By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Will the Globe lower the boom?

Odd goings-on over the fallout from the story about Deval Patrick’s brother-in-law Bernard Sigh, who was outed in the Herald today as an unregistered sex offender.

Dave Wedge, who wrote the first story, has done a follow-up in which the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) claims that the initial inquiry about Sigh came from the Globe. Wedge writes:

The SORB originally investigated Sigh’s criminal record after an inquiry from a Boston Globe reporter, said Kelly Nantel, spokeswoman for the state Executive Office of Public Safety. The letter was sent after the SORB confirmed his record and determined he is required to register, she said.

So who tipped off the Globe? Obviously someone has been shopping this around. Presumably this slime artist turned to the Herald after having been jilted on Morrissey Boulevard.

More intrigue: Blue Mass. Group claims that the Globe posted this statement on its Web site earlier today, and then later removed it:

The Globe learned about Patrick’s brother-in-law last Friday. After assurances from his campaign that Patrick did not intervene on Sigh’s behalf, the paper decided not to write about the issue because it had no bearing on Patrick’s candidacy for governor.

A responsible decision, I’d say. As I wrote earlier today, I’m not going to claim this isn’t a story; but if I were playing editor, I’d rather not run it than run it. Sigh is a convicted rapist, and it’s his responsibility to register as a sex offender. But he’s not seeking office, and Patrick is not responsible for his brother-in-law’s actions. Moreover, the circumstances of Sigh’s crime are such that this story would be entirely unnewsworthy were it not for the Patrick connection.

Here’s what Globe editors are dealing with this evening. The political community is in an uproar over this incredibly sleazy maneuver against Patrick. Everyone wants to know who’s behind it. The Herald, no doubt having gotten the tip on a promise of anonymity, can’t say. Maybe the Globe can — although its editors may be laboring under the same promise.

Is there someone who can get to the bottom of this ugly smear?

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  1. Anonymous

    “After assurances” So the Globe asked a politician, “Did you help your brother-in-law evade registering as a sex offender?” And Deval said “no” so they took his word at face value, oh, I’m sorry, they took his “assurances” at face value. Yeah, that’s a great newspaper.

  2. Joel Patterson

    And when a politician, like Kerry Healey, says she didn’t leak or plant this story, I’m sure “anonymous” above takes her at her word.

  3. mike_b1

    Huge misstep by her campaign. Who’s running this thing, Phyllis Schafley?Seriously, this is going to backfire on Healy. It is obvious to everyone that her campaign is behind it, and it calls in to serious question both her judgment (as if she had any) and her ethics (ditto). Her supporters — how many are there, 58? — see this as damaging to DP. What the voters will see is a funny looking woman who will stop at nothing to get elected. Every voter has skeletons in their closet. And none of them want those skeletons in the 10 o’clock news.

  4. o-fish-l

    o-fish-l said… When I saw this headline, I thought you had come to your senses and were asking if the Globe would terminate the censor(s) who covered up this important story, instead you wonder if they will reveal their source? You’re not just out in left field on this one, Dan, you’re all the way onto Lansdowne Street.Years after the clergy abuse scandal has subsided, this nugget is STILL on the Globe website “If you have information on child abuse by priests, call(617) 929-3208 Or leave a confidential message at this number(617) 929-7483″So if you have mere “info” on a priest call us, but if you have the FACTS on the Democrat nominee’s neighbor, donor, brother-in-law, a CONVICTED RAPIST who is committing a crime in progress (Failure to Register as a Sex Offender) don’t waste your dime nor your time. In fact if you do call us on Deval’s pal, we may “labor” over whether to reveal your identity. This stuff is PRICELESS Dan. Keep it coming! October 13, 2006 9:37 PM

  5. Anonymous

    Again, it is time cut the mock horror and get real:– This material was GOING TO GET OUT. On the web, talk radio, in the herald … there is no such thing as keeping this stuff quiet in modern politics. — the globe MISSED the story. 1) Patrick’s brother in law, a contributor to his campaign, is UNREGISTERED as a sex offender. that is illegal. 2) patrick was asked about this more than a week back and STILL didn’t tell his brother in law to abide by the law? that’s incompetent politically and managerially — for a man who wants to be a politician and the state’s most important manager. 3) how about the fact that the romney-healey duo are LETTING UNREGISTERED SEX-OFFENDERS RUN AROUND THE STATE. maybe that’s … a story? Naah.– how can patrick, who grew up on the south side of chicago, be SO BAD at anticipating and planning for cheap shots and mudslinging? it does not bode well for his future career. — not for nothing but the healey team ought be advised to be very careful in claiming they have no fingerprints on the rape story getting out. there are people who know the score.

  6. Anonymous

    one of the problems here is at what level sex offender is bernard sigh? if he is an unregistered level 3, then he is a story without doubt. there’s been plenty of those about unregistered unconnected sex offenders in many media outlets and that would be a legitimate one with or without patrick’s relationship.but if sigh is a level 1 or 2 then who leaked the letter is clearly the main issue. that information is, by design, harder to get, especially level 1. and for someone to obtain this letter within a week of it being sent smacks of insider contacts, much like the series of letters from patrick to prison officials in new york and his letters to the state probation board on behalf of laguer. one would have to know the road map to get those so quickly.but you know the wonderful thing about computers and FOIAs? FOIAs themselves are public record and can be FOIAed and computers leave footprints and most of that is public record, not work product. Look for a story connecting the dots fairly soon, I’d say.

