Wednesday, April 16, 2008

COMMENTARY: Testifying In Court is a Right and a Moral Obligation

According to the April 15 New Era, "The YWCA Sexual Prevention and Counseling Center said Monday that two of its employees who testified on behalf of [Stephen] Spiese were no longer employed at the center. Both of the employees knew Spiese through the theater community."

At an April 13 press conference, Maureen Powers, Executive Director of the YWCA, claimed that the witnesses "gave the impression that their testimony on behalf of Mr. Spiece had the backing of the YWCA" and said their supervisors were not aware that they planned to testify at the trial.

The YWCA demonstrated a lack of understanding of democracy if it discharged or pressured to resign employees who fulfilled their civic responsibility by testifying in court. We also wonder whether the YWCA has opened itself to a very substantial lawsuit by its infringement of its workers' civil rights.

While the YWCA flailed away, management at the Fulton Opera House acted responsibly. It made clear that the Fulton and the two employees who testified disapproved of Spiese watching child pornography.

The testimony of the employees of the YWCA and the Fulton was not to contradict evidence that Spiese watched pornography, nor to defend it. Rather, it was to provide the judge with background information concerning how Spiese had carried out his professional responsibilities over the years.

Spiese was entitled to a trial, not a lynching.