Tonight I was declared innocent. While it is a relief, it should never have been necessary to even consider the converse.
Thanks to a vicious campaign of slander, innuendo, libel and outright lies mounted by a person attempting to prevent my placing the review of their contract on the city council agenda, I was accused in secret of crimes that are personally odious (dishonesty, theft, etc.) to me. Because the claims also involved another city employee, I was bound by the city charter and civil rights issues from speaking out and dispelling the rumors floating around town. So the not-so-secret secret investigation was the topic of gossip in the coffee shops and numerous questions from friends and even some enemies. And all I could do was say "No comment." It had reached the point where I was prepared to ask the other people involved if I could force the whole issue out into the light. Nothing is more disheartening or more damaging than secret accusations that you cannot publicly refute without violating the law.
So tonight, after the report from the outside counsel engaged to investigate me, I was declared to be innocent of wrong doing. The whole process was a waste of time, energy, and money. I was declared not to have commited any of the odious acts charged in secret. What is interesting is that although it was announced that I had done nothing criminal, the false and malicious charges that triggered this whole mess were never brought forth, including the person who did it and the reason they did it. So I have been declared innocent and it is up to others to figure out what I'm innocent of.
Now the question is do I want to pursue legal action against the slandering and libelous person who instigated the whole incident or do I just let it die. I have a strong suspicion that some of the other people affected will be filing suit, since the person in question violated their charter and civil rights in a quite blatant manner. It will be interesting.
Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while now know why I haven't been my normal self on these pages for the last few months. Incidents such as this eat at your soul. Being falsely accused and then legally bound not to respond is painful beyond belief. It attacks a fundamental part of me - my integrity. It left me so angry, wanting to respond and yet not allowed to respond, that I couldn't sleep at times.
At least the system worked and the trash was cleared away. That's probably about as much as one could ask for at the moment. It still doesn't do much for the anger and violation I feel, but I hope they will fade with time.