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Albion man ejected from meeting is charged

ALBION -- An Albion man faces a charge of disorderly conduct after he allegedly became belligerent at a Town Board meeting Tuesday evening, Orleans County sheriff's officials said.

The argument broke out during the meeting in Albion Town Hall on Clarendon Road. James F. Babcock, 49, continually interrupted the meeting, deputies said. When Supervisor Judith A. Koehler asked him to leave several times, he did not, deputies said. Babcock is scheduled to appear in court at a future date.


New abuse suit ahead for school district

NORTH TONAWANDA -- The school district will face another lawsuit from a former student of ex-teacher and sex offender Jason A. Lorich.

State Supreme Court Justice Ralph A. Boniello III granted permission Wednesday for an 18-year-old woman to file a notice of claim, a mandatory preliminary to a lawsuit against a school district, even though the normal deadline has long since passed.

Attorney Christopher J. O'Brien is representing the woman, who now lives in Kenmore. In an affidavit the woman signed on her 18th birthday in November, she says she was repeatedly abused by Lorich when she was in his fourth-grade class at Meadow Elementary School from September 2000 to January 2001.

The district's insurance company has paid settlements to seven women who said they were abused by Lorich. An eighth woman, now 19, filed suit in November after being granted permission to file a late notice of claim. O'Brien's client would be the ninth plaintiff. Lorich was paroled in February 2010 after serving a 10-year prison sentence for six counts of first-degree sexual abuse.


Man gets prison term for illegal handgun

LOCKPORT -- Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III didn't buy a North Tonawanda man's story about how he came to have an illegal handgun last year and sentenced him to one to three years in prison Wednesday.

James R. Burns, 48, of Sixth Avenue, pleaded guilty in October to a reduced charge of attempted third-degree criminal possession of a weapon. The .22-caliber pistol, for which Burns lacked a permit, was found in his car when police stopped him on a drunken driving charge June 6.

Burns said Wednesday the gun had been in his house for more than 20 years and he had forgotten about it. He said he drove to a friend's house to give it to him, but the friend wasn't home and Burns was heading home when he was stopped.

"I don't find your explanation about possession of the weapon credible," Murphy said. He added that Burns' previous criminal record was another reason for imprisoning him.


Man dressed in black grabs woman's purse

NIAGARA FALLS -- A man dressed in black grabbed a woman's purse as she unloaded groceries, police said Tuesday.

A woman in the 200 block of 83rd Street told police that she had just returned from grocery shopping at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday and placed her purse and grocery bags on the floor inside the door. When she went to retrieve more bags, she saw a man dressed in black, wearing a black, knit hat, run off with her purse, which contained credit and Social Security cards and two checkbooks.

Police said there was a similar incident reported two weeks ago.


Suspect in police chase is back on the streets

NIAGARA FALLS -- A man arrested at gunpoint after running from police Tuesday night was mistakenly let out of the city jail a few hours later, police said.

Paul D. Fields, 25, of Eighth Street, and Fajri J. Hilson, 26, of Falls Street, were charged at 9:30 p.m. after police observed a 2000 Mercury Marquis driving at high rate of speed in the 1900 block of Ferry Avenue. Police said the car was stopped in the 400 block of 22nd Street and Fields, the driver, was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle, a violation for tinted windows, unreasonable speed and failure to signal.

Hilson, however, ran from the scene and was arrested in the 400 block of 19th Street. He was charged with obstructing governmental administration and a warrant for criminal trespassing.

Police said when the two were placed in jail cells, their names were mixed up on the prison roster, and when Fields was bailed out, police let out Hilson, who took Fields' cell phone and clothing, signed his name illegibly and left. Police said after they became aware of the mistake, they contacted Hilson, who promised to return. However, he didn't and faces additional charges of criminal impersonation and petit larceny, police added.


Guilty plea entered in machete encounter

LOCKPORT -- A Lewiston man pleaded guilty Tuesday in Niagara County Court to having a machete when he confronted another man Sept. 13 in Niagara Falls.

Robert L. Billings, 61, of Walmore Road, admitted to attempted third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and was scheduled for sentencing March 15 by Judge Matthew J. Murphy III.

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