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7 suspended officers told to be at meeting


Seven suspended Stoughton police officers who have allegedly been implicated in a police misconduct investigation were told yesterday to appear in the town manager's office for a meeting Monday morning, when they are expected to be reinstated, town officials said. Yesterday was the deadline set by the Stoughton Board of Selectmen, who voted to demand the officers' reinstatement unless the Norfolk County District Attorney's Office revealed information about the grand jury investigation that is probing allegations including false arrest and harassment.


Driver charged with striking pedestrian
A 30-year-old Marlborough man was arraigned yesterday after allegedly striking a pedestrian with his vehicle Thursday night while she was crossing Main Street. Marco Silva pleaded not guilty to operating under the influence, causing serious bodily injury, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and other motor vehicle charges, according to a spokeswoman for the Middlesex district attorney's office. Maria Couto, 54, was crossing the street at about 11 p.m. when Silva struck her, police said. Judge Austin Philbin ordered Silva held on $25,000 cash bail. Couto is in critical condition at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.


Diocese clears priest of molestation
A Berkshire County priest has been cleared of a sexual molestation charge by the Springfield Diocese's Review Board. Trina Cysz of Belchertown had accused the Rev. John Bonzagni of molesting her when she was a high school student preparing for her confirmation at St. Mary's Parish in Lee. The church's review board, which investigates misconduct claims, said Cysz's claims were unsubstantiated. Cysz had filed a lawsuit against the diocese, which was one of 46 suits settled in August for about $7.5 million. The diocese has said that the settlement includes no admission of wrongdoing or substantiation of guilt. Cysz's lawyer, John Stobierski, said his client stands by her story. (AP)


Body found under Moakley courthouse
The body of a man was found yesterday morning under a foot ramp at the John Joseph Moakley Federal Courthouse in South Boston. Officers responded to 12 NorthernAve. and discovered the dead man under the dock, said Nadine Taylor-Miller, spokeswoman for Boston Police. The identity of the man has not been released. There were no signs of foul play, said David Procopio, spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney. The cause of death has not been confirmed, but police believe that the man may have gone into cardiac arrest, Taylor-Miller said.

SJC dismisses '02 lewdness conviction
The state's highest court yesterday threw out the 2002 felony conviction of a New York man for open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, ruling that prosecutors lacked evidence that two adolescent boys were sufficiently upset by allegedly seeing him naked and masturbating near a window in his mother's house in Falmouth. The two boys, who were 13 and 10 at the time of the trial, both told authorities that they giggled nervously when they saw Michael Kessler through the window; one said he was offended. But the Supreme Judicial Court said that "mere nervousness and offense" was not enough to justify a conviction for open and gross lewdness, which is punishable by up to three years in state prison. Such a conviction requires, among other things, that observers be "alarmed or shocked." Kessler, 34, testified at his Falmouth District Court trial that he was naked at the time of the November 2001 incident because he was waiting to take a shower. He denied seeing the boys outside his window or masturbating, the SJC ruling said. An Appeals Court panel initially reversed the conviction on other grounds, but the SJC reviewed the case at the request of both the state and the defendant.

Connolly urges vacating prison term
Former FBI agent John J. Connolly Jr., convicted of racketeering in 2002 for helping longtime informant James "Whitey" Bulger evade capture, filed a petition yesterday in US District Court in Boston to vacate his prison term of 10 years and one month. Connolly, 64, who is serving his sentence at a federal prison in Butner, N.C., cited a recent US Supreme Court ruling that raised questions about whether federal sentencing guidelines are unconstitutional because they permit judges to lengthen a defendant's sentence based on factors that weren't presented to a jury. Connolly argued that he was unfairly given a harsher term based on factors never presented at trial. He also argued in his petition that prosecutors intentionally turned over documents to the defense late, or not at all, making it impossible for his lawyer to effectively represent him.