Employers Not Liable for Sex Abuse

Va. Ruling Affects Victims Who Sue Years Later

Two Virginia circuit court judges have ruled that victims of child sexual abuse cannot sue the employers of their abusers when the victims file civil lawsuits years later as adults.

The rulings came in two separate cases in Richmond and Norfolk and were victories for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Richmond, a defendant in both lawsuits.

The rulings mean that churches, schools, corporations and other institutions cannot be held financially liable for abuse by an employee when a victim seeks damages years later. The judges cited a 1994 state constitutional amendment in issuing their opinions, the plaintiffs' attorneys said.

Warner Breaks Hand in Bicycle Fall

Governor's Injury Required Surgery

Gov. Mark R. Warner broke two bones in his hand and suffered bruises and scratches in a bicycle accident in the Shenandoah Valley on Monday.

Warner had tried to stop as he approached some railroad tracks, but with a water bottle in one hand, he could not operate both hand brakes to stop. When he pressed only the front brakes, the bike flipped forward and he tumbled off.

Warner, 50, went first to a hospital in Lexington and then returned to Richmond for surgery.

The governor is an avid biker, hiker and mountain climber.

Shooting by Police Ruled Justifiable

Man Threatened Officers, Prosecutor Says

An Alexandria man who abducted his 9-year-old son at gunpoint in April was drunk and increasingly belligerent during a 20-hour standoff with police, according to a report released by the commonwealth's attorney. The report cleared the two police officers who fatally shot the man.

City Commonwealth's Attorney S. Randolph Sengel concluded that the death of Lewis W. Barber on April 27 was a justifiable homicide and not a crime.

Grocery Bills Shrink in Virginia

State Speeds Phasing In of Food Tax Reduction

Virginians are paying less for their groceries, thanks to the state government's decision to speed up a reduction in the food tax.

On Friday, the tax on food bought at grocery stores dropped from 4 cents per dollar to 2.5 cents.

The tax reduction was scheduled to be phased in over three years, but the state's improving economy was generating so much revenue that Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) and the General Assembly decided over the winter to speed things up.

Alexandria Teen Dies on Beach Trip

Woman Had Signs of Meningitis, Official Says

An 18-year-old T.C. Williams graduate died after falling ill during a beach trip with classmates.

Kelley Swanson had complained of nausea and weakness Wednesday in Salvo, N.C., where about 40 graduates had rented beach houses and were staying with chaperons. She was taken to a hospital Wednesday night and died a few hours later.

Although the cause of death had not been determined, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Health said Swanson had symptoms of meningitis.

Two Charged in Church Break-Ins

Men Accused in Incidents Throughout N.Va.

Two Falls Church men have been charged with burglarizing several churches and offices across Northern Virginia.

Fairfax County police, working with Prince William County and Alexandria police, arrested Frank Irizarry, 37, and Dustin Thomas, 22, who are linked to two dozen break-ins. Eight of the incidents occurred in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County, seven in the city of Alexandria and nine in Prince William.

Kidnapping Ordeal Over: Mark Phillips's daughter, Avalon, was taken in 2000 by his estranged wife, who was sentenced Thursday to two months in jail.