Weston State Hospital Investigation

Weston Independent
January 16, 1900

The Hospital Board.

Meets, Spends a Week at the Institution, Gives Stathers Three Months Longer and Takes the Next Train to Get Out of Town.

The Asylum Board has come and gone. It devoted most of last week to routine work and only got to the question of electing a Superintendent on Saturday. The Stathers people fought action all along, but finally a vote was taken which resulted as follows: Dr. R. A. Reger, of Buckhannon, one vote; Dr. A. H. Kunst, of Weston, two votes; Dr. Fleming Howell, of Clarksburg, one vote; Dr. J. W. Chesney, of Fairmont, one vote; Dr. W. E. Stathers, of the Pullman Sleeping Car, two votes; Dr. Dr. [sic] W. F. Daley, of Terra Alta, one vote; Dr. W. R. Cummings, of East Bank, one vote; Dr. M. M. Hoff, of Philippi, and Dr. W. S. Jones, of Mannington, were also applicants. This is a case where the board had probably "agreed to disagree" as a matter of fact.

A motion was then made to defer action until the April board meeting, leaving Stathers in charge. The ayes and noes were demanded. Sterling resisted going on record, but he was overruled and the vote for postponement was a follows: Sterling, Toler, Crook, Gibson and Hurst. Those voting no were Meighen, Hardman, Miller and Zillenzinger.

Those members who voted to retain Stathers for three months longer are not standing in a very favorable light. At the July meeting they voted to whitewash over the crimes against decency of which Stathers was shown to be guilty. They repaired to their respective homes. Their neighbors disapproved their action, their consciences harassed and annoyed them and practically everybody condemned their verdict as an official effort to shield the guilty, to oppress the weak and to cover up corruption.

In order to allay the righteous indignation of an outraged public, the board, upon its return in October, asked Stathers to tender his resignation. He refused. The board insisted, but he was so stubborn that it actually threatened to fire him by a vote of its members if he didn't relieve the situation by his resignation. He resigned and that resignation was promptly accepted. It was probably understood by some of the board's members that this should be done simply to hush up criticism and weather a raging storm of public complaint until the opposition to Stathers should die away, but man, created in the image of his Maker, is so constituted that he dosen't [sic] soon become so accustomed to having his daughter or other defenseless ones left in the hands of a lusty libertine that he can become indifferent as to their wellfare [sic] and safety.

When the board forced Stathers into an unwilling resignation, it did so either believing that he was or was not guilty of the charges proven against him. If guilty why trifle with the people of the State by his retention from time to time? Why further jeopardize the persons of somebody's loved ones in that institution? Why disregard longer the duty you owe to the people and the solemn oath you took when entering upon your official duties?

If, on the contrary, Dr. Stathers is not guilty as charged, and, as he has in part admitted, why should members of the board play the baby and the coward by deserting him in the day of need and forcing him to resign under fire, enveloped in a cloud of darkest suspicion and groaning beneath the weight of accusations and much new evidence which has not yet been published to the world? Why?

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