Bishops helped to hide abuse, grand jury says

Two Catholic bishops who led a small Pennsylvania diocese helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by more than 50 priests and other religious leaders over a 40-year period, according to a grand jury report that portrays the church as holding such sway over law enforcement that it helped select a police chief.

The 147-page report issued Tuesday on sexual abuse in the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, home to nearly 100,000 Roman Catholics, was based partly on evidence from a secret diocesan archive opened through a search warrant over the summer.

In announcing the findings, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said the diocese’s two previous bishops “placed their desire to avoid public scandal over the well-being of children.”

No criminal charges are being filed in the case because some abusers have died, the statute of limitations has expired, or victims are too traumatized to testify, she said.

The report was especially critical of Bishops James Hogan and Joseph Adamec. Hogan, who headed the diocese from 1966 to 1986, died in 2005. Adamec, who succeeded him, retired in 2011.

Adamec cited possible self-incrimination in refusing to testify before the grand jury. But in a court filing, his attorney said the accusations against the 80-year-old Adamec are unfounded. He required 14 priests accused under his watch to undergo psychiatric evaluation, the filing said. Nine of them were suspended or removed from ministry, and the five who were reinstated never re-offended, his attorney wrote.

The current bishop, Mark Bartchak, is not accused of any wrongdoing.

— Associated Press

Fatal police shooting being investigated

Authorities in North Carolina said Tuesday they have launched dual investigations after a police officer shot and killed a man during a chase near downtown Raleigh. The shooting occurred shortly before city officials on Monday were set to discuss equipping city officers with body cameras.

A large crowd gathered for a vigil Monday night as questions lingered about the shooting, with little information initially available about what took place that day near Bragg and East streets.

Police offered few immediate details. The shooting took place shortly after noon as an officer was chasing someone wanted on a felony drug charge, Raleigh Police Chief Cassandra Deck-Brown told reporters at a briefing Monday afternoon.

During the chase, the officer fatally shot the man, Deck-Brown said. She also said a gun “was found within close proximity” of the man.

On Tuesday, the State Bureau of Investigation identified the man who was killed as Akiel Rakim Lakeith Denkins, 24, of Raleigh.

The bureau, which is investigating the shooting, said its agents spoke with his mother, Rolanda Byrd, on Tuesday.

Earlier Tuesday, Byrd spoke at a news conference called by the NAACP and said she had not seen her son’s body, adding that she was turned away when she tried to go to the medical examiner’s office.

— Mark Berman

Conviction after spats with lawyers is upheld

The highest court in Maine on Tuesday upheld the robbery conviction of a man who was stripped of his right to a court-appointed attorney because he could not get along with five different lawyers.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously that Joshua Nisbet waived his right to counsel through his actions, which included a threat against one of his lawyers. It also found that Nisbet forfeited his right to counsel through intentional acts that were detrimental to justice.

Nisbet, who is serving a seven-year sentence, may be the first criminal defendant in Maine forced to represent himself after being stripped of his constitutional right to an attorney.

Nisbet always maintained that he wanted to be represented by an attorney. But he and his lawyers could not see eye to eye on strategy and clashed repeatedly.

— Associated Press

California school district reverses order on anti-gay stickers: A California school district has reversed course and will now ask students wearing anti-gay stickers on their identification badges to remove them pending further investigation. The Desert Sun newspaper reported that the Desert Sands Unified School District sent a letter Monday to staffers saying it will ask a dozen students wearing the symbols to remove them while at school. Administrators had previously said they could not ask students at Shadow Hills High School near Palm Springs to stop wearing the image of a small rainbow inside a circle with a line through it, citing free-speech rights.

Man pleads guilty to cyberattack leading to ATM fraud: A Turkish hacker who U.S. prosecutors say masterminded a series of cyberattacks that enabled $55 million to be siphoned from automated teller machines around the world pleaded guilty Tuesday. Ercan Findikoglu, 34, pleaded guilty in federal court in Brooklyn to five counts. His guilty pleas included computer-intrusion conspiracy for leading a scheme that resulted in stolen debit-card data being distributed and used to make fraudulent ATM withdrawals worldwide.

— From news services