Slugger’s Penalty Includes a Walk Through History

Mary Pilon, New York Times, November 7, 2012

The entrance to the Museum of Tolerance in Midtown Manhattan is lined with quotes from major world figures about freedom, independence, diversity and liberty. {snip}

Each year nearly 15,000 tourists, schoolchildren and other visitors go to the museum to learn about the horrors and heroes of the Holocaust, and to examine how hate groups thrive online and the choices faced by bystanders of bullying. {snip}

The museum, it turns out, is also an occasional destination for criminals. And Delmon Young, formerly of the Detroit Tigers, will be the latest.

Delmon Young

On April 27, Young was arrested after yelling an anti-Semitic slur before tackling a man to the ground outside the Hilton New York on Avenue of the Americas, the police said. Young pleaded guilty Wednesday to aggravated harassment and was sentenced to 10 days of community service. He was also ordered to attend a half-day “restorative justice” program at the Museum of Tolerance, the educational arm of the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

While Young’s sentence may be welcomed by those who support alternatives to incarceration, it is also likely to provoke questions from those who think Young’s punishment is too modest.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which prosecuted Young, a free-agent outfielder, stood by the seriousness of the sentence.

“We have to identify these offenses as hate crimes,” District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said in a telephone interview Wednesday, “and get the best outcomes for the victims and offenders. What we’re trying to get at is dealing with the underlying offense and bring closure to the victims and change the behavior.”

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Under his plea agreement, Young will take a one-on-one tour with a guide sometime before his next court date in May. His visit will be reported back to the district attorney’s office.

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The museum’s path leads past computers filled with examples of digital terrorism and hate groups, culled by the museum’s organizers. Panels in the background show images from the Oklahoma City bombing and the outcries over the murders of James Byrd Jr., a black man killed by white supremacists in Texas, and Matthew Shepard, a Wyoming college student killed for being gay. There is a section titled Assuming Responsibility that teaches about hate-crime legislation, volunteering, nonviolent protesters and the efforts of first responders.

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