R.I. News in Brief: Off-campus Providence College students must learn remotely | #teacher | #children | #kids

“We have received reports of students who have tested for COVID-19 tests on their own, at off-campus facilities. Some of these results have been reported to the college by the Rhode Island Department of Health; others have been self-reported,” Steven Sears, interim vice president for student affairs and dean of students, said in a message to off-campus students.

Off-campus students must learn remotely until they can produce a negative test result, he said.

The school said as of Tuesday, 22 students and 1 faculty member or staffer had tested positive for the disease.

Rhode Island man gets 12 years on child molestation charge

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island man has been sentenced to serve 12 years in prison after pleading no contest to a first-degree child molestation charge, prosecutors say.

David Devlin, 37, of Pawtucket molested the girl, who was under the age of 14, between 2016 and 2019, according to a statement from the office of Attorney General Peter Neronha.

Devlin was sentenced Tuesday to 35 years in prison, with 12 to serve and the balance suspended with probation.

He was also barred from any contact with the victim, is required to register as a sex offender, complete sex offender counseling, and is subject to lifetime community supervision.

“There are so many challenges facing so many children today, among them exposure to sexual exploitation. Every child deserves to live safe from the kind of life-altering criminal acts committed by the defendant here; unconscionable acts that warrant the lengthy term of imprisonment imposed by the court today,” Neronha said in a statement.

Providence school stays open after staffer tests positive for coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Providence elementary school will remain open for in-person classes even though a staffer has tested positive for the coronavirus, school officials said Tuesday.

The principal and the assistant principal of Carnevale Elementary School will quarantine for two weeks because they had close contact with the person, whose name was not made public, according to a statement from the school district.

The person who tested positive had minimal contact with students Monday, which was the first day of classes.

The district was made aware of the positive test by the state Department of Health on Monday.

“We will restrict access to the impacted work area until that space can undergo a deep cleaning, per CDC guidelines,” the district’s statement said.

Updated coronavirus numbers reported Tuesday

(AP) Rhode Island has 82 more confirmed coronavirus cases and three more virus-related deaths, the state Department of Health reported Tuesday.

The 82 new cases were out of 5,400 tests, a positive rate of about 1.5%.

The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Rhode Island has now dropped over the past two weeks from 1.28% on Aug. 31 to 1.02% on Monday, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Rhode Island has now fallen over the past two weeks, going from more than 92 on Aug. 31 to nearly 80 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins.

There have now been 23,250 confirmed cases in the state and 1,078 deaths.

There were 81 people with the coronavirus in the state’s hospitals as of Sunday, the most recent date for which information was available, the same as the previous day. Nine patients were in intensive care.

Man pleads guilty to role in $600K malware protection scam

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A man from India has pleaded guilty to his role in a scheme that tried to embezzle about $600,000 from seven people over the age of 65 in the U.S., federal prosecutors say.

Chirag Sachdeva, 30, participated in a telemarketing scheme that offered victims computer protection services after misleading them to believe that malware had been detected on their computers, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Rhode Island.

The scam involved call center operators in India obtaining personal and banking information from victims’ computers through remote access applications, prosecutors said.

Sachdeva then contacted an acquaintance in Rhode Island and enlisted him to assist in accessing and stealing funds from the victims’ bank accounts, authorities said. That acquaintance was cooperating with the FBI.

Sachdeva has been held since he was arrested by FBI agents on Feb. 16 as he got off a plane in Boston after a flight from India.

He pleaded guilty Monday to seven counts of wire fraud. He faces 20 years in prison at sentencing scheduled for Dec. 8.

North Providence middle school teacher charged with sexual assault

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A North Providence middle school teacher arrested on the first day of school Monday is accused of multiple counts of sexual assault on a juvenile.

Matthew Moniz, 52, of Barrington, was ordered held without bail Tuesday at Providence County Superior Court after an indictment was unsealed.

Moniz is charged with two counts of first-degree sexual assault, one count of second-degree sexual assault, and one count of third-degree sexual assault. He was ordered not to have contact with the victim.

Moniz pleaded not guilty and will remain at the Adult Correctional Institutions.

