The state's highest court has overturned the conviction of a former police officer who was found guilty of raping a woman who was too drunk to drive home. The Supreme Judicial Court also upheld the reversal of the rape conviction of a former Harvard dental student. In both rulings yesterday, the court cited faulty jury instructions given by trial judges on when someone is too intoxicated to consent to sex. Former Methuen police officer David Blache was convicted of raping a 26-year-old woman in the back of his police cruiser in August 2000, after her boyfriend called police to report she was drunk and abusive. Blache was on duty at the time. Martin Urban was convicted of raping a fellow Harvard dental student in 2001 after a night of drinking with friends. The SJC agreed with the state Appeals Court in overturning his conviction. (AP)
New England in brief
Teenager is seriously wounded in shootingA man in his late teens was seriously injured in a shooting last night in Cambridge, police said. Police who responded at about 9:50 p.m. to a report of gunshots being fired found the victim at a home on Windsor Street. He had suffered a single gunshot wound to the chest. Sergeant James DeFrancesco, a police spokesman, said the wound was probably life-threatening. He did not release the identity of the victim, who was taken to a Boston hospital. There were no arrests last night.
DSS finds that 16-year-old was abusedThe Department of Social Services yesterday released a report finding that a 16-year-old special needs student at the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center was physically abused by a staff member, resulting in first-degree burns. The injuries from 29 wrongful electrical skin shocks came at a Stoughton group home run by the Rotenberg school, which is authorized by the state to use this type of punishment in its behavioral-modification program. The report found that seven other staff neglected to protect the teenager or obtain proper medical attention for him. Last Aug. 26, the staff gave wrongful shocks to two teenagers based on a hoax phone call from a former student posing as a supervisor. The case involving the second teenager, who was 19 years old and received 77 shocks, was investigated by a separate state agency that investigates abuse against residential special needs students who are adults. Both agencies have referred the matter to prosecutors.
Legislator asks ban of old-style light bulbsA Democratic legislator from Portland wants Maine to become the first state to ban most uses of ordinary incandescent light bulbs. Senator Ethan Strimling has introduced a bill that would ban the bulbs by 2010. It would also establish a 25-cent deposit and collection system for the more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs that are gradually replacing the incandescent version. Congress has already adopted efficiency standards that will effectively phase out the older bulbs starting in 2012. But Strimling says that's too late, because those standards won't be phased in completely until 2020. (AP)
Salve Regina president to step downThe president of Salve Regina University in Newport is stepping down when her contract ends after the 2009 school year. Sister M. Therese Antone has served as university president since 1994. In a written statement, Antone said that on June 30, 2009, she will relinquish her day-to-day management responsibilities and become the university's first chancellor, focusing on planning and development. Salve Regina board chairman Joseph DiStefano said Antone will help select her successor. (AP)
Hospital on probation over patient careState regulators say Hartford Hospital is on probation over concerns on patient care, including four cases in which patients died. Health inspectors say there are many violations at the 800-bed hospital and changes are needed before the facility will be off probation. Problems were outlined in an 86-page report. The deaths included a baby who died during labor and a man with a bad reaction to medication. (AP)
Lost snowmobilers turn up safeThe Maine Warden Service says five snowmobilers from New York state who were reported missing while en route from a Greenville bar to a hotel in Bingham have been located following a search. (AP)
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