The news that police are investigating Ashland resident James Auchincloss, half-brother to the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Eagle Point resident Dennis Vickoren for possession of child pornography has left many locals shocked and upset.
Since publishing the story a week ago today, the Daily Tidings has been inundated with e-mails and phone calls from concerned locals. Some want to know why the news wasn't reported sooner — and others wonder why it was reported at all.
"My immediate reaction was indignation. I know James. He's a very generous, kind person and I was appalled that you could put this in the newspaper without any charges being filed," said Ashland resident June Rachles.
Daily Tidings City Editor Myles Murphy said the newspaper decided to publish the story because editors felt locals had a right to know about the child porn investigation.
"This was not a story we could sweep under the carpet," he said. "A well-known man in position of authority with at least one local group that works with children was being looked at by police in an investigation related to child pornography. People had a right to know what was going on."
The newspaper obtained search warrant documents pertaining to the investigation last month, although officials searched Auchincloss' and Vickoren's homes last October.
Despite evidence that the men also have taken photographs of clothed children locally, police said the case has not been given a high priority because they believe there is no immediate threat. Neither man has been charged.
The Daily Tidings story was picked up by several news outlets last week, including the Associated Press, resulting in the dissemination of the story worldwide.
Some Ashland residents, such as Gerald Cavanaugh, worry that Auchincloss will be unable to avoid the stigma of being associated with child pornography — even if it turns out the allegations are untrue.
"It will be very difficult for him — not that it's impossible for him — to get through this without some sort of black mark against him, however accurate it is," Cavanaugh said. "I just think the newspaper made a mistake in bringing him into it."
Others, such as Karmin Davis, say they're glad the investigation was brought to light.
"I thank the men who notified the police because I think a lot of the time people will turn their eye from a lot of that," she said. "As a person who has raised children and has been around children, I was horrified that this person who actually lived fairly close to me was involved in this."
Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.