Being convicted of assault against a 12-year-old girl didn’t cost John Hentze his job as the state Department of Social and Health Services’ liaison to Spokane-area child care providers.
Publicity did. Hentze was reassigned after child care providers who work with Hentze raised a ruckus.
“I find it terribly offensive that anyone with a criminal record is working with day care providers,” Wendy Cox of Spokane wrote.
As a day care provider, Cox said, “I have to submit to a Washington state background check every three years, as does my husband and any other adult who is a guest in my house.
“Where is his (Hentze’s) background check and why did (DSHS regional administrator) Bernard Nelson let him have that kind of job? Who else is working with us that has that kind of background?”
But Eleanor Simon of Veradale objects to Hentze’s situation being treated as a public referendum.
“I find it unconscionable to decide the livelihood of a person by public opinion. Anyone who has a grudge against a public agency will certainly vote in a negative way,” she said.
“Has it occurred to the press that many people plead guilty to a lesser charge because they simply cannot afford the high fees of a criminal lawyer?” Simon asked.
Hentze, originally charged with child molestation, pleaded no-contest to assault, contending he is innocent but acknowledging that there was enough evidence for a conviction. He said he didn’t want to put the girl through the ordeal of a trial.
“Not all facts are even known, yet you ask the public’s opinion,” Simon said, referring to Thursday’s “Bagpipes” column. “How unfair, to say the least.”
Backlash against a series of broadcast commercials promoting Washington State University Cougars football surprised James A. Nelson of Spokane.
“If the people who are complaining about these commercials would turn their wrath on the trash we have on regular TV programming,” said Nelson, “all of us would be better off, not just the sports viewers.”
All Elmer Tiegs of Latah wants to say about the ads is, “Some people should just lighten up. Quit taking everything in our personal and public lives so doggone seriously and just lighten up.”
, DataTimes MEMO: “Bagpipes” appears Tuesdays and Thursdays. To respond, call Cityline at 458-8800, category 9881, from a Touch-Tone phone; or send a fax to 459-5098 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can leave Doug Floyd a message at 459-5577, extension 5466.
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