Judge Dudley and the rape sentenceIt is easy to appreciate...


December 07, 1997

Judge Dudley and the rape sentence

It is easy to appreciate the sensitivity of Howard County rape counselors as reported in your news story of Dec. 2.

Rape and abuse victims have long suffered indignities not appropriate to their standing in the halls of justice. However, I believe that, in this instance, Circuit Judge James B. Dudley exercised proper judgment with his comments.

There needs to be a balance in perception, lest the pendulum swing too far against a defendant.

Consider that rape can be charged by a woman, married or single, who has been in a consensual sexual relationship. It could be a true event or simply vindictive fiction.

Adding some bruises or claims thereof produces a ground-swell for conviction. Now that sentiment indicts the man, guilty or not. And yet, who is a witness to an ''I said no!" scenario?

It seems to me that the charge of rape, especially under these circumstances of a relationship, carries an extraordinarily harsh penalty when compared to the penalties for much more traumatic bodily harm. It certainly sets the stage for all sorts of mischief.

The judge courageously made an appropriate observation.

Fred Everhart


Don't rape centers counsel people not to put themselves in bad situations? Such as parking in unlit lots and walking alone at night?

Then why are Judge Dudley's remarks so out of line? It is keeping yourself in a bad situation to remain in an abusive relationship.

If another woman in an abusive relationship gets out of it because of his remarks, then something good will have come out of it.

Jeff Thorssell


Remedial reading programs needed

I would like to commend you on your "Reading by 9" articles on Baltimore city public schools. This is the third year that I have been tutoring fifth graders as part of a reading program targeting students in the inner city school system. It saddens me deeply to see precious minds wasted because of what could largely be attributed to a poor understanding of how children learn to read.

The growing acceptance of the idea that ''whole language'' programs do not work for the majority of the kids in the absence of an understanding of sound-letter relationships has inspired a reversal-in-trend toward phonics.

However, there are children out there (like the little girl with whom I read) who won't avail the benefits of these changes in educational policy. These kids can be helped; they can be taught and they do learn.

On the basis of the progress made by students in what is a fairly bare-bones, volunteer-driven reading program, I would like to encourage the city to institute remedial phonics-based programs rather than writing these kids off as the ''lost generation."

It is about time that the city that reads wakes up and does something about the deficiencies that it breeds.

Kalpana Gupta


Farmers not cause of Shore Pfiesteria

As a poultry grower on Maryland's Eastern Shore, I am deeply troubled by the blame that has been laid upon the poultry industry and agriculture by some scientists, elected officials, newspapers, television and radio stations and many in the general population about the cause of a few dead fish in of our waterways this summer.

While it is estimated that about one billion fish died in recent years in North Carolina, there were only about 20,000 menhaden fish killed in Maryland, hardly enough to fill the back of a pickup truck.

These fish, which are not consumed by humans, are alleged to have been killed by a toxin emitted by the organism Pfiesteria. Soon after these small fish kills, newspaper and television stories began blaming the poultry industry and agriculture. Your readers have a right to know the conclusion of Governor Glendening's Blue Ribbon Citizens Pfiesteria Action Commission.

The commissions final report says, ''Currently, it is not clear what triggers Pfiesteria to transform into a toxic stage. The Cambridge Forum found, and the Commission agrees, that high nutrient concentrations are not required for Pfiesteria and Pfiestreria-like dinoflagellates to toxic. In fact, if suitable concentrations of Pfiesteria are present, toxic outbreaks can occur even if nutrient concentrations are relatively low. Scientists believe, and the Commission concurs, that the primary stimuli for the transformation of the dinoflagellate into toxic stages are chemical cues secreted or excreted by the fish. In other words, fish must be present for a toxic outbreak to occur.`

I hope that the above quote gives your readers a better realization that Maryland's farmers were not responsible for this summer' dead fish.

Larry Porter

Princess Anne

Why contributions were illegal

I must take issue with the letter from Ronald P. Bowers Nov. 30.

The illegal contributions to Parris Glendening's campaign mentioned by Michael Olesker in his Nov. 16 column were illegal, because they were made in the names of people who were related to the actual contributor in an attempt to disguise their true source and exceed the campaign contribution limits.

That practice is commonly referred to as "money laundering."

The Glendening campaign was solely mentioned as having been the recipient of those laundered funds because it alone received them.

Mr. Olesker correctly drew a distinction between contributions to the Glendening campaign and those to the other campaigns involved in the last election.

Mark L. Lampe


The writer is treasurer of the Ellen Sauerbrey Campaign Committee.

Pub Date: 12/07/97

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