MAN BRANDED ‘SELFIE STALKER’ SUES NANCY GRACE: DENVER (AP) — A man who was quickly branded a “selfie stalker” after his picture turned up on a crime victim’s cellphone is suing television commentator Nancy Grace for defamation, saying she refused to stop airing his photo even after authorities had cleared him of any wrongdoing.
The lawsuit filed Monday in Denver says Grace, who hosts a show on Turner Broadcasting’s HLN network, incorrectly told millions of viewers that Ben Seibert invaded a woman’s home and snapped a photo of himself on her phone, which she described as a “textbook serial killer’s calling card.”
Seibert said Grace humiliated him with her commentary, which prompted people across the country to label him a weirdo, sicko, rapist and pervert on various social network sites. The suit says Grace didn’t check the facts and didn’t care.
Denver Metro Crime Stoppers released Seibert’s photo on Jan. 29, after a woman called police saying a man had entered her home while she was putting her children to bed. Police said she was especially fearful because she believed the man had taken a selfie with her phone inside of her home.
But further investigation showed the picture was Seibert’s Facebook photo that had been taken elsewhere. Seibert, who was working in California, called police Feb. 8 after friends told him his photo was being associated with the Denver home invasion. He was not charged.
The same month, police told Grace her broadcast was false, but she continued to air it, according to the lawsuit, which seeks more than $100,000 in damages.
The suit also names Crime Stoppers, which Seibert says refused to stop publishing his picture even after Denver police notified the organization of the mistake.
COPS: MAN WHO TOOK DEAD WOMAN’S PHONE SURRENDERS: BOSTON (AP) — Police say a man who walked off with a woman’s cellphone after she was struck and killed by a train has turned himself in.
Transit police in Boston say the man also handed the phone over to police Friday night. They say surveillance video showed him pick it up after the woman was hit by a train at the Downtown Crossing station Thursday night.
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority police did not release the man’s name but say he is a 26-year-old from Brockton. They say he’s expected to be arraigned Monday on a larceny charge.
KATRINA FLOOD VICTIMS TO GET PAYOUTS : NEW ORLEANS (AP) — More than nine years after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina and flooded New Orleans, residents and businesses finally can ask for some compensation — albeit small — from a $14 million settlement fund set up to pay for the catastrophic flood.
The payouts, though, will be meager and far from what residents may have hoped for after their city was devastated in 2005.
Hopes for hefty damage payments were dashed in the years after the hurricane when lawsuits suing the Army Corps of Engineers were defeated in federal court. The courts held that the federal agency was protected from liability by a 1928 law that gave the agency immunity from suits seeking damages over failed flood-control projects.
This money comes from a separate settlement that plaintiffs’ lawyers reached in 2009 with three levee boards in New Orleans, Jefferson Parish and St. Bernard Parish. The levee boards were responsible in part for the upkeep of the structures that broke during Katrina.
STOLEN CHIHUAHUA REUNITED WITH SAN FRANCISCO OWNER : SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A stolen Chihuahua that was abused and then abandoned in a San Francisco trash bin has been reunited with its owner.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/11bRcfR) that Kaley was back with her owner, 79-year-old Lucille Williams, on Friday, about three months after she was taken. She was found struggling to keep her head above water in the trash bin on Nov. 1. She had eight broken ribs, swollen eyes and other injuries.
Williams said she was at a San Francisco gas station in August when someone snatched the dog while she had her back turned.
The dog was a gift from her children when her husband passed away and had become a part of her family.
The Chronicle says investigators are not sure what happened to the animal in the ensuing weeks.
CHILDREN’S DANCE EMCEE SENTENCED FOR CHILD PORN: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Southern California man who was a master of ceremonies for children’s dance contests around the country has been sentenced to federal prison for possessing child pornography.
Paul Barbour of Long Beach got eight years on Monday. He worked for Cypress-based Kids Artistic Review.
City News Service says Barbour was arrested in June after a digital camera was found in a dressing room used by teenage girls taking part in a dance contest at Cypress College.
Authorities also say they found hundreds of child pornography images on a computer taken from Barbour’s home, although there was no evidence that Barbour produced them.
He pleaded guilty to child porn possession in August.
As part of his plea deal, Barbour acknowledged hiding a camera in a changing room used by teenage girls.
2 SMALL QUAKES SHAKES CHANNEL ISLANDS AREA: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Two small earthquakes shook the region around the Channel Islands early Monday.
The U.S. Geological Survey says a magnitude 3.5 temblor struck at 12:40 a.m., followed two minutes later by a magnitude 4.1 earthquake.
Both were centered near the islands and roughly 40 miles southwest of Avalon.
Some of the islands are in Los Angeles County, and the sheriff’s department says it had no calls or reports about them.
The USGS website recorded dozens of responses from people reporting they felt the temblors.
A half hour earlier, a 2.5 magnitude quake struck near the Orange County community of Fountain Valley.