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Del Rio News Herald from Del Rio, Texas • Page 4

Del Rio, Texas
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Opinion Del Rio News-Herald Wednesday, June 26,1991 4 Del Rio Nows-Htrald Serving the community since 1929 JOE SAN MIGUEL, publisher-general manager DIANA ESPANA GONZALES, managing editor DELORES HALE, advertising manager JOSE ANGEL GARCIA, circulation manager HERMAN ORNELAS, production manager AMANDA AGUIRRE, business manager Report: More teens working illegally, being hurt on job By MARIO CHRISTALDI Washington Bureau The number of teen-agers working in violation of federal child labor laws has risen dramatically in recent years, a new government study concludes. The General Accounting Office reported that 42,696 violations were found in 1990, a fourfold increase since 1983. At the same time, GAO found the number of illegally employed children who sustained "serious injuries" on the job doubled during the time period. GAO, the investigatory arm of Congress, said its review of Labor Department figures showed 1,475 serious injuries among youths in the workplace from 1983 to 1990. Incidents considered serious were any injury that resulted in loss of at least one day's work, a permanent disability or death.

Last year, Labor Department enforcers tallied more than 38,000 child labor violations nationwide, including 288 serious injury cases. GAO noted that 73 percent of the violations the Labor Department found last year were recorded during four nationwide crackdowns called Operation Child Watch. More than 8,500 of the cases involved teens under age 18 working illegally in hazardous jobs. There are 17 prohibited jobs, including mining, logging, slaughtering and meat cutting, wrecking and demolition, roofing and excavation. Youths aged 14 and 15 are allowed to work only in certain jobs, among them newspaper delivery, and in retail, food service or gasoline establishments.

They are generally not allowed to work with power equipment and machinery, or as messengers or miners. The most common violations recorded last year 30,220 cases involved children working too many hours. Federal law prohibits youths under 16 from working past 7 p.m. on school nights or for more than 18 hours a week during the academic year. GAO, which asked to study child labor by Sen.

Howard Metzenbaum, D-Ohio, and Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, also reviewed the demographic characteristics of teen workers. Using Census Bureau data, GAO found that 28 percent of 15-year-olds and 51 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds were employed at some time during 1988. Low-income and minority youthi were less likely- to be employed but more likely to be working in prohibited hazardous jobs, GAO found.

Last year, Congress increased penalties for child labor law violations to a maximum of $10,000 a child. The Labor Department has adopted a policy of handing out $5,000 fines for serious injuries resulting in lost working time to an Illegally employed youth; up to $7,500 in cases of permanent disability; and $10,000 in cases of death. Berry's World ANOTHER THING, I don't like paying higher health care costs because you've made bad LIFESTYLE CHOICES." Accolades Appreciates cards Editor: I would like to thank family and friends who sent flowers, get well cards, said prayers and best wishes during my long stay at Humana Hospital in San Antonio. I appreciate the nupport and help received by me and my family from all my out-of-town relatives also. I have been back in Del Rio for about three weeks and am doing okay.

I am recuperating at my parents' home. SYLVIA A. GARZA 11M W. Chapoy St. STATE OF TEXAS The Honorable Bill Sims 25th District Texas Senate P.O.

Box Austin, Texas 78711 The Honorable Pete Gallego 60th District Texas House of Representatives P.O. Box 2910 Austin, Texas UNITED STATES SENATE The Honorable Phil Gramm U.S. Senate 370 Russell Ruilding Washington, D.C., 20510 The Honorable Lloyd Bentsen U.S. Senate 703 Hart Building Washington, D.C., 20515 U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES The Honorable Albert Bustamante 1110 Long worth House Office Building Washington, DC, 20515 Letters Texcor protests Weathersbee letter' Editor.

I am writing to you regarding a letter on Sunday, June 16 from Mr. Lee Weathersbee. In this letter, Mr. Weathersbee made a very serious accusation that we did not provide the truth about our project with his question, "Are the waste management companies going to give us only the information they want us to have in order to lead us to the conclusions they want us to be led to?" The answer to his question is an emphatic, "No!" Tex- cor has, in the past and will continue to provide all information to all interested parties and individuals. With respect to his suggestion that the Edwards Underground Water District (EUWD) is opposed to Texcor's Project.

I contacted Mr. Russell Masters, general manager of EUWD, and he told me he has no information that this project would contaminate the aquifer, nor has the EUWD Board taken a position regarding this project. In support of Texcor's position, I have enclosed a copy of the letter from Mr. Robert Conti, Edwards Aquifer coordinator for the Texas Water Commission, for your readers in hopes you will print it along with this letter. It states, "We appreciate your (Texcor's) interest in protecting the quality of the groundwater in the Central Texas area." This letter from the Texas Water Commission is further confirmation that our efforts at site selection were appropriate, and we have found a site that does not have the potential for causing pollution of the Edwards Aquifer.

