1. Archive

Anti-gay stance costs evangelist his county job

Outspoken televangelist John Butler Book will no longer serve as the Sheriff's Office volunteer chaplain because of his criticism of homosexuals.

Book, a longtime supporter of Orange County Sheriff Kevin Beary, recently argued that the department violated its own policy by allowing a patrol car and deputy to be part of a gay pride parade in downtown Orlando.

Book called the parade a political event and said the sheriff was quietly reversing his stand on gay rights.

Beary responded by writing to Book, saying the preacher's public stand against gays means he can no longer be a counselor for deputies and their families.

Heroin suspected

in another death

LONGWOOD _ A addict who lectured to adolescents about the dangers of drug use is the latest victim of a suspected heroin overdose in the Orlando area.

David L. Zarek, 41, was found unconscious in his apartment Sunday and was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

His death is believed the fourth from heroin in Seminole County within a year and the 14th in the Orlando metro area within 15 months, authorities said Tuesday.

Ex-official sentenced

for sexual overture

FORT MYERS _ A suspended City Council member caught on tape trying to trade his influence for sex was sentenced to probation and community service.

Bernie Alimenti, 55, was sentenced Monday to five years of probation and 600 hours of community service and ordered to pay a $250 fine. He pleaded no contest June 12 to charges he offered to help a woman move from her public-housing apartment into another in exchange for sex.

Alimenti was suspended from the Fort Myers City Council by Gov. Lawton Chiles after the April 5 arrest on influence peddling.

Lee Circuit Judge Isaac Anderson told a courtroom packed with Alimenti supporters that the former council member's conduct was "reprehensible" but that a jail term "would serve no societal purpose but retribution."