Monday, September 27, 2004

House Speaker Flake soft on child molesters

At least if they're Mormon friends of his. Richard Ruelas of The Arizona Republic reports:

On June 22, 2001 Flake wrote a letter, on official state stationary, in defense of an admitted sex offender.

" . . . I can see no reason for him to spend the rest of his life in confinement," Flake wrote the judge. "I don't think his confinement would serve any constructive purpose either for him or for society."

Dan Walsh, 77, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted child molestation.

Snowflake police say Walsh molested several girls ages 6 to 9 over the past 20 years or so.

Flake, who wrote that he has been "closely associated" Walsh for 15 years, asked that Walsh be allowed to live with relatives. He summed up Walsh's crimes as "the recent turn of events in his life."

The letter was signed Franklin "Jake" Flake and listed his titles, speaker pro tempore and state representative, District 4. At the top of the letter was the official state seal.

After the White Mountain Independent printed the letter, Flake wrote the newspaper a letter of apology.

He apologized again after the news conference, after preaching the importance of the separation of powers.

For this abuse of his power, Flake did not receive the wrath of (fellow Mormon legislators) Farnsworth or Bennett. Instead, he received a promotion. He was elected House speaker six months after writing it.

Flake's flourish of power failed. His friend was sentenced to five years in prison.


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