind her purse and cell phone but few clues.

Kenia Monge, a recent high school graduate, went to the 24K Lounge, a downtown Denver hot spot, on Saturday night where a group of underage friends had been drinking. Her friends told police she excused herself from the table to go to the restroom and never returned.

Monge was last seen several hours later at a Conoco gas station a few miles from the club at 3 a.m. Sunday, according to the Denver Police Department.

Police say the case is not a typical missing person investigation but has the hallmarks of an abduction. Officials from the Denver Police Department have called in the FBI and Center for Missing and Exploited Children to help in the investigation, an indication they do not believe Monge simply ran away.

"We get lots of missing cases," said Denver Police spokesman Lt. Matthew Murray. "No one thinks this girl ran away. We have reason to believe that what took place is not good. We are very concerned."

"This," he added, "is a nightmare scenario."

As the first week following Monge's disappearance comes to a close, Murray said they're treating it as a missing person case but said "there is something different" about it. He would not say what made it so strange.

Monge's stepfather, Tony Lee, told ABC affiliate KMGH that a "good Samaritan" came forward and told police that he picked up the girl and was with her at the gas station early Sunday morning where she met and left with another man.

Police would not confirm that detail, or where the "good Samaritan" had found Monge to give her a ride, but Murray told ABC News they were "talking with several key witnesses. We're working every lead."

Monge is four-feet- 11 inches tall and weighs 90 pounds. She was last seen wearing a black skirt, black blouse and high heel boots.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr082011

Father Sought in Killing of Man Accused in Son's Death

Stockbyte/Thinkstoc(TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, N.C.) -- North Carolina authorities say they are looking for a father who they believe, on Wednesday night, fatally shot the man charged in the December death of his son.

Early Friday morning, Transylvania County sheriff's deputies said they found the silver sport utility vehicle that witnesses said Richard O'Shields, 45, of Little River, drove away in after allegedly killing Toby Mathis at a Dollar General store in Rosman, N.C. The car was found at a relative's house but deputies did not find O'Shields.

Mathis, 27, of Lake Toxaway, N.C., and O'Shields' son Joey, 20, were involved in an argument in December when Joey O'Shields jumped onto Mathis' truck. Mathis was dating Joey O'Shields' former girlfriend, who was also in the truck. Joey O'Shields fell onto the roadway while Mathis was driving and later died, according to Transylvania County authorities.

Mathis was awaiting trial on a charge of felony involuntary manslaughter, but, according to ABC affiliate WLOS-TV, Richard O'Shields thought that was too light.

"I know the law is doing everything in their powers as far as charging," Richard O'Shields told WLOS-TV on Dec. 20. "They can only charge what evidence they've got or whatever. That still don't work for me."

"Ever since the incident in December, there has been strained relations between the two families," Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney told The Asheville Citizen-Times. "It is safe to say that the family had some concerns about what actions he [Richard O'Shields] may take."

Richard O'Shields sons Chris and David said their father wanted Mathis to be charged with first degree murder. They also told WLOS-TV that Mathis had harassed their father.

"Even when he got locked up for involuntary manslaughter -- that's what they first charged him with -- no other charges have been brought on. I think that's why my daddy did it, because of the harassment, the hurt, the grief."

Authorities say warrants charging Richard O'Shields with first degree murder have been issued. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr082011

Black Valedictorian Recognized 75 Years After Graduation

WTAE Pittsburgh(PITTSBURGH) -- Fannetta Nelson Gordon was finally recognized Thursday as the valedictorian of Westinghouse High School in Pittsburgh, an honor denied her in 1936 because of her race.

Gordon died three years ago at age 88, but her sister, Sophia Phillips Nelson, 93, attended the ceremony sponsored by the Westinghouse Alumni Association.

"It was just so emotionally heartfelt to see the 93-year-old woman take the award for her sister," says lawyer Reggie Bridges, head of the alumni group. "The room was in tears."

"I wish Fannetta could have been there," said Phillips Nelson. "She was a brilliant girl and determined."

