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Call for Apology in Cop Tirade


New York City's taxi drivers are demanding an apology from the police officer seen on video apparently verbally abusing an Uber driver in an at-times xenophobic roadside tirade in the West Village earlier this week. They say they hope the altercation spurs better treatment for hacks from the NYPD.

The New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers demanded the apology at a news conference Thursday outside the NYPD's lower Manhattan headquarters, less than a day after Police Commissioner Bill Bratton admonished detective Patrick Cherry for his role in the exchange with an Uber driver Monday afternoon.

"No good cop can watch that without a wince," Bratton said Wednesday of the video. "All good cops know that the officer just made their jobs a little bit harder."

Taxi drivers say they don't want Cherry, a member of the NYPD's elite Joint Terrorism Task Force who was re-assigned to modified paid duty, fired if he apologizes. They say they hope that the now viral video can help end widespread mistreatment of hired drivers by NYPD officers.

NYSFTD spokesman Fernando Mateo echoed those sentiments at Thursday's news conference, saying that Cherry "did us all a favor" because the video of him opens up the door to discussing the problem. Mateo also asked for Cherry's job to be spared.

Mateo said a meeting with Bratton on Thursday was productive and that it could lead to the NYPD training officers on how to treat taxi and Uber drivers.

The video Uber passenger Seth Sanjay captured of a police officer, later identified as Cherry, berating the Uber driver has been viewed nearly 2 million times on YouTube. Cherry's badge and gun have been taken away pending the outcome of the investigation by the NYPD and Civilian Complaint Review Board. Seth tweeted Wednesday that he testified before the CCRB.

According to Seth's original YouTube post, his Uber driver honked his car horn at the officer because the officer was trying to park on a Sixth Precinct street in the middle of the afternoon without using any blinkers or hazard lights, and the Uber driver's path to a green light was blocked.

The officer, seen wearing a green tie and blue shirt at points in the passenger video, got out of his unmarked car, which had flashing blue and red lights on the dashboard, and flagged down the Uber driver.

The three-minute video begins as the officer approaches the Uber driver's window and starts yelling at the driver, raising his voice over the Uber driver's muted apologies and efforts to interject.

"Stop it with your mouth, stop it with your, 'For what, sir,'" Cherry is heard saying in the video as he curses. "Stop it with that ... and realize the three vehicle and traffic law violations you committed."

"You understand me? I don't know what [epithet] planet you think you're on right now," the officer yells, making fun of the Uber driver's accent.

The officer then slams the hood of the Uber car and walks away; the Uber driver tries to apologize to his passengers, who tell him it was not his fault and inform him a video of the exchange was recorded. One of the passengers said it appeared the officer was on a "power trip"; the other called the man's behavior "really inappropriate."

The officer returns to the Uber car about 90 seconds after slamming the hood and storming off, the video shows, and continues to curse at and belittle the driver. The driver keeps trying to defuse the situation with respectful apologies. Then the officer goes off on him.

"I don't know where you're coming from or where you think you're appropriate in doing that," the man yells, apparently in reference to the car honk from earlier. "That's not the way it works. How long have you been in this country?"

"Almost how long? Two years?" the officer yells after the driver whispers a response. "I got news for you, and use this lesson: Don't ever do that again. The only reason you're not in handcuffs going to jail and getting summonses in the precinct is because I have things to do."

"That's the only reason that's not happening, because this isn't important enough to me, you're not important enough," he says.

The officer turns toward the passengers in the back seat, asks if they are fares and says something about the Uber driver wasting their days, too. The officer hands the driver some kind of piece of paper that looks like a ticket and leaves as the passenger cellphone video pans to the flashing lights on the dashboard of his vehicle, parked behind the Uber car.  

Photo Credit: Sanjay Seth

Sensors to Help Police in Active Shooter Incidents


Seconds count when a gunman is loose in a school, mall or business.

Now a product designed in Massachusetts and made in Connecticut promises to help police respond and find the shooter more quickly.

“Active shooter incidents are on the rise and are a concern to all of us,” said Christian Connors, president of Shooter Detection Systems, a Massachusetts company that has developed an indoor gunshot detection system.

A group of law enforcement, politicians, and others learned about it in Southington on Thursday.

