Unjust accusations against Hammerman As a former...


February 19, 2000

Unjust accusations against Hammerman

As a former vice-president of the Lancers Boys Club, I was deeply angered at the accusations made against Judge Robert I. H Hammerman by the unnamed student at Gilman School ("Gilman suspends its ties to Lancers Boys Club," Feb. 13).

I have known Mr. Hammerman personally for 11 years, and he is one of the most selfless, devoted people I have ever known.

Gilman School, my alma mater, handled this affair in an extraordinarily incompetent manner.

Any concerns the school had should have been raised privately with Mr. Hammerman.

Instead, the school allowed a student to make unsubstantiated public accusations that could destroy a man's credibility and his life's work.

Gilman should be ashamed of itself for the lesson it taught its students that day.

Michael E. Ginsberg Cambridge, Mass.

The writer was vice president of the Lancers Boys Club, 1992-1993.

I am not sure who acted more irresponsibly, the accusing boy's adviser, who approved the speech, the Gilman School, which wrote letters to parents and apparently notified the state's attorney's office or The Sun, which published the article.

Nothing in the article gave anyone the right to react as they did.

All it revealed was that four years ago the boy was made to feel uncomfortable when he showered with Mr. Hammerman after playing tennis. That was it.

Yet the school saw fit to suspend relations with the Lancers, write parents and notify the state's attorney. And The Sun saw fit to publish the article.

This is outrageous. The Sun and the Gilman School have forever tainted 50 years of Mr. Hammerman's good work.

Shame on the Gilman School and shame on The Sun.

Jerome A. Gross Baltimore

It is almost inconceivable that The Sun would lend its credibility to "Gilman suspends its ties to Lancers Boys Club" (Feb. 13).

The statement, made by a 17-year-old boy over a four-year-old incident, is flimsy, biased and might be the youngster's fantasy.

That the school and The Sun would risk offending a gentleman of Judge Robert I. H. Hammerman's stature is offensive to the thousands of parents who, like me, were proud and happy that our sons were Lancers.

Sylvia Bliss Mandy Baltimore

As an officer and longtime member of the Lancers Boys Club, The Sun's article on Judge Robert I. H. Hammerman upset me deeply.

If The Sun had talked with any of the thousands of current and former Lancers members, it would have discovered that Judge Hammerman is one of the most upstanding citizens of Baltimore.

I would also like to point out that, until now, The Sun has barely noticed the Lancers.

Where were the headlines during the first annual Greater Baltimore Walk for the Homeless, which we sponsored and coordinated?

I hope that potential new members can look past the thoughtless accusations of one boy and trust me: Mr Hammerman is a man of virtue, wisdom and honor.

Martin Marks Joppa

The writer is secretary of the Lancers Boys Club.

The Sun's article on Judge Robert I. H. Hammerman and Gilman School met the classic definition of a smear: All heavy breathing and no facts.

It also exemplified what most people detest about our media culture: The willingness of a large conglomerate to sell scandal for money, regardless of the cost.

That this was encouraged by the mass insanity evidently underway at Gilman School is no excuse.

John K. Barry Baltimore

I have been a teacher in the Baltimore area for 35 years. Dozens of my students and a few of my colleagues have been Lancers.

I have heard nothing but praise from all of them for the organization and its dedicated leader, Judge Robert I. H. Hammerman. My son is an active Lancer, and I am grateful for the political, cultural and moral education he receives through his participation.

I have absolutely no reason to doubt Judge Hammerman's integrity, and I am appalled that it is being attacked.

I hope that this matter can be put to rest and that Gilman apologizes for the pain Judge Hammerman has been caused.

Dean Pappas Baltimore

What an injustice to such a fine human being.

Whatever has happened to the integrity of The Sun? To give such prominence to an accusation by one student, innocuous as it is (over a look), is unforgivable.

No matter what the outcome of this publicity, the reputation of a fine, decent, humane individual has been smeared.

Ann Marie Devlin Baltimore

City's hope rests on tourism

Unless a large corporation or manufacturer relocates to Baltimore, the city's best hope for economic viability is tourism.

Recent figures from Maryland's Department of Tourism indicate that the largest tourist draws nationwide are historical sites combined with, or in close proximity to, retail and wholesale shopping opportunities.

But, except for a few visionary individuals, city and state governments have failed to notice areas around the city that are available for historic restoration and tourist development.

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