by John Grooms
On Wednesday, Aug. 11, Butler High School student and football player Osvaldo Sombo, 17, was arrested and booked on two charges of rape and one charge of sexual battery. The court system followed its usual policy, and mailed a letter to CMS to let them know of the arrest. CMS received the letter on Monday, Aug. 16. CMS didnt notify Butler High of Sombos arrest for more than a week after that, although Butler's first football game was scheduled for Friday, Aug. 20. Today, everyone is up in arms over the slow communications, and the fact that an accused rapist got to play in a high school football game.
I want to preface my comments by saying that the most important thing in this case is that a woman was allegedly raped; thats the primary concern, or should be, and we hope and assume that her case will be properly handled and justice will be served. With that said, however, I have a question: Have any of these people heard of e-mail?
First of all: The court system mails a letter to CMS? Someone from the court system could have walked a message to CMS offices in about five minutes. In the absence of such a court system employee exercise plan, however, I repeat: Ever heard of e-mail? The same question goes to CMS administrators who took a whole week to get a message to Butler High administrators. I realize that employees of bureaucracies are expected to follow established procedures, but for crying out loud how about bringing those procedures up to date so that theyre more in tune with communications technology available since, oh, the first Bush administration? (Or, in the case of the courts-to-CMS memo, since the invention of shoes?)
Second: The student/athlete, Osvaldo Sombo, is, as of now, not guilty. He may be found guilty later, we have no way of knowing, but right now, he is not guilty. I fail to see how justice is served by punishing Sombo before his alleged crimes have even been proved. The same goes for CMS policy, which requires that students charged with a violent offense be transferred to Bank Street Alternative High School as soon as the school is notified, with a review of the students placement taking place within five school days. So, umm, again, that innocent until proven guilty thing? Thats for real, right? It shouldnt be just another happy-face slogan were taught as kids, like justice is blind or all are equal under the law. So far, the only folks whove been proved to have done anything wrong (assuming that archaic = wrong) are the court system and CMS.
One more time: The alleged rape of a woman is way more important than whether or not her alleged attacker gets to play football. Both of those people, like all of us, deserve a system in which justice being served is more important than CMS showboating and get tough policies toward people who are innocent until proven guilty. And yes, please, will someone tell the court system and CMS about the wonders of e-mail?