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Pennsylvania doctor accused in OxyContin ring

By wire services
Published December 23, 2005


CORAOPOLIS, Pa. - An emergency room doctor was the central figure in a large OxyContin ring, writing hundreds of fraudulent prescriptions and charging up to $2,000 for each one, authorities said Thursday.

Seven others - including two prison guards and two former county employees - were also charged in the case, state Attorney General Tom Corbett said.

Authorities were tipped to the ring after nurses at Aliquippa Community Hospital got suspicious when patients would come to the emergency room asking for treatment, but would leave if Dr. Alan Egleston wasn't working, the indictment says.

Egleston, 59, no longer works at the hospital. He did not comment as he was taken to the Beaver County Jail on Thursday.

OxyContin is a painkiller that can be highly addictive.

Judge rules putting kids in cages was abusive

NORWALK, Ohio - A couple who adopted 11 children with health and behavioral problems abused some of the youngsters by making them sleep in wooden cages without pillows or mattresses, a judge ruled Thursday.

The children will remain in foster care until Juvenile Judge Timothy Cardwell holds a hearing on who should get custody.

Their adoptive parents, Michael and Sharen Gravelle, have not been charged with a crime and denied abusing the youngsters. They said they built the cages in 2003 to protect the children from each other and themselves.

Prosecutor Russell Leffler said his office was pleased with the ruling. His investigation continues and he said he's unsure whether criminal charges will be filed.

Institute created to study hurricane recovery

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - A think tank has announced plans to create an institute to help the hurricane-devastated Gulf Coast by finding long-term solutions to issues such as flood control, housing, education and emergency response.

Seven universities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama are teaming with the California-based nonprofit RAND Corp. to conduct studies through the Gulf States Policy Institute.

FDA proposes lower lead limits in kids' candies

WASHINGTON - The FDA proposed Thursday a stricter recommended limit on the amount of lead, a highly toxic metal, allowable in certain Mexican-style children's candies, including spicy lollipops sold in many Hispanic neighborhoods.

The Food and Drug Administration now recommends that candies likely to be eaten by small children not contain more than one-tenth of a part per million lead, an 80 percent reduction from the previous, decade-old recommended level. The amount of lead represented by the new level does not pose a significant risk to small children, the agency said.

Most domestic and imported candies already meet the stricter lead threshold. However, the FDA moved to lower the limit after a sampling of candies imported from Mexico and after information from other sources revealed additional ingredients used in some sweets can boost the lead content beyond allowable levels.

Jury finds Taser not liable in first case to go to trial

PHOENIX - An Arizona jury rejected claims Thursday that Taser International Inc. failed to adequately warn users of its stun guns' potential dangers.

The lawsuit, brought by an injured sheriff's deputy, was the first to go to trial among some three dozen personal injury, wrongful death or excessive use of force lawsuits that have been filed against Scottsdale-based Taser. A handful of other cases have been dismissed.

Texas judge rules pope protected from lawsuit

VATICAN CITY - A U.S. judge in Texas dismissed Pope Benedict XVI from a lawsuit accusing him of conspiracy to cover up sexual abuse by a seminarian, ruling Thursday that he has immunity as a head of state.

Joseph Ratzinger - Benedict's former name - is named as a defendant in the lawsuit, accused of conspiring with the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and some of its officials to cover up the abuse of three boys during the mid 1990s.

Maryland teacher accused of making bomb threats

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - A former middle school teacher was charged Thursday with stalking students by leaving threatening notes, including one that read, "Tick-tock, tick-tock, is it a bomb or is it a clock?"

Michelle Dohm, 40, denied the allegations through her attorney, Thomas Morrow. He said Dohm believes she was framed.

Dohm was fired from her teaching job in November, State Attorney Scott Rolle said.

She is charged with nine felony counts of threatening to explode a destructive device and two misdemeanor counts of stalking.