State & Region Briefs

Thursday, February 01, 2018
Man pleads guilty to stealing disabled man’s identity

WORCESTER — A man has pleaded guilty to stealing the identity of a disabled man and using his Medicare benefits for medical treatment.

Jose Agosto, 57, of Worcester, entered his plea Wednesday.

Prosecutors say Agosto lived with a relative of the victim. Court records show Agosto acknowledged he began using the victim’s identity in July 2000 in order to avoid a warrant for his arrest.

Agosto told the court he used the victim’s identity to obtain driver’s licenses and Social Security cards, open bank accounts and bill Medicare for $140,000.

He faces up to 20 years in prison and more than $250,000 in fines. As part of his plea agreement, Agosto is also expected to repay the government $11,000 in restitution.

Disability advocates allege abuse, neglect at kindergarten

BOSTON — An advocacy group says it has uncovered evidence of abuse and neglect at a public kindergarten that serves many children with disabilities.

The Boston-based Disability Law Center said Thursday that among other things, the Crowell Kindergarten Center in Haverhill overused restraints on at least one 5-year old student with disabilities and punished students for crying or acting up by keeping them in closets.

The Center said the school violated state and federal laws. It said it started investigating after receiving complaints about student treatment.

Crowell has about 150 students.

Haverhill Superintendent James Scully said in a statement that the district is reviewing the Center’s report, and several issues have already been addressed since the allegations surfaced last year.

Scully did not say whether any staff was disciplined.

Man pleads guilty to receiving child pornography

HOLYOKE — A Holyoke man who prosecutors say possessed a book titled, “How to Practice Child Love,” has pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says 75-year-old Edward Dupont, of Holyoke, entered his plea Tuesday in federal court.

Prosecutors say Dupont was arrested in August 2015 after federal agents seized a computer with 16,000 images and 35 videos of child pornography.

Dupont acknowledged he used the computer to download the images and access child pornography websites. He told prosecutors he did not have sexual contact with children.

The U.S. Attorney’s office says Dupont faces up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. His sentencing is scheduled for April 26.

Man who made food run after hitting pedestrian pleads guilty

SPRINGFIELD — A man police say made a Taco Bell run after striking and killing a pedestrian with his vehicle has been sentenced to up to six years in prison.

The Republican newspaper reports that 68-year-old Robert Loranger, of Springfield, was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to charges including motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence of alcohol.

Prosecutors say Loranger struck 51-year-old Harry Fernandez late in the morning on Sept. 9, 2016, drove from the scene, and went to a Taco Bell drive-thru.

Loranger originally told police he thought he hit a cardboard box. In court Wednesday, he told the judge he doesn’t remember striking anyone because he had been drinking.

His lawyer sought a lighter sentence, saying his client has health issues and alcohol abuse has ruined his life.

Pizza parlor workers foil masked robber

BARRE — Police say a former employee of a Barre pizza parlor went to the restaurant masked and brandishing a fake gun in an attempt to rob it, but was tackled by workers and customers and held until officers arrived.

Police say Sean Coulson went to Northeast Pizza in Barre on Tuesday, jumped over the counter and grabbed a bag of cash.

Surveillance video shows three people wrestling Coulson to the floor. When they ripped off his mask, they realized he used to work there.

Employee Trevor Kosla says at first he was frozen, but then realized his friend was in danger, so fought back.

Coulson faces several charges including armed robbery. He was held pending a dangerousness hearing on Monday.

Coulson told police he was just playing a joke.