So determined, her family says, that Gordon overcame the wrong that was done to her when the school principal pressured music teacher Carl McVicker to change Gordon's grade from an A to a B so she wouldn't be first in her class – an honor that her older sister, Sophia, had achieved two years earlier. The principal didn't want two black valedictorians within two years, the family says.

Gordon – whose official transcript ranked her fourth in the 155-student class – went on to become the accompanist for the National Negro Opera Company and played at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Hall. After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh, she became a high school German and English teacher and later was named by the governor as a senior adviser for English and foreign languages in the state Education Department.

The recognition ceremony Thursday came about when Bridges reviewed the transcript and other records. "As clear as day you can see where the grades were changed in music," he said. "You can see erasure marks. " Her earlier music grades were all As, he said.

The Pittsburgh School District has not officially recognized Gordon as valedictorian. "It does appear there were erasure marks on the transcript—we can't confirm the back story" because the principal and music teacher are dead, said spokeswoman Ebony Pugh. "What the district does recognize is that Fannetta Nelson Gordon was a high-achieving student."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr082011

Sec. of Defense Robert Gates Planning to Step Down; Replacements Unknown

Gen. David Petraeus and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates upon Gates' arrival in Kabul, Afghanistan last month. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- There will be a new top leadership team at the Pentagon later this year when Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen step down from their posts. Gates has said on multiple occasions that he intends to retire from his post later this year, though he has never said exactly when he would do so.

Just Thursday in Baghdad, he told a group of American soldiers that he was likely on his last trip to Iraq as Secretary of Defense. Having made quarterly visits to Iraq in recent years, he lent some credence to speculation that he could step down this summer following the start of the U.S. drawdown in Afghanistan scheduled for July.

Mullen's second two-year term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs will run out on Oct. 1. Mullen's successor would likely have to be named by the White House in early summer to allow enough time for the Senate confirmation process.

Leon Panetta's name surfaced in recent weeks as a potential Gates successor, but Washington was abuzz this week with the possibility that Gen. David Petraeus could replace Panetta if he does head to the Pentagon.

A U.S. official tells ABC News there are White House discussions about having Petraeus take over at the CIA. But that possibility would only be contingent on an opening at the CIA if Panetta were to move on.

But CIA spokesman George Little says about the Panetta talk, "He isn't seeking any other job and hasn't been asked by the President to take on a different role." He added, "Director Panetta is proud to lead the men and women of the CIA and is focused squarely on the agency's mission."

While Panetta has garnered all the recent attention, others seen as potential contenders to succeed Gates are Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, Defense Under Secretary for Policy Michele Flournoy and former Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ended speculation she was in the running when she told reporters last month that she intended to remain at her post and then leave the administration after the 2012 election.

Conventional wisdom has Gen. James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as the leading candidate to succeed Mullen, who will have served four years as the President's top military advisor. His profile became higher after Bob Woodward, in his book Obama's Wars, labeled him as "Obama's favorite general."

But Gen. Petraeus has also been discussed as a potential successor to Mullen since it was first reported that he is scheduled to step down later this year as the top commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan. It's unclear when Petraeus would leave his post, but a Defense official says he has "pledged to see this through another fighting season if that was necessary."

But with few four-star openings available to Petraeus if he remains in the military, the possibility that he could take over at the CIA seemed an intriguing choice to many in Washington.

A Defense official says such talk is just "premature."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr082011

Fla. Woman Gambles $14M, Fleeces In-Laws

BananaStock/Thinkstock(HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla.) -- A Florida woman's gambling addiction was so severe that she pumped $14 million into the slots and is accused of stealing her in-laws' life savings to fuel her habit, police said.

Jennifer Dennison, 42, was arrested after Hernando County sheriff's detectives wrapped up a five-month investigation. "Theoretically, she could spend the next couple decades in prison," Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis said. She was charged with 16 counts including exploitation of the elderly, forgery of checks, and organized scheme to defraud.

Dennison's in-laws, 88-year-old Laverne Robert Dennison and 73-year-old Janet A. Dennison, bounced a check in August of last year, launching the investigation that led to the woman's arrest.

