National Roundup

Cops: Woman stole baby Jesus, told hospital it was neglected

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) - Police say a woman stole baby Jesus from a Nativity scene in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and dropped the figurine off at a hospital with a note explaining that the baby had been "neglected" by his parents, "Joseph and Mary Christ."

Police say 49-year-old Jacqueline Ross told them it was a joke, but they aren't laughing. She was identified from surveillance video and is jailed on charges of theft and institutional vandalism.

Police say she went to the hospital early on Dec. 4 just minutes after stealing the $2,700 figurine from Payrow Plaza.

Police say she left a note with the porcelain baby that read, in part, "Child has broken right foot which is been (sic) neglected. Parents Joseph and Mary Christ got a warning."

Man linked to $500M art heist getting mental evaluation

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - A reputed Connecticut mobster who authorities say is the last surviving person of interest in the largest art heist in U.S. history is now undergoing psychological testing to see if he is competent to stand trial on unrelated weapons charges.

A document filed this week in federal court in Hartford says 80-year-old Robert Gentile is being evaluated at the federal medical center prison in Butner, North Carolina. Gentile's lawyer said Friday that Gentile is no longer near death as he was three months ago.

Prosecutors have said they believe the Manchester man has information about the still-unsolved 1990 heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Thieves stole artwork worth an estimated $500 million.

Gentile has denied knowing anything about the art heist.

New Jersey
Men's swim team suspended over offensive posts

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) - Princeton University has suspended the rest of the men's swimming and diving team's season after school administrators discovered that members had posted "vulgar and offensive" material on the team's electronic mailing list.

A statement released by Princeton on Thursday did not disclose specifics but said the "misogynistic and racist" comments involved the women's swimming and diving team.

The suspension comes after an anonymous complaint alerted university officials to several materials, including the school-sponsored team mailing list and other electronic correspondence.

The suspension is the third for an Ivy League team since November. Harvard University suspended its men's soccer team and some members of Columbia University's wrestling team were suspended for similar behavior last month.

"The behavior that we have learned about is simply unacceptable," athletic director Mollie Marcoux Samaan said in a statement. "We make clear to all of our student-athletes that they represent Princeton University at all times, on and off the playing surface and in and out of season, and we expect appropriate, respectful conduct from them at all times."

The university will decide whether to cancel the season completely.

Princeton has meets scheduled Jan. 7 against Navy and Feb. 5 against Yale. The Ivy League championships are scheduled for later in February.

At Harvard last month, the men's soccer season was canceled after a demeaning "scouting report" on the women's team was circulated online. A 2012 document uncovered by The Harvard Crimson student newspaper rated the attractiveness of recruits on the women's team and included lewd comments about them.

Some members of Columbia University's wrestling team were suspended from competing over apparent lewd and racially insensitive text messages.

New York
Genovese family mobsters busted for offshore gambling ring

NEW YORK (AP) - More than a dozen reputed members of New York's infamous Genovese crime family have been arrested on a slew of charges stemming from a bust dubbed "Operation Shark Bait."

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office says the 13 mobsters indicted Thursday were part of a lucrative illegal offshore gambling ring that also trapped victims in loan schemes.

The defendants allegedly ran the multimillion-dollar gambling operation through a wire room in Costa Rica that handled wagers on college and professional sports.

Schneiderman says the group's loansharking business charged "outrageous" interest rates on loans that were impossible to repay.

Investigators captured much of the suspects' alleged illegal interactions through intercepted conversations.

Two mobsters were also charged with evading state taxes for selling more than 30,000 illegal cigarettes in New York.

South Carolina
Mother accused of killing infant out of jail on bond

CHESTER, S.C. (AP) - A South Carolina mother charged with killing her 4-day-old son by putting him in a refrigerator for three hours is out of jail after posting bond.

The Herald of Rock Hill reported Angela Blackwell was released on bond and house arrest after a hearing Thursday. She is charged with homicide by child abuse.

Blackwell cried at her bond hearing as her lawyer and family said she has no money and is not a flight risk. She was arrested in August after a six-month investigation.

Attorneys said Blackwell has the mental capacity of a fourth-grader. Her 3-year-old child was taken into protective custody by state social workers in February, when police found her infant suffering from hypothermia. The boy's father was not charged in his death.

Judge dismisses suit by professor who questioned Sandy Hook

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) - A judge has dismissed all eight complaints in a lawsuit filed against a Florida university by a fired professor known for his claims that the Sandy Hook shooting that killed 20 children was staged.

The Sun Sentinel reports Federal District Judge Robin Rosenberg wrote that James Tracy presented the court with a confusing lawsuit that mixed "multiple constitutional theories."

Florida Atlantic University fired the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies professor earlier this year. He says he was fired in retaliation for private blog posts. Tracy has claimed the shooting in Connecticut four years ago was staged.

Rosenberg dismissed several of Tracy's complaints with prejudice. Those portions included a complaint that his First Amendment rights were infringed. The judge ruled Tracy can refile other parts of the lawsuit.

Published: Mon, Dec 19, 2016