New Tools to Address ‘Different Landscape’ of Child Sexual Abuse Debated at Capitol

HARTFORD – In Connecticut, it’s not necessarily a crime to be creepy. But when it comes to adults using the internet to entice children into sexualized behavior, a group of lawmakers thinks it should be.  Online sexual predators have become very adept at working around current abuse laws on the books, the lawmakers say, and two proposals to address the issue were aired Monday at a public hearing of the legislature’s Judiciary Committee.  “Having supervised sex-offender units for almost 20 years, many of these people know exactly what lines not to cross and we’ve left that line a little bit

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Fifty One Area Parishes Asked to Join Diocese of Norwich Abuse Settlement

The 51 individual parishes that make up the Diocese of Norwich are being asked to choose either to pay a yet-undetermined sum of money as part of the diocese’s bankruptcy settlement or risk responsibility for both legal fees and the cost of settling any future lawsuit brought against individual parishes.   A committee of three pastors in the Diocese of Norwich, in conjunction with legal counsel, is asking the individual parishes to join the court proceedings as a group, as a way of protecting themselves from potential future lawsuits. In order to do this, each parish will have to pay $5,000

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Courts Set Narrow Whistleblower Protections in Decision for Lamont

Does an employee have legal protection as a whistleblower if they report their suspicions of possible illegal activity before the feared bad act takes place?  In what is believed to be a precedent-setting case in Connecticut and a victory for Gov. Ned Lamont, a Hartford Superior Court judge this week said no. The ruling Tuesday by Judge Stuart D. Rosen dismissed the case of a state employee who sued the state to get his job back after being fired for what he calls his attempt to prevent illegal action by the former Commissioner of the state Department of Public Health

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Jury Selection Begins for Federal Corruption Case of Former Energy Executives

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Were the ratepayers in six Connecticut towns “victims” in a federal criminal case against a group of former utility executives accused of stealing public funds to pay for lavish annual trips to the Kentucky Derby and golf outings at a West Virginia resort?  That is a key question that will be argued at the upcoming trial of five former officials of a Norwich-based public utility cooperative indicted on charges of theft and conspiracy in the case, recently-filed documents in U.S. District Court in New Haven show.  The defendants were on the board of the Connecticut Municipal Electric Energy Cooperative (CMEEC),

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Federal Aid to Be Directed Toward Temporary Attorney Hires, Reducing Court Backlogs

When jury trials were halted across Connecticut to limit the spread of COVID-19, the result was a significant backlog of cases. Now with jury trials set to begin, Dan Barrett, legal director for the ACLU of Connecticut, estimates that this backlog could take four years to work through.  In an effort to address the issue, Gov. Ned Lamont aims to use some of Connecticut’s federal COVID-19 aid funding to reduce this backlog more quickly, directing $12 million to increasing staff and expanding community services. The plan allocates $7 million — split between fiscal year 2022 and 2023 — toward hiring

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Legislators and Healthcare Providers Debate COVID Liability

Nursing homes in Connecticut have been largely shielded from liability since April of last year, when Gov. Ned Lamont passed two executive orders protecting healthcare workers and facilities like hospitals and nursing homes from lawsuits for “actions or omissions” related to the COVID response made “in good faith.” Lamont ended that legal immunity on March 1.  Now legislators and healthcare providers are debating new legislation that would extend liability to nursing homes for a failure or negligence to comply with guidance from the Department of Public Health or National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The legislation, if signed into

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Federal Tax Case for Commuters a $400+ Million Question for Connecticut

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In 2018, 86,606 Connecticut residents paid $1.35 billion in New York state income taxes, according to the Empire Center. That was lost revenue for Connecticut – because the state credits residents for taxes paid out of state – but it also made sense. They commuted to New York, worked in New York, and were paid in New York.  In March 2020, that all changed.  With restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, thousands of workers who typically commuted across state lines were told to work from home.  As for their taxes? It’s now unclear which state has the

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Lengthy Backlog for Firearms Appeals as Hearings Stretch into 2022

According to a recently released state audit of the Office of Governmental Accountability, Connecticut residents can wait up to 18 months to receive an appeal hearing after a firearms permit has been revoked or denied. Despite holding more meetings to address a chronic backlog of cases, the Board of Firearms Permit Examiners – the state board that hears the appeals – has struggled for more than a decade to keep up with an increasing caseload. Currently, the board has a backlog of 631 cases, and is scheduling new hearings in January 2022 for people who had their licenses revoked. That

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Juvenile Justice in Connecticut Copes with COVID, Sees Drop in Cases

Despite the free time many children and teenagers have during COVID-19 shutdown, the number of juveniles arrested, held in detention and referred to a regional juvenile review board has dropped during the pandemic. “In a lot of places, they just haven’t gotten a lot of referrals,” said Erica Bromley, the juvenile justice liaison for Connecticut Youth Services Association. “It could be for a couple of reasons. I do know in a couple of communities, police are now doing their best to do mediation on spot rather than just arresting the child. Why isn’t that done all the time is a

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As Prices Spike Tong Fields Complaints for Price Gouging in Wake of Coronavirus

“We’re seeing it everywhere. It’s not just consumers going to their local store, but also hearing about it and seeing attempts to charge businesses, and in particular hospitals, more for things including masks and personal protective equipment. But, it’s really, really important that people understand that not every price increase is price gouging,” said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong, by phone on Wednesday. As of April 15, Tong’s office had received 520 complaints concerning 288 businesses in the state and has sent letters of inquiry to 215 of the businesses, including “several to Amazon and eBay retailers, and another 44

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Refunds, Closure, Coronavirus and the Law for Business and Consumers in Connecticut

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COVID-19, and state mandates to limit the viral spread, have caused widespread travel and event cancellations, supply chain interruptions, layoffs and business closures. Business-to-business agreements that require a specified level of production and delivery cannot be met without workers, drivers and staff.  For consumers, it’s often a question of whether refunds of purchases and deposits, sometimes made a year or more in advance of an event, will be returned.  The outcomes for businesses and consumers will depend in part on the language of the signed agreement between parties, said Richard Kay, the Wallace Stevens Professor of Law Emeritus, Oliver Ellsworth

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