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Bishop, priests meet on scandal aftermath

WEST ISLIP -- The leader of Long Island's 1.5 million Roman Catholics met with 190 priests yesterday to address what some had said was a lack of confidence in his leadership over a sex abuse scandal. Bishop William Murphy, who joined the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 2001, agreed to meet with the priests after a group of them wrote to him last month citing "a general malaise" and anger in the diocese following the scandal. A grand jury issued a report last year alleging that the diocese repeatedly protected priests accused of sexual abuse by transferring them to other parishes. No indictments were handed down because the statutes of limitations had expired. Some have called for Murphy's resignation over the scandal, a notion he has repeatedly rejected. "This has been a good day for all of us," Murphy said after yesterday's meeting, which he described as "an open discussion that I found to be very helpful." The Rev. Peter Pflomm, one of a group of priests who requested the meeting, said he left the session feeling hopeful. Nearly half of the priests in the diocese attended. (AP)

Georgia

Exorcism suspected in death of 6-year-old

ATLANTA -- A 6-year-old girl was found dead in a motel room with a broken back yesterday after what police said may have been an exorcism. Two adults were arrested after they and two children, ages 2 and 7, were spotted on the street naked in the freezing cold. The adults, who had been staying in the motel room, were charged with cruelty to children, public indecency, and obstruction of police and were taken to a psychiatric ward. Police said the girl had been brutalized and also suffered other broken bones. (AP)

Pennsylvania

New system to protect creek at Wright house

MILL RUN -- Four years after the state complained about pollution, Frank Lloyd Wright's landmark house Fallingwater has a $3 million sewage system to protect the creek that flows under the building and gives it its name. The system handles waste from the 140,000 people who visit the architectural landmark each year in the woods outside Pittsburgh. The state Department of Environmental Protection had filed a complaint about sewage discharged into Bear Run from the house's old system, which used a combination of septic tanks and composting toilets. The house, dramatically cantilevered out over Bear Run, has gone through an $11 million, five-year renovation to keep it from collapsing into the stream. (AP)

Washington, D.C.

More cattle located from mad cow herd

The government has located 23 of the 81 head of Canadian cattle that included the Holstein discovered in the United States with mad cow disease, the Agriculture Department said yesterday. Four animals were recently located in Washington state, three at a facility in Tenino and one in Connell. (AP)

New Jersey

500 mourners recall cheerleader who fell

RANDOLPH -- More than 500 mourners gathered yesterday for the funeral of a high school cheerleader who fell from a ninth-floor hotel balcony in Hawaii over a week ago. The casket of Lauren Crossan, 18, was taken out of Resurrection Parish Roman Catholic church in a procession led by two dozen girls carrying candles. Crossan, who had been selected to perform in a college football all-star game, plunged naked to her death from a room registered to two men she met at a Maui hotel shortly after she arrived Jan. 11. Police have classified the death as an accident, but they are continuing to investigate. (AP)

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