  7. Anonymous

    What would he have done to ‘help’ him? Did he hide him in his basement? Did he change his identity? This maneuver smacks of a Healey special. Of course she is deeply offended by the suggestion that somebody close to her campaign had anything to do with this. She want Deval to apologize for his smear tactics. I swear to God, I just heard in on NPR (so you know it MUST be true).

  8. Anonymous

    It was a safe play by the Globe but I’m surprised they sat on it because this is juicy, political dirt. Think of all the ludicris things they have printed in its Sunday political gossip column over the years [I don’t read the Globe any more. Do they still publish that?].One could only assume that the desire to not harm Patrick’s chances to win the corner office influenced the decision to kill the story which could be perceived as showing a pattern of protecting and coddling rapists. Surely Patrick should have thought to ask his brother-in-law if he should register as a sex offender, knowing all that he knows about the state and its judicial system. If he didn’t know that his brother-in-law should register, that could be perceived as a problem. Dan, if you recall, this smacks similar to the action taken by the Globe during the priest scandal, when they sat on the story after talking to Cardinal Bernard Law who said there was nothing to the claims. Later, your colleague, Kristin Lombardi, went with the story at the Phoenix and despite not being credited, was the first media outlet to report the story. It happened before the Globe and she has still never received the credit due her nor your former employer. The Globe, however, went on to win a Pulitizer, if I recall correctly, for coming in second place.

  9. Anonymous

    Anonymous at 6:36 AM talks about how the failure to register is greater or lesser if Sigh was a level 3 offender vs. level 1 or 2. The only drawback to that is that Sigh would need to register before the sex offender registry board would produce such a rating. Someone could guess at what rating the registry board would give (length of time since the offense, the unlikelihood he would he would repeat the offense against others, etc.) but no matter what, the registration comes first, the rating comes later.

  10. Anonymous

    anon 11:08: exactly. registration, rating and then, depending upon level, notification of public and accessibility to the record. until then, the offender has privacy protection according to the statute.

  11. charlie

    What really bothers me Dan (and fellow commentors) is that, regardless of who the person is and who they are related to, the system in this state (the SORB), 13 years after someone’s (Sigh) domestic sex crime occurred, apparently didn’t even realize that a convicted rapist had never registered as a sex offender, and only now, during an election season did they review his record and claim he needs to register. Moreover, what kind of system do we have when a man who does the time for his crime, reconciles the crime with his wife and keeps his family together still has to register as a “sex offender,” even 13 years after the fact? Couldn’t and shouldn’t this registering and rating (in the event that Sigh qualifies as an unlikely repeat offender like he should) have been done in a way so that his (Sigh) kids and relatives didn’t have to know about it, or at least until and if the Board says his status needs to be public knowledge? Legal experts, take over.Also,how many more sex offenders (much more sinister/dangerous than Sigh) has the Sex Offender Registry Board forgotten about, ignored, or lost track of? This wreaks of incompetence of a system that can’t afford to be.And the way they handled Deval Patrick’s brother-in-law’s status is more than unfair and untimely, it and the politics surrounding it is simply disgusting. The media and public-at-large should not have gotten ahold of Sigh’s “register in 10 days” letter – it should’ve stayed between Bernard Sigh and the SORB.And as for Sigh’s private past life that led to his sudden registry warning, whoever searched for and shopped it around and decided it was fit to print and relevant to an election, whether they are from the Globe, Herald, or Healey operatives should be suspended or lose their jobs.

  12. mike_b1

    Charlie, you raise an important point — the context in which this issue was discussed.It could have been framed in terms of 1) do convicts comply with the Registry, 2) does it prevent/reduce recidivism, 3) what’s the cost to the Commonwealth, etc.All of this would have been good and possibly award-winning journalism, certainly in the public’s best interests. But it’s way easier to take the route the media did. Ugh.

  13. Anonymous

    The sex offender registry… What a joke, a tool- fear- politicians have always used to maintain and expand thier power. Convicted sex offenders are no more likely to reoffend than a police officer or socccer coach is likely to offend. Anybody ever have sex outdoors? Recieve oral sex? Urinate in public? Have an erection- while clothed- in public? Guess whatIn varied states each of those things is considered a SEX OFFENSE! People need to judge themselves before they start judging others. Oh, and by the way, wheres the murderer registry? I’d feel safer knowing about the murderer living down the street than I would knowing about the gay guy who had consensual sex with a teenaged guy five years younger than him… Not to mention domestic abuser registries, baby beater registries, drunk driver registries, and how about parking ticket registries? Its all public knowledge, shouldn’t we have the right to know? Of course not, the state will tell us what we need to know,or whats important, and of course we’re just sheep and buy right into it. America, land of the easily ruled victims.

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