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Archive for Sunday, May 4, 2003

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May 4, 2003

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Massachusetts: Teacher gets probation for child's assault

A former special needs elementary school teacher was sentenced to probation for assaulting a 5-year-old autistic boy by sitting on him and force-feeding him peaches.

Laurie Brennan, 35, pleaded guilty to assault and battery Friday at Marlboro District Court, and was sentenced to six months in jail, a term that was suspended. She was instead ordered to serve two years of probation, do 300 hours of community service and write a letter of apology to the boy's parents.

"I knew he would be beaten, teased and bullied, but I didn't know it would be someone in Laurie Brennan's position," said the boy's mother, Debi MacLean.

The charges stem from a March 6, 2002, incident at the Mulready School, where other teachers reported seeing the 160-pound Brennan sitting on 40-pound Grey MacLean. According to court records, Brennan also held the boy down and forced peaches down his throat, which made him vomit.

Washington, D.C.: Poll: Bush beating Democrats 2-1

President Bush is far ahead of the three most popular Democrats in head-to-head matchups, even though the public has concerns about his economic leadership and his empathy for ordinary people, according to a poll released Saturday.

Bush leads Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt by almost identical margins in the three matchups. The president gets the support of six in 10 while the Democratic candidate gets the support of just over a third, according to the results of an ABC News-Washington Post national poll.

When Democrats and those who lean Democratic were asked who they preferred to be their nominee, 29 percent said Lieberman, 19 percent chose Gephardt and 14 percent picked Kerry.

The ABC-Post poll of 1,105 adults was taken April 27-30 and has an error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points, larger for subgroups like Democrats.

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