Jean Valjean of Oklahoma

Jean Valjean of Oklahoma

Pete Vere writes to ask us to make a noise about the case of an Oklahoma teen who was thrown out of his house and broke into a school to steal food. As the commenter on Free Dominion says, it is not a crime to steal food if you’re hungry, as the Catechism says. Unfortunately, the district attorney wants to make an example of the kid and is throwing the book at him.

Despite appeals for leniency from NW Classen Principal Tammy Sanders, Oklahoma City District Attorney Wes Lane is pressing felony charges against an 18 year old NWC Senior High student, whom I will refer to as Johnny Doe, arrested for taking food from the desks of his teachers.

… I have just this afternoon (9-29-06) confirmed with Oklahoma City Public School Spokesperson Mr. Cordell Jordan that he and teachers and the Principal are troubled by Wes Lane’s determination to pursue this impoverished young man whose only crime was trying to stay alive.

His crime? He entered the school building through an open window (i.e. he didn’t break a window or lock) and went through teachers’ desks looking for snack foods. He didn’t steal obvious valuables, didn’t rifle through student lockers, didn’t do anything but go straight for the food.

There is contact information for the DA at the link.

Update: A commentor writes to let us know that the DA has dropped the charges.

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Domenico Bettinelli

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