There’s something about a courtroom that brings out the Jesus in people.
Maybe it’s the air.
Could be something in the water.
Maybe it’s a little-too-late-last-ditch-effort-to-find-salvation before heading to the lock-up.
I think it’s just plain, old fashioned bullshit.
Criminals facing trial and awaiting their sentence suddenly find God moments after their fate has been sealed by judge and jury. The guy who murdered his wife and family asks God for forgiveness while the guy in the next courtroom over is thanking God that he was granted probation for his 18th drug offense.
Lets face it, if God were on the side of the criminal, do you think he or she would be in front of a judge to begin with? And if God were on the side of the offender, why didn’t God stop the crime from being committed.
To set the record straight, I was raised Catholic but after selling one too many magazines, candy bars and instant bingo tickets, I turned agnostic. One thing that I remember being taught was that God is a loving and forgiving god.
Would God really forgive the man who murdered his family?
I don’t think so.
Yesterday, the big guy’s name was invoked (numerous times) by one of Luzerne County’s most infamous gangsters, Greg Skrepenak. The former county commissioner was sentenced to two years in prison for accepting a kickback from a developer for inclusion in a tax deferment program, although court documents show that Skrepenak took “more than one” kickback during his tenure.
After sentencing, Skrepenak met with reporters outside the courthouse and issued a statement peppered with words we would expect from someone who just found Jesus in a jumpsuit:
- “I’m blessed enough to have a support system….”
- “Somehow through the grace of God we’ll survive.”
- “On the holy day of the transfiguration for us, I feel I’ve been transformed. I’ve been allowed the chance to go down the depths of hell and be transformed.”
- “God willing, we’ll move on and start the rest of my life.”
- “This is the path that the good lord has chose for me now, I accept it.”
- “My service will be to the good lord now.”
That last quote is my favorite. I just hope Skrepenak serves the good lord as well has he has served the citizens of Luzerne County during his term as commissioner. There were some other memorable quotes from his statement that I can’t go without acknowledging:
“I’m not to happy about the sentence, I think its pretty severe.” Sorry Greg, should have thought about the consequences before lining your pockets with bribes.
“I was trying to please too many people and I compromised myself.” Your job as an elected official is not trying to please people, your job is to do what is best for the county whether that pleases people or not is not your responsibility.
“My best days are yet to come and I look forward to those days.” I think he may have been taking about his golf game, I don’t see too many “best days” ahead for Skrepenak anytime soon.
“I would be very careful as to who I trusted.” This will prove to come in handy once his prison term starts. Never trust the guy wearing the dress and bright red lipstick who stars calling you “Big Daddy Skrep.”
“I forgive everyone who have, I believe, in the past have wronged me and betrayed me.” Greg, please. People didn’t wrong and betray you, you wronged and betrayed the public trust. The people who wronged and betrayed you turned you in for your wrongdoing, don’t continue to make everyone feel you are the victim, because you’re not.
There are a “lot of angry people, lots of hate, its tough to see the hate right now being directed at me.” Yes Greg, we’re all angry and we all hate you. Please don’t lose any sleep over it.
“I’ll get back involved in some capacity.” Heaven forbid! Although in Luzerne County, if we allowed convicted felons to run for office and he ran, he would win.
And my personal favorite, “my best days are coming and I’ll be serving someone in some capacity.” Yes, we know how those prison relationships go. Just remember, they’re never long term and often end in heartbreak.