Lisa Zenzen Baker, 1961-2003


Friday, November 11, 2005

News judgment questioned

Rapist’s allegations get quick attention

By David Baker
Posted Sunday, March 11, 2007

It’s been over a month since my lawsuit against attorneys Steve Coffey and Brendan Tully was filed. But so far, it has not been mentioned in Albany’s Hearst newspaper, the Times Union.

But then I have never raped a 14-year-old girl. Or anyone else.

Darius Ashley has, not once but twice. He got 25 years for it. And in mid February a story about his hand-written lawsuit, in which he claims to have been brutalized by sheriff’s deputies, was in the paper less than 24 hours after it was filed.

Ashley, who is 31, also attacked another girl, but she managed to get away.

He is also a suspect in the stabbing death of Hackett Middle School student Gretchem Perham, whose body was tossed down an embankment in Albany’s South End in May 2005.

The reporter, Michele Morgan Bolton, was either at the county clerk’s office when the suit was filed, or she somehow got a copy ahead of time and filed her story as soon as the papers were stamped. Either way, she and the paper wasted no time getting this creep’s claims into print.

She also spent time trying to get comments from Sheriff James Campbell, and acting Albany County Public Defender George Mehm, who had represented Ashley.

After my – carefully typed – lawsuit was filed, I sent an e-mail to Bolton, pointing out that the claims of a serial rapist seemed to be regarded more highly than someone who has not broken the law. I never got a reply. So I don’t know if she wanted to write about my case but was stopped, or if she already knew such a story would not be printed.

For years, the Times Union has demonstrated its true “news judgment” by ignoring dozen of lawsuits alleging malpractice and wrongful death filed against the area’s medical providers – providers who have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising revenue with the paper But now it is displaying a new bias.

One that gives a convicted child rapist a special priority.