Local digest: News from around the Washington region

March 19
MARYLAND
Prince George’s approves tech zone

The Prince George’s County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to establish a science and technology business district as part of an effort to attract more jobs and capitalize on the federal research and academic presence in the northwestern part of the county.

The legislation will allow the county to provide tax incentives and streamline the permitting and approval process. The district will cover College Park, Beltsville, Riverdale Park, Berwyn Heights and Greenbelt.

— Luz Lazo

VIRGINIA
Winfrey: Didn’t know of judgetment against candidate

A spokeswoman for Oprah Winfrey said Wednesday that Winfrey had been unaware of a court ruling of fraud involving a friend who is running for a congressional seat from Virginia. But she added that the 2001 ruling would not affect the talk-show magnate’s plans to attend a fundraiser for the candidate in April.

Lavern Chatman is one of 11 hopefuls competing for the Democratic nomination to succeed U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D) in Virginia’s 8th Congressional District.

Chatman was found liable for her role in a scheme to defraud hundreds of District nursing home employees of at least $1.4 million in wages owed to them.

— Patricia Sullivan

THE REGION
Bush-era official facing sex charges

A former George W. Bush administration official and lobbyist has been charged with sexually assaulting a woman he met at a Baileys Crossroads clothing store, according to Fairfax County police and public records.

Sloan Wilson Rappoport, 44, of Arlington, was arrested Tuesday after meeting with authorities. The adviser to then-Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans approached a 28-year-old woman and struck up a friendly conversation with her in Spanish, police said.

As the woman was leaving the store, Rappoport pulled up next to her in his Mercedes-Benz and asked her to get in, police said. Rappoport then locked the doors, drove to a nearby location and sexually assaulted her, police said. The woman escaped and fled, police said.

Rappoport has been charged with abduction, sexual battery and obscene display. Police said a series of tips led them to make the arrest.

“This seems to be a major misunderstanding,” said Rodney G. Leffler, Rappoport’s attorney. Leffler declined to elaborate.

— Justin Jouvenal

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