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AROUND THE STATE

'Monica Lewinsky' epithet ruled grounds for lawsuit

NEW PALTZ (AP) -- A federal judge has decided that a woman can sue her professor for calling her "Monica Lewinsky."

Inbal Hayut sued New Paltz State College and Alex Young, a professor who she claims created a "sexually hostile environment" by repeatedly calling her by the name of the former White House intern.

"Young observed that (Hayut) wore the same color lipstick as Monica Lewinsky and made comments such as, 'How was your weekend with Bill?' and 'Shut up, Monica. I'll give you a cigar later.' All these comments were made in front of the entire class," U.S. District Judge David Hurd wrote in his decision that allowed the suit to proceed.

Hayut said the professor -- who taught two of her classes in 1998 -- ignored her pleas to stop the name-calling and that the school refused to take any action.

As a result, she said, she was "overcome with shame and humiliation" and "unable to concentrate." Her grades deteriorated, and she left the school in the spring.

State Police offers to aid probe of prostitute slaying

UTICA (AP) -- The State Police has offered to assist local authorities probing the murder of a 16-year-old prostitute after criticism from the mayor that the investigation had "stagnated."

Utica Mayor Tim Julian this week delivered an ultimatum to city police.

They have yet to find the killer of Desiree Case, who was found stabbed to death in an abandoned building last Feb. 26.

Julian said if they could not crack the case in three months, he would invite the State Police to take over the investigation. He also changed lead investigators in the case.

A State Police commander called Police Chief Benny Rotundo on Wednesday to offer assistance, said Trooper James Simpson, a State Police spokesman.

The agency will provide any help Utica police request, including investigative help, Simpson said.

Carey, ex-Teamsters chief, pleads innocent to perjury

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ousted Teamsters President Ron Carey pleaded innocent Thursday to charges that he lied during an investigation into how $885,000 in union funds was diverted to his 1996 re-election campaign.

Carey made a brief appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry Pitman in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. He was released without bail after agreeing to surrender his passport and all other travel documents. No trial date was set.

The once-powerful Teamsters leader was charged in a seven-count indictment with perjuring himself before a grand jury.

Carey's 1996 win over James P. Hoffa for control of the 1.4 million-member Teamsters union was overturned after investigators alleged his campaign improperly had benefited from donations the union made to third-party political organizations.

Prosecutors said the money was paid to four organizations with the understanding that they would contribute the money back to Carey's re-election campaign.

Carey subsequently was expelled from the union. Reid Weingarten, his attorney, said Carey would contest the charges until he is vindicated.

Woman sues, seeking right to wear skirt on the job

MONTICELLO (AP) -- A bus driver says her employer is skirting the Constitution by demanding she wear trousers to work.

Grace Zalewska was born in Poland and raised by a mother and grandmother who believed that women should wear skirts.

When she went to work for the Sullivan County transportation service five years ago, she saw no reason to change her manner of dress.

After the county set a uniform policy, Zalewska went to work with the uniform shirt and a skirt.

She was suspended from the part-time job.

Now she is suing the county, claiming her constitutional rights to free speech and equal protection have been violated.

"I'm a woman. I don't have to wear pants," Zalewska said. She filed the lawsuit, she said, "to fight for my right."

Zalewska still works for the county but in another job.

Sullivan County Attorney Ira Cohen said the county stands by its policy.

"We feel this policy made sense for public safety reasons," he said. In her van-driving job, Zalewska was required to operate handicapped lifts and handle wheelchairs, among other duties.

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