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Opinion >  Editorial

CdA Eagles chapter president responds

Dustin Okon

This is in regard to your Feb. 4 article (“Child sex sting arrest exposes former leader’s dark past”) about Ron Nold and the Coeur d’Alene Eagles. I am the current president of Coeur d’Alene #486 Eagles and would like to clear up a few misconceptions that may have resulted from this article.

Because Mr. Nold was initiated back in 2005, nearly 13 years ago, I cannot speak for what was or was not determined with the interview committee at that time in regard to his application. That was back before most of our current trustees and officers were members and we cannot speak for past officials whom we have never met or who are now deceased. This is why no official statement could be provided on how Ron Nold achieved membership.

I can say, however, that our current practices allow us to review each application for membership individually and use our own discretion. All applicants go through a background check. If an incident is far enough in the past and that person’s debt to society has been paid, that will be considered on whether they will be admitted. I can only guess that may have been the case since his indiscretions (if actually known) were 12 years prior. But since it could not be confirmed in any way, no comment was made. We do take admittance into our fraternity very seriously.

We are also an organization that is based on many American principles, one of the main ones being that a person is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. While the recent events are extremely disturbing, his actual membership in our fraternity cannot be revoked until that process has played out. This is why no stance on his membership has been officially declared yet. Once news of this incident was known, though, he was encouraged to not visit the facility until it was resolved.

I would also like to reiterate that Mr. Nold has not held a position with the Coeur d’Alene Aerie in almost three years. I am not sure why Mr. Collingwood chose to have this be such a focus of his article. Also, since we have not had any ties to Mr. Nold since then, we have also done our best to not get involved with this situation to avoid guilt by association.

We in no way, even remotely, condone the actions of Mr. Nold if they are confirmed. We, as an organization, try to participate in as many local causes, charities and community development programs as possible and this is not a representation of what we stand for.

Thank you for your time,

Dustin Okon

Coeur d’Alene #486 president

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