LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Principal is due an apology for abuse charges

I read with utter disgust, disbelief and amazement of the case against McCormick Elementary School Principal Kevin M. Lindsey, who was charged with a variety of sex-related offenses that allegedly occurred decades ago ("Sexual assault charges against principal are dropped," Dec. 30).

The charges against Mr. Lindsey were based solely on the almost simultaneously "recovered" memories of two sisters. On this information alone, police officers arrested Mr. Lindsey at his home during the early hours of a Saturday morning.

Baltimore County State's Attorney Sandra A. O'Connor and the Baltimore County Police Department should be ashamed of themselves for the way in which this investigation was conducted.

Ms. O'Connor states that an apology to Mr. Lindsey would be "inappropriate."

I think that's the least that ought to be done, since the only thing that cannot be "recovered" in this case is Mr. Lindsey's reputation.

Steven F. Geppi

Finksburg

Sterner standard needed for charges

A cold chill ran through me after I read carefully the article "Sexual assault charges against principal are dropped" (Dec. 30).

A man's reputation has been ruined because of a legal and reporting system run amok without safeguards to protect citizens.

A newspaper that reports the name of a person charged with such a crime while not publishing the names of those making the charge must take a hard look at whether its safeguards apply equally to both parties.

And the fact that the state's attorney's office uses a standard that allows it to set forth charges without physical evidence, in part because prosecutors found the women who made the allegations to be "sincere, articulate and well-educated," is frightening.

In a society in which most of us have a hard time finding our car keys based on memory, the state must be held to a much tougher standard when making charges based on recovered memories.

Legislators should take heed that a law that permits a prosecutor to charge individuals based on memories reported decades later is an open door to abuse.

Edwin S. Crawford

Baltimore

Abbas continues Arafat's duplicity

As I read The Sun's article describing the supposedly fine line Mahmoud Abbas is walking as he drums up support for his campaign to be elected Palestinian prime minister, I shuddered in disbelief that we are witnessing a repetition of history, and no one seems to care ("Palestinian campaign requires delicate balance," Dec. 26).

It was only 10 years ago that Yasser Arafat declared his peaceful intentions to the world. However, to his own people he continued to preach violence and swore to reach Jerusalem by force.

We all sat back and figured that he needed to do this only to garner support among his constituency. We figured wrong. It took some time, but his true intentions were unmasked.

And now Mr. Abbas is doing exactly the same thing, and we are giving him another free pass.

Why don't we ever take these men at their word?

Michael Langbaum

Baltimore

Whining over gifts as tragedy unfolds

The layout of last Wednesday's front page offered a terrible irony about our priorities.

Under the main articles about the horrors of the tsunami ("A desperate search for aid as tsunami fatalities double," Dec. 29) was reporter Abigail Tucker's puff piece on the newest rage ("High-tech gifts elevate post-holiday stress," Dec. 29).

Reading about these spoiled people destroying expensive holiday gifts really turned my stomach.

Susan Goodman

Perry Hall

U.S. always acts to provide relief

It seems The Sun never misses a chance to shed negative light on the U.S. government and, in particular, on President Bush. The editorial "Aftershocks" (Dec. 30) is just another example.

The U.S. government and American citizens are always the ones who give aid when disaster hits. And we often give the most.

Yet instead of praising our efforts in this disaster, The Sun says the White House was "shamed into taking action."

Give me a break.

In addition to dollars, we are sending over ships, including a hospital ship, as well as tons and tons of supplies.

And this is just the beginning of our disaster aid relief.

Allan Kaufman

Owings Mills

Ehrlich taxes those he claims to protect

It's curious how Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. paraded across the state for months dragging doctors and hospital administrators out of their offices for countless news conferences to tell us that medical malpractice insurance is Maryland's No. 1 "crisis" and his new top priority.

Now he threatens to veto a solid solution because he claims (without proof) the funding mechanism - an HMO "fee," if you will - will cost poor people their medical coverage ("Ehrlich has veto ready for bill," Dec. 31).

Was Mr. Ehrlich concerned about people losing their homes and businesses when he wrote a big increase in state property taxes into his budget?

Did this governor care about people losing their cars when he raised car taxes?

Where's the empathy for those who might lose their water and sewer services because he imposed a brand new "flush tax" on everyone?

In fact, all of Mr. Ehrlich's new and increased taxes are approaching half a billion dollars a year. Most of that burden is on the same working families the governor claims to be protecting.

David Paulson

Baltimore

The writer is a former communications director for the Maryland Democratic Party.

Big Band giant leaves hits behind

I note with sadness the passing of Artie Shaw at the age of 94 ("Bandleader Artie Shaw dies," Dec. 31).

Mr. Shaw was ever-petulant and never predictable, but put a clarinet in his hands and, oh, how he could wail.

Mr. Shaw, along with Glenn Miller, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Harry James and Benny Goodman, were the giants of that wonderful but brief period in American popular music known as the Big Band Era.

How well I recall as a teenager, more than 60 years ago, tuning in my radio late at night and hearing Mr. Shaw's band coming from the Roosevelt Hotel or the CafM-i Rouge in the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City.

And I'm sure that Mr. Shaw will be remembered by many through his many records that were the hits of the day.

Ed Weitzel

Berlin

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