ALLENTOWN, Pa. — A woman charged with killing her adoptive daughter in a violent rape and murder fantasy previously worked for Northampton County Children and Youth as an “adoption supervisor” before she was suspended in 2010, authorities said Monday.

Sara Packer, the adoptive mother of 14-year-old Grace Packer, is charged in Bucks County along with Jacob Sullivan, Sara Packer’s boyfriend, in the death of the teen who had been reported missing last summer.

Sara Packer, 41, of Horsham Township, was charged Sunday with homicide, rape, conspiracy, kidnapping and abuse of a corpse. Authorities also charged Sullivan, saying he and Packer plotted for nearly a year before the girl was killed last year in a Richland Township home.

Northampton County officials issued a news release Monday stating Packer worked from the county from 2003 through 2010, but did not include any further details. “Regarding the charges against Ms. Packer, the county cannot comment regarding ongoing job investigations,” the statement read.

County Controller Stephen Barron Jr. said Monday that Packer worked as a supervisor for the county’s Children and Youth department for adoptions. He said Packer’s last date working for the county was in January 2010. Packer’s employment status was listed as “suspended,” but Barron said he had no additional details why she had been suspended.

Packer’s salary was $44,600 at the time, Barron said. Barron said Monday he thought it was important to release information about Packer’s former position.

—The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)


Trump speaks with Alibaba’s Jack Ma about jobs

One surefire way to get an audience with Donald Trump appears to be the promise of American jobs, even if you’re one of China’s leading pariahs in the eyes of U.S. trade officials.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba Group, met with the president-elect Monday at Trump Tower to pitch plans on how to create 1 million American jobs by helping small businesses sell to China.

“A great, great entrepreneur; one of the best in the world and he loves this country and he loves China,” Trump told reporters after the meeting. “Jack and I are going to do some great things.”

The meeting comes less than three weeks after the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative returned Alibaba to the list of “notorious markets” that engage in rampant copyright piracy and trademark counterfeiting — a major slap in the face for a company that still holds the record for largest IPO when it listed in New York in 2014.

The agency said Alibaba’s leading e-commerce platform, Taobao, has made strides cracking down on fakes, but that levels of the goods remain “unacceptably high” and pose a risk to consumers.

Still, a pledge to create American jobs would help counter one of Trump’s chief concerns about the U.S. relationship with China — namely that the yawning trade gap was stifling employment at home.

In recent years, Alibaba says China’s strengthening middle class has increased demand for U.S. products such as fresh fruit, cosmetics and baby supplies. The company even invested in a warehouse in Southern California to more efficiently ship American goods to China.

—Los Angeles Times


Judge publicly reprimanded for ‘marriage hearings’

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Fayette Family Court Judge Timothy Philpot was publicly reprimanded Monday by a state judicial oversight body for requiring couples with children to participate in special hearings to determine whether a marriage was broken. Couples without children didn’t have to participate in such hearings.

The state Judicial Conduct Commission released an order Monday that said Philpot also provided, to an unnamed third party, facts about cases before him that weren’t part of the public record. That third party used the information for “independent research and teaching duties.”

Philpot waived formal proceedings and cooperated with the investigation. His punishment was the public reprimand.

The commission found that Philpot violated three judicial canons: one that prohibits a judge from using the office to advance the private interests of others, one that requires judges to perform his or her duties of judicial office fairly and impartially, and one that prohibits judges from disclosing or using nonpublic information.

In 2016, Philpot wrote a novel, “Judge Z: Irretrievably Broken,” about a judge who orders a controversial hearing to slow down the divorce of a couple with young children in the hope that they will reconcile.

—Lexington Herald-Leader


Seventeen arrested with links to Kardashian West heist in Paris

PARIS — French police arrested 17 suspects in connection with the October robbery of U.S. reality television and social media star Kim Kardashian West, the Paris prosecutor’s office told dpa Monday.

The suspects were aged between 23 and 73, the prosecutor’s office said, confirming earlier reports of the arrests. Broadcaster BFMTV said the 17 were detained during early morning police operations in southern France and in the Paris region.

Kardashian West, 36, was held up during a robbery at her rented flat during a stay in central Paris on October 3. Her spokesperson said at the time that the star was “badly shaken, but physically unharmed.”

During the incident, five people disguised as police arrived at the hotel before two entered the apartment where Kardashian West was staying, robbing her of an estimated $10 million worth of jewelry, including a ring valued at $4.2 million and a jewelry box valued at $5.3 million.

The prosecutor’s office said that the jewels had not been retrieved during Monday’s arrests. A spokesperson declined to give further details about the operation.

According to BFMTV, the arrests were made following the discovery of DNA traces on a piece of jewelry that fell during the robbers’ escape by bicycle. Investigators also used video surveillance images, the report said.

Kardashian West had been in the French capital to attend Fashion Week shows with her mother and sister.


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