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Besmirching the dead

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by MTM, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    A former coworker died and the paper where he recently retired from wrote a glowing obit.
    It stressed how he made a difference in the life of so many children.
    What it didn't mention is that he was arrested for molesting teens and took a plea deal about 25 years ago. He was arrested for similar offenses about 20 years before that.
    I want to inform the paper, which is planning to publish a memorial page next week, but don't know if I should.
    Since it happened so long ago, I can't find any details about his record online to prove the point.
    What would you do?
  2. Oggiedoggie

    Oggiedoggie Well-Known Member

    How is that not true?
  3. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    I'm assuming you know it to be true. I'd let them know. It's then their responsibility to follow through and verify whether it's true. This is not besmirching the dead. It's just being honest about who he was.
  4. Armchair_QB

    Armchair_QB Well-Known Member

    Dude, that's just wrong.
  5. I would mention it.
    And I doubt you are alone. I can't imagine the fallout if they publish a memorial page and some of the guy's victims and their families are still around.
    I'm suprised the paper hasn't already heard about the guy's past given the "glowing" obit.

    Be clear here: Did the paper write a story on the guy's passing or was there an obit submitted by the family, which can claim he was holier than Mother Theresa?
    There is a big BIG difference (or at least there should be) in a submitted obit and a story on the guy's passing.
  6. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    It's a staff written article/obit with lots of quotes about how wonderful he was from parents and kids.
    Maybe the leopard changed his spots, but it was creepy to read about his annual fishing trip with teen brothers knowing about his past.
  7. Wow.

    I can't imagine the paper hasn't already gotten a response.
  8. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    Is the paper in the same town he was living in at the time of the offenses? If not, it would explain why there's not a response. Or maybe people involved just aren't around anymore; it's been 45 years since the first incidents.
  9. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I'd email the information to an editor anonymously.
  10. expendable

    expendable Well-Known Member


    Does not approve.
  11. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Presumably there is some actual paper trail somewhere -- some actual news stories about the cases. You might have to go to a library and dig through some microfilm, but if all you have to do is print out a few pages, that shouldn't be that hard.

    They don't have to run some kind of huge expose ("OMG this guy was a depraved pervert" etc etc) if he paid the legal penalty, but it would probably be a good idea if they pull the "he was just the greatest guy ever" tributes.

    Because if they do, a victim or family member will probably see it and go berserk, and then they'll have no choice but to do the "depraved pervert" stories.

    Now that I think about it a bit -- you say he had was arrested for "similar offenses" 45 years ago and then took the plea deal 25 years ago -- quite obviously he didn't learn his lesson first time around. (it also calls into question the prosecutors the second time; if he already had a history of molestation, WTF were they doing plea-dealing?)

    In which case maybe they ought to go ahead and give him the whole whistle-blowing expose treatment.
  12. Buck

    Buck Well-Known Member

    So, did the newspaper know about his record?
    And was he on a beat that involved him interacting with minors?
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