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Columnist Defames Dead Man Wrongly Called Child Molester By Her Paper

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Jonathan Turley flags an absolutely appalling column in the Toronto Star written by Rosie DiManno, concerning the suicide of a Toronto teacher named David Dewees. Dewees had been charged last week with "four Criminal Code offences, two of invitation to sexual touching and two of Internet luring." Over the weekend, Dewees killing himself by laying on the subway tracks and allowing a train to run him over. And then, the Toronto Star allowed this columnist to, as Turley puts it, turn in a piece filled with "mocking presumption of guilt."

Here is the important fact upon which DiManno's insipid column hangs:

The Star, it must be acknowledged, got the charges wrong in a Friday digest item that said Dewees had been charged with sexually assaulting two 13-year-olds. There was no assault alleged by police. The distinction is important though it's doubtful - this too can never be ascertained - such an error (corrected) had much impact on Dewees' state of mind.

[Read the correction to the original report, here.]

What's sort of astounding is that Dimanno sets up her entire piece thusly: "Our law affords no protection from libel to the dead. So we will assume by his actions, and for the purpose of exploring this awful event, that Dewees was guilty as charged."

And explore she does! With a lustful, damn-the-facts glee that can only come from the beautiful liberty of not being subject to a defamation suit:

His kink, a sexual attraction to boys, was the nub of the thing and it was out there in the public domain. His reputation was in ruins, even if many students still admired and respected the guy. In the way of these matters, that reputation would not have been resurrected either, in the event of acquittal.

Translation: "Defend yourself if you want, but even if you're acquitted of the charges, you may as well kill yourself."

Elsewhere, DiManno lapses into a twisted fantasia of dark imaginings, "But if Dewees really did lie prone on the rails and wait for an oncoming train to mangle his body, condemning himself to those moments of terrifying anticipation, then he embraced a worse comeuppance than any retribution the courts could impose. This was a ritualistic punishment, a self-mutilation."

What vital news need is this fulfilling, for the Toronto Star? This is just pure platform abuse, written by someone who admits up front she is abusing her platform! And the insults to the papers' readers just pile up. In response to an email, accusing the paper of "damn-the-facts sensationalism," DiManno responds, "There was no sensationalism. Neither the Star nor the police treated the incident differently from any other charge that appears on a cop blotter."

Yes. And then the man killed himself, which allowed a sick puppy columnist to treat the incident differently, and add sensationalism.

RELATED:
Man Commits Suicide After Newspaper Wrongly Says He Was Charged With Molestation of Boys -- Then Issues a Remarkably Callous Account of Suicide [Jonathan Turley]
Defaming the Dead [Jonathan Turley]

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