Sunday, October 29, 2006

Masonic sheriff lets Masonic prisoner attend lodge meetings

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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  1. It sounds to me like brother sheriff Harig didn't follow through sufficiently to keep himself out of hot water. If he'd sent the written request for brother Colstrup's permission to attend lodge meetings and work at a breakfast, it most likely would have been granted or ignored, and this wouldn't be such an issue.

    Even though the county rules only allow him to work his full-time job, I would expect the chance to work the breakfast wouldn't be a problem if permission had been requested. I would consider the breakfast work sufficiently similar to AA, NA and religious services to be normally allowed.

    Having a formalized work/ labor/ meeting release policy would be a good idea in any case. The paper backup/CYA plans allow for a lot less hassle over time, as brother Harig is probably finding out now.

    Needless to say, I think the lodge meetings and lodge-related work release can't hurt at all, and certainly would do more to rehabilitate brother Colstrup than sitting in jail during those few hours.

    Best of luck to both brothers, and the rest of the Masons up in Freeborn County.

  2. Here is FREE SPEECH

  3. we take an oath not to do certain sexual things with peoplerelated to masons,
    maybe we should add HITTING or ABUSE TO WOMEN as something so offesive that it warrants ones membership.
    Serving time for DOMESTIC ABUSE?
    You think Lodge is a good place for this guy?

    Hello Galen?

    Any man who rasises a hand to or verbally assaults his female partner should not be worthy of an apron.

  4. I have to agree, that hitting a female in no way exemplifies masonic action. In my opinion should be condemned by the Lodge.
    I dont condemn the sheriff, as i dont condemn any brother but i would, as a lodge, inform the brother with the alcohol and abuse problem that he would not drag masonic reputation through the mud with his nefarious actions.
    Further such, should be punished


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