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DCF pays father $200,000 over son's beating death

Compiled from Times wires
Published May 2, 2003

WEST PALM BEACH - The state child welfare agency paid $200,000 to a father whose 2-year-old son was fatally beaten three years ago despite repeated warnings to the agency that he was being abused while in his mother's custody.

Joshua Saccone's slaying led to a grand jury investigation and the firing of six Department of Children and Families employees.

The boy's mother, Marguerite Saccone, was convicted of child neglect in September and sentenced to three years in prison. She is free during her appeal.

Saccone left Joshua Jaleel Saccone with her boyfriend, Lincent "Junior" Chin, in August 2000. She took the boy to the hospital after finding him on a sofa with injuries that proved fatal. His skull was cracked, probably by being slammed against a wall, according to investigators.

Chin is believed to be in Jamaica and hasn't been charged.

The settlement paid to Joshua's father, Frank Saccone, was the maximum allowed in Florida, said Howard Talenfeld, a child advocate and lawyer. At least four abuse reports were called in about Joshua to DCF within six months. DCF investigators in Palm Beach and Broward counties botched the investigation, a grand jury investigation concluded.

Jacksonville mayor finalist for UNF job

JACKSONVILLE - Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney is one of three finalists to become the University of North Florida's next president.

The others are Steven Poskanzer, interim president of the State University of New York at New Paltz, and Gary Krahenbuhl, senior vice president and deputy provost at Arizona State.

University trustees will make the final decision, based on a second round of interviews, in the coming weeks. Anne Hopkins resigned as UNF president last year for health reasons.

Delaney, who is finishing his second term as Jacksonville mayor, must leave office June 30 because of term limits. He is a close friend of Gov. Jeb Bush.

Politicians have been chosen to lead two other Florida public universities in recent months: Florida Atlantic University hired then-Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan, and Florida State University hired former Florida House Speaker T.K. Wetherell.

Principal removed after women complain

LAKELAND - Lakeland High School principal Tom Ray was removed from his job Thursday and assigned to administrative duty in Bartow until further notice.

The move by superintendent Jim Thornhill followed allegations that Ray's behavior offended women at the school.

The school has been torn since March 8, when Craig McKee, a French teacher, wrote a letter to Thornhill accusing Ray of offending female teachers and students.

Last month, four women teachers who were interviewed by school investigators told the Ledger they were offended by Ray's behavior, which included inappropriate remarks, staring at their breasts and unwelcome hugging.

Ray, 50, has worked for the Polk County school system for 23 years.

- Wire and Ledger reports

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