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News stories tagged with "crime"

State police confirm murder-suicide in Ausable Forks

State police are releasing more details about an apparent murder-suicide in Ausable Forks this week. Otis Collins Jr., age 56, and 57-year-old Frederica Collins were found dead with gunshot wounds on Monday morning. Brian Mann reports.  Go to full article
Former Plattsburgh Assemblyman Chris Ortloff
Former Plattsburgh Assemblyman Chris Ortloff

Former Assemblyman Chris Ortloff pleads guilty to child sex charges

A man who was once a giant in North Country politics pleaded guilty on Wednesday in federal court following a child-sex scandal that shocked the region. Former state Assemblyman Chris Ortloff pleaded guilty to a single count of online enticement of minors. The 61-year-old divided his time between Plattsburgh and Lake Placid after leaving the legislature in 2006. He was arrested in October 2008 following a sex-crime sting and subsequently resigned his appointed position with the state Parole Board.

State police say that Ortloff negotiated with a undercover officer whom he believed to be the mother of two girls, ages 11 and 12. Ortloff was arrested in an Colonie hotel room, after arranging to meet the children for a sexual liaison. According to a report in the Albany Times Union, Ortloff's plea could help him win a reduced sentence. Ortloff now faces between ten years and life in a state prison.

Details of the crime sent shock waves through the community and through the Republican Party. Ortloff represented the North Country's 110th Assembly District from 1986 until 2006. When Ortloff was arrested, he was equipped with sexual aids, including condoms and vibrators. He has been housed in a jail in Washington County. His sentencing appearance is scheduled for April 23. According to the Plattsburgh Press-Republican, Ortloff has been released into home confinement until his sentencing.  Go to full article

Governor plans 1,300 job cuts in state prison system

Governor Paterson want to cut more than 1,300 jobs from the state prison system over the next year. That includes corrections officers and civilian workers. The massive downsizing plan would mothball inmate work camps and prison farms across the North Country, including Camp Gabriels north of Saranac Lake, Mount McGregor in Saratoga County, and part of Clinton Correctional in Dannemora. The Governor also wants to use parole and alternative-sentencing programs to shrink the number of inmates behind bars. Brian Mann reports has details.  Go to full article
Former Assemblyman Chris Ortloff
Former Assemblyman Chris Ortloff

Ortloff allegations cast light on underground criminal community

Former North Country Assemblyman and state Parole Board member Chris Ortloff remains behind bars this week. He was arrested earlier this month on charges that he attempted to arrange a sexual encounter with two pre-teen girls. News organizations - including North Country Public Radio -- have declined to report the more graphic details. According to court documents filed by federal prosecutors, Ortloff believed that he was part of an underground network of families who offer their own children for sexual abuse. He allegedly met with an undercover officer who was posing as the guardian of two pre-teen girls. "I have known people who successfully maintained this lifestyle for several generations," Ortloff said, according to a transcript contained in federal documents. Brian Mann spoke about the allegations with David Finkelhor, who heads the Crimes against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. Finkelhor says criminal child-sex rings involving parents do exist and are being targeted by law enforcement.

NOTE: North Country has attempted over the last two weeks to speak with Chris Ortloff's attorney, Andrew Safranko. Safranko hasn't respond to repeated messages.  Go to full article

Reaction spreads as Ortloff arrest details emerge

Former State Assemblyman Chris Ortloff appeared in federal court yesterday to answer charges that he used the Internet to solicit sex with minors. The 61-year-old, who has been serving a six-year term on the State Parole Board, was arrested in a state police sting at a motel in suburban Albany. More details of the police operation and the arrest emerged yesterday. And reaction spread across the North Country. Chris Knight has more  Go to full article

BREAKING: Former Assemblyman Chris Ortloff arrested in Albany

Two news organizations are reporting this morning that former North Country Assemblyman Chris Ortloff has been arrested in Albany and faces a probe by Federal prosecutors. WPTZ Channel 5, a television news station, cited information from Assistant US Attorney Thomas Spina. Spina said that Ortloff was being held in Albany County Jail and will appear in Federal Court today. He wouldn't disclose the charges. According to WPTZ, New York state police searched Ortloff's home in Plattsburgh last night. The Plattsburgh Press-Republican is also reporting this morning that investigators visited a business in Lake Placid and apparently seized a computer. Neither news organization was able to cite a reason for Ortloff's arrest, or for the Federal probe.

Ortloff began his career in the North Country as a broadcaster and master of ceremonies for the Lake Placid Winter Olympics. He later served as a Republican Assemblyman from Plattsburgh for twenty years and chaired the Clinton County GOP. Ortloff ran briefly for state Senate and narrowly won re-election in 2004, before stepping aside in 2006. Before leaving office, Governor George Pataki appointed Ortloff to a paid position on the State Board of Parole, a term that expires in 2012. NCPR will have more on this story as information becomes available.  Go to full article

Alleged timber theft triggers charges in Washington County

Two Washington county residents have been accused of logging more than $30,000 worth of trees from land they don't own. Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article
<i>New York Times</i> journalist Adam Liptak. Source: <i>NY Times</i>
New York Times journalist Adam Liptak. Source: NY Times

North Country prisons part of the "American Exception"

Prisons are a significant part of the economy and of the cultural fabric of the North Country. Some families have been working as corrections officers for three generations. Some communities are known as prison towns. And in other parts of New York, our region is sometimes called "Little Siberia" because of its network of state and federal prisons. New York Times reporter Adam Liptak says those prisons are worth a second look. In a new series of articles called "The American Exception," he raises challenging questions about our society's prison policies. Liptak spoke about his reporting in-depth with Brian Mann.  Go to full article
Diane Sawyer, ABC, Disney, face lawsuit from North Country woman (PHOTO:  ABC News)
Diane Sawyer, ABC, Disney, face lawsuit from North Country woman (PHOTO: ABC News)

Controversial ABC documentary filmed in Vermontville sparks lawsuit

The Plattsburgh Press-Republican reported Thursday morning that a Lake Placid woman is suing ABC News, the Walt Disney Corporation, and news anchor Diane Sawyer. In her suit, Kyle Nelson claims that the network should have alerted authorities to abuse that they captured on film in her Vermontville home five years ago. The physical abuse was recorded while ABC was working on a documentary for the program "Primetime." The show's producers never contacted the police or social welfare agencies. Brian Mann's story first aired in 2006. The Plattsburgh Press- Republican is reporting that Kyle Nelson, now age 20, has declined to discuss her lawsuit against ABC with the media.  Go to full article

People, politicians rally to save Camp Gabriels

A crowd of more than 250 people gathered at the Harrietstown Town Hall in Saranac Lake Thursday for a rally to save Camp Gabriels. The minimum security facility is among four the Spitzer administration plans to close by early next year. As Chris Knight reports, the group plans to challenge that decision with a grassroots campaign.  Go to full article

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