Share this article

print logo

AROUND THE STATE

> CANANDAIGUA

Volunteer charged as sex predator

CANANDAIGUA (AP) -- A man who met young boys by volunteering at various fire departments and school sports programs has been charged with sexual abuse and is suspected of being a longtime predator, state police said Thursday.

Investigators have asked people and organizations with information about Leslie Hoke, 37, to contact them about potential victims going back as far as 20 years.

Trooper Mark O'Donnell said the Canandaigua man sexually abused preteen and teen boys he lured to his home and plied with marijuana and alcohol.

"He's been doing this for over a decade," O'Donnell said, adding that four northern Finger Lakes region victims dating back to 2000 have been identified so far and he expects there will be at least a dozen.

Hoke is charged with one felony count of first-degree criminal sex act. But troopers said other charges are expected involving victims in the Canandaigua, Geneva, and Waterloo area in Ontario County and the Prattsburg and Pultney area in Steuben County.

-----

> NEW YORK CITY

Coney Island gets new Italian rides

NEW YORK (AP) -- Coney Island is ready for Memorial Day weekend with new rides made in Italy.

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said Brooklyn's seaside amusement park will open with a skycoaster that hurls riders 100 feet up and swings them over the boardwalk.

There's also a new go-kart track.

Both are part of the Scream Zone inaugurated last year.

The mayor was joined at a news conference Thursday by Valerio Ferrari, president of Zamperla USA, the company building the new Coney Island amusements.

They're part of redevelopment that will eventually add restaurants, movie theaters, stores and hotels to a neighborhood that had fallen into seedy disrepair.

The new Scream Zone rides open to the public on Saturday morning, right next to the beach.

-----

> SYRACUSE

Ex-post office worker admits to funds theft

SYRACUSE (AP) -- A former U.S. Postal Service employee has admitted to stealing more than $20,000 from the agency while running a small-town post office in northern New York.

Federal prosecutors in Syracuse say Erin Woolschlager, 35, of Lowville, pleaded guilty Wednesday in U.S. District Court to a felony charge of misappropriation of postal funds. She faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine when sentenced Sept. 24.

Woolschlager was postmaster in Natural Bridge in Jefferson County when the thefts occurred.

Authorities said that beginning in December 2009, she cashed more than 100 Postal Service money orders totaling nearly $14,400, without purchasing or processing them. She also admitted stealing an additional $6,500 in postal funds.

Woolschlager used the funds to pay her bills and mortgage, and to make purchases.