January 24, 2013

Nation Dispatches

NORFOLK, Va.

Peter Robbins
click image to enlarge

Peter Robbins, right, the voice of Charlie Brown in “Peanuts,” appears in court on charges of stalking and threatening.

The Associated Press

Navy to conduct random blood-alcohol tests on sailors

The Navy said Wednesday it will conduct random blood-alcohol tests on its sailors in the United States starting next month, a sign of how concerned the service's leaders have become about the effects alcohol abuse is having on the force.

The tests are part of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus' 21st Century Sailor and Marine Initiative, an expansive program intended to improve the well-being of sailors and Marines after more than a decade at war.

The Marines announced it would carry out its own random alcohol tests last month. While alcohol has long played a part in the Navy's culture, Navy officials stressed they aren't trying to stop sailors from drinking altogether.

The Navy said any sailor whose blood-alcohol level is .04 or higher when reporting for duty won't be allowed to work. In all 50 states and the District of Columbia, a driver with a 0.08 percent blood-alcohol is considered drunk.

SAN DIEGO, Calif.

'Peanuts' voice accused of stalking, threats to girlfriend

The man who was the voice of Charlie Brown in several "Peanuts" television shows was charged Wednesday with stalking and threatening his former girlfriend and a plastic surgeon who gave her a breast enhancement he apparently didn't like. Peter Robbins pleaded not guilty Wednesday in San Diego Superior Court to two counts of stalking and 10 counts of making criminal threats.

Prosecutors said the 56-year-old voice actor best known for his portrayal of Charlie Brown on the TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas" repeatedly threatened his former girlfriend, calling her as many as 37 times in a 24-hour period on her cellphone and telling her he would kill her and her son if she did not give back his dog and car.

Prosecutors said he also threatened the plastic surgeon in the coastal city of Carlsbad, calling her office so many times she moved to a hotel temporarily .

LOS ANGELES

Fourth-grade teacher held in student sex abuse case

Los Angeles police say a fourth-grade teacher has been arrested and charged with sexual abuse of 19 students and one adult.

Police said in a statement that Robert Pimental, a teacher at George De La Torre Jr. Elementary in the Wilmington area, was arrested Wednesday. The 57-year-old left his position with the Los Angeles Unified School District at the onset of the investigation in March, after working for the district since 1974.

Police say the abuse occurred at school. Pimental's bail has been set at $12 million. His arraignment date hasn't been set.

-- From news service reports

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