August 9, 2011
(CNN) — Former New York police officer Kenneth Moreno was sentenced Monday to one year in prison for three counts of official misconduct in a case of alleged rape involving himself and another New York police officer.
A jury acquitted Moreno and former partner Franklin Mata of felony rape and burglary in May, but found them guilty of official misconduct, a misdemeanor. Moreno and Mata were on duty at the time of the alleged incident.
Moreno and Mata were accused of returning to the apartment of a 27-year-old woman whom they had helped earlier in the evening and raping her in December 2008.
The case set off a public storm, and the men were later fired from the New York Police Department. On Monday a group of female protesters gathered in front of the courthouse holding signs that read, “NYPD: Protect women,” and, “Take rape seriously.”
Moreno and Mata admitted they broke police guidelines by hiding from their superiors the fact that they went back to the woman’s apartment. Moreno admitted to making a fake 911 emergency call so that police dispatchers would send the officers back to the woman’s apartment, according to Judge Gregory Carro at New York County Supreme Court.
Carro acknowledged that a parole committee recommended the two men be given probation instead of prison time in their sentencing, but he condemned Moreno’s conduct.
“Law enforcement plays an important role in the fabric of our society,” Carro told Moreno. “You ripped that fabric.” For that reason, the judge said, he imposed the “maximum sentence” of one year for each count, to be served concurrently.
Police took Moreno into custody after the judge rejected a request that would let him surrender himself to authorities at a later date.
Los Angeles (CNN) — Lenny Dykstra, a three-time Major League Baseball All-Star who led the New York Mets to a World Series championship, appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday shackled, unshaven and slumped in a chair to answer multiple counts of attempted grand auto theft, among other charges.
The former baseball star pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted grand theft auto, eight counts of filing false financial statements, four counts of identity theft, three counts of grand theft auto and three counts of possession of a controlled substance. All are felonies.
Two co-defendants — Robert Hymers, 27, his accountant and friend; and Christopher Gavanis, 30, a friend — also pleaded not guilty to allegedly trying to lease various luxury vehicles from several dealerships by providing fraudulent information and claiming credit through a phony business called Home Free Systems.
“At one point in time he had many, many millions of dollars, and he went through all of it. It’s the kind of money that you and I could probably live on for a lifetime, but his lifestyle required a lot more, and unfortunately it came to an end,” said Deputy District Attorney Alex Karkanen, who is prosecuting the case. Since his arrest, Dykstra has been unable to post $500,000 bail.
The player who earned the nickname “Nails” for his tenacity and confrontations on the field was escorted from the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit and returned to the general inmate population, Karkanen said.
“It’s very difficult for him to be in this situation,” defense attorney David Feinstein said. “I think his mental state is OK, but this is not a comfortable or familiar place for him.”
Washington (CNN) — The Justice Department joined a whistle-blower and several state governments Monday in filing suit against a for-profit educational firm that has received more than $11 billion in federal student aid.
The government joined the suit against Education Management Corp. (EDMC), which has enrolled thousands of students in dozens of educational programs across the U.S. The government alleges the company paid admissions recruiters bonuses tied to the number of students they recruited, in violation of federal law.
Assistant Attorney General Tony West at the Justice Department said the company had misused federal educations funds by paying improper incentives to admissions recruiters.
“We will protect both students and taxpayers from arrangements that emphasized profits over education,” West said.
The lawsuit alleges the company falsely certified compliance with federal laws that prohibit a university from paying incentives to admissions recruiters.
The suit filed in federal court in Pittsburgh was originally brought by whistle-blower Lynntoya Washington, a former admissions recruiter.
“This action against EDMC seeks to recover a portion of the $11 billion in federal student aid which EDMC allegedly obtained through false statements and which enriched the company, its shareholders and executives at the expense of innocent individuals seeking a quality eduction,” said David Hickton, U.S. attorney for Western Pennsylvania.
California, Florida, Illinois and Indiana are also seeking recovery of funds. Court documents indicate Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Tennessee and the District of Columbia have also joined the suit.
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