My heart is heavy.
My intent has never been, nor ever will be, to cause grief through my reporting. Despite that intent, it seems as though I have inadvertently caused additional grief in an already terrible situation.
My lack of experience reporting on sexual assault cases led me to follow the same protocol as you would other felony reports. That means using most of or all of the probable cause statements.
That is the thing I wish I could go back and change. They should’ve been handled much differently.
Those statements, directly from the prosecutor’s office, while legal to reprint, added to the grief of a victim, family and friends. I should have paraphrased a couple of statements and moved on.
Unfortunately, reporting the story is my job, and no matter how I worded it, no one was going to be happy with it, but reprinting the complete witness statements was too much. I realize that now.
I don’t think anyone doubts how much I love this community and the people in it. I try to do my best for the paper and its readers weekly. That is why I take this so seriously.
Even though much of the public comment surrounding this matter has been negative, I appreciate it and take it to heart. We tailor our coverage to a community standard you determine and apparently our coverage did not meet that standard.
We rely on you for feedback, and we heard you loud and clear.
If my reporting has hurt people, I apologize. That was never my intent. I hope you will consider accepting my apology.