Saturday, February 03, 2007

Arrogance and Admiration

Renown scientist W. French Anderson was sentenced to 14 year in prison yesterday of child molestation. He had been conviced on July 19th. According to the Los Angeles Times, the jury took slightly longer than a day to deliberate. Deputy District Attorney Cathryn F. Brougham said that the decision demonstrated that the jury "did not allow his status, his high education, and his professional reputation to stand in the way of the truth," the Times reported. (Cited from article in The Scientist.)

The Seattle Times noted that, despite support from several prominent scientists, the sentencing judge rejected Anderson's argument that "his imprisonment would deprive humanity of the benefits of his medical efforts."

"I wish they had seen the evidence," Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor said at sentencing. "You had a choice to stop, and you didn't because of intellectual arrogance."

How do you think you'd feel if someone you respected was accused of child molestation, or domestic violence, or rape? How about if the accused was respected by not just you but your community? How would you reconcile the good he's done in the community with the harm he's done to some individuals? Let's reframe the question a bit. How would you reconcile the good he's done in his field of work with the harm he's done in his community? Because sexual assault, on children or adults, destroys trust. Particularly when committed by those whom we privilege with our admiration.

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