Sins of the Fathers

Letters from the week of May 2, 2002

Church Confession

Come clean: Well, well. The pope has finally made a public statement that anyone accused of abusing children is a criminal. That would also include priests. Duh!

Will church leaders now release a list of all who have ever been accused of abusing children? Or will they continue to hem and haw, shuffle their feet and otherwise evade the matter ("Silent Witness," Robert Nelson, April 25)?

What about the children? The ones who are now adults, as well as all those affected by these atrocities, cannot and will not forget what has happened to them! Yet the Catholic Church refuses to disclose a list of those who have taken the innocence away from the children.

That says nothing of what it has done to the families of these victims. The parents have had their Catholic faith stolen from them. The siblings do not know how to help. How can their faith in the Catholic Church be restored?

I do not see how being in denial over these issues can be of help to anyone -- the church itself, let alone the families of all those involved, including the families of the perpetrators.

Shame on all of you who have the information yet refuse to disclose it. Especially you, Thomas O'Brien. What kind of leadership are you showing to Catholics and all faiths? Contrary to what seems to be construed as truth, priests are not above the law here on earth.

The police and only the police should be the ones handling this investigation of the Catholic Church's misdeeds. Obviously, the church has failed, dismally, at keeping its own within the laws of the people. And God's laws.

Shere A. Fischer
Phoenix

Youthful Indiscretions

How to help the children: I want to compliment you on your timely and important piece of journalism ("Dying Young," Amy Silverman, April 18). These facts and information need very much to be published. I have copied it and am mailing and e-mailing it to some people I know who deal with the Juvenile Justice System here in Yavapai County. I hope there will be follow-up articles and I will watch for them and bring attention to them when I can.

What else can I do to contribute to the improvement of this situation in our badly managed juvenile detention centers in this state?

These are forgotten and disregarded children who will most certainly offend again when we add these conditions to their lives. Please don't think I don't know that there a lot of violent offenders detained in Adobe Mountain. There are also some very troubled kids there who should be in an environment that addresses their needs and can contribute to their rehabilitation.

Marje Henry
Mayer

Reporter delinquency: Once again, Amy Silverman has chosen to write about the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections, and once again, she failed to represent the truth about this department, about the situation that was the focus of her story, and the efforts of our staff to deal with delinquent youth.

The April 11 death of Christopher Camacho was a tragedy. It has caused deep pain not only for the youth and his family, but also for the staff who worked directly with this troubled young man, as well as all employees of this department.

The staff of this department has rallied to respond to the trauma of Camacho's death. Crisis counseling has been provided for the youth's family, and for youth and staff. The leadership of this department, along with counselors and chaplains, spent several hours with the family at the hospital, answered the family's questions, and attended the youth's funeral.

It is important to complete a thorough examination of the events that led up to Camacho's death, and that is being done. While it has been 14 years since the last such tragedy, the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections is determined to do everything possible to keep another from occurring.

Steve Meissner
Public Information Officer
Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections

Portrait of a young man: This message is for that troubled young man (Letters, April 25) who wrote about juvenile corrections.

Young man, so far you've been dealt a bad hand in the game of life. However, it ain't over yet. You are on the verge of adulthood. You have the power to determine your own destiny now. All the excuses in the world aren't going to make your life any better. You have to take actions to make your life better.

I'd suggest for you to explore options to enlist in any of the branches of the United States Armed Forces. Between the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, I'm sure that you'd find something to your liking.

No, you don't have to learn how to be a killer. Fighters only make up a small portion of the military manpower. There are many technical fields. What you don't know, the military will teach you. It will also help you on your journey to self-discovery and help build up your character and self-esteem. You can use the GI Bill for college after your service ends. You can go to night classes and get a GED. You can attend college courses and the military will help defray a large portion of your tuition and book fees.

This is just one option for you. But whatever it is that you decide to do, once you become an adult in the eyes of the law, you are solely responsible for your own actions. You can't blame society or the system, or "The Man," forever. You can make a difference, if only you'd try.

