Ten years ago, a presiding judge dismissed the cases of two priests of the Toledo Roman Catholic diocese who were arrested for public indecency, a misdemeanor. Criminal charges were dismissed and the judge ordered the records sealed upon the successful completion by each priest of a diversion program, which is not uncommon in cases of that kind.
The exact nature of those indecencies has never been disclosed. News of the arrests was reported in The Blade in 2000, and the outcome of the two cases was published in other local papers even earlier.
Two park rangers interviewed for a story in The Blade offered descriptions of other incidents of public indecency during their undercover work that might easily lead readers to believe that their descriptions were about what the two priests had done, though the rangers made no such claim. Neither park ranger could remember arresting any priests and, even if they had, would not discuss a case that has been sealed.
The Blade's April 24 editorial speaks of these 10-year-old events as a highly disturbing "revelation" and a "discovery," even though an April 19 story acknowledges that The Blade and other papers published these events when they happened. The editorial also makes a point of saying darkly that the records in both cases were sealed, suggesting without any factual support that diocese obtained preferential treatment for the priests.
Readers were left with the impression that the priests engaged in the conduct described in the article, that they were guilty, and that the diocese orchestrated a cover-up. The facts presented, however, do not back up this speculation. Regardless of our failings, no one deserves to be subjected to humiliation as a result of speculative journalism and innuendo.
Director of Communications
Diocese of Toledo
Property owners are protected in compact
I would like to clear up some misconceptions regarding the Great Lakes Compact. The compact protects individual property owners' right to access their ground water. Any statement to the contrary is simply misleading and incomplete.
Article 8 of the compact says: "Nothing in this Compact shall be construed to affect, limit, diminish, or impair any rights validly established and existing as of the effective date of this Compact under the state or federal law governing the withdrawals of waters in the Basin." On the effective date of the compact, the Ohio Revised Code, Section 1522.08 reads that "the Compact does not confer or extend any public trust rights and does not confer any proprietary ownership rights to the state or any public entity over the ground water or surface water in the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River Basin in this state."
Moreover, the compact also states that nothing in it shall be construed as affecting or intending to affect or in any way to interfere with common law water rights. Ohio's highest court, in McNamara vs. City of Rittman, held that "Ohio recognizes that land owners have a property interest in the ground water underlying their land." The Ohio Supreme Court has held that landowners have a vested property interest in all uses of ground waters not unreasonably harmful to the interest of others.
If the Ohio Senate desires to change the Ohio Constitution to add further protection, they should do so. However, they should not hold the passage of the compact hostage while such legislation is being worked on. For the economic development for northeastern Ohio, I urge the Senate to pass House Bill 416 and the Great Lakes Compact.
Rep. Matthew J. Dolan
98th House District
Help clean up along roadways this month
As the snow recedes and the grass greens up, more than wildflowers are revealed along our county roads and highways. Grabbing two trash bags and a pair of gloves, I walked a half-mile north of my home to see what I might find. Lots. I filled both bags with litter.
In my collection there was a golf ball, a used pregnancy test, 48 aluminum beer cans, 28 aluminum soft drink cans, 53 recyclable plastic bottles, and 11 glass beverage bottles.
There was also an assortment of refuse from fast food businesses and 13 empty cigarette packs, possibly indicating bad luck for smokers who tossed them out.
The way we treat our environment is shameful. We don't want to pay a deposit and have to take empty containers back to the store for a refund. Stores don't want to deal with mountains of returnable containers. Perhaps these businesses could organize volunteer groups to help keep the roads and highways clean. The roadsides in Michigan are spotless because of its deposit law.
Throughout the months of April and May, groups and individuals can volunteer to pick up trash along county roads in Henry County through the Litter Round-up, an activity organized by the Henry County Solid Waste District. To participate, call 419-256-7343.
Leave dog wardens alone to do their job
Commissioner Ben Konop's recent attack on the Lucas County dog warden license-checking program was absurd. In the late 1960s, I, along with several other high school and college kids, were hired as deputy dog wardens each summer to do just that. We literally went door-to-door and inquired whether the owner had a dog. If they did, we checked the license. If they didn't have a license, we offered to sell them one on the spot. It was a pleasant job, and the vast majority of the homeowners were quite pleasant, even when they were "caught."
To suggest this represents illegal search and seizure is one of the more ridiculous comments I've heard from a local politician in a long time. I don't know Mr. Konop from Adam but I have to wonder just how effective he is in his own job if this is what he is focusing on.
As for the dog wardens, having been witness to what they do for three summers, their job is often thankless, usually dirty, and occasionally dangerous. Just leave them alone and let them do it.
Not excited PUCO guarding consumers
The House and Senate passed the long-awaited bill on energy regulation. Gov. Ted Strickland says the bill "protects consumers from having to pay unjustified prices for a commodity that is essential."
And who is going to monitor these prices? The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, of course. Pardon me if I don't get too excited over that prospect. We've all seen how the PUCO works in the "public's" interest.
Mental health needs not adequately met
May is Mental Health Month and, with the recent news on the VA's misleading statistics on the suicidal and emotional scars of our veterans, it is a good time to examine mental-health services offered to the military as well as the general public.
With veterans suffering from the effects of war; college, mall, and other shootings; alcohol-related accidents; children found taking guns and knives to school, family/neighbor violence, and other violent crimes, perhaps citizens, politicians, and mental-health professionals need to question the effectiveness, quality, and follow-up care being provided.
Today, the mental-health system just tries to give "legalized drugs" and a "quick fix" if it gives any help at all. From the results, these are not working.
How many more suicides, homicides, and accidents need to happen?
Wake up, America. Begin to repair the psychological strategies and techniques now.
Kudos to Gov. Ted Strickland for recommending the termination of the Ohio Highway Patrol troopers. And shame on the troopers for their participation in a KKK "joke" that showed a blatant lack of sensitivity. Not only did this action besmirch the public office they represent, but it also is fraught with racism, covert or otherwise.
The racial epithets and connotations synonymous with the KKK are no laughing matter and certainly no joke.
Pamela G. Jackson
East Lincolnshire Boulevard