Report of gunman at MIT a hoax; feds investigating

The FBI and U.S. Secret Service have confirmed that they are helping investigate a report of a gunman on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology campus last weekend that turned out to be a hoax.

The director of the Secret Service’s Boston field office said Monday the agency’s electronic crimes task force is involved because the tip is Internet related.

An FBI spokesman said the agency’s contribution could range from offering access to federal databases to “larger measures.”

The federal agencies are helping campus and Cambridge police.

An electronic message sent to Cambridge police Saturday morning indicated that a man dressed in body armor and carrying a rifle was in a main building on campus.

The tip was determined to be a hoax about three hours later.


Sex conviction overturned, man wants record erased

A Massachusetts man whose conviction was overturned in a day-care molestation case after he spent 21 years in prison is asking a court to wipe his record clean.

Bernard Baran was convicted in 1985 of molesting five children at the Pittsfield day-care center where he worked. Baran’s conviction came during a national hysteria over child-care sex abuse cases.

Baran insisted he was innocent and was released in 2006 after a judge ruled that his trial lawyer was incompetent. Prosecutors decided not to re-try him.

State Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office is opposing the move to erase his record, arguing in court documents that he didn’t receive a judgment in his favor against the state in his erroneous conviction cases. Baran reached a settlement with the state, but the state denied liability.


Governor, tribe could soon sew up new casino compact

Gov. Deval Patrick says he is close to finalizing a new casino compact with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe but plans to run it by federal officials before submitting it for final approval.

The governor is trying to avoid a repeat of last year’s event, when an agreement he signed with the tribe was approved by the Legislature, only to be rejected later by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Patrick told reporters on Tuesday he hoped to complete negotiations with the Mashpee by the end of this week or early next week.

The tribe has proposed a $500 million resort casino in Taunton.


Discount bus service to NYC idled for safety inspections

Federal regulators have ordered a discount bus service operating between Boston and New York City’s Chinatown to pull its entire fleet off the road for safety inspections.

Tuesday’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration comes after Massachusetts officials found serious problems with eight Fung Wah buses, including cracks in their frames.

The company had already agreed to take 21 buses off the road but the order removes all 28 from service for “thorough and detailed” inspections.

The order did not shut down the company and state officials said Fung Wah continues to operate after chartering other buses.

Fung Wah has a history of troubles, including a $31,000 fine for safety violations linked to a 2006 rollover that injured dozens of passengers.


Mistrial declared in case of daughter bitten by mother

A judge has declared a mistrial after jurors were unable to reach a verdict in the trial of a Vermont woman accused of biting her daughter during an argument.

Annie Croteau of Newport told jurors she bit her 15-year-old daughter, Sarah, on the arm in self-defense. She said her daughter grabbed her own arm so roughly she thought it would be broken.

But Sarah Croteau testified she was doing the dishes when her 57-year-old mother came up behind her, pinched her in the rear while grabbing a cellphone from her back pocket, and then bit her when she tried to defend herself.

The Caledonian-Record reports jurors in Orleans County were unable to reach a verdict last Friday


Proposal would legalize sale of raw milk from goats, cows

A state senator wants to make it legal to sell raw milk in Rhode Island.

Sen. Nicholas Kettle is calling for new health regulations that would permit the retail sale of raw milk from cows and goats. The product would have to carry a warning advising consumers about the health dangers of drinking unpasteurized milk.

Currently all cow milk sold in R.I. must be pasteurized to eliminate harmful bacteria. State law only allows the sale of raw goat milk to consumers with a doctor’s prescription.