Thursday, March 20, 2008

Busy Thursday

Hi all ... I've had a week so busy I can't keep my head on straight ... so here's a sample of what I'm seeing, hearing, and feeling tonight.

Nice to see police have finally charged the adults and older teens who were having sex with a group of 12-year-old girls in Massillon. We've been following this investigation for months and I was wondering why it took this long to bring charges. For months I've heard from frustrated Massillon residents who say the investigation was delayed and stalled because Massillon's star running back, DeVoe Torrence, was involved. That's a tough allegation, but considering Torrence was indeed charged today, those who've screamed "conspiracy to delay" will have more fuel for their beliefs.. I'd like to see the dates of the incidents versus the dates the cases were reported. I'd also like to see how many other teens and/or adults were interviewed as potential suspects. This story is completely disturbing and I hope the girls get counseling.

I'm finding that the health and housing issues related to our "Forgotten Families" (see my posts below) aren't unique to Akron. A report this weekend in the Republican American paints a grim picture of a similar group of immigrants placed in Connecticut. The Waterbury International Institute is coming under fire for not taking care of 64 Karen refugees; Akron's International Institute has brought five times that many to Akron.

I can tell you that after visiting Findley Academy yesterday, there are certainly some strong people who are stepping up to help these families. The principal and several teachers are reaching out to dozens of kids in the Karen families through tangible support. Findley has 32 Karen kids and more than 80 immigrant students from 10 different countries. That in itself is a success story, but considering the refugees will be expected to take the same state-mandated tests (in English no less) as the local kids, the school's overall scores are bound to drop, even though they're challenged like no other school in the area. Doesn't seem fair.

I spent part of today in Cleveland working on a story for Opening Day -- just 11 days away! A former student of mine at the UA is now one of the stadium voices of the Tribe. His name is Ryan Pritt and he's but 21 years old! How nice to barely be an adult and be living the dream that so many adults practice in their homes while watching the games on TV! After Cutts, the primary elections, and the Forgotten Families, I was thrilled to sink my teeth into something like a positive tribe story.

After reading through the Brunner deposition and then watching some on videotape, I just keep shaking my head. If this is what we know of the way local politics works, how much is still going on behind the scenes? More snip-its when I can digest them ...


Buck said...

Eric...first off, you make a good point about the victims. Our first thoughts should be about their well being. Even though reports say ( that the sex was consensual, this doesn't bode well for their futures. There needs to be some intervention.

An important element to this story that needs to checked up on is when did DeVoe's alleged offenses occur? If they were prior to the football season or anytime during it, there's no way he should have been allowed to play. With the offenses happening over an 11 month span during 2007, chances are pretty good that DeVoe was under the police microscope throughout the football season. Somebody, either in administration or in the program, HAD to know this.

Granted, I know "innocent until proven guilty" BUT teams do have codes of conduct and I think this would have broken any kind of rule the team had, especially since former Coach Tom Stacy had been stressing how much he wanted a disciplined football team. It is a privilege to play football, not a right.

Speaking of Coach you see any irony in the fact that at the end of the season, his coaching contract was not renewed and he exited to take a job at Green? HHmmmmmmmmmm...The guy had a winning record, a state finals appearance, and had a great record against McKinley.

As a Massillon native, I am peeved that Torrence transferred to Massillon only to basically dictate how he would be used on the team and basically (allegedly) got away with so much off the field. And on top of that, Massillon and the program have had enough image problems, I don't think many Massillonians, in their right mind, would have disagreed with a coach's decision to bench a player or suspend him if he was being investigated for rape. Letting a kid play football who is under investigation does absolutely NOTHING for him. What is it teaching him? Again, playing football in Massillon, or anywhere for that matter, is a privilege and not a right.

Buck said...

It's in the article...
They met “all over town” for consensual sex with girls ages 12, 12 and 14 over an 11-month period – from November 2006 through October 2007.

This happened during football season.

Ben said...

Jason Dittle sure likes your websire, Eric!

Eric Mansfield said...

Ben, what the heck did I do to deserve this nonsense? Nuts ..

buck said... I thought my posts were causing folks to get riled up about Massillon and it's only somebody trying to put spam or something on your blog.