On Friday, I received a complaint from a reader about an article The Chronicle published last week about a local man's sentencing in a child pornography case. Jesse Ward, a 27-year-old former firefighter and law enforcement officer, was given 20 years - the maximum sentence - for collecting child pornography and sending such images out on the Internet.
The paragraph that the subscriber found offensive is likely this: The judge "noted that Mr. Ward had 968 images and 21 videos of children, some only babies, being raped by men -- children who were obviously in pain and crying, and children who were bound and held down."
The reader's comment: "It is completely unnecessary to print all the lurid details. Your fine newspaper is a family newspaper and as an adult, I don't want to have this stuff smack me in the face. There will be other news items on simila subjects, unfortunately. Please rethink what you are printing for all to read."
I’m sorry the article was upsetting to her and possibly others. I found the contents shocking as well. But as a parent, I also felt informed. In my response to the subscriber I explained that I believe it is important for us to alert parents to the danger that even people we think we know well might pose to our children. The specifics, while horrifying, make it clear how serious this problem is and how watchful we must all be.