November 28, 2012

Nation Dispatches

NEW YORK

Third man makes claims against ex-Elmo puppeteer

A Florida man on Tuesday sued a former Elmo puppeteer who resigned amid sex abuse allegations, saying the voice actor met him in New York a dozen years ago after trolling gay telephone chat lines seeking underage boys for sex.

The lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by a man who remains anonymous, making him the third person to make claims against Kevin Clash, who resigned from “Sesame Street” last week after 28 years.

Clash had quickly denied the first claim, which was recanted the next day. But Clash then resigned after a 24-year-old college student, Cecil Singleton, sued him for $5 million, saying the actor engaged in sexual behavior with him when he was 15.

According to the latest lawsuit, a 29-year-old man said he met Clash on a chat line when he was 16 and was exploring modeling opportunities in New York. It said the youth, then in high school, specifically stated on the chat line that his intentions were nonsexual.

Still, the lawsuit said, Clash pursued, posing as a 30-year-old man whose name was Craig even though he was a decade older.

NEW YORK

Four gays accuse nonprofit of false ‘conversion therapy’

Four gay men accused a New Jersey organization of fraud Tuesday for selling “conversion therapy” with false promises to make them straight.

They said during a Manhattan news conference that they were subjected to humiliations that included stripping naked and taking a baseball bat to effigies of their mothers.

The four attended sessions at the Jersey City, N.J.-based Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing, or JONAH. The nonprofit advertises in Jewish publications and claims to rid men of same-sex attractions.

Three of the men are Jewish. The fourth is a Mormon.

The men say in a lawsuit that the methods do not work and should not be marketed under New Jersey’s consumer protection laws.

DES MOINES, Iowa

Powerball jackpot follows plan to raise state revenue

The historic Powerball jackpot boosted to $500 million on Tuesday was all part of a plan lottery officials put in place early this year to build jackpots faster, drive sales and generate more money for states that run the game.

Their plan appears to be working.

Powerball tickets doubled in price in January to $2, and while the number of tickets sold initially dropped, sales revenue has increased by about 35 percent over 2011.

Sales for Powerball reached a record $3.96 billion in fiscal 2012 and are expected to reach $5 billion this year, said Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Des Moines, Iowa-based Multi-State Lottery Association.

There has been no Powerball winner since Oct. 6, and the jackpot already has reached a record level. It was first posted at $425 million but revised upward to $500 million when brisk sales increased the payout. It’s the second highest jackpot in lottery history, behind only the $656 million Mega Millions in March.

– From news service reports

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