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Morrissey Writes to "Set the Record Straight"

The article "Police Nab Sex Offender at Morrissey House" (Street Talk, June 4), with its titillating headline, was misleading, inaccurate and hurtful. Since reporter Chris Dovi purposely left out crucial facts, allow me to set the record straight.

Here are the facts:
My former home at 8700 Osborne Turnpike was turned into a group home for mentally challenged adults in February 2007. The group home provides residential support services, including equestrian therapy, for mentally challenged adults.

Each resident has a private room and receives one-on-one support from five specially trained counselors. The home is set on 40-plus secluded acres on the James River. An array of services, including horseback-riding and boating, are made available to the residents.

None of the above was pointed out to your readership. Instead, in an effort to "take a shot" at me, a public official, you embarrassed and humiliated "Harold," a mentally retarded person, by putting his picture and name in your "magazine." I hope you are proud of yourselves.

Harold is intellectually challenged. Twenty years ago, he committed an offense that was more attributable to his lack of intellect than his criminal intent. Since that time, he had a spotless record. Harold is one of the kindest, sweetest and most polite individuals you will ever meet. He is as decent and noble as you and your magazine are despicable and mean-spirited.

I'm a big boy and expect tabloid reporters to take potshots at me. What I never expected, and find inexplicable, was for a magazine to humiliate a mentally retarded young man in order to make headlines. Shame on you!

Joseph D. Morrissey
Editors' note: Before publication of the story, Style Weekly reporter Chris Dovi made several attempts to give Delegate Morrissey an opportunity to talk with us. He refused to comment.

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