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Archive for Friday, March 2, 2001

National briefs

March 2, 2001

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DALLAS

SMU to offer benefits to same-sex couples

Southern Methodist University next year will begin offering medical benefits and reduced tuition to same-sex partners of employees. The Dallas-based school will become the second in Texas and one of a relatively few religious institutions nationwide to extend such benefits.

The university will join a growing number of private-sector companies offering same-sex benefits.

Morgan Olsen, SMU vice president for business and finance, said the benefits plan is a good business decision that will allow the university to remain competitive for top teaching talent.

California

Adoption dad arrested for baby-sitter molestation

A California man locked in an international adoption battle over twin girls has been arrested for allegedly molesting two of his family's teen-age baby sitters.

Richard Vincent Allen, 49, was taken into custody at his home Wednesday after a weeklong investigation by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. He was booked for investigation of lewd and lascivious acts on a child, but wasn't charged with any crimes.

Allen and his wife, Vickie, adopted twin baby girls through an Internet adoption service last year but said the children were taken from them after two months and given to a couple from Great Britain who paid more money. The girls are now in the custody of British authorities.

NEW YORK CITY

Target practice in park prompts man's arrest

A man conducted target practice in a city park by shooting at pictures of his mother-in-law and struggled with an off-duty detective who tried to arrest him, police said.

Michael Kneitel, 38, of Brooklyn was arrested Wednesday in the park. Investigators searched his car, home and rented storage space and seized 20 weapons, including an AK-47 and Uzi and Luger guns, police said.

Authorities said they also found Nazi items, including photos of Kneitel's 6-month-old daughter draped with a Nazi uniform, and one with her finger on the trigger of a handgun.

Kneitel was awaiting arraignment on charges of criminal possession of weapons, endangering the welfare of a child and resisting arrest.

Nevada

Reno day-care worker accused of sex abuse

A Reno day-care worker is accused of sexually assaulting more than 25 toddlers and videotaping many of the attacks, authorities said.

"This is the worst case of this kind to hit our community in some time," said Cheryl Hier-Johnson, Washoe County's deputy district attorney.

Gary Hanneman, 33, initially was charged with molesting nine children at the Children City Learning Center where he worked. But the number of possible victims surpassed 25 after police began to review videotapes seized from Hanneman's home Wednesday, Reno Deputy Police Chief Jim Weston said.

Some 500 tapes and a personal computer were confiscated. The computer was being analyzed to determine if any of the video images were transmitted on the Internet, police said. Hanneman was charged with sexual assault with a child, production of child pornography, possession of child pornography and lewdness with a child under 14. He was being held on $100,000 bail.

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