I hope your readers will note the date on the TWC letter (January 1989) which is fully six months prior to the submission of our application to the Texas Department of Health. CHARLES W. SALSMAN President TexcorIndustries P.O. Boc 1097 Brackettvllle TEXAS WATER COMMISSION B. J.

Ill, HopMnt, CwnmfcAxwr John O. Movehlnt, January 17, 1909 23GG ttmlor MfeW t. ritU. Gttwrrf Couwf W. Fo.ttr, CWtl Otik Mr.

Bryan W. Dlxon, P.E. Environmental Consulting Associates 9111 Jollyvllle Road Austin, Texas 78759 Re: Texcor NORM Site In Klnney County, Texas Relation to the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zones 31 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 313 Dear Mr. Olxon: Thank you for the opportunity to attend your presentation on Friday, December 5, 1988 at the Texas Hater Commission. This letter confirms that the referenced project, which Is south of the town of Spofford, Texas, Is south of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone, and consequently Is not subject to compliance with 31 TAC Chapter 313 (relating to the Edwards Aquifer), which regulates activities with the potential for causing pollution of the Edwards Aquifer.

We appreciate your Interest 1n protecting the quality of groundwater In 8t If Mjr be of further please call me at (512) 463-8497 In Austin. Sincerely, Robert D. Conti Edwards Aquifer Coordinator County of Klnney Edwards Underground Water District Texas Water Commission District 8 Office Copy of letter Mr. Robert Conti, Edwards Aquifer coordinator for the Texas Water Commission, wrote to Texcor otticials six months prior to the submission of Texcor's application to the Texas Department of Health, writes Salsman in his letter to the editor. Hospital article needs clarification Editor: In reference to the article appearing in the Del Rio News- Herald Wednesday, June 19, headlined, "Letter advises hospital board to hike rates," some clarification is needed.

Jason Hierholzer, chief finan cial officer for Val Verde Memorial Hospital, had this to say: "the article stated Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) had called the hospital twice this year telling them they should raise the rates. Nearly every hospital, including Val Verde Memorial, contracts with BCBS for acceptance of a fee schedule with "allowable" payment amounts for services rendered to patients carrying BCBS coverage. Annually, due to the rising costs of health care, all hospitals become "eligible" for an increase to this fee schedule, pending the outcome of a random claims audit. VVMH becomes eligible each year on July 1. This year, and last year, the increase created an unusual situation whereby the "allowabl" payment amounts from BCBC were over and above the actual VVMH charges.

This indicates VVMH charges are well below most other hospitals in this state. In order for VVMH to receive the payment amount allowed based on the BCBS fee schedule, the hospital charges would have to be increased." DAVA CLOUDT Public relations director Val Verde Memorial Hospital 801 Bedell Ave. Case a tangle of legal proceedings Delays mark Rascals' child abuse case Who represents you By JOE SOUTHERN Thomson News Service EDENTON, N.C. Robert Fulton "Bob" Kelly Jr. is scheduled to go to trial next month on charges he and six others sexually molested 29 children at the Little Rascals Day Care Center here.

His trial, which has been pending for more than two years, is set for July 22. The case has been a tangle of legal proceedings and endless delays which have helped keep Kelly in prison for almost 26 months without being convicted of anything. The case has attracted national attention to this pretty town of 6,000, including a two- hour documentary on the PBS series "Frontline," and comparisons with the McMartin preschool case in California. Skeptics wonder how seven people could molest as many as 90 children, in a day care center with plate glass windows that people were In and out of all day. But others contend there is no other way to explain why some of the children are engaging in graphic sex play or waking in the night, screaming and clutching their genitals.

Kelly is eager to get the trial underway. So are hfs accusers. Kelly, 42, is charged with 248 counts of sexually abusing 29 young children who attended the day-care center he owned with his wife, Elizabeth Twiddy Betsy" Kelly. Betsy Kelly, 34, also charged and jailed, is awaiting a trial sometime after her husband. Five other people, three employees and two Edenton residents, are also charged in the case.

They are: Willard Schott Privott, 41; Kathryn Dawn Wilson, 24; Robin Boles By rum, 20; Shelley Alyce Stone, 35; and Darlene MacDonald Bunch (formerly Harris), 26. Together the seven face 428 charges. The Kellys and Privott remain in jail under bonds in excess of $1 million each. All the others have posted bail, but not without serving some jail time first. On the other side, the alleged child victims and their families have been undergoing a trial of their own.