“Seconds count. I mean, you don’t have someone wondering what kind of noise they heard, opening a door, themselves being in jeopardy,” said Nicole Russo, president and owner of Microboard Processing, which manufactures the sensors in Seymour.

The sensors, which can be installed throughout a building, instantly detect a gunshot and immediately alert police as to the exact location of the shooter.

Russo said her kids’ school in Trumbull, Christian Heritage School, is going to install the system.

“I’m also an aunt and my two nephews go to Sandy Hook School. They were both there the day of the event. Thank God they are safe,” said Russo.

While no one can say what the system may have prevented, supporters say it’s an important investment in future safety.

It’s an expensive addition, potentially costing tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.

Connecticut Water Launches Unique Safety Initiative


Connecticut Water, which serves more than 50 communities across the state, launched a safety initiative Thursday that officials say is the first of its kind in Connecticut, and possibly the country.

The water company will now email homeowners a photo of any utilty worker who might be stopping by to provide service. Because thieves often pose as utility workers, utility customers have long been encouraged to ask for ID but the email, officials say, allows Connecticut Water to be even more proactive about protecting customers.

CEO Eric Thornburgh says the most vulnerable include "senior customers, young people who are home during the summer, working parents, stay at home moms".

Thornburgh says he is unaware of any other water companies with a similar program.

State regulators embracing the idea say they hope other utility companies - including gas and electric - will follow suit.

Black Bear Spotted in Wethersfield Neighborhood


Wethersfield police are urging residents to be on the lookout for a black bear that was spotted this evening roaming the area of Collier Road.

Police said the bear was reported in the 100-200 block of Collier Road around 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Authorities are urging residents to keep an eye on small pets and secure anything that could be a potential food source for the bear.

Residents should not approach the bear.

"Let nature be," police wrote on Facebook. "Don't cause a problem and the bear won't either."

According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, adult bears can weigh between 110 and 450 pounds and are 5-6 feet long.

If you see a bear, walk away slowly or make your presence known by shouting or waving your arms. Never try to attract or feed them.

Report bear sightings to the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-675-8130.

Send your wildlife photos to shareit@nbcconnecticut.com.

Crews Rescue Woman at Glastonbury Reservoir


Firefighters were called to Buckingham Reservoir in the northeastern section of Glastonbury on Thursday evening to rescue a woman trapped on the ice, according to the police department.

Police said the woman had been in the water but managed to lift herself out before firefighters arrived at the scene off Coop Road and Hebron Avenue. It's not clear how she ended up in the water.

Glastonbury police said the surface of the water is frozen and trails to get there are still covered in snow.

No additional information was immediately available.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Church of Cannabis Approved in Ind.


Could Indiana's new religious freedom law be used as legal justification for smoking marijuana? Maybe.

The First Church of Cannabis Inc. has been approved by Indiana officials after the state’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into law last week.

Bill Levin, founder of the church, reportedly filed paperwork almost immediately after Gov. Mike Pence signed the act into law last Thursday with hopes of having the church approved as a religious organization “based on love and understanding with compassion for all.”

Levin said shortly after his paperwork was filed, he received a letter of approval from Secretary of State Connie Lawson, he told the Washington Post.

The church lists cannabis, also called “the healing plant,” as its sacrament.

“It is our fountain of health, our love, curing us from illness and depression. We embrace it with our whole heart and spirit, individually and as a group,” according to the church’s “New Deity Dozen.”

Members of the church are also called “Cannataerians.”

Since the church’s approval, the group has raised more than $5,000 to rent a facility for their practice and garnered more than 20,000 likes on Facebook.

It has been the subject of national headlines and even got the attention of celebrities including Seth Rogen, who tweeted that Indiana “accidentally created a religion I can get behind.”

According to the church’s Facebook page, members will be able to print and download a “membership card” after donating a monthly fee of $4.20.

While the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational uses is currently illegal in Indiana, the church could potentially use the state’s new law to override that.

The law states that “government action may not substantially burden a person's right to the exercise of religion unless it is demonstrated that applying the burden to the person's exercise of religion is essential to further a compelling governmental interest” or “the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest.”

Indiana attorney Abdul-Hakim Shabazz wrote in an op-ed for Indy Politics that “as long as you can show that reefer is part of your religious practices, you got a pretty good shot of getting off scott-free.”

