By Shana Rowan
To The Editor:
I was dismayed to see a front page article on a Cazenovia funeral director who is facing alleged charges of sexual abuse. Though I understand and appreciate that it is commonplace to publicize serious charges that have been filed against various people, the fact that this is a sex abuse case differentiates it from every other possible charge, including murder, burglary, and drugs, among other things.
Most importantly, this man has been accused, but not convicted. A 24-year-old employee, about whom we are given no information other than her age and gender, has alleged that this occurred. The article states that the police “investigation revealed that Tait subjected the former employee to inappropriate physical exams at the funeral home as conditions of her employment", but nothing about what actual evidence was found to adequately charge Mr. Tait.
Essentially, the article all but accuses a man who is still presumed innocent by law of a very serious offense, but provides little information with which to back this up.
While some may argue that articles like this are OK because they protect the community from possible sexual predators, widely available statistics prove that this is extremely unlikely.
The large majority of sex crimes of this nature are perpetrated by family members or people known to the victim or their family (in this case, an employer). Even if Mr. Tait is guilty of abusing his employee, it is not as though he is going to run out and abuse random women on the street. That is simply not the profile of this type of offender, and again, there is significant research to back this up.
All this article has accomplished is ensure that Mr. Tait’s life waiting for trial, throughout the court process and after jail, if he is convicted, will be miserable and difficult. Why should anyone care about the “feelings” or treatment of a sex offender? Because for every accused offender, guilty or innocent, there are family members and loved ones who suffer with them, and they are surely innocent. I am one of these people, and anyone is welcome to ask me how it has impacted my life.
Please understand I am not minimizing or undermining the harm that has been done to the victims of sexual abuse - obviously, they have experienced trauma and pain as well, in ways most of us will never understand. But this doesn’t take away from the fact that Mr. Tait’s family has not committed any crime, although thanks to articles like this one and the inevitable public reaction, they will pay for it dearly.