Stop publishing writings from prisoner

Guest Commentary

by Kevin Scott    
Published: January 10, 2009 in Guest Commentary, Opinion

After reading the most recent column from convicted child molester Joseph Urbaniak in Q-Notes, I felt compelled to voice my concerns to the editors. I have been a long-time reader of Q-Notes and have always appreciated the fact that the Carolinas have a source for LGBT news. I am however worried that the continued printing of Urbaniak’s writings sends the wrong message about the LGBT community.

Giving Urbaniak a voice while he is still incarcerated gives the appearance that Q-Notes is endorsing a pedophile and that the LGBT community is including him in our fight for acceptance. Urbaniak has a debt to pay to his victim and has a debt to pay to society. Considering the fact that he may not be released until 2010, he still has not paid his debt in full. I am also concerned about his victim. How do you explain to the victim that Q-Notes is giving his perpetrator a public forum?

Remorse is one thing that is glaringly lacking in Urbaniak’s writings. I have been unable to find anything that resembles an apology to his victim in his articles. Quite the opposite, he writes as if he is a victim of the prison system. The true victim in this case is the individual that suffered, and probably continues to suffer, from Urbaniak’s crimes.

Furthermore, reading Urbaniak’s columns made it absolutely clear to me that he has not changed. In my opinion he writes as if he could continue to be a danger to others when he is released. By quoting one of his articles, I will allow him to speak for himself. When describing another inmate Urbiniak wrote, “follow him to the shower for a private viewing of the rest of his tender young flesh.”

As a gay man I take great offense that Urbaniak also identifies himself as a gay man. Urbiniak is more than likely a pedophile who is attempting to gain sympathy from our community by claiming that he is gay. A gay man is attracted to other men, not boys. Let’s make it absolutely clear that there is no room at the LGBT table for child molesters.

I would also like to point out that Urbaniak is not a model prisoner. I have looked up his record on the publicly accessible North Carolina Department of Correction’s web page. He has 20 disciplinary infractions while in prison including forgery, violating North Carolina law, misuse of phone and mail, verbal threats, fighting, disobeying orders and being found in unauthorized locations. I think this says volumes about his character and shows that he continues to attempt to break the rules.

In addition, Urbaniak’s articles are preceded with a note that states that he is a plaintiff in a pending lawsuit against the North Carolina Department of Corrections to secure the rights of LGBT prisoners to possess non-sexual reading materials. While the basic rights of LGBT prisoners is important, the North Carolina court system has been buried by frivolous lawsuits by inmates. These types of legal filings take away precious funds and time from an already strained system. Should LGBT prisoners have to the right to serve their time in a safe environment free from harassment and violence? Yes. Should LGBT prisoners expect all the amenities they were afforded while they were free? No. Urbaniak gave up many of his rights when he molested a child and was convicted and sentenced for his crimes.

In conclusion, I hope that Q-Notes will cease all publication of Urbaniak’s writings. The LGBT community has fought long and hard for acceptance. In my opinion, printing his articles is a disservice to all of us law abiding LGBT citizens.

— Kevin Scott is a former law enforcement officer and is currently an investigator for a Fortune 500 company in Charlotte, NC.

Q-Notes strives to provide the Carolinas LGBT community with an open forum for discussion and commentary. The views of guest commentators do not necessarily represent the official views or positions of Q-Notes, its editorial staff or publisher.

Be sure to read the accompanying opinion column by Editor Matt Comer in this issue, “Prisoner is just the messenger, try to see the message instead.”