Contact: Teri Stoddard
How Well is the Media Covering the Kellett Prosecutor Scandal?, SAVE Asks
WASHINGTON / May 14, 2013 – Three weeks ago a state ethics board issued a long-awaited report highly critical of Hancock Co. prosecutor Mary Kellett. Now a victim advocacy group is asking, Why have only two local media outlets covered the historic story?
Following a two-year investigation, the report is viewed as historic because the Maine Board of Overseers of the Bar, charged with enforcing legal ethics codes, has never previously recommended the disbarment of a standing prosecutor.
On April 24, 2013 the ethics panel released a report showing assistant district attorney Mary N. Kellett ignored a court order, suppressed evidence, misled the jury, and engaged in “conduct unworthy of an attorney.” The report petitions the Maine Supreme Judicial Board to impose “appropriate disciplinary sanction” on ADA Kellett (1).
But three weeks later, only two media outlets, WABI TV and the Bangor Daily News, have provided coverage of the milestone story (2, 3).
SAVE notes the Kellett investigation has garnered extensive national media attention. Following release of the April 24 ethics report, two lengthy editorials appeared in national venues: “Discipline Case Against Prosecutor Mary Kellett Heating Up” (4) and “Filler Case Nearing Conclusion, Perhaps” (5). Over 10,000 persons have viewed accounts of the story on social media pages, as well.
SAVE invites reporters, editors, producers, and other media representatives to review the timeline of events (6), which raises the worrisome question of whether ADA Kellett charged the wrong person with the crime.
“When a Hancock County man was charged with spousal assault, media outlets provided wall-to-wall coverage,” notes SAVE spokesman Howard Goldman. “But when an overly zealous prosecutor is found guilty on multiple counts of unethical conduct, local media outlets seem to dawdle.”
SAVE filed a 9-page ethics complaint in 2011 alleging numerous instances of prosecutor misconduct (7). Over 1,400 persons have signed a petition calling for the disbarment of the prosecutor (8).
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence and sexual assault: www.saveservices.org