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March 20, 2013

Midday briefing: 2nd sex assault report made at Pittsburgh psych clinic

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PITTSBURGH — Councilman facing drug charges

STROUDSBURG — Authorities say a northeastern Pennsylvania borough councilman faces charges after he was caught buying heroin.

The Monroe County district attorney's office says Stroudsburg Borough Council Vice President Neil Lawson Allen was arrested Sunday. Authorities say an officer went to Kay's Tavern and observed a suspected drug dealer entering Allen's vehicle and saw Allen put drugs in his pocket.

Detective Eric Kerchner says ten bags of heroin were recovered and Allen was taken into custody. Authorities say the councilman confessed and said he started using heroin six weeks ago because of back pain.

There was no answer Wednesday at a telephone listing for Allen. Council President Kim Diddio says she wants to speak with the solicitor before deciding whether to take action to suspend him.

Allegheny exec criticized for resignation letters

PITTSBURGH — Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is being criticized for demanding undated resignation letters from people who are appointed to various county boards.

Republican County Councilwoman Heather Heidelbaugh raised the issued at a meeting Tuesday night while discussing Joe Brimmeier's resignation from the county's Port Authority transit board. Brimmeier resigned last week hours before he was charged in a Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission scandal dating to Brimmeier's former tenure as CEO of that agency.

Fitzgerald, a Democrat, says the undated letters are a way of ensuring county appointees follow the policies of the elected officials who appoint them.

But Heidelbaugh says the letters, in effect, give Fitzgerald the power to fire the appointees which she says is illegal and also damages the supposed independence of such appointees.

University accidentally emails students' GPAs

PHILADELPHIA — Officials at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia are apologizing for accidentally disclosing the grade-point averages of hundreds of students.

The school's provost notified the campus of the error through an email on Tuesday.

Saint Joseph's spokeswoman Carolyn Steigleman says the mistake affected about 500 students in the Haub School of Business.

She says the upperclassmen had been sent an email March 6 to gauge their interest in an internship in Italy. A file containing students' names, email addresses and GPAs was inadvertently attached.

Steigleman says officials immediately apologized to the affected students. The provost sent a follow-up email to the larger school community this week.

Saint Joseph's is a private Catholic university serving nearly 9,000 students.

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