Letter to the editor: Power of the press can damage families

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In reference to our meeting of June 2 concerning the person in question in your June 1 publication of the May 24, 2011, Owen Circuit Court report. I have received calls from individuals that knew different and saw your paper and even an attorney questioning what was going on.
As stated, the person in question did not plead guilty to the sex charges you listed only to have furtherance with the attorneys later this month. The way you have put it, you’re stating he pled guilty to these specific charges. Wrong, wrong, wrong. If this would have gone on to a jury, you pretty well decided the case. It has even been established now his innocence of these charges. If you and your staff had only taken the time to delve deeper, you might know more about it. Just because a publication has the power of print, it does not give one the right to be judge, jury and executioner.
There’s an old saying of sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will not hurt you. Definitely an error in quote because word or names can and will rip one to shreds. Thus your statement pretty well puts the icing on the cake.
My family has endured and suffered extreme embarrassment, humiliation, shame and disgrace of the utmost proportions. Now finally finding the truth, hopefully things are going the other way.
I insist on clarification, retraction and reinstatement. You need to get your facts together if you’re going to run a publication.
If you have the backbone to publish this letter, you will have my respect and thanks. But if not, we’ll know, won’t we?
By the way, I noticed during our meeting, I never did hear the utterance of an apology.

Bill R. Kemper

Editor’s note: The charges listed and the plea were accurate at the time the News-Herald received the court docket. The charges and outcome were amended following the paper’s deadline. Mr. Kemper declined to listen to an explanation or potential apology. A correction was published in last week’s edition of the News-Herald.