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Dear Editor,

The policy of plea bargaining is not new by any means, but it has become an issue for serious consideration in the upcoming election. Plea bargaining, for anyone who may not know, is the act of pleading a charge (or charges) down to a lesser charge (or charges) and/or dismissing other charges. It is needed as a tool for prosecutors and has merit when used properly. But when we see initial charges of sexual assault, attempted murder, etc. plea-bargained to the point that these perpetrators walk away with a few years of probation, red flags should go up.

The case of Conner McCain is especially troubling. This man is not only a Cañon City resident, he also was employed as an assistant coach at Cañon City Middle School. This is where Mr. McCain was able to contact a 13-year-old girl. He later had sexual relations with this child, which he says was consensual. Thinking adults must ask this one important question: Did this assistant coach not know that a 13-year-old girl can’t give consent to sell her bicycle let alone consent to have sexual contact with an adult? Anyone who has ever raised a girl through their difficult teen years know how very vulnerable these children are. These young girls (and boys) deserve the protection of their community and of law enforcement. It should be made abundantly clear through punitive action for such predators that our children are precious; they are our future and they will be protected as they grow into adulthood.

Mr. McCain apparently surrounds himself with friends of dubious character as it has been reported they have been adamantly defending his actions including putting the blame on the child/victim and letting him not accept responsibility for what occurred. This one fact alone speaks volumes to the appropriateness of allowing this admitted sex offender to plea bargain his way to one charge. He will receive a four-year probation and NO jail time for his actions. In plain English, no real consequences for his criminal behavior. What do you think this will say to the next grown man who seeks to lure an innocent girl into satisfying his criminal needs? What about the men and women who have committed the same offense and find themselves incarcerated? It leaves the idea of “justice for all” in shreds.

This is only one example of many cases that are being plea bargained by our Governor Polis-appointed District Attorney. In times gone by, our children were taught by their parents that there are consequences for their actions. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. Our children were familiar with this saying and what it meant. They knew if they broke the rules there would be punishment. Anything from additional chores, loss of allowance or even a “trip to the woodshed.” Please understand this is not advocating child abuse, but maybe a few swats on the old sit down was preferable to growing up undisciplined and winding up in residence at 100 Justice Center Road.

Lately, it seems that many people think they are free to do or say whatever they wish even though it sometimes leads to the actual harm of another person. The mere utterance of phrases such as, “My bad” or “I’m sorry, but …” or “I’ll do better next time” excuses all wrongs and they can simply move on to another victim. This behavior seems to say “okay” to the accused and “suck it up” to the weaker or smaller person who has become the victim.

Time to check out the cases that have been pleaded down while Polis’s hand-picked D.A. Kaitlin Turner has been calling the shots.

With this knowledge, we know what to expect if Kaitlin Turner is returned to office – so your choice is clear. Keep on keeping on with the same ol’ same ol’ (or worse once she is elected and can truly “be herself”) or vote for a change. The time to cast your ballot is drawing near. If you are happy with what we are seeing here and around our country, then vote appropriately. But if you, like me, think it is time to put the teeth back in the legal system, cast your vote for Linda Stanley!

Linda Stanley is the Law and Order candidate and the only candidate with the documented experience and background that proves she will only plea bargain where appropriate and not hesitate to take the bad guys to trial when the crime calls for prison time. Ms. Stanley will bring renewed meaning to the words “Justice for All.”

Barbara Penezic

Cañon City

Editor’s Note: Conner McCain, by then age 20, pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor, with a sexual factual basis, a Class 4 felony, in May.  As part of the plea, he admitted to engaging in unlawful sexual behavior, and he will be required to register as a sex offender. The remaining counts, Sex Assault on a Child, a Class 4 felony, and Sexual Exploitation/Child, a Class 5 felony, were dismissed under the plea. District Attorney Kaitlin Turner said the people who support McCain publicly blamed the 13-year-old victim in this case. She said the plea,” in this case is fair, but it not a sign of acceptance of what happened.” She asked for four years of probation to give the defendant sufficient time to complete sex offender specific treatment and “to learn that his behavior wasn’t just a mistake, but it was wrong.”