Garden City Telegram from Garden City, Kansas on September 21, 1976 · Page 8
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Garden City Telegram from Garden City, Kansas · Page 8

Garden City, Kansas
Issue Date:
Tuesday, September 21, 1976
Page 8
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West Point Cheating Charge Creates 'Living Nightmare' By MALCOLM N. CARTER Associated Press Writer WEST ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) From the time their only son was born, Kenneth and Ann Curley wanted him to be a West Pointer. They were not disappointed. They wanted to savor his successes — the medals, the awards and the trophies. Again they were not disappointed. They wanted him to be a leader, at the top of his class. He was. Now he is a convicted West Point cheater, and Ken and Ann Curley say it is the worst thing that's happened since they lost one of their five children to crib death syndrome. The cheating charge has created what Mrs. Curley calls a "living nightmare" of recriminations from their family, pointed comments from friends and telephone calls from cranks. The plaques on the walls of their modest long Island home are a testament to the hopes they had — still have — for Kenneth Jr., a strapping lacrosse and football player whom all four service academies courted. He was once among the most promising leaders at West Point and in line to become fourth-ranking cadet in the entire corps. Now he has a clouded future. His stripes ' are gone and his pride bruised. He was convicted in August by an officer board in West Point's cheating scandal. He stood tearfully back among the plebes in the year's first parade, filled with the indignity of carrying a rifle. He said he should have been out front carrying the command, for unstinting praise and the top positions of responsibility had been his. "It really hurts," Cadet Curley, 20, says. "It really destroyed me — all this for one damn writ." The "writ," cadet slang for a test, was the homework assignment administered early last March to 823 members of the Class of 1977. Roughly a quarter of the class was accused of collaborating on it, and those accused say the'number' is but a tip of the iceberg. They are scapegoats and should be punished less lightly than what amounts to a year's suspension, they say. The honor system, they contend, isn't working. "I love the place, but you look at it now, there are so many problems up there and the institution won't face it," young Curley said, expressing his determination to graduate nonetheless. He is destined to do so, his family says. While still hospitalized after her son's premature birth — he weighed three pounds then, compared with 156 now — Mrs. Curley happened to watch "The Long Gray Line" on television. Then and there, she said, she decided: "This is where he was going to go." The film was on several nights, and mother and father watched it at home. So it seemed natural enough 'that toy soldiers and tanks would grace his first Christmas. When the boy turned nine, the movie came on again. And his father let him stay up for it. "As long as I can remember from that time on, that's where I wanted to go," the cadet recalled, idly thumbing the 760-page transcript of his hearing by the board of officers that convicted him. He was always a leader, his parents said. When the Curleys moved to this pleasant community on the south shore, neighboring Gates' Uncle Found Dead WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - The body of a 44-year-old Wichita man found Saturday in a roadside ditch has been identified as an uncle of Willie L. Cates. The body of Ida V. Ray was found partially covered with grass and an autopsy revealed Ray had been stabbed 25 times and shot twice in the head. Ray was the father of Ivory Revells, 21, and the uncle of Cates, who was convicted last week of second degree murder in an April 5 slaying. children mostly fished for, play. But soon they played baseball and war. "He organized this block," beamed the trim mother of three other children. "They were his army." At high school, where he graduated 161st out of 800, Curley was captain of his football and lacrosse teams. By the time he was in the 9th grade, his mother said, he was already getting calls from West Point. Young Curley wanted to go there so much that he didn't even answer the letter when the Navy invited him on a recruitment trip to Annapolis. He has excelled at West Point. Seventh in his class of more than 800 in leadership. Ninth in physical education. Picked to be executive officer in charge of summer training at the academy's Camp Buckner. "I think, based on Kenneth's ability to get along with people and his dedication toward his profession and doing a good job, he could be commissioned right now as an outstanding officer," his tactical officer testified at Curley's hearing. Added a history professor: "I think Mr. Curley has more natural leadership ability than any cadet that I know ... There is no doubt in my mind that I would want that young man as a lieutenant in my company." Even Col. Jack M. Pollin, the president of the officer board that convicted Curley, asked West Point's superin- tendant to allow him to remain at the academy, despite the mandatory penalty of expulsion. Curley subsequently testified at a congressional hearing on the cheating scandal. Then the scandal came home. Before she hung up, abruptly, Curley's grandmother had cried into the phone about the family's "disgrace," saying, Mrs. Curley said, "What about my senior citizens club? What am I going to tell them?" Ann Curley said she even asked her employer whether she should quit because of the notoriety. The offer was rejected. An out-of-work elec- tronics buyer, she now works as a waitress to pay $300-a- month telephone bills she says accumulated in the cadets' defense. "Everybody's turning their back on these cadets," said Mrs. Curley, who has stopped wearing her West Point necklace. "I don't think it's fair. What I'm angered at, if something doesn't work, you ought to change it." Said Mr. Curley, a 46-year- PageS Garden City Telegram Tuesday, Sept. 21,1976 old industrial artist: "I think he's going to be a better officer because he went through this." And his son agreed: "There's not a guy involved who hasn't done a lot of growing up." Not everyone stands behind their sons like the Curleys, the cadet said. He said one Long Island cadet was disowned by his Army captain brother. "A lot of guys are afraid to go home," he said. Sears Sale ends Saturday nnivers Kenmore large capacity washer and electric dryer 2 wash/rinse temperature combinations Tor washday flexibility •'Air only" option for gentle fluff- drying of delicate fuhrics Heavy-duty washer Kenmore electric dryer Low Price 1 Save $ 40 to *70 Sears Best Gas Central Furnaces Built for dependable heating with Life-Clad® ceramic- coated heal exchanger, big capacity blower motors. 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