The rush to judgment

As a woman, I’m disturbed by all the recent sexual harassment allegations brought against prominent men. However, as a former stenographer who handled internal disciplinary investigations, the rush to judgment in most of these employment terminations is alarming (“Nancy Pelosi calls on Rep. John Conyers to resign amid multiple claims of sexual misconduct,” Nov. 30).

While the charges against Matt Lauer may have merit, I believe a modicum of fairness should have been provided this long respected news professional (“Matt Lauer issues statement, sayings repairing damage is now full-time job,” Nov. 30). Instead to tossing him out on the street, a serious investigation should have taken place, and the accuser should have been asked why she waited several years before presenting the case to management.

And Garrison Keillor was fired over allegations of “inappropriate behavior” that also has a similar odor of injustice (“Garrison Keillor fired for ‘inappropriate behavior,’” Nov. 30). Anyone who has served on jury duty knows a defendant has rights and the person claiming injury must be specific and present actual evidence within a designated time frame. Furthermore. there needs to be witnesses, either to the event or knowledge of it. This sexual harassment “witch-hunt” (sorry, I don’t know the masculine equivalent) will set women back decades. It even reminds me of the Inquisition where the mere suspicion of guilt could bring about imprisonment or worse.

It bothers me to see respected individuals brought down in such a manner and watch their reputations destroyed. It’s time statutes of limitations be placed on allegations of sexual harassment or inappropriate behavior. Please don’t think I’m tolerant of vile behavior, I’m certainly not. It’s just that I’d like to see reasonable standards put in place. Right now, the whole matter of “inappropriate behavior” strikes me as a verdict without benefit of trial.

Rosalind Ellis Heid, Baltimore

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