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ID of child suspects is harmful

I am writing in regard to the Oct. 29 article “Hundreds mourn slain girl.” I appreciated Associated Press reporter Katie Zezima’s report covering the tragic death of the 12-year-girl from Glassboro, N.J. This story struck a chord with me ever since first seeing coverage on television. Quite honestly, I can’t begin to fathom how anyone could commit such a horrific crime against another human being.

My concern is with the reporting in your newspaper. Two boys have been detained in connection with the crime. Their names were printed in the article. What happened to protecting minors by keeping their names out of print?

The two young men cited in the article may or may not have committed the crime. And the reporting relies upon the identification of the two boys by neighbors, and not upon any official release by the police.

Should it turn out that these two boys committed such a heinous act, they will undoubtedly deserve punishment under the law. However, should it turn out that these two boys were incorrectly identified, how would they recover? This is why we have added safeguards to protect minors.

As a former worker at a juvenile center for abused, neglected and adjudicated youth, I have seen kids from all walks of life. As minors, they are afforded more protections under the law because they are not yet adults.

All kids need protection, and privacy. Stars and Stripes should be prudent and enforce such safeguards, such as not printing their names, or regurgitating poor practices by the AP.

Sgt. Barry Shapiro
Fort Bragg, N.C.

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