Had a phone call this morning, while I was sitting with my father in the Doctor’s office for an appointment. It was a phone call to talk about poo.
No, it wasn’t a reference to A. A. Milne’s beloved character who lived in the thousand acre woods and played with Christopher Robin. It was a phone call from Tom Parsons of Pierre. And he wasn’t very happy with me about a post I wrote.
*sigh* So, what did I do now?
Tom went on a bit about an article I’d acknowledged about him being prosecuted for mailing feces. It vaguely rang a bell, with me noting that “I recalled it, but it was months ago.” He must have had it in front of him, as he rattled off the exact date I wrote it. So I let him go on for a bit, until I asked the inevitable question “Why are you calling me?”
The reason he was calling? He was calling to insist that I take the post down. I was to take it down on the basis that, according to him, the government ‘withdrew the charges‘ and apologized to him ‘because he didn’t mail any feces.’ According to Mr. Parsons, supposedly the Argus Leader also took the story down because it was false.
And it just so happened that by my leaving the post up, “it was slander,” and he didn’t suppose I was going to post his side of it.
I replied “I’ll take a look at it.” which left him exclaiming “AND- I- AM- RECORDING- THIS- PHONE CALL…. *click*”
Hmph. So, that left me having to go dig the post up from a year ago, which I rediscovered that my sole editorialization was “Unhappy with a government official? Don’t do this.” The rest was a snippet from the article, which noted that Federal Prosecutors charged him, and pointed out the contents of the indictment.
In other words, what I’d call a throw-away article. Something mildly funny which had a relationship to South Dakota government.
Yes, it was not on the Argus Leader website anymore. But they also changed their website in the last few weeks, leaving old articles in the vapor somewhere. So, I googled the story, and found a dozen or so articles on it, with far more detail than mine.
But I also came across a more recent article on the saga which had long been forever thought forgotten, now thrust back in my face:
An Order to Dismiss was filed May 2 in Pierre Federal Court for the case involving Tom Parsons. That means that Parsons is no longer facing charges.
In April, 2013, Parsons was charged with one count of sending Injurious Articles as Non-mailable. He was accused of sending chicken feces in an envelope to the Dewey County Treasurer.
Documents were filed at the end of last month stating that Parsons had successfully completed the diversion program.
Read it all here.
Wait a minute. Maybe it’s just me, but “Agreement for Pre-Trial Diversion” and “had successfully completed the diversion program” would have a different meaning to me than “the prosecutor said that they were wrong.”
In fact, just in case I was operating under an incorrect assumption, I contacted South Dakota US Attorney Brendan Johnson, who was nice enough to confirm my suspicions, noting that “You are correct with your assumptions about what a PTD is and isn’t.”
And a member of his staff provided the appropriate documentation:
In my reading of this.. I’m not seeing anywhere in the documentation where the US Attorney is saying he didn’t do it. In fact, it would appear to be the complete opposite.
If you read page 2, Parsons expressly signed the pre-trial diversion agreement in part “accepting responsibility for (his) behavior,” in addition to agreeing to stay out of trouble for the next year.
It doesn’t mean it magically didn’t happen. It just means that based on his admission and good behavior, they have far, far bigger fish to fry than someone who mailed poo.
So, the moral of the story? Firstly, don’t mail poo. Secondly, don’t get all snippy that someone pointed out your story a year ago, now wanting to make sure things are accurately portrayed.
Because you might just get your wish.