Dennison hit the slots at Tampa's Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, winning a total of nearly $13 million. But she pumped every penny of that back in, plus at least $700,000 more, police say.

The thrill of the buzzing slot machines led her to fleece her in-laws of their retirement money, drain their bank accounts and cash in their insurance policies, police said. "Ms. Dennison was the one who had basically wiped out their accounts to the tune of over $500,000," Nienhuis said.

Jennifer Dennison's husband, Scott, holds a power of attorney for his parents, but Jennifer Dennison made all of the financial decisions for the family.

The gambling industry is increasingly targeting women online with so called sexy slot machines and offering prizes like a Manhattan shopping spree. There are even Sex and the City-themed slot machines that let you gamble with Carrie Bradshaw.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr082011

The $77 Billion Fighter Jets That Have Never Gone to War

U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker(WASHINGTON) -- More than five years and nearly $80 billion after the world's most expensive fighter jets joined the U.S. military fleet, the high-tech F-22 Raptor has yet to see combat -- despite the U.S. Air Forces' involvement in three simultaneous major combat operations.

When the U.S. led an international effort to secure a no-fly zone over Libya last month, the F-22, the jet the Air Force said "cannot be matched," was not involved. The Air Force said the $143 million-a-pop planes simply weren't necessary to take out Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi's air defenses.

"If this was a requirement, it would've been used," Air Force spokesperson Maj. Chad Steffey told ABC News. "We had all the assets that we needed in Europe already... It simply wasn't an operational requirement."

In fact, though the Air Force has more than 160 F-22s, Steffey said that they have not been an "operational requirement" in any major theater of combat for the U.S., from Iraq to Afghanistan, since the first of the planes went combat ready in December 2005.

Not a single one of the planes -- which cost U.S. government $77.4 billion for a total of 187 planes from Lockheed Martin according to recent report by the Government Accountability Office -- has used what Lockheed Martin's website called a "revolutionary leap in lethality" in defense of U.S. interests. And though Congress cut all funding for new Raptors in 2009, Lockheed Martin is still receiving hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars to make upgrades.

The closest an F-22 has come to combat was in 2007 when a pair of Raptors intercepted and monitored two Russian bombers that were on patrol in airspace near Alaska, according to a report by Air Force Magazine.

Both the Air Force and Lockheed Martin said the reason the planes have yet to fire on any enemies is because they're designed to dominate the air against rival, sophisticated air forces or air defenses, not a small, poorly armed third-world militaries and insurgent groups.

The planes' natural enemy, therefore, is one that the program's biggest critic, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said as of now does not exist.

"The F-22 is clearly a capability we do need -- a niche, silver-bullet solution for one or two potential scenarios -- specifically the defeat of a highly advanced enemy fighter fleet," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in 2009 while advocating that Congress ditch further funding for the Raptor from the budget. "[But] the F-22, to be blunt, does not make much sense anyplace else in the spectrum of conflict."

Dozens of supporters of the F-22 program in the House and the Senate wrote letters to President Obama ahead of the 2009 budget decision, arguing a full force of F-22s would be needed to meet the future challenge of other nations like China and Russia that are also developing fifth generation fighters and new, high-tech air defense systems. Gates dismissed these claims and said the U.S. next generation fighters, both the F-22 and the newer F-35, would greatly outnumber any adversaries for the next 15 years at least.

Jeff Babione, the vice president and project manager for the F-22 program at Lockheed Martin, said China and Russia's fighter programs were a consideration in the F-22's development, but also said the F-22 could find a home in strike missions against rogue nations like North Korea and Iran.

"[The F-22s] are in an area where they would be solely or more suited for a sophisticated adversary like North Korea," Babione told ABC News. "In particular, its ability to penetrate highly defended locations -- such as North Korea -- only the Raptor would be able to get in there and prosecute the missions."

