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PLAINVIEW/Ex-con gets 7 to 14 years in prison for carjacking teen

A convicted rapist who emerged from prison a decade ago was sentenced Friday to go back, after a jury found him guilty of carjacking a 17-year-old girl in front of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library in 2009.

William Tockash, 51, of Plainview, was sentenced by Nassau Judge Meryl Berkowitz to 7 to 14 years in prison. A jury convicted him in February of first-degree coercion and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon.

Prosecutors said Tockash forced his way into the girl's car while she was stopped at a red light in front of the library in December 2009. The girl escaped after he told her to stop the car and put his hand over her face.

Tockash, who had a gravity knife when he was arrested, is a registered Level 3 sex offender. He was released from prison in 2001 after serving nearly 20 years for raping two women.

Tockash's lawyer, Dana Grossblatt of Jericho, said her client plans to appeal.

"Thanks to this teenage girl's bravery and the hard work of police and members of my office, this sexual predator will be off the streets for a very long time," Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement.

-- ANN GIVENS


BROOKHAVEN TOWN/Middle Country teachers agree to freeze pay for year

Middle Country teachers have accepted a new three-year contract that keeps salaries essentially flat next year and helps preserve academic programs, the district announced this week.

District and union officials say the agreement next year freezes both contractual raises and annual "step" increases that are built into the salary schedule. The second year contains a 1 percent contractual raise and a six-month freeze of "steps." The third year provides full "steps," along with a contractual raise of between 1.5 percent and 2.5 percent, depending on the average negotiated by teachers throughout Suffolk County.

Middle Country's new contact is consistent with a pattern of lower raises currently being accepted by teachers across Long Island.

"That's a very big deal for us," said Superintendent Roberta Gerold, who added that lower raises will help her district cope next year with a $9.2 million cut in combined state and federal aid.

Nadia Resnikoff, president of the Middle Country Teachers Association, said that without such concessions, the district would have faced deep cuts in elective courses, sports teams and other programs. The union represents nearly 800 teachers.

"A lot of our members also live in the district," Resnikoff added. "We hope the community supports us and passes the budget."

-- JOHN HILDEBRAND

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