Our view: Behavior leading to order not becoming of a leader
Last Sunday, Hermantown Mayor Keith MacDonald was arrested at Miller Hall Mall for allegedly violating a restraining order prohibiting him from coming in contact with his one-time fianc?e.
Last Sunday, Hermantown Mayor Keith MacDonald was arrested at Miller Hall Mall for allegedly violating a restraining order prohibiting him from coming in contact with his one-time fiancée.
On Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty to the charge, despite having admitted in a News Tribune report that, "When I saw her in the mall, I thought that maybe I might have the opportunity to have that final chance of talking to her." His next court date was set for Feb. 14.
Notwithstanding the irony of a Valentine's Day appearance over what seems to be a love gone lost, MacDonald should be considered exactly as he pleaded: not guilty. Until or unless it's proven otherwise, that's his status and that's how America's legal system works, and should.
But regardless of the outcome, a gnawing fact remains. The mayor of Hermantown had a restraining order taken out against him? How did he let whatever went wrong with his love life get to that point?
The words of the order may be boilerplate but are no less severe: "There are reasonable grounds to believe that[MacDonald has] harassedPetitioner as alleged in the petition," reads the order. Boxes checked on the form are "Followed, pursued or stalked the Petitioner," "Made uninvited visits to the Petitioner," "Made threats to the Petitioner" and "Frightened Petitioner with threatening behavior."
Yes, the fact that the form includes a checklist implies that restraining orders are more common than members of a civil society would wish. But that's all the more reason why we should expect more from our leaders. If those who have accepted positions of responsibility and influence aren't held to a higher standard of behavior, who will set the examples for society?
The order against MacDonald is in effect until Dec. 5, 2009. The past can't be undone, but his future behavior must set a standard of an order that expires without incident.