Letter: Story about choking son sensationalized

To the editor:

As a mother and a grandmother, I was outraged to see that you published a story that took place five days after the alleged incident (“Man accused of choking son,” Sept. 14). I question your motives and your rationale for creating a scenario that puts the victim and the family at risk for more psychological wounding. Is it not enough that this family now is part of Child Protective Services and will live with the stigma of child maltreatment? Is that not scandal enough?

I wonder if you took into consideration the additional trauma you have exposed this child to? He was stripped of his innocence and his internal sense of safety when he was assaulted and terrorized by the person he should have been able to trust the most.

Did you not realize that by identifying the perpetrator you also identify the child? He is a minor and has numerous protections under the law in regard to confidentiality.

I suppose that it did not occur to you that his friends’ parents, his football coach and teammates, as well as his teachers would see this and discuss this with each other and even with him? Or in earshot of his playmates? The victim is now at greater risk as he may be ostracized and separated from critical natural supports.

I am not suggesting the accused should not be prosecuted. There is no justification for abusing a child. I can only assume that this individual was under the influence or deeply troubled in some other way. His future is not of immediate concern, but the young man he assaulted should be protected and insulated from further trauma.

It is my hope that before you dredge up another story for a bit of sensationalism, you will think twice. The gentleman in the picture was not at large, the child was not hospitalized and as much as I understand and support the right to free speech, the attempt you made at publishing something that was somewhat sensational was an epic fail. I just fail to see the point of the article.

I wish you luck, I pray for this family for healing, and for the father who lost control and must be filled with guilt and regret. Now his family will be publicly shamed and humiliated as people connect his face to the event.

I hope you can live with that.

Cyndi L. Wolff