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Vindicator should forgive, forget past transgressions of Kerrigan

Published: Wed, August 14, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Vindicator should forgive, forget past transgressions of Kerrigan

I write about Pat Kerrigan, a former Youngstown municipal judge, who was convicted for wrongdoing for acts that occurred over 20 years ago. Pat Kerrigan and I are lifelong friends, and he also happens to be my nephew. I also know him to be a man of faith, integrity and compassion for his fellow man. My views are shared by many others.

On July 21, The Vindicator ran a story on Page 1 of the Sports section describing how 63-year old Pat Kerrigan has been playing competitive volley- ball for many years at the downtown YMCA. This year, his team will be competing for the third time in the National Senior Games in Cleveland. It was a great story, discussing the importance of physical activity in general, and the competitive spirit among Pat’s fellow senior teammates at the “Y.”

Yet, in the middle of that story, sticking out like a sore thumb, was an unnecessary and totally irrelevant paragraph about Pat’s criminal activity of many years ago. The volleyball story had its own legs, but that one paragraph actually detracted from its main message.

One month before on June 21, The Vindicator ran another story about Pat Kerrigan, also on Page 1, describing his long-term and vigorous volunteer efforts to help Father Ed Noga, pastor of St. Patrick Church, to improve and revitalize Youngstown’s lower South Side through a nonprofit group that Pat created and has funded so far exclusively with private funds.

It, too, was an excellent story, describing how St. Patrick Church was the catalyst for neighborhood change, and how much Pat Kerrigan was contributing to that volunteer effort. Once again, however, The Vindicator thought it was necessary to add a similar paragraph describing yet again, ad nauseum, the trouble Pat had been involved in many years ago.

Doesn’t The Vindicator realize that Pat Kerrigan has served his time, lost his law license and paid his debt to society, in a severe and substantial way? In the 15 years since his release, he has been involved in nothing but positive action, acquiring another graduate degree, serving as president of his church parish council for many years, taking a leadership role in ACTION and other community groups, and starting this nonprofit, among other things.

Isn’t there a reasonable time limit on The Vindicator taking shots at Pat as it has? Isn’t there a good-faith statute of limitations? How much does he have to do to prove his worth to you?

Richard P. McLaughlin, Youngstown


1questionreality(509 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

Mr. McLaughlin: Some Vindy stories bring to mind this quote by Kurt Vonnegut - "Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?"

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2kurtw(1312 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

I have to agree with Mr. McLaughlin. It seems to me once someone has paid their debt to society, as Mr. Kerrigan has, they deserve to be judged on their current behavior and not something that happened over twenty years ago.

An analogous case, would be a reporter, or newspaper columnist, doing good work to have appended to everyone of their stories or columns an editorial note that they were once caught plagiarizing or suffered a DUI Conviction.

Wouldn't be very fair would it? So why not treat Mr. Kerrigan fairly as well. There's such a thing as "double jeopardy"- you should only be tried and convicted once. Mr. Kerrigan was- so leave him alone.

P.S. For the Record. I'm not related to Mr. Kerrigan- never met the man. Fairs fair, though.

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3kurtw(1312 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

I'm still trying to figure out relevance of Comment One- quote by Kurt Vonnegut- too deep for me, I have to confess (I'm just an uneducated Handyman- maybe some of the English Majors out there can enlighten me).

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4doubled(210 comments)posted 1 year, 11 months ago

He's paid what he owed. Leave him be. But the Vindy is simply mirroring the attitudes of so many of the veteran youngstowners in ALWAYS, without exception, focusing on the bad things about Youngstown. Get over it, man. Your all tired and used up, and it's getting really old. Bring something to the table or step back and let some new blood take the reigns. And KW, the quote means that if you are going to call yourself a professional writer, then you better have something to say, preferably something that contains an original thought, or idea, or premise, which makes people have to think, or else you're not a writer at all. That is pathetic, and not deserving of our pity, but our scorn. Vonnegut pushes you to conclude that it is the provocative writer, bound and gagged, which deserves pity, followed up with a kick in the ass to those who've gagged him.

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5anothermike(221 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Amazing how the Vindy reporters have total recall for some issues and total amnesia for others. Kerrigan is and always has been a decent individual along with his family. The issues he was involved in are ancient history and should be put to rest.....

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