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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Retraction

    The Statesman contained the headline Chapin Arson Solved in this space, on the front page, of its Monday December 4 issue.

    It has come to the Statesman’s attention that the content of that article included quotes, words, and phrases that were identical to those in an article published two weeks earlier in the Stony Brook Independent on www.sbindependent.org.

    The article by Steven Roberts had the headline Resident’s Teen Son Charged in Chapin Fire, which was published in the Independent on Wednesday November 22.

    What follows here is a retraction and the specific excerpts of these quotes, words, and phrases as they appeared in the Independent and the Statesman.

    The article in the Statesman was 163 words along, and at least 30 of those words matched those in the Independent; not just in the order of the words, but in punctuation and logical structure of the sentences.

    The Statesman concedes that the reporter Katy O’Dette never spoke to Detective Sergeant Edward Fitzgerald. Those quotes by Fitzgerald should have been attributed to Steven Robert’s work in the Independent.

    The Independent has cited the following as examples of plagiarism, which we make available to our readers here. (STA is the Statesman, SBI is the Independent) Emphasis has been added to the SBI quotes for words taken verbatim.

    STA: “He is a minor, so the matter will be adjudicated through the family court system,” says Detective Sergeant Edward Fitzgerald of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Arson Taskforce.

    SBI: “He is a minor, so the matter will be adjudicated through the family court system,” said Fitzgerald.

    —————————————

    STA: His mother was staying on campus at the time of the incident.

    SBI: “His mother was staying on campus,” said Detective Sergeant Edward Fitzgerald of the Suffolk County Police Department’s Arson Taskforce.

    —————————————

    STA: The teen was charged with fourth degree arson. If found guilty, the maximum sentence would be five years and the minimum would be no less than one year.”

    SBI: The teen was charged with one count of fourth degree arson, an E felony. Fourth degree arson is defined as when a person recklessly damages a building or motor vehicle by intentionally starting a fire or causing an explosion. Persons found guilty of an E class felony will usually be sentenced to no more than 5 years, with no less than 1 year of this sentence served in prison.”

    —————————————

    STA: The suspect, whose [sic] had no previous arrests, could not be identified by police because he is a minor.”

    SBI: The suspect is a 13-year-old child of a resident and could not be identified by police because he is a minor.

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