Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Why Letters to the Editor Should Be Fact Checked

The Charlotte Sun is having a hard time keeping its sex offenders straight. Some weeks back, the Sun published a letter from a man complaining it was unfair that he, a registered sex offender, had to pay for the administrative process associated with his registration as a sex offender. Shortly thereafter, a man who lives in a nearby city with a similar name (same first and last, different middle name), wrote in to say he's not the sex offender. The paper ran a long story to set the record straight.

On Dec. 1, this letter leads the reader's letters section of the Viewpoint page:
I’m sure you have had to be very selective with which letters you print in reference to the letter from this pervert Vincent Lalicata. Mr. Lalicata should be very grateful that he has only to register. In third world countries, his crime would be considered capital punishment. In some circles here in the U.S.sex offenders are still considered mentally ill and professional therapists are making a killing off them. It’s just my opinion, Vincent Lalicata, but you should feel fortunate that the friends and family members of your victims haven’t assisted you to meet your maker by now. Can’t say what I would do if you had committed your illness against one of mine, the rage boggles the imagination.
Jim L. Kendrick
Port Charlotte
The problem is, Mr. Lalicata is a respected local businessman and has not committed any crime. He merely wrote a letter to the Charlotte Sun responding to the self-admitted, registered sex-offender’s objection to having to pay for registration. Here’s Mr. Lalicata's signed letter, published Saturday, Nov. 26.

In response to Richard (Earl) Rankin's letter, you sir are right. You should not have to pay for sex offender registration. You should have to pay for a 10-by-10-foot sign to be placed in front of your house, warning people that you are a sex offender. You should also have sex offender tattooed across your forehead, so everyone knows what you are, a creep.
Vincent Lalicata
Port Charlotte

Footnote to history: The Charlotte Sun has removed Mr. Kendrick's letter from its electronic archives. I do, however, have a paper copy in mine.

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