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Briefs

120 years for ’09 attack on DeKalb woman

– A northeast Indiana man found guilty of criminal deviate conduct, kidnapping and criminal confinement in an attack on a woman in her rural DeKalb County home has been sentenced to 120 years in prison.

The Auburn Star reports that 34-year-old Michael Stafford of Hudson was sentenced Friday after being found guilty March 6 of those charges as well as burglary and robbery while armed with a deadly weapon.

The jury heard testimony that Stafford forced his way into the woman’s home, armed with a knife, in July 2009 and bound her with duct tape and sexually assaulted her in front of her 2-year-old daughter.

Ligonier festival planner admits theft

The former top organizer of a northern Indiana town’s annual marshmallow festival has pleaded guilty to stealing from the event and her former employer.

The News-Sun in Albion reports that prosecutors say Tamara Deel took about $15,000 from the Ligonier Marshmallow Festival Committee and more than $100,000 from her former employer, G&S Products Inc. She allegedly used the money to buy appliances, Longaberger baskets and liquor.

Deel, 43, is the former chairwoman of the Ligonier Marshmallow Festival Committee. If a judge accepts her plea agreement, Reel could be sentenced to one year in prison and five years of probation. She would also have to make restitution totaling $116,000.

Judge orders Gary to lease to charter

A northwestern Indiana judge has ordered Gary’s school district to lease a shuttered school building to a charter school.

Lake Superior Court Judge John Sedia’s order Wednesday ends nearly a year of legal wrangling in federal and county courtrooms. He ordered the Gary Community School Corp. to “immediately” lease the Ernie Pyle Elementary School building to LEAD College Preparatory Charter for $1, as is specified under Indiana law.

The Post-Tribune reports that it’s unclear whether LEAD will ever occupy the building because its charter was not renewed by Ball State University. The charter school has appealed the university’s decision.

Fishers man accused of bilking church

Federal prosecutors say a Fishers man scammed an Indianapolis church out of more than $300,000 by promising to help it get money to rebuild after a fire.

U.S. Attorney Joe Hogsett said Friday that 67-year-old Hrond Arman Gasparian has been indicted on wire fraud charges.

Gasparian allegedly claimed to be a broker for a fund that could issue Bells Chapel Church a $3 million grant to rebuild, and requested a $365,000 commitment. Instead, he allegedly used the money for himself. The church never received a grant or got back its earnest money.

Day care probed for breast milk mix-up

An Indiana agency is investigating whether a West Lafayette church day care mistakenly fed a mother’s breast milk intended for one of her 11-month-old twins to another baby.

The twins’ mom, Cindy Harris, filed a complaint with the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, which is investigating, spokeswoman Marni Lemons said.

Harris told WRTV-TV in Indianapolis that she was contacted by Dayspring Daycare and Preschool Ministry saying that March 8, her breast milk was fed to another child.

Jeff Johns, president of Dayspring Daycare, issued a statement saying the milk had been improperly labeled. He said the day care is updating its procedures and training for workers.

Courthouse, library in Lebanon defaced

Authorities in central Indiana’s Boone County say vandals spray-painted the county courthouse and a public library with black paint.

Lebanon police Capt. Maurice Hobson told the Indianapolis Star that vandals spray-painted several businesses and government buildings in Lebanon last weekend.

He says black paint was sprayed on two sides of the county courthouse and one side of the Lebanon Public Library. Statues outside the library and a few businesses in the city about 25 miles northwest of Indianapolis were also vandalized.

Hobson says all of the acts of vandalism occurred late last Friday and early Saturday. He says police have some leads suggesting the same individuals committed all the acts.

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