The more I read the article last week about Kimberly Parker’s 2015 CU Lawsuit, the more I had to ask myself, “What is the newsworthiness of this article?” After I read the gory details of a deeply private and troubled relationship. I could not help but wonder, ‘What net gain of important local political, community, or governmental information did I get from that article.’ I could not think of any. None! In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I was embarrassed and appalled that one of our very few trusted local media sources would sanction (let alone publish) such private, painful, and non-newsworthy information.
Given there was no substantive or meaningful information gained, I also had to wonder what other motives were at play. I could not help but believe, whether intentional or not, the article was attempting to have the reader draw some parallels with what is currently going on in the politically charged national scene with sex assault awareness and allegations. Yet, just based on the visceral details presented, Parker’s case showed a clear pattern of unwanted sexual harassment and abuse. So, again, I ask what was the purpose of that editorial?
Even more alarming than the half page article, however, was the accompanying short letter to the editor outlining Parker’s many different names used. This practice of changing names is not uncommon and often used to help protect a victim’s identity. Identity protection and anonymity are often the most important protections for victims in domestic abuse and/or sex assault cases. These are just parts of many victim protection laws that have been enacted throughout the country. More importantly, these laws have been universally accepted because of overwhelming research and evidence showing the potential for extreme physical harm and retribution from abusers.
The reckless and inflammatory nature of both articles has not only diminished the journalistic value and integrity of the Mountain Mail but has potentially placed someone’s personal safety in jeopardy. I am truly shocked, embarrassed, and appalled by all of this. My deeper concern, though, is we cannot continue to allow this to be a partisan issue. This is a common decency and moral understanding issue. Therefore, I now call on each candidate, especially the sheriff candidates, to act. Let’s set a precedent! Join with me in unilaterally condemning this type of incendiary journalism!
Chaffee County Sheriff Candidate