Walter Griffith, one of five Republican candidates for Luzerne County Controller has shown us through his reaction to the posting of his 1993 citation for patronizing a prostitute that he is unfit to serve in public office.
When we decided to post the sixteen year old newspaper article which listed Griffith's being cited with patronizing a prostitute, we did not believe the matter had much relevance on his fitness to serve in public office, but we posted it because we believed the public had a right to know and make their own decision.
We asked Griffith to respond prior to our posting, to which he did. His explanation of the events surrounding the incident left more questions and became a factor in our decision to post. We found his explanation a bit dubious.
Griifth insisted that he had decided to celebrate his milestone "40th birthday." He stated this to us a number of times:
"when I was 40 and decided to go have a beer to celebrate a milestone in my life and because I never drink"
"going to celebrate my 40th birthday"
"The incident happened on July 16th 1993 on my 40th birthday"
The problem is Griifth was born on July 16, 1954. July 16, 1993 would have been his 39th birthday. We have confirmed Griffith's age through his own web site and through voter registration records.
Secondly, if he were innocent and just "in the wrong place at the wrong time," what reason would he have to say:
"I apologized to my wife at the time and have asked God for forgiveness for this incident"
"This incident happened 16 years ago and I have changed my life and am a new person "
Once we posted the article, Griffith posted a number of comments on OVC which generally amounted to insults and character attacks. What was far worse and reminded us of WWE trash talk were the e-mails he sent to us. We have decide to post those e-mails, because we believe they demonstrate Griffith's unfitness to hold public office.
His first e-mail was received on Friday, May 8th at 10:34 am. It is posted below in its entirety.
"Dear Anonymous ASS HOLE,
This is the last time I will address this issue that you as a real coward, that is the writer of this Blog page, has brought up about my personal life, and has attempted to destroy a human beings personal life, without regard for the persons feelings or the affect that a story, that is 16 years old would have on his family and children that were to young at the time, but now are able to understand.
I would like to be crystal clear in my statement that this post is nothing more than slander, and a personal assault on my character and my family without any proof at all regarding the circumstances of the incident or the outcome of the charges that were rendered at the time of the hearing.
I really don't need to go and address people that are cowards and refuse to sign their names to their posts, and I surely won't even get down in the gutter with you as a stupid blogger, that had no regard for my family, by posting something that was printed in the newspaper, but never was proven to be true.
The incident that happened was unfortunate and when the case was heard before the magistrate the recording of my statement to the undercover policewoman was played and the ruling was that I was loitering due to the anti cruising law that was in place in the City and therefore I was cited for Loitering.
There was no as was suggested and the case was filed as a summary offense much like a traffic citation.
The newspaper has destroyed many people by simply writing that they were arrested but the newspaper never seems to follow up with the ruling of the courts after the initial arrest and therefore the public never saw a story that the charges were DISMISSED for me and several others that are in that article.
The fact of the matter was that I was found “NOT GUILTY” and the article on the blog is SLANDEROUS AND LIBELOUS” because it was stated that there was a criminal citation issued and that is simply not true. The citation was for patronizing a prostitute and that is not a , but a summary offense, and therefore you have issued a slanderous and defamatory statement which is not true and was posted in print media for all to see without evidence or proof.
My life was devastated by this article in 1993, because the people that read the newspaper, like you, that are allowed to have a blog page, as well as the people that HIDE behind the First Amendment, that feel they can write or say anything anonymously, simply don't follow up or do their own investigation to be sure they have the facts before they insert their foot in their mouths.
I will say this to you, and that is simply that if you do not remove this post on your blog and issue a retraction, I will find you and I will sue you for and defamation of my character and I will send letters to the PA Attorney General’s Office and the FCC and I will make your life a living nightmare. I have spoken to Bob Sypniewski as well and have issued the same warning to him.
Walter L Griffith Jr."
The second e-mail was received at 11:47 am.
Candidate for Luzerne County Controller"
The third came at 11:53 am, which included a lengthy "cut and paste" definition of libel, was prefaced by the following:
Please read this and know I am coming to get you with this and other information.
TAKE DOWN THAT POST IMMEDIATELY OR PAY THE CONSEQUENSES
Walter Griffith Jr"
The fourth, which was received at 11:55 am contained a further definition of libel.
The fifth came at 5:09 pm. It read:
I had not checked my e-mail during that day, so I became aware of them when I returned home at about 5:30 pm. As a result of these e-mails, I informed Griffith that I would not remove the post, because there was nothing libelous contained within the post. I also advised Griffith to seek legal counsel before he proceeded further in his actions. I finally asked him why I should not post his e-mails. I received his response at 8:55 pm.
Candidate for Luzerne County Controller"
We are very troubled by Griffth's reaction and lack of restraint. We also believe this is a testament to why Griffith is unfit for public office.