We have our share of drug crimes and sex crimes here in the Metro East, but our approach to law enforcement is unique. Unlike other communities that follow the standard procedure of prosecuting offenders and putting them in prison, we elect or appoint our lawbreakers to public office instead.

That means punishing ourselves rather than the criminals. It’s a wrong way to get them off the street.

On the other hand, maybe we’re just being practical, one could argue.

What’s the point of tying up a prison cell and uniform when there’s a perfectly good courtroom a convicted doper could occupy with a judge’s robe to fit his abundant carcass?

Why lock up a lecher if his lewd and lascivious nature won’t prevent him from performing the duties of a county clerk?

Are proven scofflaws likely to abuse their power and their public trust and take advantage of citizens who come in contact with them in their official capacities? Undoubtedly, because their like-minded colleagues can cover for them – and the victims, if they get too vocal, can always be paid off with public funds.

That’s how St. Clair County solved the problem caused by County Clerk Bob Delaney. Settling five sexual harassment complaints against the oversexed overseer cost the County (i.e., you and me, the taxpayers) $665,000. He simply resigned and went on pension.

Never prosecuted for his transgressions (one wonders what sort of information he had to bargain with), the publicly employed sexual harasser soon became eligible to draw an $80,000-a- year pension.

It’s bad enough that Delaney pays no price, but simply outrageous that he is able to enjoy a sizable pension to boot.

Receipt of that pension should be delayed until he’s reimbursed the County for more than the full amount of the settlements paid to his victims. That’s roughly eight years at $80K a year. He would be all paid up by 2023.

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