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POSTED September 19, 2013 9:12 p.m.

PASTOR CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING PARISHIONERS: NORWALK  (AP) — A Southern California churchman who claimed to have "healing hands" has been charged with sexually assaulting women parishioners.

Fifty-four-year-old Jorge Juan Castro of Norwalk was arrested last week and charged with rape and other sex crimes. He remains jailed Thursday.

Castro was associate pastor of Las Buenas Nuevas in Norwalk but he's been removed.

Authorities contend that since at least 2004 he assaulted parishioners at the church or their homes under the guise of performing faith healing.

A Los Angeles County sheriff's statement says more than 20 women told a church official they'd been assaulted.

Many of the women are Spanish-speaking people in the country illegally.

Sheriff's officials claim that Castro threatened to subject them to public ridicule and to have them deported if they exposed him.

SUSPECT IN SOCAL SEX ABUSE CASE DIES DURING CHASE: CHINO  (AP) — A man suspected of sexually abusing a girl has died after his car plunged off an embankment and landed on a Southern California freeway during a police chase.

Chino police were investigating the man as a suspect when he left his apartment around 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Police say the man refused to stop his pickup truck for officers and during a chase called a family member and said he was going to commit suicide.

Police say the man sped into a store parking lot, hurtled down a steep embankment behind the store and plunged onto southbound State Route 71.

The truck landed upside down and the driver was pronounced dead at the scene. His name hasn't been released. No other motorists were hurt.

CPUC APPROVES $50M SETTLEMENTS IN 2007 MALIBU FIRE: MALIBU  (AP) — The California Public Utilities Commission has approved about $50 million in settlements with Southern California Edison and telecommunications company NextG, whose overloaded utility poles were blamed for starting the 2007 Malibu Canyon Fire.

Under Thursday's settlements, Edison will pay $37 million and NextG will pay $14.5 million. That includes funding to inspect more than 61,000 poles. Substandard poles must be fixed or replaced.

Edison says the settlement money will come from shareholders, not customers.

A message left for NextG wasn't immediately returned.

The 3,800-acre Malibu fire destroyed dozens of buildings. It was sparked when a windstorm blew down three utility poles.

Both companies have acknowledged that their poles were overloaded with equipment.

Last year, the PUC approved a similar $12 million settlement with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

 

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