Stan Moody POB 240 Manchester, ME 04351 1434 Ohio St. Bangor, ME 04401 207/607-3055 [email protected]
Whistleblowing: A Lonely Path Stan Moody, former Maine State Representative and more recently a Chaplain at Maine State Prison in Warren, is an advocate for prison reform…A reform…A prolific and and published writer, writer, Dr. Moody Moody is pastor of the Meeting Meeting House Church in Manchester, advisory board memb er er of Solitary Watch and is a speaker on human rights issues…His articles may be read at http://www.scribd.com/stanmoody .
July 13, 2012 A statue outside the football stadium on the Penn State campus is of legendary coach, Joe Paterno, with his hand raised in victory. As his image crumbles over the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal, surely it will be only a matter of time before the statue is respectfully removed. How, we might ask, might a genius on the gridiron exhibit abject cowardice in the face of such human rights violations? It is called “Defense of the corporate soul”. Genius on the job and the ability to set aside non-prescribed personal integrity in the interest of the greater good are two of the most treasured of institutional attributes. As Joe Paterno rationalized, football and Sandusky were two separate s eparate and unrelated issues (http://ww http://www.washington w.washingtonpost.com/op post.com/opinions/eugeneinions/eugene-robinson-joerobinson-joe-paternospaternosshame/2012/07/12/gJQAu0HwfW_story.html?hpid=z2 ) shame/2012/07/12/gJQAu0HwfW_story.html?hpid=z2 ).. One might say the same of faith and practice. Bangor, ME’s Own “Joe Paterno” Moment: Bangor, ME has its own “Joe Paterno” moment – the rise and fall of Rev. Bob Carlson, who, in the wee hours of Nov. 13, 2011 and in the wake of a developing sex scandal, took his own life within days of having been feted at the Civic Center as the selfless, undaunted friend of the disadvantaged. What he left behind were two classes of observers – those who never quite bought his story and kept him at arm’s length and those who reaped the benefits of his “bigger than life” personality.
Where, you might ask, were the whistle blowers? They were engrossed with protecting their own turf – – perhaps “Defenders of the corporate soul”. Ironically, Rev. Bob’s death arrived in the very week of the Penn State football scandal. Omertà, the Unwritten Code of Silence: The unwritten code of institutional silence, Omertà, is that if you defend the corporate soul, the corporation will look after your interests. That sacred policy cuts across all lines of government, private enterprise and non-profit institutions. Politicians like John Edwards and evangelists like Ted Haggard, steeped in denial, stand up to their necks in the rising swamp of hypocrisy and scandal and still hold out a public image of personal integrity. It takes only 51% of good deeds over bad, apparently, to win a place in the Eternal Hall of Fame. The Sheldon Weinstein Cover-up: From personal experience, whistle blowing is a lonely road. My own history derives from having been privy to the April 9, 2009 homicide of Maine State Prisoner Sheldon Weinstein that a reasonable person might conclude was carried out in segregation by prison staff. Over 3 years later, Weinstein’s remains cry from the ground for justice. Staff from the warden on down quietly were dispatched to other vocational pursuits or to the happy land of state retirement. The Attorney General’s Office has indicted a former prisoner for manslaughter due to an assault on Weinstein 4 days before his death. They uncharacteristically are trying to negotiate a plea to avoid the testimony of witnesses too close to the scene for comfort. I am one of those witnesses. Recently, the trial was moved back a year, while Weinstein’s family, having disposed of his remains under the official explanation that his death was from “natural causes”, has to cool their heels on a civil suit against the State. Six weeks after his death, the family was informed by the Maine State Police that it was a homicide. If Omertà prevails, both criminal and civil cases quietly will be settled while the isolated whistleblowers on the case adjust to the shifting sands of institutional insecurity. Those staff members who kept their heads down have, like all of us, only their consciences to which to answer. I make no judgment. The Fragility of Self-Erected Images: We are reminded that our self-erected images become more fragile the higher we climb on the institutional ladder. Joe Paterno and Rev. Bob escaped their crumbling images, while we who rest on ours can never quite be certain of tomorrow. There is in every one of us too great an element of “Defense of the corporate soul”.
The Eternal Hall of Fame may well be reserved not for the greatest, therefore, but for the least among us.