Can the search for Truth lead to blind Injustice?

Examination of a Witch (1853) by T. H. Matteson, a painting said to be inspired by the Salem witch trials.

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Examination of a Witch (1853) by T. H. Matteson, a painting said to be inspired by the Salem witch trials.

Just a couple of days old, the tale of the 81 year old pharmacist Robert Kenzia being arrested for allegedly requesting a woman to disrobe before he would fill her prescription, is circulating as any story laced with overtones of sex and drugs likely would.  The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is also auditing the pharmacy to see if they can find any other signs of wrongdoing.

Shock seems to be the initial reaction, based in part by the age of the accused.  Those who actually know the man also feel confusion, as the accusation is not characteristic of the man they’re familiar with.  While the Niagara Falls Police Department suspect there are other victims, seemingly none have made themselves known prior to the actual arrest.

What is truly mystifying about this case is not so much what is known, but what is not known.

If the allegations are true, then Mr. Kenzia has much to answer for, and the answers may come after he has his day in court.  However, if the allegations are not true, or there is more to this story than has been publicly revealed so far, Mr. Kenzia may become a victim of this tragic tale, with little or no means to regain what he has lost.

In a culture that has been accustomed to “rush to judgment”, an accused may find himself not only guilty before being proven innocent, he may likely be tainted afterwards, even if the charges are dropped.

Before these charges hit the news, Mr. Kenzia had a clean reputation and was respected in the community.  If other victims come forward, or the investigations reveal other illegal activity flowing from his pharmacy, then the public has learned something valuable and new.  But if the story runs another way, and the accusations fall flat, how quickly will the public grasp the narrative of Mr. Kenzia’s innocence?

As a society, we have a responsibility to protect victims of crimes.  That is without doubt.  But should we not also have a responsibility to protect the accused, particularly prior to a final adjudication of guilt?  The lofty principle of “innocent until proven guilty” becomes somewhat meaningless when you’re left standing in the smear that was once your life after your name and reputation have been dragged through the public mud.

It bears remembering, there are two sides to every story.  In the still-evolving tale of Mr. Kenzia, one may still ask, just how much do we really know?

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1 Comment

  1. Finally an unbiased article!!! Thank you! It is really sad that this awful situation has erupted into the the absoulute demolishing of this man, before ANYONE knows the facts, true or not. All over the news, radio, and net, he’s being labeled the “pervy pharmacist”. Our culture is so quick to pass judgement, even though the information we are given is limited, and obscure. We are told “an 81 year old man, FORCED, a women to strip naked before he would fill her prescription; he also threatened to tell other parmacies not to fill her prescription if she did not comply; and that this didn’t just happen once, but multiple times over a period of months”… I cannot comprehend how these statements, being reiterated again and again, are seen as completely plausible to most who hear/read/see something pertaining to this account. How was this women “forced” to strip naked?? Did the 81 year old pharmacist brandish a weapon of some kind? And if a weapon of some kind wasn’t used, why didnt she just change pharmacies, and why in the world did she continue to go back to this pharmacy, month, after month, after month?! Oh yes, I forgot, the pharmacist threatened to call every other pharmacy in the western New York area, to tell them not to fill her prescriptions….. I’m not privy to all the laws and guidelines of the pharmacy profession, but using common sense, I’m almost positive a pharmacist does not have the authority to force some kind of universal ban, on filling a prescription; at least not without some kind of genuine, and verifiable cause, (I don’t think “don’t fill this women’s script, bc she won’t strip for me” would warrant a realistic response). This women could have simply changed pharmacies, asking her doctor to send her prescriptions to another of her choosing, after the initial alleged threat from the pharmacist.
    This entire story seems extremely unrealistic, and this women’s actions makes zero sense to anyone with a functioning brain. Only if more tangible evidence against this man comes to light (survalence videos are used in all pharmacys), should we form our own individual conclusions, as to his innocence or guilt, but until than, we should bite our tounges and STOP dragging this mans name and reputation through the gutter. It’s not fair to him, or his family. Remeber we are innocent until proven guilty, right now this is just faulty, unsubstantiated, heresay.
    Thanks again NFReporter, for your unbiased article, and humanizing both sides. It’s really sad, but if this claim ends up being false, I doubt this mans life and reputation will be restored to its previous state.

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