Pat Powers at the South Dakota War College makes an important point that I think deserves to be driven home and remembered.
In both of the semi-recent cases involving allegations of sexual contact by a legislator (involving Dan Sutton and Ted Klaudt) on a legislative page, there were friend/family relationships present. It might even be fair to say that the incidents were facilitated by those relationships (not that there's anything wrong with those relationships, just that it made the victim more accessible and perhaps more vulnerable to the perpetrator).
This being the case, these incidents could have happened anywhere; it just so happened that some of the activity happened in Pierre. It could also have happened regardless of whether the perpetrators were legislators or bank CEOs or dog catchers.
The point I'm trying to make is that, while the safety of our children when they participate in legislative page programs should always be paramount, some of the murmuring I'm hearing about scuttling the page program is premature and misguided.
Should there perhaps be more stringent guidelines on who can be where with whom? Maybe so. Should there perhaps be more oversight and safeguards put in place? Maybe so. But I don't think ending the opportunity for young people to take an active part in our state government is the answer.
I hope that when my children are older, they will have an opportunity to go to Pierre, if they're interested. Will I be doing everything possible to ensure their safety? You bet!!! But I'd hate to see them lose the opportunity because of a couple of bad people.
The Gods of Liberalism Revisited
The lie hasn't changed, and we still fall for it as easily as ever. But how can we escape the snare?