Today’s Gazette publishes three letters regarding the Ned Selavka situation. Selavka, a local teacher of young children, has been charged with possession of child pornography.
Donna and Kathy Wilkins-Carmody of Northampton write,
“One of the things my family and I love so dearly about the Pioneer Valley is the progressive thinking and open-mindedness. However, when these freedoms are used to downplay an alleged pedophile in our community, it has gone too far…
The notion that voyeurs are somehow not predators is astonishing. In the material recovered it was stated that there were girls (4 to 8 years old) performing sex acts on grown men. I wonder if the girls themselves or their parents would make such a distinction.
Our daughter had Ned in preschool when she was 4 and 5 years old. We all loved him and thought him beyond reproach… My daughter is nearly 10 now and last week I had to find appropriate language and terms in which to explain this to her. When I think of Ned now I will think of her looking at me through tear-filled eyes and asking, “Why did Ned do that? He was a role model to me.”
Referring to the planned Capital Video porn shop at 135 King Street, Genevieve Venne of Florence writes,
“Many are applauding or don’t find anything wrong with that… It seems to me that adult pornography is only a step away from child pornography.”
Kathleen Kamping of Northampton writes,
“Compassion can be a rare gift. Before giving it all away, let’s make sure we ask ourselves who deserves the greater share. Mr. Selavka, who could face a maximum sentence of five years, or the children depicted in the images allegedly found in his knapsack, who face a lifetime of severe psychological trauma?”
—————– (added on 2/10/07)
See also “Girl’s mother sees Selavka’s collage as betrayal”, the lead article in today’s Gazette:
Selavka, a longtime kindergarten and Sunday school teacher at many Northampton institutions, was charged last month with 11 counts of possession of child pornography after authorities discovered 15 collages and two computer discs they say belonged to him. One of the collages, which police have said is not pornographic, was made up of four photographs of a local girl…
In an interview Friday, [the girl’s mother] said she feels betrayed by a teacher she and her daughter trusted…
[L]earning that her former kindergarten teacher had pictures of her and that he had been arrested put the girl in a state of fear, her mother said. For days afterward, she said, the girl [now 8 years old] kept asking questions like ‘Is he in jail?’ ‘Why did he have my picture?’ and ‘Will he come after me?’…
When the woman saw the four pictures of her daughter Selavka allegedly used in his collage, she recognized right away where they had come from. They were taken three years ago at an ‘indoor beach party in March,’ which was held at People’s Institute, the woman said. The girl and other children were there in bathing suits, and Selavka was snapping pictures, the woman said.
At the time, she said, the scene seemed perfectly innocuous. Now she sees it in a completely different light.
‘You trust someone as a teacher of your child, and then you find something out that goes totally against that,’ she said.