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Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Nation Briefs

April 17, 2002

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Ohio: Utility buys town plagued by acid clouds

A power company agreed Tuesday to pay $20 million to buy an Ohio River village that was plagued last summer by blue clouds of sulfuric acid gas from the utility's nearby coal-burning plant.

The 221 residents of Cheshire, 90 miles southeast of Columbus, will have to move.

American Electric Power will buy about 200 lots from residents, who will give up their rights to sue the company over personal and property damage they claim they sustained from the emissions.

California: Priest acquitted of rape, guilty of molestation

A Roman Catholic priest was acquitted Tuesday of charges he raped a 14-year-old girl in a church in 1977 but convicted of molesting a 13-year-old girl four years later.

The Rev. Don Kimball, 58, was tried more than two decades after the alleged crimes because of recent changes in state law that extended the statute of limitations for sex crimes involving children under 14.

Kimball will be sentenced May 15 on one count of committing a forcible lewd act upon a child and one count of committing a lewd act upon a child. The acts took place at St. John's Rectory in Healdsburg.

Virginia: Judge strikes state ban on church incorporation

In a lawsuit brought by the Rev. Jerry Falwell, a federal judge has ruled that a law banning incorporation of churches unconstitutionally restricts the free exercise of religion.

U.S. District Judge Norman Moon ordered the State Corporation Commission to grant Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg a corporate charter.

The ban stems from Thomas Jefferson's 1779 Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom. The General Assembly outlawed corporate charters for churches in 1787 and included the ban in the state Constitution.

In addition to the incorporation ban, Virginia churches may not own more than 15 acres of property in a town or 250 acres in a county. Only West Virginia has similar restrictions.

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