The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


September 9, 2012

Readers' Forum 9-9 | Cambria fair beer sales a bad decision

— Cambria County Fair officials made the choice to sell beverage alcohol this year. In defending this action, one official said it will be under complete “control.” No comment on how they plan to control it after persons with alcohol in their systems leave the fairgrounds.

After 53 years in the ministry, I can say absolutely nothing positive about beverage alcohol. It has destroyed more lives and families than any other issue that I have had to deal with during those years.

National statistics also are quite negative when it comes to destruction caused by beverage alcohol.

I ask Cambria County Fair officials: How would you like to conduct the funeral of an exceptional high school student who was cut down, along with his girl- friend, by a character with alcohol in his system who was driving about 85 mph with a suspended license?

Even worse, an unscrupulous lawyer who had abandoned all ethical and moral standards in his practice got the killer off on a technicality.

Greed has a wide variety of ways of manifesting itself with end results summed up in words such as “tragedy” and “disaster.” It may seem we are getting away with something for a time and will come out on top in the end, only to discover too late in eternity that the choice made was a very deadly mistake.

Rev. Clayton D. Harriger


Clear priest’s name if there is no evidence

At least The Tribune-Democrat, in an editorial concerning unidentified men who accused a priest of molesting them as children more than three decades ago, admitted it’s “troubling” that the accusations are surfacing now, after that many years.

Meanwhile the DA’s office admitted, “We don’t have a lot of information.” No kidding. Although the editorial cautioned, “no one should jump to conclusions,” naturally most people reading the original report will look more like kangaroos as they eagerly jump to conclusions while the diocese, terrified of being compared to Penn State officials who supposedly “did nothing,” are doing plenty to hang the priest out to twist slowly in the wind of hysteria about child abuse.

There had better be serious evidence delivered to the DA’s office. The so-called victims, now men in their 30s and 40s, had better be telling the truth, because if they are not, they are criminals who have conspired to smear the priest’s name.

If the DA, the diocese and the media cannot produce evidence against the priest, they must have the decency to clear his name with the same publicity with which they now have besmirched it. If the “victims” are lying, they need to be prosecuted.

How quickly we forget. From the 1980s through the early ’90s across America there were many investigations of child abuse where nobody could accuse officials of doing nothing. The problem was, the alleged abuse never happened, but innocent people were arrested, often convicted and imprisoned for years.

We don’t want to repeat that.

Dwight B. Owen


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