Originally created 10/10/01

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Woman on trial in molestations

An Augusta woman accused of having sex with three under-age boys is standing trial this week on charges of child molestation.

Janice E. Allen, 45, has pleaded innocent in Richmond County Superior Court. Her trial began Tuesday.

The three boys, then ages 12, 13 and 13, told investigators they paid Ms. Allen $5 for each act in an abandoned house on Sherman Street in early 2000. Although the boys reported they wanted to have sexual relations, the age of consent in Georgia is 16.

Ms. Allen was indicted on three counts of child molestation and three counts of enticing a child for indecent purposes.

Authorities investigate fireAuthorities are investigating a fire that was set Tuesday at the Providence Place apartments on Southgate Drive.

Kinika Conley of Augusta arrived at her home in the apartment complex to find two fires burning in her kitchen, said Lt. G.B. Hannan, a fire investigator for the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department.

One fire involved a burning jacket on the kitchen stove, Lt. Hannan said. The other had started from an iron lying face down on an ironing board, he said.

The small blazes were contained in the kitchen and did not spread to other units, Lt. Hannan said.

He added that investigators have a suspect but are withholding his name pending an investigation.

Self-storage units broken into, looted

Police are investigating a series of thefts at a storage facility in south Augusta.

The thefts occurred between Friday afternoon and Monday morning at the One Stop Self Storage on Deans Bridge Road, according to a report at the Richmond County Sheriff's Office. The locks were cut on 17 units.

Another incident report stated that about $9,000 worth of items was stolen from a storage unit rented by Letricies Deneko Schley, 24, of Augusta. Ms. Schley told deputies that a television, a pair of shoes and several boxes of designer clothes had been taken.

The reports did not state whether anything was missing from the other units.

Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call the sheriff's office at 821-1080.

County forecloses on care-home's owners

AIKEN - The owners of a personal care home charged last year with secretly housing elderly women in a rundown shack could lose their residence after Aiken County filed Tuesday to foreclose on the property.

The county is seeking to foreclose on the 1037 Brookhaven Drive home of Clifford and Alice Ranson. The county says the couple is behind more than $44,000 in loan repayments on the eight acres of land they bought with a 1989 loan of $102,600 from Regions Bank. Court documents state the couple has been behind on payments since May 3.

Criminal charges of elderly neglect are pending against the couple for housing the women, mostly Alzheimer's patients, in a filthy shack down a dirt path from the personal care home. The Ransons gave up their license to run an elderly care home in March in exchange for the state reducing fines levied against them. The remaining $5,000 fine was supposed to be paid from the sale of property owned by the Ransons.

Juror disqualified from molestation case

AIKEN - A female juror was disqualified Tuesday from the trial of an Aiken man who is accused of molesting an 11-year-old girl for two years.

The juror told Circuit Judge James Williams she overheard a conversation in the elevator in the Aiken County Courthouse about the case against Larry Lorenzen. An alternate juror has since stepped in. Mr. Lorenzen is charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct on a minor and one count of lewd act upon a child.

At his trial Tuesday, three medical experts testified to the physical and emotional trauma the victim, who is from Aiken, suffered because of the alleged sexual abuse.

The trial is expected to continue today. Mr. Lorenzen said Tuesday he would not testify in the case.

Teen's trial date set in restaurant shooting

AIKEN - An Oct. 29 trial date has been set for the teen accused of killing two people at a Barnwell drive-in restaurant.

Jury selection will begin Oct. 30 in the Barnwell County Courthouse in the case against Wallace Priester, charged with shooting two teens in the head and severely injuring another at the Sonic Drive-In in October 2000. He was 15 at the time.

The killings occurred during a robbery at the restaurant, police said. Earlier this year, a Family Court judge ruled Mr. Priester can be tried as an adult.

The defendant could face life in prison because he is too young to be considered for the death penalty.

A second suspect, Alfred Tyrone Walker, 18, who lived with the Priester family, could face the death penalty if convicted. Second Circuit Solicitor Barbara R. Morgan said Mr. Walker is expected to be tried sometime after Mr. Priester, perhaps by the first of next year.

School materials open for inspection

AIKEN - The public is invited to review textbooks and instructional materials that have been proposed for use in South Carolina's public schools.

New textbooks and materials for 35 subjects will be on display starting today in the Curriculum Lab, Room 238, at The University of South Carolina Aiken. The display will last through Nov. 9.

The state Board of Education will try to adopt the new textbooks and materials Dec. 12.

Evaluation forms for public comments will be available at the display site. The state board will review those comments before a final decision is made on adopting the materials.

Mayor to attend security conference

Augusta Mayor Bob Young will travel to Washington, D.C., later this month for a security summit called by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Among those attending will be mayors, police and fire officials and national experts in domestic preparedness.

They will draft recommendations for the structure of the new Office of Homeland Security and discuss local emergency management preparedness, airport security, public health and related economic issues.

The summit is scheduled for Oct. 23-25.



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