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State Briefs

By The Associated Press • Apr 13, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Judge OKs new charge against former Michigan State dean

LANSING (AP) — A judge said Friday that prosecutors can pursue a second felony charge against a former medical school dean who had oversight of Larry Nassar at Michigan State University.

Judge Joyce Draganchuk approved the request to add a charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The judge also ordered MSU to release documents that William Strampel wants for his defense.

Strampel is accused of sexually harassing female students when he was dean of the osteopathic medical school.

The new charge is related to an allegation that Strampel grabbed a woman's buttocks at a social event. He's also charged with misconduct in office.

The trial is scheduled for May 28.

Strampel had oversight of Nassar, an MSU doctor who was convicted of child pornography crimes and sexual assault. Critics say Strampel failed to ensure that Nassar was following patient restrictions that were ordered in 2014.

State orders amusement center to shut down rides for safety

STERLING HEIGHTS (AP) — The state has ordered an indoor amusement center in suburban Detroit to shut down several rides because of multiple safety violations.

The Bureau of Construction Codes issued a cease-and-desist order Friday to Jeepers of Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights for the rides Banana Squadron, JJ's Driving School, Python Pit and Yak Attack. The order prohibits Jeepers from operating the rides until violations are corrected.

Among the safety violations are unsafe lap bars, body latches and seat latches; cracks in equipment; leaking hydraulic line or cylinder; dysfunctional operator controls; and failing to properly inspect and document daily inspections of rides.

Man slain by cellmate at mid-Michigan prison

TITTABAWASSEE TWP. (AP) — Authorities said a 44-year-old man imprisoned at the Saginaw Correctional Facility was killed by his cellmate.

The Michigan Department of Corrections said Michael E. Anastasio was found unresponsive in his cell Monday and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Department spokesman Chris Gautz told MLive.com that Anastasio's 20-year-old bunkmate was alone in the cell with him at the time of the assault. Preliminary autopsy results say Anastasio died of blunt-force trauma.

The suspect has been transferred to a maximum security prison and the death is under investigation.

Gautz said Anastasio had several felony convictions and most recently was sentenced to prison in 2018 for crimes in Macomb and Wayne counties. He said the suspect was imprisoned for armed robbery in Kent County.

Michigan faces lawsuit over scabies at prison for women

YPSILANTI (AP) — A federal lawsuit says inmates at Michigan's only prison for women suffered severe itching and permanent scarring because officials took more than a year to diagnose and properly treat a scabies outbreak.

The lawsuit on behalf of prisoner Rebecca Smith was filed Thursday, the Detroit Free Press reported. Smith's lawyer said he has letters from more than 200 inmates at Huron Valley prison near Ypsilanti who suffered during the outbreak of parasitic mites that burrow under the skin and lay eggs.

The Michigan Department of Corrections didn't comment on the pending lawsuit, but has said over the past year it was working to deal with the rashes and determine the source.

Smith said it's difficult to estimate possible damages that could come from the case.

Crews monitor site of fire, explosions at welding company

PITTSFIELD TWP. (AP) — Emergency crews are keeping an eye on the site of a large fire at a southeastern Michigan welding supply company that caused explosions and some evacuations.

Pittsfield Township Public Safety Director Matthew Harshberger told The Ann Arbor News that crews remained at the scene Friday as one fuel tank continued to burn. Two employees were treated for smoke inhalation following the fire, about 30 miles southwest of Detroit.

Harshberger said they planned to let the tank burn out.

Structures surrounding Ann Arbor Welding Supply in Pittsfield Township were evacuated Thursday afternoon for about five hours.

Harshberger said Thursday the fire began when a worker filling a propane tank turned away for a moment and the tank exploded. That led to other tanks exploding.

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