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Update October 24, 2013- The monthly meeting of the First Precinct Community Affairs took place tonight. Commander Timoney explained that the reports in the Broadsheet (BS) of a child predator caught on the ballfields were misleading. He described the man arrested as one of “special needs with no prior record at all” who wanted to play with the children. Captain Timoney said that the alleged perpetrator stated, “I have more balls back at my house.”. He was charged with endangering a child.
Recall, this story was originally reported as an exclusive in the BS by Matt Fenton. Mr. Fenton then published a partial retraction apologizing for originally reporting that some parents had refused to file charges, which was not the case.
October 4, 2013- The local advertising flier called the Broadsheet (BS) erroneously reported on a serious criminal matter of an alleged child talker who was arrested near the ballfields after trying to lure children away. Matt Fenton was the author of the BS article, and wrote on September 30th, “The NYPD officers who quickly arrived at the scene interviewed at least two sets of parents, both of whom, a police source said, declined to file a complaint because they did not want their children to be traumatized by the incident.”
The article generated outrage against the parents on local blogs. For examples, “While protecting their kids, those parents are doing a disservice to the community. The more complaints filed the better the chance that this predator can be stopped. Yes, their child will not be traumatized but someone else’s child might disappear….Tribeca Mom”, and, “Typical Tribeca – the public good takes second place to the parents’ hypersensitivity about their children’s emotional well-being. That hypersensitivity is what will actually traumatize a kid. I don’t know about you, but my kid would feel empowered, not traumatized, by helping to put this guy away….Noah”, and, “I am absolutely horrified by this story. To have parents not willing to stand up for their rights, their children’s rights and our community’s rights to have the opportunity to live and play in a “safe” neighborhood is just plain sad…Tribeca Stay-at-Home Mom”.
On October 4th, Mr. Fenton printed a correction in the BS blaming the NYPD, “An earlier version of this story that appeared in the BroadsheetDaily on September 30 quoted police sources as saying that the parents of the children approached by Mr. Pettersen were unwilling to file a complaint. While this passage accurately reflected what police sources told the Broadsheet, it did not convey that the parents cooperated fully in the investigation. The Broadsheet regrets any misunderstanding.”
Unfortunately for the parents who were smeared by the original article, this small correction does very little to repair their reputation.