It remains to be seen if lawmakers will in fact adhere to this interpretation of the law, but the RFRA has been at the center of a national controversy in recent days with many arguing the law allows for discrimination. Backlash from the law prompted lawmakers on Thursday to announce clarifications to the language, stating that discrimination against any class of citizens is not tolerated in the Hoosier state.  

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images

Local Fast Food Workers Protest for Higher Wages


McDonald's workers in Connecticut joined thousands of others across the country in a protest for $15-per-hour wages.

Breaunna Jones, who works at a Manchester franchise, joined the demonstration at a McDonald's Restaurant on Washington Street in Hartford on Thursday.

She said $15 per hour could change her life.

"It would make me live comfortably and I wouldn’t be struggling like I am now," Jones said.

Yesterday, McDonald's announced plans to increase benefits and wages to employees of all corporate-held stores around the country. The wage increases would amount to at least $1 above the locally-set minimum wage at those locations.

However, those increases are not bound to locally-owned franchises, which comprise most McDonald's stores.

“In general, everyone should be getting $15 an hour," Jones said from the sidewalk. "It should be recognized that it doesn’t matter if it’s fast food; it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. You should be getting paid a decent amount for any type of work you’re doing.”

In a statement from a spokesman for McDonald's wrote:

"McDonald's is a franchisor and as such does not control the policies of our independent owner/operators. The independent franchisees set wages for their own employees based on the local marketplace."

Jones, who makes $9 per hour, said she wants to see those local owners make a change that will be better for their employees.

“Everyone should be getting paid a decent amount, period," she said.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

School Bus Driver Distracted Prior to Wethersfield Crash: Cops


A school bus driver was distracted when she rear-ended a Jeep in Wethersfield while heading to the Glastonbury-East Hartford Elementary Magnet School in a crash that sent nine people to the hospital Thursday morning, according to police.

The seven students on board, who are believed to be 7 or 8 years old, were taken to Connecticut Children's Medical Center to be evaluated as a precaution, officials said.

The woman who was driving the First Student bus was taken to Hartford Hospital. The male driver of the Jeep was also hospitalized. No serious injuries were reported, but the Jeep driver did suffer some facial injuries, authorities said.

Police are investigating the crash but said traffic was stopped and the bus driver was apparently distracted and failed to see the Jeep stopped in front of her. She was cited for traveling too fast for conditions and distracted driving, according to Wethersfield police.

"We suspect the bus driver was distracted for some reason. We've investigated whether the driver was on the phone. We don't believe that was the case," said Wethersfield police Lt. Andrew Power.

The assistant superintendent in Wethersfield said CREC students from several towns were on board the bus.

"Police are still investigating the cause of the accident. Student safety is CREC’s first priority. We are working closely with local officials to collect more information," CREC officials said in a statement.

Department of Motor Vehicles inspectors checked the bus and said there was no immediate indication of mechanical problems.

Power said he believes everyone involved is going to be OK.

First Student bus company said the driver has been removed from service in the wake of the crash, which is standard procedure.

"The safety and security of students is our top priority, so we're certainly thankful there appear to be no serious injuries," First Student said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "We are assisting police with their investigation and will conduct our own internal review."

Photo Credit: Matt Martinelli – Aetna Ambulance Service
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Garbage Truck Driver Dead After Hitting Overpass


A garbage truck driver is dead after hitting the Kings Highway overpass on Interstate 95 northbound in Fairfield this morning, according to state police.

John Collett, 32, of Wallingford, was trapped in the truck cab, unresponsive, when crews from the Fairfield Fire Department arrived at the scene near exit 23 around 10 a.m.

Police Collett, a driver for Northford waste company John's Refuse & Recycling, had just dropped off a dumpster at the Fairfield rest area and got back on the highway with the truck's lifting arms still raised.

The garbage truck rolled over onto its left side and hit a metal guardrail, which pierced the truck cab and impaled Collett, according to police.

Several crews used heavy equipment to remove the roof of the truck, cutting back the guardrail to get to Collett. An ambulance brought him to Bridgeport Hospital, where he died, police said.

Asst. Chief George Gomola, the incident commander, said in a statement that the steel guard rail was wrapped around inside the vehicle.

Officials from the state Department of Transportation reported significant damage to the webbing of the overpass.

Crews from the state Department of Transportation and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection responded to the crash. Firefighters left the scene at 12:40 p.m.

Connecticut State Police are investigating the cause of the crash.

