Candidate’s choice for treasurer very puzzling

June 11, 2010
By

John Ruch’s well-documented and succinctly written article [JP Gazette, May 28] about Jeffrey Herman’s campaign treasurer raised serious concerns about both the candidate and the treasurer. Under normal circumstances, none of us would have known or necessarily cared about Joel Pentlarge’s past. But by coming out and defending himself and advocating for the reduction of sex offender laws, he has given us the right to rebut his inaccurate and misleading statements.

It is inexcusable that Pentlarge defended himself by saying, “My actual crime is not rape, but statutory rape.” The implication he made was that if the children had only been older it would have been OK for him to get them drunk and drugged to seduce them. All of his comments were to defend himself or candidate Herman. There wasn’t a single word of compassion for the boys whose lives were scarred by his predatory behavior. There wasn’t a single word of remorse. His was not the language of a sincerely repentant sexual offender. The courts he once served reportedly concluded he was a “pervert, charlatan and sexual predator.” There are reasons he is a Level 3 sex offender.

Pentlarge was not a love-struck teenager who became intimate with a partner under 14 and was harshly judged by the court. He was a powerful adult who, deliberately and with forethought, betrayed friends, the parents of the boys, and took advantage of his age, power and money to abuse them. And by Herman knowingly choosing him to be on his team, Herman’s own judgment becomes questionable.

What kind of judgment does it show that Herman chose former attorney Pentlarge to have a prominent role in his campaign? What was he thinking giving Pentlarge so much visibility and power? Is he trying to shoot his own campaign in the foot, or is there a segment of voters he hoped to attract?

The people of Jamaica Plain are known for their compassion and are capable of great understanding and forgiveness, but they are not stupid. While they know Pentlarge was not accused of using physical force to rape those boys, they do know that he intentionally got them drunk for his perverse pleasure. It was not “a case of consensual relationships with people” like he stated. A 12-year-old is incapable of giving consent to an overbearing adult, especially when that adult is a friend of the family.

Political candidates usually choose people for their team based on their skills, integrity, values, intelligence, etc. Herman chose a treasurer who has an agenda to reform sex offender laws, reduce the period of parole and eliminate the registration system. Pentlarge himself could not get a low or moderate level rating from the judicial system which does not believe turning 60 will make him or any other predator less of a threat.

With all the wonderful, politically savvy, educated, articulate people with master’s degrees and doctorates to choose from, I have to wonder why Herman chose this man to be his spokesman.

M.M. Rosenthal
Jamaica Plain