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Archive for Wednesday, January 31, 2001

National briefs

January 31, 2001

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South Carolina

Minister sentenced for child molestation

It will be difficult for the small town of Greenwood to forget how a minister hired to serve the area's growing Hispanic population instead preyed on its children. But the Rev. Fernando Garcia's crimes are not easily discussed by the people he was supposed to help. The 42-year-old Baptist minister was sentenced to 60 years in prison Monday after he admitted to sexually molesting nearly two dozen children and videotaping the acts.

Garcia admitted in court to abusing 23 children, ages 5 to 13. He pleaded guilty to 32 counts of performing lewd acts and 15 counts of criminal sexual conduct.

Missouri

Anti-Semitic pastor sits out his own trial

Dismissing the case as a "Jewish fiasco," the leader of an anti-Semitic church refused to attend his kidnapping trial Tuesday as prosecutors accused him of hiding and brainwashing his own grandchildren. The Rev. Gordon Winrod, 73, who chose to represent himself in court, refused to leave his cell and would not allow his public defender to participate.

He asked to be taken back to his cell Monday in Gainesville because he was angered by a judge's rejection of his motions.

Winrod, pastor of Our Savior's Church, faces up to 30 years in prison on charges he kidnapped six of his grandchildren from their fathers in North Dakota in the mid-1990s and hid them on his farm.

Massachusetts

Charges dropped in 1965 murder

Prosecutors dropped charges Tuesday against two men who claimed they spent decades in prison because the FBI trying to protect an informant allowed them to be framed for a 1965 underworld murder.

"Freedom is a beautiful thing," said Joseph Salvati, 68, who was joined by friends and family at the courthouse. "It took us awhile getting here, but we made it."

The district attorney's office also dropped charges against Peter Limone, 66, another man convicted in the 1965 gangland slaying of Edward "Teddy" Deegan, a small-time hoodlum who was gunned down in an alley.

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