How society deals with sex crimes

I am appalled at the failure of now former Labor Secretary Alex Acosta to apply an appropriate punishment to uber-rich sex offender and accused child molester Jeffrey Epstein when he had his chance. But when Acosta says that he did the best he could at the time, I can believe him.

About the same time as the Epstein matter was taken up in Florida, we in the Blue Hill area had a similar matter on our hands: a respected member of our community had allegedly been molesting boys. The District Attorney’s office struggled to make a case, however, because of the statute of limitations.

The DA ultimately worked out a plea deal where the perpetrator served a month in jail and had to register as a sex offender for 10 years, and is now off the sex offender registry. How is that for justice?

At that time, the public had the false notion that stories of being molested were often made up. Many of us may have been guilty in the past of burying our heads in the sand concerning child sexual abuse, not because we didn’t care but because we didn’t know what to do.

The climate for prosecuting sex crimes changed dramatically after Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted for sexual crimes against boys in 2012. Public perceptions changed, which is important because it’s the public who make up juries.

I didn’t care whether Acosta kept his job as Labor Secretary or not. The problem dealing with sex crimes wasn’t just him, it was all of us as a society, and thankfully that’s changing.

Mary Offutt
Deer Isle

Fish farm and Belfast Bay

Here’s a report on one 19th century year’s catch in Belfast Bay from the Maine Mining and Industrial Journal, between the monument and the head of tide on the Passagassawakeag River:

“The fish product of Belfast bay, including clams, for 1879 is reported as follows: mackerel, 1,000 barrels; smelts, 10,000 pounds; lobsters, 75,000 pounds; clams, 5,000 bushels; flounders, 8,300 dozens (99,600 fish); total value about $10,000.”

This doesn’t include the salmon that were routinely caught in the weirs between Bangor and Rockland in 1880, or the cod, haddock and halibut that kept hook fishermen occupied in small boats out of Belfast in many years.

This historical natural wealth of healthy protein could, however, be put in jeopardy by proposed salmon farms in Bucksport and Belfast, should any of their imported feed bring in a virgin soil epidemic from distant waters. In that case, we could potentially kiss the lobster and mollusk fisheries goodbye.

In the case of Belfast, a few consecutive dry summers could force Belfast’s population to choose between their water and their salmon neighbors’ habitat. An ice storm or hurricane could isolate the Belfast salmon farm, because there are no export routes other than the highways, which have in the past been cut for several days by weather incidents. Remember Carol and Edna, the hurricanes of 1954? At that point, what would happen to the tons of dead salmon? The proposed Bucksport salmon farm at least has a rail connection with the wider world.

William Burgess Leavenworth

My job at Hampden waste plant

Last week, the BDN reported that the opening of the Hampden waste plant was delayed “again.” Several weeks ago, a letter to the editor encouraged Bangor residents to keep separating their recyclables from the trash even though Bangor is going to a one bin system.

As a recycling technician employed at Coastal Resources of Maine, I’d like to set the record straight by saying the plant is open and our process of separating recycling from household trash is working. If the writers were able to see what I see every day, they would be amazed at the amount of engineering that has gone into the facility.

It’s not a simple task to convert trash into new resources instead of just burning or burying it. True, it’s taken some time to get all the parts to work together, but we’re doing it and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Something groundbreaking is happening. Mainers are making it happen. Coastal Resources has taken the guesswork out of your recycling. My job is separating your recyclables from the trash. It’s a good job — let me do it.

P.S. American flags don’t go in the trash!

Heather Bishop