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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Exoneration doesn't always mean innocent

The Chicago Public Schools recently put together an iPod song list of famous musical alumni hailing from Chicago schools that consists of luminaries from past and present, including Nat King Cole, Sam Cooke, Benny Goodman, Chaka Khan, Kanye West, Jennifer Hudson, among many others. I think the overall idea is a good one in that it illuminates the vast talent that has come from Chicago and can be a source of pride for students who matriculate at less than stellar schools. However what I don't understand is why R. Kelly is included on that list. I know that R. Kelly was found not guilty in a jury trial. I also know that sometimes the guilty go free for any number of reasons including a victim unwilling (or too intimidated) to testify and the ability to hire a good defense team that knows how to manipulate the system as well as public opinion.

Here in Chicago rumors about Kelly's penchant for underaged girls is old hat. Students at some of the area high schools have even bragged about spotting Kelly hanging around trying to talk to girls as young as fourteen and fifteen. Now, if this pattern was committed by someone not as famous as Kelly, we would call it for what it is - a predator seeking out victims. And that he uses school grounds to prey upon these victims makes the CPS song list inclusion that more egregious. Even if the courts could not bring Kelly to justice, that fact does not exonerate him. And if there is even the mere scintilla of possibility that Kelly is a pedophile, the CPS's move is reckless and irresponsible. The school system as well as its employees are charged with the protection of young bodies and minds; they betray that charge when they directly validate those who would violate the same.

Yes, R. Kelly was found not guilty. That doesn't mean he is innocent - nor that he doesn't have to pay the price. CPS, do the right thing and take him off your list.

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Sharon Cullars Coffee Talk at 12/28/2008 08:35:00 AM Permanent Link     | | Home


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