Sunday, July 13, 2014

Fill in the blanks for forgiveness

February 16. 2013 1:46AM
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AS A SERVICE to Northeastern Pennsylvania's seemingly inexhaustible supply of corrupt elected officials and businessmen, we offer them yet another way to cut corners.
Fellas, save time and effort in those precious days before prison; don't draft a remorseful and supposedly heartfelt confession to be read to a federal judge on your sentencing day. Simply use The Times Leader's handy fill-in-the-blank form.
Inspired by crooked engineer Michael J. Pasonick's sentencing hearing Friday, this template is yours for free. No kickback required!
Pasonick, 70, who pleaded guilty in May 2011 to paying a bribe to a school board member, practically told the court last week that corruption came upon him in much the same way as a bout of the 24-hour flu. He caught a bad case of it once, but it was only temporary and he's all better now. In fact, he plans to pursue a doctorate in theology.
God help us.
U.S. District Judge Richard P. Conaboy wisely considered only earthly matters and sentenced Pasonick to one year in prison, plus two years probation and a $250,000 fine.
The gravity of this region's deplorable ethical situation is not lost upon us; since early 2009, about three dozen former power brokers, from public school directors to county commissioners and judges, have been charged with public corruption. It's pathetic and disheartening.
The culprits hijacked our public institutions, made off with money and stripped many of us of our trust. Might as well steal our words, too.
Honorable Judge (Name here):
I am deeply sorry for the pain and humiliation that I have caused my family, colleagues and others who know the real me. I never should have (insert your crime here). It was a one-time mistake and totally out of character.
I'm a good man. I donate to multiple charities such as (list all that you remember). I regularly attend (insert name of religious institution or service club). I have had to overcome (list all that apply: poverty, substance abuse, shoddy parenting).
This experience has taught me to value (choose one of the following: "true friendship," "my personal relationship with Jesus" or "my remaining time here on Earth"). I vow to pay my debt to society and to ("never again break the law" and/or "devote my life to the betterment of humankind.")
Most sincerely,
(Sign name here)

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