ProPublica publishes the court records on the search warrants executed against billionaire T. Denny Sanford in a DCI child porn investigation. ProPublica and that Sioux Falls paper had to go to the South Dakota Supreme Court to get those documents released. KELO-TV, which initially declined to name Sanford as the “implicated individual,” has now named Sanford.
But across the street in downtown Sioux Falls, KELO Radio maintains that naming Sanford as the object of an investigation that has not resulted in criminal charges remains inappropriate and unhelpful:
Our policy is that KELO.com News will not put out the name of a criminal suspect or a defendant unless it is announced by law enforcement, is from an arrest on the record, or is from an unsealed indictment.
We believe this policy protects an individual’s right to privacy and their right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. We also think it is the decent thing to do.
Whether a person is rich or poor, black or white, famous or unknown, or any other factor, it makes no difference to our policy. It applies to everyone who may have dealings with law enforcement.
We also understand that law enforcement does not usually provide these details. It is often to ensure that their investigations are not compromised. However, law enforcement also knows better than any one of us that tracing leads sometimes takes the investigation into dead ends, and more importantly, toward people who may well be innocent as the investigation unfolds.
Given the nature of the charges involved with the unsealed warrants combined with no subsequent arrest or indictment, in our view, it does not serve a public service or good to release the “implicated person’s” name. We believe releasing the name would only tar a person–for life–of unsubstantiated or untrue allegations of the worst kind. That is a bell that cannot be unrung [Todd Epp, news director, “Why KELO.com Will Not Reveal the ‘Implicated Person’s’ Name,” KELO Radio, 2021.11.18].
T. Denny Sanford is a rich oaf trying to buy a positive legacy with the billions he earned exploiting the poor with usurious credit cards. But no one has produced actionable evidence that he committed a crime.