Photo Credit: Fairfield Fire Department

State's Autism Cuts Coincide With Awareness Day


The events of World Autism Day on Thursday served as the backdrop for a more than $130,000 cut to autism services that came in the form of rescissions from Gov. Dannel Malloy's budget office Wednesday.

"These cuts aren’t easy and I’m sure if you asked Gov. Malloy these are things that he doesn’t want to do but we also know that we’re up against having a balanced budget so we have to make very difficult choices," said State Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, a Democrat from Norwalk.

When asked about the mid-year budget cuts yesterday, Malloy said the state faces budget challenges and that he's the one who's had to make the difficult decisions while also criticizing the General Assembly.

"The reality is difficult circumstances require that somebody lead and we have provided all of the leadership," Malloy said. "And I will point out to you, it’s not like I’ve gotten a list from the legislature of things they’d like to cut."

Autism service providers around Connecticut receive some help from the state. The amount varies depending on location.

Sara Reed with Autism Services & Resources Connecticut said any cut is a problem for providers.

"Considering how small the autism services budget is to begin with, any cut is devastating. We already have a five year waiting list," she said.

Dr. Jared Skowron provides naturopathic medicine and resources for children with autism in Wallingford. He said parents need to be aware of all options available when it comes to treating children on the spectrum, whether they come from the state or a private provider.

"There are so many things that families can do for their children that they may not be aware of," Skowron said. "What we need to do is tell families everything that’s out there for their children. The worst thing you could for your child is nothing."

Quinnipiac Warns Students of People Posing as Uber Drivers


Quinnipiac University is warning students of people posing as Uber drivers and picking up unsuspecting passengers in the New Haven area.

“There have been several incidents in which students have gotten into vehicles in the greater New Haven area, which they believed to be upper cars, when in fact, they were not,” School Public Safety Director David Barger said in an alert to students.

School officials declined to go into detail about those incidents, but the Quinnipiac Chronicle said one occurred late last month when two men tried to sexually assault a female student who got into what she thought was an Uber taxi near the popular New Haven bar Toad's Place.

“For your personal safety, if you are utilizing Uber, please make sure that the vehicle that you are getting into the is the vehicle that you have requested from Uber,” Barger advised.

Quinnipiac Public Safety encouraged students to keep tabs on their designated Uber rides by using the GPS tracker included in the app. Riders should also double check the driver's name, vehicle type and license plate number, all of which are made available when you book a ride.

Uber passengers will receive text messages when their cars arrive and should use these to verify that they're getting into the right vehicle.

“As always, be aware of your surroundings and don’t get into a vehicle with a driver you don’t know!” Barger said.

A spokesperson for the taxi company said Uber rides are "some of the safest in the industry" and that drivers are prohibited from doing street-side pickups. Red flags should go off if a driver tries to pick you up unsolicited.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Glastonbury Town Employee Hit by Car While Directing Traffic


An employee of the Glastonbury Highway Department was hit by a car while directing traffic at Main and Hubbard streets on Thursday afternoon, according to the police department and town manager.

Officials said the man was struck around 1:50 p.m. and was conscious when an ambulance brought him to Hartford Hospital. Police said he's listed in stable condition. His name has not been released.

The driver who struck the town employee was not hurt and remained at the scene, Town Manager Richard Johnson said. Police said the driver is cooperating with investigators.

An accident reconstruction team is investigating the crash.

Anyone with information is urged to call Glastonbury police Officer Race at 860-633-8301.

Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com

Fire Forces 11 Residents From Willimantic Home


A two-alarm fire forced five children and six adults from their homes on Lewiston Avenue in Willimantic on Thursday night, according to the fire department.

Willimantic Fire Department spokesman Matthew Vertefeuille said crews were dispatched to the three-family home at 41 Lewiston Avenue just after 7:30 p.m. and arrived to find fire in the third floor and attic.

Firefighters managed to keep the flames at bay and prevent them from spreading to the first and second floors, which were more or less unscathed, Vertefeuille said.

Volunteers from the American Red Cross plan to put up the affected families in a nearby hotel.

Vertefeuille said no firefighters, residents or family pets were hurt. Two ambulances, one from Mansfield and the other from Columbia, were dispatched as a precaution.

All smoke detectors were working properly.

