Kentucky students criminally charged in student newspaper theft

Three students were criminally charged Oct. 5 in the theft of more than 7,000 student newspapers at Morehead State University.

Danielle Brown, 22, Andrea Sharp, 22, and Jennie Williams, 20, were charged with third degree criminal mischief for their alleged involvement in the newspaper theft, according to a university press release.

“The charges stemmed from alleged actions by the defendants who disposed of copies of The Trail Blazer newspaper because they did not want a particular story published,” the statement said.

Staff at the student newspaper said they are happy something is being done about the theft.

“It shows that this is being taken seriously and that it’s not being taken as just a college prank,” said Trail Blazer editor in chief Ashley Sorrell.

The stolen newspapers were reprinted, costing the newspaper $2,000. Sorrell said the story was printed online and that the newspaper has followed up on the story in subsequent issues.

“It’s a form of censorship,” she said. “There was a story run that they didn’t want people to see so they stole the newspaper.”

SPLC View: This case obviously provides one more bit of legal ammunition to challenge the “You Can’t Steal a ‘Free’ Newspaper” crowd.

Our longtime readers will recall that this case follows the successful prosecution of three University of Kentucky students in 1997 after they were charged with criminal mischief for stealing approximately 11,000 copies of The Kentucky Kernel.