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A newspaper is more than just a record of past and upcoming community events, a collection of stories on local personalities and summaries of actions by governmental bodies. Newspapers are vital components of the community: We serve as a public forum for our readers’ opinions, criticize our leaders when they betray the public trust, investigate activities that bend the truth or break the law and work in the interests of our readers and our residents.

Managing Editor Christopher Fox GrahamThe proof of a newspaper’s vital importance to a community is clear in today’s front page. Larson Newspapers reporter Ron Eland has written a follow-up story to a police report first reported on Oct. 23 about a suspect arrested for allegedly molesting a young child more than 20 years ago.

On Oct. 17, Sedona Police Department Sgt. Lucas Wilcoxson sent us a brief press release about an arrest the day before of a 65-year-old Sedona man charged with three counts each of child molestation, child abuse, sexual conduct with a minor and sexual abuse of a child.

We contacted Dwight D’Evelyn, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office public information officer, and asked for the suspect’s booking photo. True to form, D’Evelyn supplied the photo in less than 30 minutes, allowing us to provide our readers with the face of an alleged criminal. We ran the report and photo in our next issue.

In the days afterward, more potential victims came forward to Sedona police and the suspect is facing additional charges for alleged crimes, including one dating back nearly 40 years.

“Once it came out in the paper, it spread by word of mouth and more and more people came forward,” Wilcoxson told Eland.

The suspect in this case is innocent until proven guilty and how the facts will play out is now up to the courts, prosecutors and witnesses who will determine his guilt or innocence and possible punishment for alleged crimes committed against our most defenseless community members.

In the modern media, people have dozens of means to hear the news. A crime story heard over the radio or seen on the television can often be forgotten or misheard in the brief airtime allotted. Stories seen on the vast, sprawling cyberscape of the Internet can be hard to again track down on a computer or smartphone. However, a local newspaper is a tangible, tactile media outlet. Its physical permanence allows readers to read, reread and share the details of a story and bring closure to victims.

The partnership between us in the media, local law enforcement agencies, public information officers and you, our observant readers, helped bring this story into the light. We thank SPD officers and detectives, Sgt. Wilcoxson, D’Evelyn and the YCSO and those readers who helped get this story out to the public at large. We hope the victims who have suffered in silence for years find peace.

Christopher Fox Graham

Managing Editor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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