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Friday, February 9, 2007

State senator defends reading of profane Internet messages

scottbrown.jpg

Scott Brown with a picture of Ayla
(AP Photo by Charles Krupa)

WRENTHAM

State Sen. Scott Brown has acknowledged using profanity at an appearance before students at King Philip Regional High School yesterday, but he is defending his actions, saying he was only reading what some of the students had written about him on the Internet.

"I was merely reading the things that they had written about me," Brown said. "Whatís the issue, exactly? I donít quite know what the big deal is, exactly."

Brown had come to the school to talk to students about legislative issues, including gay marriage.

But during his appearance in the school library before students from three history classes, he brought up comments made on the Internet criticizing his opposition to gay marriage. He said he believed some of the students present were responsible for the messages.

Some of the messages, posted to the social networking site Facebook.com, used profanity and made reference to his family. Brown's daughter, Ayla, is a former "American Idol" contestant and current basketball player at Boston College. The messages have since been removed from the site.

"A couple of people objected to the language, and I said, ĎI object, too,'" Brown said. In addition to reading the profanity aloud, he read the names of the message posters.

A wire story about about the incident has appeared on
websites for newspapers across the country. Brown said the situation is being blown out of proportion.

"Itís offensive in that I now have to justify why I repeated what kids said about me as if Iím doing something inappropriate," Brown said. "It doesnít smell right to me."

King Philip Superintendent Richard Robbat said that reading the comments was out of line.

"The big deal is that his remarks and the use of profanity and the using of names were inappropriate in a school setting," Robbat said.

Robbat said Brown apologized to him after the speech. He wouldnít comment on whether Brown would be welcome back to the school.

-- Calvin Hennick

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