The house underwent – and passed – a town inspection as recently as a week and a half ago, according to Vertefeuille.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Pizzeria Supporters Raise $200K


Supporters of the Indiana pizzeria at the center of a public controversy surrounding the state's new "Religious Freedom" bill have raised more than $200,000 for the family business in less than 24 hours.

The owners of Memories Pizzeria in Walkerton temporarily closed the doors of their restaurant after receiving backlash on the Internet for supporting Indiana Gov. Mike Pence's bill and stating that they would not cater a gay wedding.

Lawrence Billy Jones III, who works as a contributor to the conservative radio station The Blaze, created a Go Fund Me page to support the O'Connor family, who owns the restaurant. By 11 a.m. Thursday, the page had raised more than $130,000. By 2 p.m. the funds were up to $211,000. More than 7,000 people had donated in about 21 hours.

The purpose of the fund is "to relieve the financial loss endured by the proprietors' stand for faith," according to the site.

After the O'Connors said they would not cater gay weddings, opponents of the bill flooded the Memories Pizza Yelp page with negative reviews. Crystal O'Connor, one of the owners of the restaurant, told Dana Loesch on The Blaze that the family had also received threats, including a Tweet about burning down the restaurant.

The O'Connors claim they would not discriminate against gay customers in their restaurant.

"We stood up for what we believe," Crystal O'Connor told Loesch. "The news took it totally out of proportion. They lied about it. We said that we would serve anyone that walked in that door, even gays. But we will not cater (gay) weddings."

O'Connor said she has no source of income while the restaurant is closed and the family has considered leaving town.

Gov. Pence, who signed the bill, said he does not believe his law is discriminatory either. In a Tuesday op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Pence wrote that the bill is not a "license to discriminate" and that he "abhors discrimination."

The bill, which was enacted last Thursday, sparked outrage across the country. The measure prohibits state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. This means business owners, like the O'Connors, are allowed to refuse participating in gay weddings.

While opponents of the law see it as discrimination against gays, supporters of the O'Connors see the backlash against their restaurant as discrimination against religion.

"Nobody should ever have to suffer -- or suffer alone -- for their faith, for standing up for Christian principles," Loesch said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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Branford Weighs Major Retail Development Off I-95


Big plans are in place for a 44-acre lot across from exit 56 off Interstate 95 in Branford. Developers are proposing a huge retail outlet to be anchored by Costco.

Town officials say the development would not only be convenient for Branford residents, but would also provide the town with much-needed tax revenue. That, in turn, would mean lower taxes for residents.

The project would also bring jobs.

“I'm always interested in the economy, and I know some people are opposed to it, but candidly speaking, it would be ideal for those who are out of work right now, so I think it's very positive,” said Branford resident Flo Mack.

Those opposed to the project say it would bring too much congestion to an already busy area. They say they don't want Branford turned into an overdeveloped area like the Boston Post Road in Milford.

They planned to voice their concerns at Thursday night's planning and zoning meeting.

First Selectman James Cosgrove said he thinks many of the issues will be addressed, and overall, people are happy with the prospect of Costco coming to town.

“I think with any project you have some concerns by groups and individual residents that may come forward, but I think the process they're going through now is coming forward with a master plan for the area, and I think a lot of those concerns will be addressed during this process,” said Cosgrove.

Home Depot Volunteers Build Houses for Veterans


Some 100 volunteers from Home Depot spent Thursday painting walls inside the complex at 232 Arch Street in New Britain, which will soon house up to 20 veterans in need.

"We've been doing it ever since the store opened 35 years ago when Home Depot first started," said Ed Boice, manager of the West Hartford Home Depot, "and all these people here today are volunteering on their days off, and it's just a great feeling."

The woman overseeing the project for Veterans Inc., Brenda Heller, said the volunteers "absolutely" sped things up.

"The time, money, and effort that we would have had to spend to make that happen is fast forwarded into one day by 100 orange shirts and volunteers from the Veterans Inc. side, Home Depot, and even GE volunteers came out today, so it's an incredible day of collaboration," she explained.

One carpenter, Patrick Wheeler, said he was giving back to Veterans Inc. as a way of saying "thank you" for what it's given him.

"I stay at Veterans Inc. in Worcester, for right now," he said. "My business crashed, I had some tragedy in my life, homeless, actually, and Veterans Inc. kind of took me in."

