The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida on July 21, 1994 · 292
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The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida · 292

Miami, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, July 21, 1994
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PAH F & it OWLW c:wisnnsi FLORIDA 5B WEATHER 3B DEATHS 4B COMICS 6B 1 SECTION n p THURSDAY II K JULY 211994 v V V1ML1 MUlEHiU Seifera© 350 birds remain in custody ) Judge delays return to owners’ family By LORI ROZSA Herald Staff Writer Family members of two missing exotic bird breeders will have to wait at least 20 days before they find out if they’ll get custody of 350 of the fine-feathered animals a judge ruled Wednesday Mahadai Lall said her main concern is the welfare of her son and sister Lall both of whom police say may be dead But she said she would like to get their birds and take care of them with the help of friends at the Blue Ribbon bird farm in Homestead Palm Beach County Judge Jeffrey Colbath said the birds can’t be released to anybody until the county is sure they all belonged to the same owners — Moses Lall and Lila Buerattan A legal advertisement seeking any other owners will run over the next two weeks and Colbath is expected to make a final ruling on Aug 11 Owners still missing Moses Lall and his aunt Buerattan have been missing since early June State game officers went to their Loxahatchee home after a seed company called to report nobody had picked up hundreds of pounds of bird seed left in the driveway of Lall and Buer-attan’s home The officers found more than 700 exotic birds half of them dead or dying With the help of volunteers the birds were moved to a makeshift aviai7 at Palm Beach County’s Animal Care and Control office in West Palm Beach Sheriffs detectives on Wednesday searched a pond around the Lall and Buerattan home sheriffs spokesman Bob Ferrell said They found nothing They’re also looking for two men who lived in a guest house on the property A man who was arrested by Georgia police June 7 had Moses Lall’s identification and was driving his van with 15 exotic birds and nearly 100 tortoises inside The man was released on bond — he was arrested because Moses Lall has a suspended driver’s license — and disappeared Detectives showed the man’s photo to Mahadai Lall Tuesday She said it was not her son Detectives don’t know if it was cither of the men who lived in the guest house — Dajeet Gobin and Felix Eyoum — Ferrell said Boarding fees ‘outrageous’ Meanwhile the county is running up a boarding bill of $10 a day per bird — a fee that Lall family attorney Nick Stieglitz Jr called “outrageous” He pointed out that the county is using volunteers to help care for the birds and that taking care of 350 birds at once should be less expensive He said the US Department of Agriculture charges $275 per day for each bird that it keeps in quarantine Bird lovers who attended Wednesday’s hearing said they don’t want the Lall family to get the birds because so many birds were found dead on the Lall property They also said it would stress the birds too much to move them again “The county is taking good care of them now” said Judie Piccola of the Gulf Coast Bird Club who drove with other club members 140 miles from Fort Myers to attend Wednesday’s hearing But Stieglitz said Lall and Buerattan didn’t neglect the birds which were valued at S 500000 The birds were left alone only because their owners have apparently met with foul play he said JOHN PINEDA Herald Staff MUSICAL MOMENTS Above Jonathan Palermo and Joey Parisi both 12 enjoy playing a tune as teacher Wendy Channel looks on at Florida Atlantic University’s summer piano camp Music class wasn’t completely enthralling though as evidenced by the bored look on Joey’s face later in the session right Former Scout leader guilty of sex abuse By JUDY PLUNKETT EVANS Herald Staff Writer A former Boy Scout leader was found guilty Thursday of luring boys to his Loxahatchee home with promises of work then coercing them to commit sexual acts Carmine Charles Falco 46 — who received probation in Dade County 1 5 years ago after a booby-trapped rifle he’d rigged for a burglar killed a member of his Boy Scout troop — MICHAEL BACHRACH For The Herald CONVICTED: Carmine Falco is escorted by Palm Beach sheriff’s officers now faces up to six consecutive enough” he said of Falco's sen- life sentences plus 315 years Jurors deliberated about 90 minutes before convicting Falco Thursday of 17 counts of sexual abuse During the two-day trial jurors heard the testimony of five boys Falco was accused of molesting between 1991 and 1994 and watched graphic videotapes of Falco performing sex acts with the boys Falco was found guilty of six counts of sexual battery on a child under 12 10 counts of sexual activity with a child by a person in custodial authority and one count of promoting the sexual performance of a child Thursday’s verdict was a relief for the boys and their families One 17-year-old boy said he has had a difficult time getting over the abuse “Justice has been done that’s for damn sure” he said “It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had — 1'h years of torture is over” The boys started visiting Fal-co’s home when he invited them to work for his tree nursery After a few visits they said Falco started giving them alcohol and marijuana When they were intoxicated the boys said Falco would start molesting them The boys testified that Falco used the videotapes and photographs to coerce them to keep visiting him They said Falco told them he would plaster the pictures around their schools if they told anyone about him Jurors