Probation officers accused of negligence
From: Michael and Linda Vogel
We are writing regarding Tracy Kevin Ward, the Howard County coach accused of child abuse and third- and fourth-degree sex offenses. As the parents of one of the abused children, to say we are outraged at the State Probation and Parole Department is an understatement.
On the day of the incident, May 12, 1992, our son came to us, and we in turn went to the Howard County Police. Within three days, the detectives saw to it that Ward was arrested. They were expeditious and professional about getting their job done.
Ward was arrested on May 15, 1992, jailed and given a $250 bond. The next day, the $250 was paid and Ward was released -- released even though he had repeatedly violated his probation due to missed sexual therapy appointments and missed meetings with his probation officer.
Ward had been previously convicted in Prince George's County, in May 1990 for child abuse, and placed on five years' supervised probation. An attempt was made to recall his probation in 1991; however, due to a clerical error this never happened and Ward was free to abuse our son.
Why was there never a follow-up attempt about his probation violation?
Following his arrest for abusing our son, a warrant was issued for him in Prince George's County for probation violation. However, he was again not jailed and once again allowed to go free.
On July 13, 1992, Ward was arrested again on three counts of child abuse and three counts of fourth-degree sex offenses. Two more children had come forward.
He was given a $100,000 bond, and the following morning, Judge Vaughn saw fit to release Ward on unsecured bond. Why? We see what has happened as nothing short of gross negligence on the part of Probation and Parole.
Someone did not do their job. Someone did not exert the time, energy and effort to see if Ward (being under maximum supervision) was in fact having contact with youths, a direct violation of the terms of his probation. In fact, he devoted time to as many as four sports that we know of so far.
If probation agents cannot be committed to their responsibility to the public then they need to seek other employment.
The message being loud and clear because of this is that the children simply do not matter. How many more have to be abused or come forward because of his abuse before the court sees fit to jail Ward?
What do we tell the children who have bravely come forward? They ask why Ward is still a free man. We have no answers for them.
Realities of life down on the farm
From: David J. Boyer
I must admit from the outset that I was disgusted by Rona L. Hankin's letter in your paper [Howard County Sun, Readers Write, "Reader questions youth's priorities," Aug. 23].
Only in Howard County could you get a letter published in the paper stating that you are shocked to discover that farmers raise stock to be slaughtered, hoping to earn a profit thereby. I suppose in Columbia's world of "farmettes" and "hobby farms," people raise spices for potpourri and dogs for the showing, while money somehow appears when the bills arrive. Life for real farmers is a bit different, Ms. Hankin.
Additionally, who in the world is Rona Hankin to question a family's teaching their children the value of working with their hands to put food on people's tables -- and money in the family's income -- by raising livestock to be sold? Not everyone can
indulge in expensive hobbies like show dogs, no matter how lovable those dogs may be.
I hope that Ms. Hankin, and the many others like her who have moved to Howard County, will come to appreciate that this country was built by people who wore denim not because it was in style, but because the work they did tore holes in lesser fabrics.