Monday, August 26, 2013

Is This Responsible Journalism?; Star Details 16 Year Old's Internet Initiated Rendezvous With South Carolina Man

For the last two days, the Indianapolis Star has featured prominently on its web page an on-going story about a 16 year old Carmel teen who had disappeared.  Shortly after the first story appeared, another one reported that she had been found in South Carolina with a 23 year old man she met over the Internet.   Apparently the man had picked her up in Carmel and drove her to his South Carolina home.
The Star is not releasing his identity because he has not been charged with a crime. Bickle said Carmel police are working with the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office to determine whether any criminal charges will be filed.
The article goes on to mention that the age of consent in Indiana and South Carolina is 16.

Since when is it the Star's policy that they don't identify adults who haven't been charged with a crime?  The Star does it all the time.

In this case, however, the Star had no problem publishing the photograph and name of the teen.  Undoubtedly the initial disclosure came at the request of the parents who thought publicity might help find their daughter. But when it became apparent that the teen had met a man online and gone to South Carolina with him, is there a need to publish that?  The Star could have simply reported that the woman was found in South Carolina and had returned without getting into the details.  The Star should have respected the 16 year old's privacy.  Life is difficult enough at 16 without having one's dating life exposed on the Internet for the world to see.

P.S.  I am purposefully not linking to the story which has the young lady's photograph.


Society of Socrates said...

,Paul. You are right and kind. You know the history of the Man Act don't you? At the federal level at the time our government was racist.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Yes, they used the Mann Act against the black heavyweight boxer James Johnson for taking a white woman across state lines for immoral purposes.