The parents of wannabe singer-actor-celebrity Marissa Leigh, 16, of Scottsdale, Ariz., employ 10 people for her career development, according to an April Arizona Republic story. They include manager; publicist; voice coach; two acting coaches; people to do makeup, hair and wardrobe; musical composer; photographer; and webmaster. “She’s spoiled,” said her mother, “but hopefully, it’s a grounded spoiled.” However, on her national TV debut, on MTV’s My Super Sweet 16—a party which her parents spent $150,000 to stage—she was caught saying “I’m a princess,” “I’m such a rock star that I can do this” and “I always get exactly what I want.” Even after MTV cut the two songs she sang, she was optimistic: “[This show will] still put my name out there and stuff.”
In Yorktown, N.Y., in June, one spouse who was roughed up by the other during a domestic eruption tried to talk police out of filing charges. However, the battering spouse this time was Emily Hanlon-Tarasov, a novelist, and the explanation of her husband—who was knocked unconscious when Hanlon-Tarasov angrily threw a book—was fittingly creative: “A few things began flying at the wall,” he said, “and one of them was a telephone book. And unfortunately, my head moved into the space that the book was flying [into].” Police nonetheless charged Hanlon-Tarasov with assault.
THE LAW OF IRONY
The British watchdog Environmental Agency, which prosecutes pollution violators, was fined the equivalent of nearly $14,000 in May for allowing toxic waste to flow from its monitoring station along the River Exe in Somerset. And in July, municipal officials in Provincetown, Mass., held a community meeting to air numerous complaints by heterosexuals that they are targets of hate speech by the town’s large gay and lesbian population.
PEOPLE WITH ISSUES
In June, Betty Jean Barachie was sentenced to 27 months in prison for embezzling $1.5 million from her employer so that she could indulge a mindless compulsive-shopping habit; among her inexplicable, 1,500-item haul were 58 coats, 16 chain saws, more than 3,000 books, and a John Deere tractor. And Nurse Christopher Irvin, 32, was charged in April with molesting a comatose 4-year-old girl under his care at Children’s Hospital in San Diego; he told police he had touched the girl’s genitals only “to see if I liked it.” He said he didn’t and that, because he wasn’t sexually aroused, he must not be attracted to children.
LEAST COMPETENT CRIMINALS
A federal appeals court in June affirmed the conviction of Aaron Fraser (aka Asante Kahari) for defrauding a Michigan woman he had met in an Internet chat room and had eventually taken for $38,000 in a counterfeit check scam. Kahari had sent the woman bogus checks for deposit into her account, and then met her to collect the cash, and was gone by the time the bank realized the checks were counterfeit. Kahari had denied the charges, but the prosecutor introduced portions of a book, The Birth of a Criminal by Asante Kahari, which describes in precise detail the very scheme Kahari was accused of pulling on the Michigan woman. “I would get online,” he wrote, “meet a broad and be mailing her the [computer-generated counterfeit] check the next day.” MTW