This is a contemporary American story if ever there was one; if only because it's hard to imagine it occuring at any other time in American history.
It says a lot about our country today. What it says is up for grabs.
"Sex Offender Seeking Seat on School Board"
A Horatio Alger story--kinda--from the Denver Post:
A Delta school board candidate says his criminal record has been overstated publicly and is relevant only because it shows he overcame daunting barriers to become successful.It turns out that 'sex offender' wasn't the only thing in Haig's past.
Dale Haag, 48, is a registered sex offender who also was convicted of starting a fire in Sioux Falls, S.D., that killed two women when he was 17. But a supporter said Haag's rough start in life makes him uniquely qualified to be a board member of the Delta County Joint School District.
Haag, who is very open about his past, is undeterred by an onslaught of bad publicity and said he will not change his focus of strong discipline and encouraging more parental involvement.
"I'll tell you up front, I've got zero to hide," he said.
He turned out the way he did - going to 10 juvenile correctional homes and institutions before burning a Sioux Falls halfway house on Oct. 23, 1977, when he was 17 - because he didn't get the discipline he needed, he said.
Kids need to be told: "You need to sit down and shut up and read," he said.
Haag said he was angry at the world when he intentionally left a lit cigarette in a couch at the halfway house, intending to destroy the furniture but not kill anyone.The plucky candidate explains his sexual offender conviction thusly:
"The next thing I know, people were screaming and everything was crazy," he said.
At first he was praised as a hero because he helped people escape the blaze, he said. But days later, he failed a lie detector test and was charged with murder.
Haag, who is a salesman, was released from a South Dakota prison in the early 1980s and became a health care aide at Hope Haven, a group home in Doon, Iowa, in the mid-1980s, he said.
He was convicted of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse after he touched a 19-year-old developmentally disabled woman at the group home for the disabled.
"I pinched her in the boob and patted her on the butt. It was a flirtatious situation. She knew what she was doing," Haag said. "It was blown way out of proportion."Haig had at least one supporter, a mother. Here she gives her reason for supporting the unfortunate Haig.
The case was marginal against him at the time, he said, adding that it was overblown because at the time he was on parole for first-degree manslaughter in the arson case.
"We don't have anyone on the board who has been where he has been: someone who was lost in the system," said Beverly Ray, 40, who has two children in the district. "I look at what he has done in the last 10 years, and I'm going to judge him on that."
Next, the election was held. People went to the polls and chose their school board. From the Grand Junction Sentinel:
Haag Loses School Board Election
Dale Haag, a registered sex offender who also served nine years in prison for manslaughter in the deaths of two women in South Dakota, lost his bid for the Delta School Board but received 38 percent of votes cast.The people of Delta had spoken.
Haag received 2,197 votes to 3,599 for his opponent, incumbent Bob Tweedell.
Haag said he was disappointed with the results but will continue to go to school board meetings and serve as an at-large member of the school district’s accountability committee. He added he wasn’t sure how publicity about his past, which was made public last week, affected the race.
Only in America and only today. No matter what you think of Dale Haag, shocked, hopeful or other, you have to admit one thing.
It will make you scratch your head.
& Little Baby Ginn
Death by 1000 Papercuts Front Page.