showed no emotion as they watched the videos but some of the boys’ parents had to leave the courtroom when the tapes were played One stepfather never saw the videos but said he could hear the audio and that was distressing enough “Whatever he gets it’s not tence “It’s almost over for Falco But these kids are going to have to live for the rest of their lives with what happened and it’s not going to be easy for them” Thursday’s verdict was the latest chapter in Falco’s court history which began in 1979 when he pleaded no contest to manslaughter in the booby-trap incident In 1982 Falco was arrested again after police found him casing the house of another teenager who witnessed the 1979 shooting Police said they had received reports that Falco threatened to kill the boy and they found his van stocked with handcuffs a six-inch meat hook and a pistol with a silencer Falco pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed firearm and tampering with a witness and was sentenced to seven years in prison Prosecutors said at the time they had sexual abuse allegations from some of his Scouts but could not press charges because the boys refused to testify After serving three years in prison Falco moved to Loxahatchee in 1986 He became a Boy Scout leader again in 1988 but was dismissed four months later when some boys complained that Falco had made sexually suggestive gestures Sheriffs deputies investigated but found no evidence of sexual abuse Police say Falco began luring boys to his Loxahatchee home in 1 99 1 He was arrested earlier this year after two of the boys told their parents what had happened Expert showers residents with water wisdom By LORI ROZSA Herald Staff Writer Andy Rodusky knows sprinklers He knows how much water they should squirt out when it should be released and where it should go Rodusky director of the Palm Beach County Soil and Conservation Service’s mobile conservation lab wants to share his water wisdom with homeowners across the county Any resident or business owner who has less than 10 acres of property can call Rodusky’s mobile lab for a free water-use evaluation “People are generally eager to take our recommendations” Rodusky said of the 70 evaluations he’s done since the program began in March The mobile lab is one of only two in the state aimed specifi- Mobile lab aims to curb usage cally at urban water users For years county Soil and Water Conservation Districts have offered water tips and evaluations to farmers But this year with $55000 from the South Florida Water Management District and about $20000 from Palm Beach County and the US Department of Agriculture the local district decided to try to teach urbanites the benefits of saving water “A lot of people wonder why their water bills are so high” said Diane Neill director of the Soil and Water Conservation District in Palm Beach County “But about half of the water in resi dential use is used out of doors It's amazing A lot of that water is wasted The plants just can’t use it” Next week Rodusky will take his lab — a pickup truck filled with equipment — to Delray Beach where homeowners in recently-built Habitat for Humanity houses will learn about using less water He spends 90 minutes to two hours at each stop He brings tools such as pressure meters to check irrigation systems Rodusky will also give a minilesson on xeriscape — using native plants that don’t require a lot of water “I met people who were watering three or four times a week” Rodusky said “We got them to cut down to twice a week That’s a big water saver” FREE EVALUATION: Andy Rodusky director of the county's mobile conservation lab tests a water sample from the back of his pickup Prosecutor suspended over gay bar ruckus By AMY DRISCOLL Herald Staff Writer A Broward County assistant state attorney arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct at a Boca Raton gay bar is temporarily off the job a spokesman for the state attorney’s office said Wednesday Mark McHugh 32 a supervisor in the felony division was placed on involuntary annual leave Wednesday after Broward officials learned that the Palm Beach County state attorney’s office will prosecute the case And Palm Beach prosecutors are considering filing additional charges against McHugh includ- If McHugh is charged under Florida's Hate Crimes statute he would face five years in prison ing violation of the Florida Hate Crimes Act The investigation is expected to be completed by McHugh’s scheduled arraignment on Aug 9 spokesman Michael Edmundson said If McHugh is charged under Florida's hate crimes statute — passed in 1989 and revised in 1991 to include sexual orientation — the misdemeanor could be upgraded to a felony with a penalty of up to five years in prison Under that law the pen alty for any crime is increased if the crime is motivated by hatred based on race sexual orientation or religion McHugh was arrested after two w itnesses from the Paradise Club of Boca a gay bar identified him and three other men as members of a group that terrorized bar patrons about midnight Saturday The witnesses said about 10 men dressed in women’s clothes — wigs dresses miniskirts and halter tops — entered the bar tore off a sign that announced it as a gay establishment and PLEASESEE MCHUGH 2B (INSIDE) A 10-foot bull alligator trapped for days inside a North Dade sewer disappointed gator gapers Wednesday when he rejected the bait set by trappers 2B The father of a tennis player in Fort Lauderdale for the US Tennis Association's Boys 14 National Clay Courts Championships died in a car accident 2B A Metro-Dade commissioner is accused of failing to disclose debts 2B

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