Another reason Gates argued against continuing the F-22 fighter is that he said he wanted to put some of that money into the newer F-35 jet fighter. That plane, which is also in development by Lockheed Martin, "will be the backbone of America's tactical aviation fleet for decades to come if -- and this is a big if -- money is not drained away to spend on other aircraft that our military leadership considers of lower priority or excess to our needs," Gates said in 2009.

"The F-35 is 10 to 15 years newer than the F-22, carries a much larger suite of weapons, and is superior in a number of areas – most importantly, air-to-ground missions such as destroying sophisticated enemy air defenses," he said.

The F-35, at a smaller price tag per plane than the F-22, is designed to replace the F-16 -- which incidentally was involved in operations in Libya -- and "will complement the F-22," according to Lockheed Martin and the GAO report. According to Lockheed, the F-35 is better suited for current combat operations since it has a superior air-to-surface attack capability, but can work in tandem with the F-22.

While the F-35 has experienced its own serious development issues, the first planes are scheduled to be delivered to the Air Force this spring, Lockheed told ABC News earlier this year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr082011

Jaycee Dugard's Alleged Kidnapper Pleads Not Guilty

El Dorado County Sheriff via Getty Images(PLACERVILLE, Calif.) -- Phillip Garrido now says he's not guilty in the alleged kidnapping and rape of Jaycee Dugard when she was 11 years old.  Prosecutors maintain Garrido fathered Dugard's two children during the two decades they say she was his captive.

This development stunned the courtroom in Placerville, California Thursday after it was widely reported that Garrido would plead guilty.

He and his wife, Nancy Garrido, are accused of abducting Dugard from her South Lake Tahoe home in 1991 and keeping her prisoner until investigators discovered the alleged victim's whereabouts last summer.

Garrido's wife is separately awaiting her own trial, unless she gets a better deal from El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson.

Dugard, now 30, has already said she would testify against Phillip and Nancy Garrido if the case went to trial.

The next hearing for the two suspects is scheduled in May, with a trial set for the Garridos on August 1.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr082011

Fontainebleau Murders: Victims' Relative Wants Suspect to Feel Pain

George Doyle/Stockbyte/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- A relative of murder victims connected to the Miami Beach's Fontainebleau Hotel said she wants their accused killer Narcy Novack to suffer for her actions.

Novack is facing charges in the death of her wealthy hotel heir husband 53-year-old Ben Novack Jr. and conspiring to kill her 87-year-old mother-in-law, Bernice Novack.

"I want her to experience pain, I want her to experience everything that lock up and jail would give her," said Meredith Fiel, who is Ben Novack's cousin and Bernice Novack's niece.

In a new indictment issued this week, the FBI alleges that Narcy Novack murdered twice, stole, laundered money and conspired to murder again in an elaborate plot, hatched along with her brother, to gain her millionaire husband's estate.

The plot comprised seizing control of Ben Novak's millions in real estate, cars, jewelry and one of the world's largest collections of Batman memorabilia -- including the original Batmobile.

Ben Novack was the son of the founder of the landmark Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach featured in classic films like Goldfinger and Scarface.  Showbiz icons like Frank Sinatra roamed the hotel's halls, often patting the younger Novack on the head as a child.

In the indictment filed on Tuesday, Narcy Novack is charged with arranging the April 2009 attack on Ben Novack's 87-year-old mother Bernice Novack, who was found dead in her Fort Lauderdale home.

Following Bernice Novack's death, Narcy allegedly went after her husband, Ben Novack.

In July 2009, investigators say Narcy opened the door to the hotel suite she shared with her husband in Rye Brook, New York and let three assailants slipped in.  They bound Ben Novack then bludgeoned him with a dumbbell and Narcy gave them a pillow to muffle his screams.  Narcy even allegedly ordered the attackers to gouge out Ben's eyes.

She also allegedly tried to make it look like a robbery and the next day stole over $100,000 from his business.

She tried to bribe one potential witness to frame her own daughter for the killing and then tried to have a witness killed, according court papers.

However, Narcy Novack's lawyers insist she had nothing to do with the murders and that there is no evidence and that the allegations have no more weight than a traffic ticket. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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