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News stories tagged with "crime"

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

License plan dead, but immigrants keep driving

Political pressure and a public backlash forced Governor Spitzer to scrap his plan to grant drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. But that doesn't mean, of course, that hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the state have stopped driving. Few illegal immigrants working on farms in the North Country drive because of the strong presence of the border patrol. But a couple hours south, in the Finger Lakes region, driving without a license is daily life for many Latino farmworkers. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Blue nose pit bull. Source: Wikipedia
Blue nose pit bull. Source: Wikipedia

Dog fighting, pit bulls draw new scrutiny

Last week, the Plattsburgh city council passed a resolution urging New York's legislature to allow local governments to ban pit bulls and other breeds of dogs. State law now prohibits local governments from targeting certain breeds of dogs with animal control regulations. Councilor Michael Drew told the Plattsburgh Press-Republican that each city or municipality should have the opportunity to consider a ban. This local debate comes as star NFL quarterback Michael Vick was being indicted for allegedly running a pit bull fighting ring from his estate in Virginia. Over the last several weeks, Brian Mann has been on special assignment for National Public Radio, looking at the national debate over pit bulls. He found that the animals and the illegal sport of dog fighting have grown far more popular in recent years.

A warning that this story includes language that may be disturbing to some listeners.  Go to full article
Kristine Guest, age 20, died at Paul Smiths College in 2005
Kristine Guest, age 20, died at Paul Smiths College in 2005

Alcohol-related deaths at Paul Smiths College spark lawsuit, debate

This spring, two Paul Smiths College students died following a late-night drinking party. 20 year-old Sean Cornell of Manchester Center, Vermont, and 18-year-old Lee Walker of Enosburg Falls, Vermont drowned when their canoes overturned. They were paddling back to campus across Lower St. Regis Lake. The tragedy followed three alcohol-related deaths at the school in 2005. Some community leaders say Paul Smiths has made huge strides, working to keep students safe. But the school faces a lawsuit and simmering public criticism over its handling of student alcohol abuse. This week, we'll look at the controversy at Paul Smiths College. We'll also look at the changing ethics of alcohol on college campuses. Here's Brian Mann with part one of our special three-part report.  Go to full article

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