System of justice turned upside down in Millstone Twp.

System of justice turned upside down in Millstone Twp.

As a longtime resident of Millstone Township, I feel I must express my disgust and outrage at the political drama now being played out in the township.

Recently, a township resident made inflammatory accusations about Township Committeeman William Kastning, which he denied, during an open public meeting of the Township Committee.

The committee, meeting in executive session, then took action against Committeeman Kastning, based on the word of one party and without further investigation of the accusations.

Our system of justice is based on due process and an assumption of innocence until guilt is proven. Neither of these principles was adhered to in this instance. Admittedly, the case was also referred to the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office for investigation. However, if the committee deemed that such a referral was necessary, no other action should have been taken before the results of that investigation had been determined.

In the wake of this incident, two organizations in the township have sent out mass mailings to township residents, further fanning the flames and raising, as an allied issue, the fact that Mr. Kastning’s wife, Carol Nelson, is a candidate for election to the Township Committee in November.

One of those organizations, Millstone Township Residents Reporting on Local Government Activities, does not even have the courage to identify its members and uses a post office box mailing address. We are being exposed to the worst kind of demagoguery.

Personally, based on all the good work that William Kastning has done in the township and the many hours that he has spent serving the township and promoting issues central to its well-being, I find it highly unlikely that he did what he has been accused of doing, and I have every confidence that he will be exonerated.

Carol Nelson’s candidacy is in no way linked to William Kastning’s alleged activities, and she surely has every right to run for office, under the name she chooses to use, despite the fact that her husband is also a member of the committee. She was nominated by her party and won the right to appear on the ballot in the primary election.

Her election or loss should be based on her own actions, merits and record.

Regardless, however, of where one stands on either of these issues, there is no excuse for the actions that are being taken, officially and individually. Reputations are being attacked, innuendos are being broadcast, rights are being ignored. I must speak out and hope that others will join me. Surely the majority of citizens in Millstone are above the behavior we are witnessing.

Mary D. Pinney