Magistrate’s Inconsistency

I was greatly disturbed this morning upon reading some of U.S. Magistrate John R. Kronenberg’s remarks in a Times article (Jan. 11). His attitudes seem inconsistent with his position as a guardian of the public well-being.

I was most disturbed by his equation of a community’s supposed lack of standards for sexual conduct with a lack of threat from the actions of an accused child molester. Sexual behavior appropriate between consenting adults, regardless of one’s moral standards, becomes clearly inappropriate and probably harmful when it involves children. Even though the community as a whole may not be physically endangered by the actions of the accused, the impact of child abuse, sexual or otherwise is widespread and long term. Furthermore, I wouldn’t want to be in the position of espousing Kronenberg’s attitudes to the parents of any victims of a prematurely released sex offender.

I was disgusted by Kronenberg’s equation of liberalism (as exemplified by the presence of Stanford University) with tolerance of sexual abuse of children. I find it difficult to comprehend such an attitude, and I also find it insulting to the academic community at Stanford and elsewhere to equate the presence of any university with such a tolerance.

The final straw came with Kronenberg’s attempt to shift the focus of attention away from his decision and onto the behavior of The Times and certain of its affiliates. Perhaps all his contentions are true, and there is responsibility to be assigned to those he mentions; however, the issue being addressed was not pornography in Los Angeles, but the implied threat to the children of Palo Alto from the actions of a child molester. I find Kronenberg’s attempt to evade responsibility for his decision to be both cowardly and unworthy of any person in his position.


The law provides many safeguards for the rights of the accused, and rightly so. It also provides for the protection of the community, regardless of its behavioral standards or lack thereof. I am grateful that U.S. District Judge Robert M. Takasugi stepped and prevented John Karl Herriot’s release, even temporarily. I am grateful for the protection extended to the children of Palo Alto--just in case. I am hopeful that, given the same situation in my community, someone would extend that protection to my children. JUDITH PERSONS Arcadia Bravo to Magistrate Kronenberg! At last someone in authority is putting some of the blame on perversion where it belongs. What guts! He’ll be crucified by the media “free” press. I agree that the Times Mirror Co. has much to answer to their own children and grandchildren as well as ours regarding community standards and attitudes. They are as much a pervert as a molester--one is mental, one physical! R. KEIFFER Redondo Beach Let’s hear a cheer for Magistrate Kronenberg. He finally said in public what many of us have been thinking, and saying, in private!

I might disagree with his decision to allow the defendant, John Herriot, loose to roam the streets (I’d like to see him locked up and the key thrown away), but I applaud his placing a share of the blame for the increase in the number of this and other sex offenders on the liberal society that encourages business operations like Playboy and X-rated home TV cable service.

Such enterprises conducted under the twin banners of freedom of speech and profit leave none of us free of the fallout from the deluge of pornography now surrounding us, even within our own homes.

And no one can offer any current testimony that refutes the fact that an increase in pornography and an increase in sexually aberrant behavior follow the same curve, making the territory outside our homes a mined no-man’s-land.


There is little I can do about the big problem, but there IS something I can do about our local one with the Times Mirror subsidiary, Dimension Cable Television. I plan to petition our City Council to allow the city’s present contract with that company to lapse when it comes up for renewal. And my thanks to Magistrate Kronenberg for “going public” with the problem. ELIZABETH R. PENNE Palos Verdes Estates