New England in brief

Parents say school official rehired illegally

June 30, 2010

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Three South Hadley parents who have been openly critical of the way the administration handled the bullying and subsequent suicide of a high school freshman argue in a lawsuit that the school committee has illegally renewed the superintendent’s contract. Luke and Lorraine Gelinas and Darby O’Brien say in a suit filed Friday in Hampshire Superior Court that the board broke the state’s open meeting law when it voted in executive session Feb. 24 to extend Gus Sayer’s contract. JoAnn Jordan, committee chairwoman, said Monday that she hadn’t seen the lawsuit and could not comment, but said she believes the committee complied with the law. Phoebe Prince, 15, hanged herself in February following what prosecutors described as relentless bullying by other students. Six have been charged. (AP)

Trial scheduled for alleged Craigslist killer
A 2011 trial date has been set for the trial of alleged Craigslist killer Philip Markoff, prosecutors said yesterday. The trial was set for March 14 after a hearing in Suffolk Superior Court, Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said. The former Boston University medical student is charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Julissa Brisman of New York City, a masseuse he met through Craigslist, in April 2009. He has also been charged with the armed robbery four days later of a Las Vegas woman.

Man gets 22 years in pornography scheme
A federal court in Boston sentenced a Swansea man to 22 1/2 years in prison yesterday, after his conviction of the sexual exploitation of a child and the transportation and possession of child pornography, the US attorney’s office in Boston said. In summer 2003, Joseph Michael Silva, 34, who worked as a horseback riding instructor, persuaded a 15-year-old student to let him photograph her in various sexually explicit poses, US Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz’s office said. After taking the pictures, Silva used them to pose as a 15-year-old girl online. He sent some of the photos to a 15-year-old boy who knew the victim, the statement said. In 2007, a search warrant of Silva’s bedroom and truck yielded hard drives and cameras bearing numerous pornographic images of children, Ortiz’s office said.

Tentative OK given to rail yard site
The City Council approved a proposal yesterday by railroad giant CSX to move its freight yards from Boston’s Allston section to Worcester, a key part of a $100 million deal between the state and CSX that would allow the MBTA to add at least seven commuter trains to the chronically delayed Worcester-Framingham line by 2012. Residents of the East Side neighborhood where CSX would transfer operations fiercely opposed the proposal. Building and environmental permits need to be finalized before councilors can grant their final approval.

Sailor rushed to hospital by Coast Guard
A Coast Guard helicopter hoisted an injured crewman from the deck of a sailing vessel about 140 miles south of Nantucket early yesterday and rushed him to a mainland hospital, officials said. The crewman, who was on the sailing vessel Bombardino, had facial injuries after being hit by a swinging boom before 6:35 a.m., said Petty Officer James Rhodes, a Coast Guard spokesman. The injured man was taken to Rhode Island Hospital, Rhodes said. The Coast Guard did not release his name.

Ex-coach again convicted of raping player
In a second trial, the former coach of a girls’ soccer team has again been found guilty of raping one of his teenage players. Jose Arana was convicted Monday in Brockton Superior Court of raping the girl, then 15, in July 2004 while she was at his house for a sleepover with his daughter. He was acquitted of a charge of assault with intent to rape. Arana, 47, who also was coach at Notre Dame Academy in Hingham, was convicted in 2007, but the Supreme Judicial Court overturned the verdict after ruling that his trial included too many secondhand accounts from witnesses. Arana’s lawyer said there was no physical evidence that an assault occurred. Sentencing is set for today. (AP)

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