Some readers have started a letter-writing campaign about man who was beaten in his backyard in Galveston.

We can’t print many of the letters because doing so would violate the law.

Some people have suggested the newspaper is covering up a major story.

We thought you might like an explanation.

On May 25, the newspaper printed a story about Bobby Wasylik, 68, who said he was beaten so severely on March 14 he suffered six strokes and a fractured shoulder.

A grand jury heard the case of the man accused of assaulting Wasylik and declined to indict him.

There are some questions about the case — and The Daily News is trying to get answers.

But let’s start by acknowledging that most of the people who have been following this story are more interested in expressing outrage than in investigating the fine points of the law.

Wasylik’s friends — and many other people — believe justice was not done.

They want to see letters in the paper that express their opinion.

Why can’t we print most of them?

The reason is that most of the letters presume the person who was accused is guilty.

In fact, a grand jury looked at the evidence and decided there was not enough to take that accusation to trial.

The fact that someone’s friends and supporters are outraged does not change the law about what is an acceptable expression of opinion, protected by the First Amendment, and what’s potentially defamatory and actionable in court.

We can publish letters that point to a possible miscarriage of justice.

We can’t publish letters that presume guilt when this country’s judicial system demands a presumption of innocence.

That said, we believe this case deserves a fuller explanation and intend to provide more information when the district attorney’s investigation is completed.

At least some of those writing letters insist that there are witnesses who have not been interviewed by law enforcement.

If new information does come to light, prosecutors could decide to take the case back to a grand jury.

The police reports indicate Wasylik was beaten in his own backyard.

Had the beating occurred almost anywhere else, the self-defense claim would be more credible.

But since it did happen in Wasylik’s backyard, some reasonable questions remain to be answered.

We’ll ask those questions and will report what we find.

(16) comments

Chris Gimenez

Mr. Taylor, I'm sure your readers believe you will "....ask those questions and will report what we find." [beam]

The fact is Mr. Taylor that you have a history of covering up for the District Attorney whom the GCDN endorsed. In my case, you went so far as to attack me in an Opinion piece because I exposed Roady's misconduct. You have also refused to ask questions about and report on the dismissal of a felony child abuse charge by Jack Roady against a Texas City police officer. That would have created firestorm of public outrage and confirm the D.A. Roady uses two scales of justice-one for elected officials and law enforcement and one for us common folk.

As for not printing "many of the letters" about this particular case, I'm not aware of ANY letters being printed. That's one way of tamping down negative attention on your endorsed candidate for the D.A.'s Office. You have earned our complete confidence the GCDN will "ask the questions and get the answers". [lol]

ChrisGimenez

Mike Leahy

The extraordinary effort of this editorial to assure everyone of the very high standards of the newspaper's publishing policy might be admirable; if only it didn't sound a bit too precious and sanctimonious.

I don't know the people involved in this incident and have no comments likely to attract censorship but, in the world I come from, if a man choses to start some unpleasantness with a women, without considering whether or not her husband can kick his butt, the consequences are on him. In the street, in the Walmart parking lot, in his own backyard, or wherever the lady's husband catches up with him.

That what I got out of the public reporting the newspaper DID deign to print. If it turns out that is not a clear picture of what happened, then the whole approach of the GDN to this story is out of whack and you might as well print everyone's comments so the actual story can be discerned.

Kevin Lang

miceal, that's all well and good, except in this case, the supposition was that the recipient of the pummeling apparently just acted rude to the wife. I always understood that mere words cannot provoke an altercation. Also, the supposed rudeness occurred many days prior.

There should be no place in this world for rudeness. However, I don't think that days later, and in a means that leads to violence, is something that constitutes protecting your wife's honor. To me, it seems to, at the least, constitute showing yourself capable of more stupidity than the person that acted rude to begin with.

Chris Gimenez

Miceal, the GCDN has already started trying to explain why you can't get any side to the story except the one coming from Roady and the GPD. How convenient. Having Heber Taylor tell us he's going to ask the questions is like listening to Barack Obama tell us he's going to get to the bottom of Benghazi scandal. And the IRS scandal. And the VA scandal. And the Fast & Furious scandal. They both talk a good game about their credibility and accomplishments but the reality is that neither can bring themselves to challenge those they support.

George Croix

Don't forget to ask how 'stand your ground' figures in when you're on someone else's private property...