HT Dang
Via e-mail

Dramatic License

Playing with the facts: I am the artistic director of Ensemble Theatre Company, and am writing to correct three items of misinformation contained in Robrt L. Pela's review of our current production of Durang/Durang ("Comedy of Errors," April 18). The first two are relatively minor: The gentleman taking notes in the audience was sound designer Benjamin Monrad, not co-director Ben Weisenberg. Ben Weisenberg was in the technical booth running lights, so Jessica Leigh Hunt was not responsible for the "sloppy light cues."

More important than the two aforementioned points, however, is the misquote attributed to me by Mr. Pela in his review. He states: "At intermission, Hart dared to make disparaging comments to me about his largely undertalented cast." He goes on to characterize my comments as "dissing" my players. I am extremely sorry that Mr. Pela was unable to understand my comments. His misquote of me caused the Durang/Durang actors extreme pain.

Ensemble Theatre Company is a process-oriented theater. What I said to Mr. Pela is that we are currently in the process of integrating the members of the Barrow Gang, our improvisational performing partner, into the company. Three of them appear in Durang/Durang, and their experience with scripted work is, to this date, somewhat limited. My comment concerned the varied levels of experience among the cast, and also the fact that the Barrow Gang members' work in Durang/Durang is part of a larger process through which we hope to arrive at an original and innovative method for the creation of new works.

I want to make it clear that I never made disparaging remarks about any member of our cast, nor would I. All integrity aside, as artistic director, it is in my best interest to see large numbers of tickets sold. Why in God's name would I tell a critic that our cast is "undertalented"?

As you can imagine, great harm has been done to my reputation because of Mr. Pela's thoughtless comments. However, more important, I thank you now for letting me set the record straight with my actors and the community in general.

Tim Hart
Ensemble Theatre Company

Glendale Gratuities

The music man: Great articles, Spike ("Wily Coyote" and "Campaign Confidential," Spiked, April 25)! Keep after Glendale's mayor and council. I call Steve Ellman "Professor Harold Hill the second." When he wouldn't, or more likely couldn't, give Scottsdale's astute council the financial information it demanded, he came west and found a starry-eyed hick mayor to sell his musical instruments -- er, big ideas -- to.

Spike remembers how long it took Ellman to put the money together even to buy the Coyotes, with extension after extension granted to give him more time to pull the money together. This guy has big ideas but likes to operate on other people's money. Now he's operating on Glendale's money. The city council just this week spent $13 million to buy chicken, hog and Coyote real estate to hand over to him.

Harold Stoetzer
Glendale

Glengarry Glendale: Nice column. Would have been great during my mayoral campaign and my fight against the darn stadium. I sent a copy to some friends, cc'ing local west side papers, asking where the "mainstream" media have been on this issue. But we know the answer, don't we? AWOL!

Tim Weaver
Glendale

Band Aid

Moody music man: I'm the drummer for the band Moodroom. I read your review of our CD Hung Up on Breathing and wanted to say thanks for the positive words (Recordings, April 18). However, I personally took a little offense to the first paragraph or two, which talked about us being "rich white boys" (like The Strokes) and "yuppies."

Yeesh. Do a little research, babe. I make less than $30,000 a year at my day job. None of us are anywhere close to "rich." Not a real big deal, but with the power of print media, I suppose a writer can get people to think certain things, so it's a bit irresponsible to write things like how we "lack street cred," etc. Believe me, after nearly four years and a couple hundred shows under our belt, playing anywhere from an empty hick bar in Nashville to thousands at the upcoming HFStival, we have all the street cred we need.

Sean "Bunny" Saley
Via e-mail

Character Study

Learning from experience: I just wanted to let you know that I very much enjoyed reading your article "Tuesdays With Si" (Amy Silverman, April 18). He sounds like a fine old gentleman, and his ability to still teach life lessons and not give up, despite his illness, is inspiring. Also it is so nice to hear that someone as successful as Paul Hamra is willing to devote time to an elderly, less fortunate person.

It impresses me that Mr. Hamra obviously cares for this man. He simply could have forgotten him, but obviously he didn't, nor the lessons he learned from Si. Mr. Hamra has certainly retained some sense and sensibility. And Si is certainly a remarkable man. He exhibits a fine and strong character in adversity.

I just simply loved the story as there are so many good lessons and examples to be learned from it. Thank you for this lovely piece.

Mary K. Farrington-Lorch
Via e-mail

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