Story Should Have Waited For Facts



Charity Softball Game Ends in a Brawl: Sept. 9, 2003.

How irresponsible is it to publish before the facts are in, or fully investigated, and so simply explained away by using the phrase "unavailable for comment by press time"? As if there is a deadline on a story which would have profound impact on the reputation of one who is absolutely described correctly by Officer Don Engler as "A Reputable Person."

The truth, as told by dozens of witnesses and bystanders, is that Ketterling, along with members of his Mesa softball team, swung first. To further illustrate, this is not a "he said, she said" situation, the family oriented Mesa team Ketterling made the initial aggressive attack on Ray LaHaye.

LaHaye instinctively, in a defensive manner, held onto his aggressor and they both fell to the ground. Once on the ground, Ray was held defenseless. Meanwhile, four to five Mesa team members, seen by everyone, were standing around and forcefully kicking Ray, even when he could not defend himself. One was actually leaning over and was punching Ray in the face with three unimpeded swings until he was wrestled off.

Finally, Ray was able to break free and, due to the cheap shots that were delivered by this team, we felt there was no choice but to call 911 and have the police intervene. Our motivation was to press charges against the players who had taken these cheap shots.

This article has attacked the character of a citizen of Payson. Ray LaHaye has demonstrated time and time again to be a pillar of respect within this community for over 25 years.

While in public service, he has served in many roles as a town employee and department head during most of his tenure. All this commitment and dedication was placed in question over the word of an arrested, foul-mouthed player from Mesa.

His character (Ketterling) is well documented by noting the people he associates himself with -- the likes of whom are thrown out of games for profane language, and who are demonstrating to their children, brought along to watch the family outing, to punch, kick, and mug other people as an acceptable avenue for conflict resolution.

This is clearly not how the community of Payson sees it.

I am outraged by this article and hold myself in awe of the respect and dignity that Ray LaHaye has demonstrated in his professional and private life.

Mark R. Mouritsen, M.D., Payson

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