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It is never pleasant to see what happens when stalwarts of the community find themselves on the wrong side of the law for personal indiscretions. When secret lives become public, the consequences can be devastating.
There can be no gloating in the sudden resignation near the end of the recent legislative session of State Representative Brent Parker after his arrest for allegedly soliciting sex from an undercover police officer.
Then there’s the case of former 4th District Judge Ray Harding, Jr. Last summer, he was arrested and charged with felony possession of heroin and cocaine. After resigning his judgeship and pleading guilty to lesser charges, Harding issued a public apology:
“I do hope and pray that others who may be suffering from the disease of addiction and alcoholism may be able to find hope from the mistakes I’ve made and from the recovery I’m pursuing.”
Though Ray Harding’s statement was partly prompted by a plea bargain, his message seemed genuine and offers an important lesson: it is never too soon in life for anyone burdened with unfortunate personal problems to seek help.
As both men undoubtedly would admit, making personal course corrections privately is preferable to the humiliation of public discovery.