A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office said the alleged assaults occurred in East Providence, sometime between Feb. 1 and June 30 in 2019. A statewide grand jury had issued the indictments on Monday.

Moniz is a teacher at Ricci Middle School, but the allegations are not connected to the school, according to a message that Superintendent Joseph B. Goho sent to families of students Monday afternoon. North Providence police arrested Moniz on the indictments after school was dismissed.

– Amanda Milkovits, Globe Staff

Massachusetts man dies when car strikes tree in Rhode Island

CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (AP) — The victim of a weekend car crash in Rhode Island has been identified as a Massachusetts man.

Justin Viera, 30, of New Bedford was driving on U.S. Route 1 in Charlestown just after midnight on Sunday when his car left the road and struck a tree, according to a news release Monday from Lt. Philip Gingerella Sr.

The car was found by police on the southbound side of the highway. No other vehicles were involved

The unconscious Viera was pulled from the vehicle and given CPR at the scene. He was taken by ambulance to Westerly Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, Charlestown police said.

The reason the car went off the road remains under investigation, police said.

DA: Woman charged in connection with Attleboro stabbing

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (AP) — A 20-year-old Massachusetts woman has been charged in connection with a fatal stabbing in Attleboro, authorities said Monday.

Kayla Cantu of Weymouth was arrested in Providence, Rhode Island on Sunday and has been charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, said Bristol County District Attorney Thomas Quinn III’s office.

She’s expected to be arraigned Monday in the Attleboro District Court and it was not immediately clear whether she has an attorney.

Authorities say police were called to the scene in Attleboro on Friday and found the victim, Kimberly Duphily, who had been stabbed. The 28-year-old was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Quinn’s office says the stabbing is still under investigation and that authorities cannot release more details about the charge against Cantu because she has not been arraigned yet.

Secretary of State addresses mail-in voting ‘misinformation’

Rhode Island’s top elections official released a statement Sunday to address what she called “misinformation” on a postcard from the U.S. Postal Service regarding voting by mail.

The postcard was sent nationwide, but Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said “every state has different election laws and policies” and thus “the postcard contributes misinformation to the national conversation on this important election.”

She pointed out that in Rhode Island, residents who choose to vote from home must request a mail ballot at least 21 days before an election. That means that Rhode Island voters have until Oct. 13 to request one.

She also said her office sends mail ballots with postage paid return envelopes, and if voters choose to use the Postal Service to return their ballot, it must be in the mail by Oct. 27.

Rhode Island voters also have the option of using secure elections-only drop boxes that the Rhode Island Board of Elections is in the process of installing in every community, she said.

In order for a mail ballot to be counted, it needs to be at the Board of Elections or one of the drop boxes by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, she said.

Zoo closing 2 days a week due to coronavirus financial woes

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence is cutting back hours as it deals with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Jeremy Goodman, executive director of the zoo, said the closure this spring and new safety restrictions has led to lower-than-expected attendance and big revenue losses.

“Therefore, we have had to look for cost savings wherever possible,” Goodman said in an emailed statement.

The zoo will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through the end of the year, officials said. Members of the public can visit from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Monday. The first Wednesday of each month will be open to members only starting Oct. 7.

RI Veterans Home owes $5M to improperly billed residents

BRISTOL, R.I. (AP) — The Rhode Island Veterans Home must pay back millions of dollars to dozens of residents who federal investigators say were improperly billed for care.

Veterans Home spokesperson Meghan Connelly said the state owes $5 million after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs found that the home had improperly billed some residents for years, WPRI-TV reported. Connelly said 56 current and former residents were impacted and 30 of them have since died.

The state will refund the next-of-kin or estates of the veterans who have died, Connelly said.

The investigation was launched this year following an anonymous complaint. Investigators found that some veterans were inappropriately charged certain fees.

R.I. Office of Veterans Services director Kasim Yarn said that the home stopped collecting the fees as soon as it learned of the error.

“Our number one priority is the health, comfort and safety of the men and women who have chosen to make the Rhode Island Veterans Home their place of residence. We are entrusted with not only their care, but also their trust, and we are working diligently to correct this error and return all funds due to the residents,” Yarn said in a statement.

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