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Student is sentenced in high profile groping case

A 14-year-old African-American boy accused of groping a white classmate at Gulf Middle School in March was given two years of probation after entering a no contest plea in Circuit Court last month. The case attracted the attention of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who urged Assistant State Attorney Michael Halkitis to use care in dealing with a school disciplinary problem. "We expect to follow this case closely, as we do many others to satisfy our concerned members that due process and equal protection prevail," Jackson wrote in a letter. In addition to probation, the boy was ordered to have no contact with the girl or her family, write a letter of apology, pay court fees and get counseling. Adjudication was withheld, meaning the criminal record will be expunged when probation is completed.

Man tells deputies a friend punched and robbed him

HOLIDAY _ A man said he was punched in the face and robbed of $1,500 in jewelry during an altercation with a friend early Sunday. Jerry Matthews, 23, of Palm Harbor told a Pasco sheriff's deputy that he was at Weston Oaks apartments on Alt. U.S. 19 about 2 a.m. when a friend, whom he identified only as Taz, "sucker punched" him, kicked him and ripped chains off his neck. The deputy, however, could not find Taz because he had no information other than his nickname.

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