It was graphic, it was brief and it also was edited down from a much rawer rough draft: I am referring to an article I wrote last week in this paper that detailed a child molestation in our county.
I understand this article has hurt and upset some readers. I hope this comes across as sincere. My intentions were absolutely not to harm the victims of this crime or the readers in our community.
As a woman, sexual crime is extremely personal and difficult for me to write about. I wrote this article because I wanted to detail the reality of what this man reportedly did.
It is one thing to have your name listed in the public record, but I believe, as a reporter, some of these egregious crimes warrant showing exactly what these monsters do.
They prey on the defenseless and steal innocence. They cut off the safety nets of victims’ lives, who end up bearing these scars for the rest of their lives.
I did not include the young victim’s name, nor the other victim's name — or even more egregious details about what happened — but I do heavily regret writing a detail which led to readers making connections and drawing conclusions.
At the time of writing the article, I did not think this was a possibility. I was also not soft on certain facts because even though they were uncomfortable and brutal, they were something that this man reportedly did. I believed showing his crime was pertinent, because omitting certain details would be downplaying what this grown man reportedly chose to do to a child.
This is our reality. I cannot change what was printed in the paper. I do hope a change will result from this. I hope as the more sexual crime is brought to light, the more victims will not be left in the dark.
Somebody wrote to me and pointed out children would read this article. I would hope this could help children who have not been able to speak out, or for them to realize if they are being abused, that this is wrong.
It is our duty to tell the community about the crimes committed in our county. Unfortunately, sometimes these details can be uncomfortable, horrifying and downright disgusting.
Likewise, it is also our duty to report on the good parts of our lives, the beautiful moments, the achievements and celebrations and milestones, which we are always willing and happy to do.
Either way, as a newsroom, we learn from what you tell us after our words have gone to press. We hear you, and we take your feedback seriously. Let us hope these crimes do not even come across our desk in the future — although we know, as long as there are monsters out there, they will appear in some shape or form.
And, thank you for speaking your truths.