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BETHEL PARK, Pa. (AP) — Federal prosecutors have added a hate crime charge against a Pennsylvania man already awaiting trial on state charges he used anti-Muslim slurs and physically attacked another man while drunk at a restaurant.

Fifty-four-year-old Jeffrey Burgess, of Bethel Heights, would face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of targeting someone with violence based on their ethnicity or perceived ethnicity.

He told WTAE-TV before his arraignment Thursday that “it was the alcohol” and said he feels remorse for what happened.

Authorities say Burgess was at a Red Robin restaurant in November when he began insulting a man sitting next to him. Authorities say Burgess repeatedly elbowed Ankur Mehta in the head. Mehta is not Muslim.

Burgess faces state charges including ethnic intimidation and simple assault.

Pittsburgh airport explosives agent jailed in sexting case

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ A Transportation Security Administration agent at Pittsburgh International Airport has been jailed on charges he sent sexually suggestive texts to a 13-year-old girl.

Fifty-one-year-old John Serak, of Baden, remained jailed Thursday on charges including unlawful contact with a minor.

The girl’s parents contacted police last March after finding messages from Serak referencing cuddling. An Allegheny County detective took over the girl’s phone account and continued to text with Serak through October, during which time police say Serak messaged about kissing and marrying her and saying she’d look “hot” in a bathing suit.

Serak worked as a Pittsburgh police officer before resigning in 2007. A TSA spokeswoman says Serak has been suspended from his job at the airport where he was an explosives expert.

Online court records don’t list an attorney for Serak who faces a March 28 preliminary hearing.

 

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