Minnesota sheriff Mark Harig is in hot water for allowing his Masonic brother, James Colstrup, an alcoholic serving 180 days for domestic abuse, out of jail to attend lodge meetings and to cook at a Masonic pancake breakfast. The convict has also been taken to a community festival for two days; whether he was supervised or not during the local Rendezvous Festival is not clear from the stories I've read.
Apparently the Freeborn County (interesting Masonic reference, isn't it?) jail has a policy of releasing prisoners temporarily so they can attend AA and NA meetings and religious services.
After this publicity, Colstrup is no longer being allowed time off for attending Masonic meetings, but is still under a work release program. Bro. Harig says Bro. Culstrup did not violate his work release and that the situation has been blown out of proportion.
Bro. Colstrup is in jail for domestic abuse after he refused to accept the alternate sentence of attending an alcoholic treatment program.
While in attendance at the Rendezvous festival, he helped his wife — the victim of his abuse for which he was incarcerated — sent up their tent, and was allowed to teach children over the two days of the festival. What they sold and taught at their tent is not mentioned.
Is this much ado about nothing, or a serious breach of ethics and a risk to the public? Is it a sign of Masonic favoritism? Is the story getting more attention that it would otherwise because Sheriff Harig is up for re-election in less than two weeks?
Read the local newspaper's and the local tv station's versions of the story, and tell us what you think.
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