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New England in brief

Quick action urged for officer in scandal

February 7, 2009
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Mayor Thomas M. Menino has called for a quick decision on whether to discipline a police officer under investigation for allegedly using a cruiser without authority to escort two male pornography actors from Logan Airport to a Tremont Street nightclub in October. The officer, identified yesterday as Lawrence Craven, 45, with the department since 1987, has been assigned to desk duty pending an internal affairs investigation, said police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll. Craven could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Panel to suggest US attorney, marshal
Senator Edward M. Kennedy has appointed a 12-member committee to recommend to President Obama a new US attorney and a new US marshal for Massachusetts. Historically, the senior senator from the president's party picks nominees for those federal positions, although it is the president who advances the candidates by sending their names to the Senate for confirmation. The panel will recommend candidates to succeed US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan and acting US Marshal Yvonne Bonner, who retired in December. The committee will be chaired by Michael E. Mone, a well-known Boston lawyer, and include several other prominent lawyers such as just-retired US Magistrate Judge Joyce London Alexander Ford, former Suffolk district attorney Ralph C. Martin II, and Kathy Weinmen, president of the Boston Bar Association.

Authorities take DiMasi's old computers
House Speaker Robert DeLeo will have to buy new computers after about two dozen used by his predecessor, Salvatore F. DiMasi, and DiMasi's staff workers were removed at the request of federal authorities, according to a state official. The computers are being safeguarded in a State House office in case the FBI and the US attorney's office needs to examine them as part of their investigation into the activities of DiMasi, his friends, and business associates, the official said. A spokesman for DeLeo, who was sworn in last week, wouldn't explain what happened to the computers.

Republican seeks investigation of Flaherty
Barney Keller, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Republican Party, wrote to the State Ethics Commission yesterday to request an investigation into Boston city councilor and mayoral candidate Michael F. Flaherty, who called the Police Department in June to criticize its handling of fitness tests for recruits. Keller alleges that Flaherty was lobbying for his wife, who had failed the exam prior to the call. In the letter, Keller says that a state employee pursuing employment for an immediate family member is a violation, punishable by a fine or jail time. In response to the allegations, Flaherty said, "I look forward to cooperating with the Ethics Commission should they choose to review this matter. I am confident that at no time did I act inappropriately."

Carbon monoxide scare forces evacuation
About 60 residents were evacuated from a three-story Hyde Park apartment complex yesterday evening after a heating system released carbon monoxide throughout the building, setting off its detectors, fire officials said. The Fire Department responded to the Motherbrook Estate on River Street at about 5:30 and located a leak in the basement, which provides heat to common areas, spokesman Stephen MacDonald said. Residents were allowed to return on a floor-by-floor basis as the carbon monoxide readings returned to normal.

WORCESTER
DA clears store owner in fatal shooting
The owner of a liquor store was acting in self-defense when he shot to death a man who attempted to rob the store at gunpoint in December, prosecutors said yesterday. Two men wearing masks entered Big Bob's Liquors on Richmond Avenue on Dec. 10. At least one of the men brandished a handgun. Robert "Big Bob" Varderesian was sitting behind the counter, while his brother, Kevin, counted cash from the register. The gunman pressed a gun to Kevin Varderesian's head and told him to hand over the cash. But Robert Varderesian pulled his gun from his waistband and shot the man. The gunman's accomplice fled the store on foot, prosecutors said. Evan L Rivera, 40, of Worcester, died later that night of multiple gunshot wounds at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center on Lake Avenue.

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