Thursday, May 14, 2009

When the Allegations are Sexual

The Herald has taken its fair share of hits recently from among Dr. Carl Bergstrom's patients who complain that he is being "tried in the press." We are told that Bergstrom is a great and caring physician who works tirelessly with his patients.

Bergstrom is accused of sexual assault -- the sort of allegation that is difficult to extricate oneself from even if acquitted. At The Herald, everyone involved in preparing news stories about the allegations and the court proceedings are well aware of the implications of the charges. We do not take the presumption of innocence lightly.

At the same time, the fact that a high-profile citizen of our community has been charged with such a crime is not something The Herald can or should ignore. The Herald did not file the complaint against Bergstrom; that is the job of the District Attorney. In cases like this, we must presume that prosecutors have what they believe is a case they can try -- and now it is up to a judge and a jury to decide whether the DA can provide the evidence.

In looking back at the stories The Herald has published about the case, I believe we've actually been quite circumspect. We are not splashing sordid details all over the front page. We will continue to cover the case. And we will certainly report the ultimate resolution.

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