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News stories tagged with "punishment"

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
<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
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
Travis Trim, age 23, is believed dead
Travis Trim, age 23, is believed dead

North Country man accused of killing Trooper believed dead

State police believe that a body found in a burned farmhouse is that of a North Country man accused of shooting three state policemen. Travis Trim, age 23, was the subject of a manhunt that began on Tuesday. He was apparently cornered in the house in Margaretville, in Delaware County south of Albany. The blaze began during a stand-off, after state police fired non-incendiary smoke bombs into the home. Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article
Currier & Ives portrayal of Jane McCrea's murder (Source:  Library of Congress)
Currier & Ives portrayal of Jane McCrea's murder (Source: Library of Congress)

Unearthing North Country Legend Jane McCrea

The December issue of Adirondack Life magazine tells the story of Jane McCrea, a young Scottish woman who lived in Fort Edwards in the 1770s. While waiting to meet her fiance, McCrea was murdered and scalped by native soldiers loyal to the British. Her death sparked outrage in the American colonies and served as a major catalyst for the Revolutionary War. In the centuries since, McCrea has become a part of North Country legend. The Adirondack Life article was written by David Starbuck, who lives in Chestertown. Starbuck teaches anthropology at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire and led the scientific team that is working to reconstruct details of McCrea's life. He told Brian Mann that Jane McCrea's story is tangled up in his own family's history.  Go to full article
Comptroller Alan Hevesi a "poster child for what not to do"
Comptroller Alan Hevesi a "poster child for what not to do"

Scandals taint NY election season

The New York Times is reporting this morning that governor-elect Eliot Spitzer will push for the ouster of fellow Democrat Alan Hevesi. Hevesi, the state's comptroller, was forced to repay tens of thousands of dollars following the revelation that he used a state employee to chauffeur his wife. Fall-out also continues from the controversial leak of state police documents that described a domestic incident involving Republican congressman John Sweeney. The union representing New York state police says an investigator is being wrongly demoted because he's being blamed for leaking a trooper's report about a the incident. The story broke in the press just days before the November seventh election, which Sweeney lost to Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. Brian Mann spoke about the ugly political climate with Fred LeBrun, veteran columnist with the Albany Times-Union.  Go to full article
Congressman John Sweeney
Congressman John Sweeney

Domestic violence charge rocks Sweeney race

The 20th congressional district race was rocked yesterday when two newspapers published reports of a domestic incident in December involving Republican incumbent John Sweeney and his wife Gaia, who goes by the name Gayle. The Albany Times-Union and the New York Daily News reported that Sweeney allegedly grabbed his wife by the neck. The development comes with just a week left in the campaign, as Sweeney faces the toughest re-election fight of his career against Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. Brian Mann has the story.  Go to full article

NY Times finds abuses in North Country courts

A report published this morning in the New York Times alleges widespread incompetence and abuse of power in New York's system of town and village courts. The article, based on a year-long investigation by the Times, focuses on six local courts in the North Country. Brian Mann has details.  Go to full article

"Primetime" Story Prompts Ethics Debate

Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne says it's too late to file criminal charges against a Vermontville man videotaped while hitting and slapping his 15-year-old daughter. But Champagne says state and local officials are reviewing whether three children still living in the home of Joe and Lynn Nelson are receiving proper care. Last Friday, the ABC news magazine "Primetime" broadcast footage of the Nelson home that included scenes of physical and emotional violence. The footage aired as part of a documentary on stepfamilies struggling with children from separate marriages. The broadcast prompted a public outcry. As Brian Mann reports, it has also triggered a new debate over the ethics of journalism.

A warning: Some of the sounds in this story are violent and disturbing.  Go to full article

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