For the past two years their have been on hold. The children have been seeing therapists. Several of the families are still having difficul ty dealing with events That have reshaped their The of the cave go back to January 1989 when a concerned parent called the Chow an County Department of Social The department, along with Skeptics wonder how seven people could molest as many as 90 children, in a day care center with plate glass windows that people were in and out of all day. officials, investigated the complaint, and in March 1989 revoked the center's licence. A month later Bob Kelly was arrested and charged with first degree sex offense involving three boys who attended the center.

Kelly made bail, but was re-arrested two more times in the following months as the charges against him mounted. By midsummer the small town's rumor mill was in full swing, with names of others involved and "bizarre details" of the alleged abuses: raping and sodomizing of 2-year-olds, sticking sharp objects in their rectums, threatening them with snakes, and forcing them to watch sexual intercourse. Several parents filed a civil suit against Betsy Kelly, seeking damages in excess of $10,000 each. The civil case has been put on hold pending resoiution of the criminal cases. Betsy Kelly operated the daycare center whiled her husband, a former golf pro, operated a plumbing business.

Privott, the son of a deceased judge, ran a video store and shoe repair shop. Betsy Kelly was able to make bail, but District Attorney H.P. Williams with the aid of Special Deputy Prosecutor William P. Hart of the Attorney General's office and several State Bureau of Investigation officers, continued their probe. In September 1989, a Chowan County Grand Jury handed down more charges against the Kellys and Privott.

The case was expanded to include day-care Shelley Stone and Dawn Wilson. Bonds for the three key rose over a million dollars each, and the others were held under bonds of several hundred thousand dollars. Stone was able to make a $375,000 bond a short time later, and then retreated from the spotlight. In November the case took another twist, as Bob Kelly and Scott Privott became linked to another involving Darlene Harris and her boyfriend Harris was accused by her former husband, an Edenton police officer, of sexually molesting their son. Harris' boyfriend (now husband) Bruce Bunch, was already indicted in the case.

The allegations also named Privott and Kelly. In December 1989, District Attorney Williams announced that more arrests were pending. Darlene Harris and former worker Robin Byrum were indicted in January 1990. Harris immediately posted bail. Later in the month, the Governor's Crime Commission began to provide state funds to the families of the alleged victims.

The families would later win legislation doubling the time they would be eligible to receive funding for counseling. At that same time, attention focused on the McMartin case in California a case to which many similarities would be drawn. The McMartin defendants were acquitted. The monstrous size of the McMartin case served as foreshadowing of the events to unfold in the Little Rascals case. By the end of January 1990, the prosecution team of Williams, Hart and Assistant District Attorney Nancy Lamb concluded their charges against the defendants, leaving the total at 429 (one of the was later dropped because of a technicality).

At a hearing in February 1990, Judge Bradford Tillery, who had been assigned to preside over the case, granted a defense motion to join all seven defendants for one trial. In April 1990 another civil suit was filed against several of the defendants. This time several of the parents wanted the three main defendants tested for the AIDS virus. The move wan opposed by the defense attorneys, who later tried to use it a tool to seek valuable pretrial material from the parents which had been denied them. To block the attorneys, the parents later dropped the suit.

In May 1990 Williams tried once again to have the defendants separated for trial. Judge Tillery refused, keeping the defendants joined. That prompted the prosecutors to appeal to higher courts, delaying the trial throughout the summer of 1990. By that time the cost of the case to the state estimated at $1 million was reaching record proportions for North Carolina, though still small compared to the $15 million spent in the McMartin case. By September the appeals delay was over, with the higher court reversing Tillery's ruling.

Williams announced the trial of Bob Kelly would be first. But before the case could proceed, Tillery resigned, citing the "complexities" of the case. Judge D. Marsh McLelland was named to replace Tillery. One of McLelland's first actions was to rule in favor of the prosecution and keep the defense from having access to the notes of doctors and therapists who treated the alleged victims.

In December, McLelland moved Bob Kelly's case 75 miles away to Farmville in Pitt County. He also reduced bond for Wilson and Byrum to a level they would be able to make. In preparation for the trial, defense attorneys Michael Spivey and Jeffrey Miller issued dozens of very broad subpoenas to parents, doctors, therapists and journalists involved in the case. At a hearing in Farmville just before the trial date, Judge McLelland threw put the subpoenas and penalized the attorneys for issuing them. An appeals court upheld the throwing out of the subpoenas but not the sanctions against the lawyers.

That ruling appeared to pave the way for Bob Kelly's trial to finally begin. In the meantime, the defendants wait in jail, and the parents wait in agony. (Joe Southern editor of The Daily Advauce in Elizabeth City. N.C.).

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