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In brief

BERWICK Shickshinny man spit on retired trooper

A man was convicted of spitting in the face of an 88-year-old retired state police trooper, then mooning him and punching him after the elderly man criticized the way he parked.

Edward Perillo, 55, of Shickshinny, was convicted Tuesday of harassment and disorderly conduct and ordered to pay a $600 fine for the attack on Curtis Kahl, a former commander of the state police barracks in Bloomsburg.

STROUDSBURG Pocono property suit closer to federal trial

A six-year-old private civil lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to sell homes in the Pocono Mountains at fraudulently inflated values could go to trial next spring.

A federal judge in October rejected for the second time Chase Manhattan Mortgage Corp.’s motion to dismiss it as a defendant.

Chase and branch manager William K. Spaner are accused of conspiring with developer Gene Percudani to fraudulently sell homes in excess of market value through inflated appraisals.

Nearly 100 homeowners allege Percudani, his construction and brokerage companies, Chase, and a former home appraiser violated racketeering and consumer laws.

HARRISBURG Rendell apologizes to Gov. Napolitano

Gov. Ed Rendell apologized Wednesday for his comments, picked up by an open microphone, that Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano is a good choice for Homeland Security secretary because she “has no family” and the job requires someone who has “no life.”

The remarks, which he made while standing at a lectern Tuesday at a meeting of the National Governors Association, were construed by some as sexist.

Rendell said Napolitano would be ideal for the Homeland Security post. “Because for that job, you have to have no life,” he said. “Janet has no family. Perfect. She can devote, literally, 19-20 hours a day to it.”

On Wednesday, the governor said he “didn’t mean it the wrong way” and called Napolitano “one of the best governors in the country.”

“If anybody out there was offended, I apologize,” he said.

PITTSBURGH Dementia patient dies on hospital roof

An 89-year-old dementia patient, wearing just a gown and slippers, wandered out onto the roof of a hospital and died in the freezing overnight temperatures, police said.

A UPMC Montefiore hospital worker found Rose Lee Diggs, who had last been seen Tuesday evening, unresponsive on the roof at about 9:15 a.m. Wednesday.

Diggs was last seen in her room by a nurse at about 5 p.m. Tuesday, and hospital officials called police less than an hour later to say they could not find her, Kraus said.

PHILADELPHIA Officials: Man recruits orphans as prostitutes

A wealthy Russian-born businessman from suburban Philadelphia is charged with traveling to orphanages in his native country to molest young girls and then hire them out as prostitutes.

Federal authorities say 38-year-old Andrew Mogilyansky, of Richboro, molested three girls from a St. Petersburg orphanage and then recruited them into an Internet-based child prostitution business he ran with several others. Investigators say the girls were 13 and 14.

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