I find it interesting that Time magazine’s Web site today carries only an Associated Press story on the resignation of Gloucester High School principal Joseph Sullivan, who blasted Mayor Carolyn Kirk for having “slandered” him. Time hasn’t run an update since June 26, when one of the magazine’s reporters, Kathleen Kingsbury, wrote an item that carried the possibly misleading headline “Gloucester Principal Stands by Story.”
Sullivan, you may recall, was the primary source for Kingsbury’s startling claim that a group of female students at Gloucester High School had made a “pact” to get pregnant and raise their babies together — a story that included such lurid details as girls’ high-fiving each other when they learned they were expecting, and one student being impregnated by a 24-year-old homeless man. Sullivan said in Kingsbury’s June 26 piece that he didn’t recall having used the word “pact,” but that he stood by what he’d told Time.
But as I wrote in June, Sullivan declined to take the additional step of endorsing Kingsbury’s reporting. To this day, we have not heard from a single Gloucester High School student who says she was part of any such agreement with other students, regardless of whether you call it a “pact.” Essentially we know nothing more than we did way back on March 7, when the Gloucester Times reported that officials were worried that some girls were getting pregnant deliberately. That is sufficiently serious to warrant community-wide concern; but it was the notion of a “pact” that made this a national story, and that remains unverified.
From the beginning, Kingsbury has strongly suggested in her reporting and in interviews that she knows who at least some of the pact members are, and that they have declined to go public. I hope she’s working on a follow-up.
Still, it has struck me as exceedingly odd that here, in Oprah Nation, not one of these young women would step forward. Let’s not forget, too, that one pregnant 17-year-old Gloucester High student appeared on national television and denied there was any such pact. Rather, she said some of the students became close after they got pregnant, a claim that comports with some inside knowledge I had picked up around the same time.
Time magazine shouldn’t just be given a pass on this.