We discussed this case a few months ago, but this week, the federal judge hearing the case recommended a new plea agreement, as he characterized the current purposed sentence as being "excessive." The case involved three men who ran a business that provided at-risk high school youths the opportunity to work and gain job skills.
One of those projects involved work at a former Air Force Base, and the students were employed renovating some of the old base buildings. Like many buildings from the 1940s and 1950s, they contained large amounts of asbestos in the building and finishing materials. The high school students were not trained, nor were they given any protective clothing during the work.
The three men were sentenced to two years in prison for the felony charges of placing the students at unreasonable risk of asbestos exposure with reckless disregard for their safety. The judge seemed moved by the testimony of friends and family of the men, suggesting they did not deserve prison, and were productive members of the community.
The District Attorney was "shocked" by judge's suggestion and he cautioned that we should remember the victims.
We agree, because the actions of these men could mean some of these students could contract mesothelioma, in 10- or 20-years, and they will always have that nagging fear that the cough that will not go away is not just an ordinary cough.
They will carry the worry that it is the beginning of a cruel and painful death set in motion decades earlier by this reckless behavior.
Source: Merced Sun-Star, "New plea deal urged for 3 in asbestos case," Victor A. Patton, August 19, 2013