National Roundup

Arkansas
Ex-pastor charged <t$>with rape gets 2 life sentences

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) - A former Arkansas children's pastor has been given two life sentences in prison without the possibility of parole in the rape of two young girls.

The Jonesboro Sun reports 39-year-old Anthony Waller pleaded guilty and was sentenced Tuesday.

Waller is a former employee of what used to be First Assembly of God Church in Jonesboro. Police say the girls were repeatedly raped in several locations, including the church.

Waller still faces 50 counts of video voyeurism and one count of child pornography.

A police detective testified he found 400,000 images of child pornography and videos of young females inside the church bathroom on an external hard drive of Waller's. The detective says he found holes in the ceiling of the church bathroom and a place for a hidden camera nearby.

New Hampshire
Police: Mom altered photo to say son abused

MERRIMACK, N.H. (AP) - A New Hampshire woman fighting for custody of her 3-year-old son is accused of altering a photo of him for a GoFundMe page to make it look like he was abused.

WMUR-TV reports the GoFundMe page seeking money for a lawyer went live shortly after Taylier Tibbetts told police in November that her son had been abused by his father. The page included photo of her son showing a bruise on his ribs. GoFundMe says the page raised a total of $10. It has since been removed.

The 20-year-old Tibbetts is charged with making a false report. The father hasn't been charged with a crime.

Tibbetts says she didn't lie to police. She had no comment when asked if she digitally edited any photos.

She's due in court next month.

Mississippi
Ex-DA pleads to obstructing justice charge

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A former Louisiana district attorney pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge that he harassed a witness and tried to get rid of evidence for a federal grand jury investigation that targeted the veteran prosecutor.

Harry Morel, who served as St. Charles Parish's elected district attorney for 33 years, was charged last month with obstruction of justice. Morel's attorney, Ralph Capitelli, had said his client intended to plead guilty.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison, though Capitelli said previously that there was no agreed-upon sentence.

Morel, 73, was released on $50,000 bond after his initial court appearance last week.

In a March 31 court filing, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Polite's office said Morel and a grand jury witness had "inappropriate" meetings concerning criminal charges against the witness and others. The court filing says Morel instructed the witness to destroy photographic evidence of the meetings, knowing that federal authorities wanted it.

The witness is referred to as "Individual A" in the filing and described only as a person who was charged and convicted of crimes in Morel's jurisdiction.

The filing doesn't specify the focus of the grand jury's probe, but court records show Morel's office has been the subject of a long-running FBI investigation. The FBI has subpoenaed scores of documents from the St. Charles Parish courthouse since January 2013, including records of hundreds of drunken driving cases and a decade's worth of child enforcement actions taken by Morel's office.

Morel served as district attorney from 1979 to 2012. After opting not to run for re-election, Morel served as an assistant prosecutor under his successor for several months before retiring amid the FBI investigation.

The Mississippi River bisects St. Charles Parish, which is about 20 miles west of New Orleans and has roughly 50,000 residents.

Pennsylvania
State AG won't seek hearing on leaked recordings

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has withdrawn a court motion that accused prosecutors of leaking FBI recordings in her criminal case to a newspaper.

Kane's lawyer has also decided not to try to file a separate prosecutorial misconduct motion under seal.

Defense lawyer Gerald Shargel (shar-GEL) didn't give a reason for either decision at a brief hearing Wednesday.

But a suburban Philadelphia judge questioned Kane under oath about the change of strategy devised by her four lawyers.

Kane says she agrees with it.

Kane is accused of leaking grand jury material to a Philadelphia newspaper to embarrass rivals.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele calls the claim that his office leaked the FBI phone tapes to an Allentown newspaper "meritless."

Kane remains in office but won't seek re-election this year.

New York
Court upholds convictions of ex-Madoff employees

NEW YORK (AP) - A New York court has upheld the convictions of former employees of imprisoned Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff.

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that evidence was sufficient to convict five former workers, including Madoff's longtime secretary.

Madoff is serving a 150-year sentence after revealing his multi-decade, multibillion-dollar fraud of thousands of investors in 2008.

Lawyers for the ex-workers had challenged their convictions on multiple counts including conspiracy, securities fraud, bank fraud and falsifying records. They said court rulings, prosecutors' misconduct and insufficient evidence cheated their clients of a fair trial.

But the three-judge panel that heard the case less than a month ago disagreed.

The ex-employees were sentenced in 2014 to prison sentences ranging from 2½ years to 10 years in prison.

New Jersey
Nun who drove into building is convicted of drunken driving

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - A Philadelphia nun has been convicted of drunken driving charges despite her assertion that she had a sedative and doesn't remember crashing her car into a New Jersey building.

Sister Kimberly Miller was convicted Wednesday by Washington Township Municipal Court Judge Martin Whitcraft. Her license was suspended for 90 days, and she was fined $257 plus fees.

Miller teaches at Little Flower Catholic School and was arrested in November 2015 after she droveher car into an auto repair shop. She testified that she had a glass of wine and an Ambien before bed but woke up in handcuffs.

Police say she had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit to drive. But the judge tossed the blood-alcohol test from evidence.

Published: Thu, Apr 21, 2016

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