Veterans Inc. will take in up to 20 additional veterans in New Britain on May 1 if work continues as scheduled.

Man Dies After Tree Falls on Head


A man died after a large part of a tree fell and hit him on the head in Massachusetts, South Shore Hospital confirms.

Witnesses say this was a freak accident in Holbrook that happened Thursday just before 6 p.m.

According to one witness, Jazell, he was outside with a man who used to live next door to him on Norfolk Road, when another man was cutting the tree in half with a chain saw. The witness says he tried to warn his former neighbor, identified as a 41-year-old man by South Shore Hospital, to get out of the way, when the tree fell on top of him.

Jazell says his former neighbor wasn't moving, so he tried to help him breathe again with CPR he learned for work last year.

The investigation is ongoing.

Photo Credit: necn

2 Charged With Prostitution at Westport Massage Parlor


Police have arrested two women accused of offering sexual services for money at a massage parlor in the Saugatuck section of Westport.

According to police, Vera Kuvshinova, 27, of Fairlawn, New Jersey; and Dilyara Ziganshina, 31, of Brooklyn, New York, gave out unlicensed massages at a spa set up in rented office space.

Police said searched the massage parlor as part of an investigation that launched in February and found evidence that pointed to sexual conduct.

Both Kuvshinova and Ziganshina were charged with promoting prostitution and practicing massage therapy without a license. Kuvshinova was also charged with promoting prostitution.

They were held on $10,000 bond.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Noose Found at UConn Health Center Construction Site


Police are investigating after someone found a noose at a construction sight at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington on Wednesday, according to officials with the construction company.

"Turner Construction Company has a zero tolerance policy for harassment and is committed to a harassment free workplace," company officials said in a statement Thursday. "All of the employees of Turner Construction Company and our subcontractors are required to adhere to our harassment avoidance policies."

The construction company stopped work at the job site Wednesday afternoon to brief workers on the incident and review company policy.

Turner spokesperson Chris McFadden said any employees who are found in violation of the zero-tolerance policy will not be allowed back on site.

"We are working in cooperation with the leadership of the local Trade Unions and our subcontractors to reinforce the message that these actions will not be tolerated," McFadden said.

UConn spokesman Tom Breene released a statement on behalf of the university.

"There is no room on UConn's campuses – nor in a civil society, for that matter – for any for of harassment or intimidation, and we condemn this action in the strongest possible terms," Breene said. "At the same time, we’re gratified that Turner and representatives from the Building Trades Council are taking the incident so seriously and have acted quickly to meet with its workforce to address concerns and reinforce its zero-tolerance policies."

UConn police are handling the investigation. A spokesperson for the department was not available for comment Thursday afternoon.

Clinton Pastor Arrested on Sex Assault Charges


A Clinton pastor has been arrested on sex assault charges after having "unwanted sexual contact" with a woman and teenage girl who attend the Good Samaritan Church in Old Lyme, according to police.

According to police, Francisco Moran, 57, inappropriately touched the female parishioners on two separate occasions at a home in Clinton during the summer of 2014. Police said he lured them to the house on the pretense of church business.

He threatened to deport them if they told anyone, according to police.

"It's my understanding the majority of the parishioners are of Hispanic origin, coming from Central and South American countries, some of which may be here illegally," explained Clinton police spokesman Sgt. Jeremiah Dunn.

Both victims reported the unwanted contact to Clinton police, who launched an investigation.

"Several weeks ago, we had a victim come forward and reported that she was the victim of inappropriate sexual contact," Dunn said. "She alleged her pastor was the one who committed it."

Police said they're prepared for the possibility more victims will approach them.

Moran was arrested Thursday on two warrants charging him with two counts of fourth-degree sexual assault, two counts of coercion and one count of risk of injury to/impairing the morals of a minor. He's being held on $17,500 bond and is due in court Monday morning.

Parishioners said the news of Moran's arrest came as a shock.

"I wouldn't expect him to get arrested for that because he's such a good pastor and such a good person," said 15-year-old churchgoer Juan Avila. "We went there with him and he was pretty much the person who got us into our religion."

Dunn said the question of the victims' immigration status isn't one for his department to decide.

"We're the local police. We do not investigate immigration status. If someone comes here as a victim of sexual assault, we will investigate it thoroughly," he said.

It's not clear if Moran has an attorney.

Photo Credit: Clinton Police Department
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