Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Missing info on McCoy

The Reader's Forum
Journal Inquirer
March 14, 2008

The Journal Inquirer has openly prided itself on being an ethical newspaper that digs for the truth and the full facts in a story to present to the public.

Well then, oops, what happened to reporting the full facts in the Journal's March 1 story "Tolland man gets 4 years for sex assault" by Robert D. Muirhead, about the courtroom sentencing for rape, of Christopher Bonet, 21, of Tolland? If the Hartford Courant's Feb. 28 story "Man gets four years in rape case" is to be believed, a significant part of the courtroom story was missing in the Journal article.

In the Courant report, Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy appeared in court, not as Bonet's defense attorney, but as a witness, to plead for a more lenient sentence for this man convicted of twice raping his victim. McCoy, justifiably, felt Bonet's toddler daughter should not have to suffer the consequences of her father's act, but he offered not one drop of sympathy for the devastating effects of the rapes upon the victim. Indeed, one cannot but feel sadness about possible consequences for the daughter, but perhaps Bonet should have thought of that before committing the acts of rape.

McCoy's plea for leniency invoked the wrath of the prosecutor and had no effect upon the judge who then informed him, and the court, that the four-year maximum prison sentence given Bonet was all he could do under the current plea bargain, but that Bonet deserved far more time for the "despicable" acts he performed.

How strange that McCoy's defense of a rapist was disturbing enough to evoke the wrath of the prosecutor and the judge wished he could sentence Bonet to more, not less, prison time, but the Journal Inquirer did not find it disturbing or interesting enough to include in its article those "full facts" for the citizens of the mayor's town, as well as all other readers, to be informed about.

This was one court session that recognized rape as an unforgivable violent crime deserving of more than the less prison time allowed under the frequent plea bargain that so often accompanies rape and sexual assaults on women and children. For that, I am thankful.

Joyce K. Millikin


I've come to depend on the Journal Inquirer as the definitive source for town news, so I was shocked that I had to learn from your competition about Vernon Mayor Jason McCoy's decision last week to insert himself into a sensitive, high-profile criminal case on behalf of a defendant who was pleading guilty.

I think the people of Vernon should be able to decide for themselves whether this was an appropriate way for their elected leader to behave, and I think the JI should give us the facts so we can make that judgment.

Bill Dauphin

EDITOR'S NOTE: The reporter who wrote the story covers the Superior Court facilities in both Manchester and Vernon. On the day of Bonet's sentencing, he was covering arraignments and dispositions in both towns' courthouses. He wasn't present for the Bonet sentencing, but obtained information about it afterward from the clerk's office at Vernon Superior Court. That information did not include any comments made by Mayor McCoy.