Kevin Lang

If I invite someone into my yard, and then I try to attack him/her, I don't think that the person is obligated to flee the yard before trying to act in his own defense. Regardless of the setting of the "self-defense" claim, I think the story needs to be investigated to make sure that the claims are legitimate. To me, the one that needs to really pull together a really good story is the one claiming self-defense when he started out as the aggressor.

George Croix

It must just be on the planet I live on that 'stand your ground' is differentiated from 'self defense' enough to need a separate law addressing it...
It's a big universe...[wink]

Kevin Lang

It does seem to be two ways to describe the same thing....

Chris Gimenez

Lang, where did you read the assailant was "invited" on to the victim's property?

Kevin Lang

A supposition, I guess, for the sake of discussion. Just trying to illustrate a possible explanation for "stand your ground" or "self-defense".

Mike Leahy

We see this matter differently Kev. There is no "level of seriousness" degree that needs to be met when messing with another man's wife. The insult (and, if unanswered, the underlying future threat) is both to her AND to her husband. No time limit on experiencing the consequences, either. Just depends on how long it takes to find the guy. And, if he expects his backyard to be protection, it better be because there are claymores in the driveway.

Fear of consequences is, unfortunately, the only thing that keeps some people civil. It is man's duty to his wife to provide her with that same degree of protection from intimidation by swine that he best be able to provide to himself. If that is viewed as old-fashioned or perhaps coarse, that suits me fine.

Of course, the tush hog has to accept consequences too. Kick the guy's tail in his own back yard and go to jail? OK, so call my bondsman and lawyer...afterwards.

Kevin Lang

So, without any need to know the truth, you just take your wife's word for it that someone was "rude", and that justifies opening up a can of whoop arse? Absolutely no thought that your wife may have had a bad day and misinterpreted, or that your wife may have been rude to begin with?

Maybe it makes sense to you, it makes no sense to me to go and beat up someone over something that may or may not have happened as described. And, beating someone to within an inch or two of his life over a social faux pas, seems extreme to me. Don't have any fault with him taking a few minutes to discuss the issue and get the other side of the story.

joseph hannaway

The report said that he pushed him to the ground and slapped him because the older gentleman raised his arm to hit him first. Where is that a "beating within an inch of his life?" There has to be more to this story or he would have gone to trail, don't you think?

Lars Faltskog

I would say with a great amount of certainty that the old saying, "It takes two to tango" can apply to this event. It seems that civil discourse is much less often the norm these days, and bravado (with the "showing one up" with the other) is customary.

There are ways to deal with difficult neighbors. Approaching them with respect, and saying "please" can do wonders. On the other hand, approaching with an already-established mindset to quarrel will probably yield a result as in this case.

Regarding the interesting sociological concept of upset spouses with perhaps not-so-quite accurate information, that can be quite a common occurrance. Again, that's why it is good to approach any misunderstanding without prejudgments of indiscretion or ill-will. Interesting that (at least in the presses) the possibility of initial misinterpretation between the man-in-the yard and neighbor's wife could be stemmed from a "gender difference" point of view. That is, often women perceive a behavior from a man that is gruff or confrontative, when, in reality, it is the man's common "MO" of communicating.

Nevertheless, it bodes well to simply attempt to solve differences in a civil manner. If you go the other way and get nasty, then there's really no turning back. In fact, it can only escalate.

Chris Gimenez

Sounds like the assailant and his bride are two peas in pod. The questions remain the same. Who does the assailant know at GPD or the DA's Office? Was the GJ advised there were two witnesses? Were the witnesses even put in the police report? The DA doesn't require a GJ to file a misdemeanor charge so why wasn't that done?

This smells just like the typical foul conduct of D.A. Jack Roady. Hey Heber, while you and your buddy Jack are figuring out how to answer "your questions" why don't you ask him why he quietly dismissed the felony child abuse charge against the Texas City police officer after a GJ indictment and why don't you explain to your readers why you refused to divulge that dismissal to the public? Don't worry though, no one's holding their breath that you're suddenly going to start walking the walk.

Lisa Blair

Bobby's been a customer of mine for years. Irregardless of whether he was rude to the wife or not, the husband sought Bobby out, in Bobby's backyard, and proceeded to beat him. I don't know how the guy could not be charged. From what I know he's a big guy, retired or active military in good physical shape. Self-defense? BS! I don't think he could have seen Bobby as a threat to his life.

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