Archive for Friday, September 19, 2003

D.A. doles out homework assignment to protester

Diversion agreement includes essay on KU institute

September 19, 2003


It's an anarchist's nightmare homework assignment.

Prosecutors have agreed to drop charges against one of the protesters arrested this summer outside a Dole Institute of Politics dedication dinner -- but only if he writes a 1,000-word report on the institute's history, purpose, and finances, including "the goals of Senator Robert Dole as they relate to the Institute."

"The punishment needs to fit the crime," said Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney.

Adam W. Schorger, 19, must finish the essay and submit it to Kenney's office by Dec. 15 under the conditions of a diversion agreement he signed last month.

"It seems really odd -- almost as though he's a child that they're punishing," said Vanessa Hays, another protester arrested outside a $500-a-plate dinner July 21 at the Lawrence Holidome, 200 McDonald Drive. "It just seems like they're infantilizing him. ... It's kind of a humiliating thing."

Schorger also must write a letter of apology to police, pay $192 in court costs and stay out of trouble for the next year.

If he succeeds, the state will drop misdemeanor charges of obstruction and criminal use of a weapon.

He and dozens of other protesters -- many of whom identify themselves as anarchists -- were picketing the dinner because they viewed it as a slap in the face to the hungry and poor. Police arrested 18 people at the protest.

Kenney, who, like Dole, is a Republican, said she never would use her office to make a political point. She said the idea wasn't to humiliate Schorger but to simultaneously punish him and require him to learn from the experience.

"There needs to be some punitive part of the process, otherwise, you don't get the deterrent," she said.

Nothing in the agreement requires the report to paint a favorable portrait of Dole.

"I would suggest to him to write a positive account," Hays said. "Just suck it up and write a positive account."

Schorger, of Franktown, Colo., couldn't be reached Thursday, and his attorney, Richard Frydman, declined comment.

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