PHILADELPHIA — Authorities in Montgomery County have reopened a 2007 sexual abuse complaint against a priest who taught at a suburban Philadelphia high school and is now the Catholic bishop of West Virginia. The complaint stems from Bishop Michael Bransfield’s days at Lansdale Catholic High School in the 1970s. The Philadelphia Archdiocese said it did not find the complaint credible at the time. Bransfield denies ever abusing anyone.
Judge closes jail as ‘debtors prison’
COLUMBIANA — A judge has temporarily shut down what he called a debtors prison run by a municipal court. In Shelby County Circuit Court, Judge Hub Harrington said that the Harpersville Municipal Court was running a ‘‘judicially sanctioned extortion racket.’’ The court repeatedly violated the constitutional rights of defendants that appeared before it, he ruled. The judge found that if defendants were unable to immediately pay court-imposed fines and fees, they were trapped into paying several times the amount when their cases were turned over to a private probation company.
Lawn chairs’ flight aborted in storm
BEND — An Oregon gas station owner and an Iraqi adventurer trying to fly from Oregon to Montana in tandem lawn chairs suspended from party balloons are back on land after having to abort their flight in a thunderstorm. Kent Couch and Fareed Lafta were seven hours into their flight when they were forced to land 30 miles east of their starting point. They lifted off Saturday morning at Couch’s gas station.