Why was Downstate Dixon embezzler released from prison eight years early?

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Rita Crundwell, the former comptroller of Dixon, Illinois, who was convicted of embezzlement, was released from prison on Wednesday.

AP Photos

Does a person who steals $54 million from her town — the largest theft of a municipality, at that time, in American history — deserve leniency?

Well, the good people of Dixon, Illinois, never even got a chance to voice an opinion.

Rita Crundwell, the former comptroller of Dixon, didn’t take the money from a giant corporation or engage in tax fraud. She embezzled money that belonged to every single resident of Dixon. To pay for such luxuries as a horse-breeding operation.

But surprise! The Horse Queen somehow managed to get her 19-year and seven-month sentence reduced by more than eight years. She was released Wednesday from a federal prison in Pekin, Illinois.

Imagine. Fifty-four million dollars. I’m thinking a lot of folks would have taken that deal.

Justice sometimes has a funny way of making people think that the old saying “crime does not pay” is for suckers.

Bob Angone, Austin, Texas

Lives comes first

COVID-19 is on the rise again, yet more than 50% of the people of Illinois have yet to get vaccinated. It is time for government to make vaccinations mandatory. The unvaccinated population complains about government violating their “freedom of choice,” but are they thinking about lives of others that they are putting in jeopardy? Probably not.

Government should choose our right to live over somebody else’s right not to be vaccinated.

John Livaich, Oak Lawn

Viruses know no borders

It is time we face the facts: piecemeal vaccination and mask mandates that involve companies, schools and states will mitigate suffering and save lives here, but unless the world works together, that effect will be transient at best.

All respectable scientists and epidemiologists agree: a more virulent or vaccine-resistant variant will inevitably emerge, likely somewhere else in the world, and soon. The virus is replicating practically without restraint in Brazil and Mexico, for example, where vaccination rates are 21%, and in much of Africa where vaccinations have been given to less than 2%. 

We cannot isolate from a virus that knows no borders. America must lead the way with an emergency executive order or legislation and then help the rest of the world to be vaccinated without delay.

Steven Sorscher, M.D.
Professor of Medicine
Wake Forest School of Medicine
Winston-Salem, NC

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