Presumption of innocence forgotten

“The burden of proof lies with who declares, not who denies.” The presumption of innocence is regarded as a fundamental human right.

“Police: County historian stole coffee maker” read a breaking news story from The Leader Herald on Friday. Peter Betz, the accused, has served Fulton County dutifully for years. He is a featured columnist in The Leader-Herald. Nonetheless, the newspaper led the article with, “Fulton County Historian Peter C. Betz stole a Keurig coffee maker from the county office building…”

Where is the presumption of innocence within that claim? Our society, including the media, has all but eliminated this fundamental right. Where is the decency and loyalty of giving someone who has greatly bettered the community the opportunity to make a statement before publishing a full article.

The facts of this incident have not come to the public yet; however, it is irresponsible and disgraceful for our hometown newspaper to simply utilize it for yet another over-sensationalized story.