Wicomico State’s Attorney pens open letter to community

SALISBURY, Md. – The James M. Bennett community lost one of its graduates to a stabbing on Sunday night, and today saw a former high school counselor plead guilty to serious sex crimes involving former students at the school. In light of these events, Wicomico County State’s Attorney Jamie Dykes has sent out a letter addressing the difficult times the community is currently experiencing. The letter, in it’s entirety, is below:



An Open Letter from State’s Attorney Jamie Dykes to Wicomico Schools and Our Community
October 9, 2019

As we process some of the recent events that challenge our community, I am reminded how important it is for us tokeep perspective.  Even now, as I write this letter, I am keenly aware that I do so not only as your State’s Attorney, but as a wife and mother of two young boys.

It is clear that we are, that our entire community is, hurting. There is far too much senseless and unnecessary suffering, and that suffering is being endured by some of our most vulnerable.

I, as do many of you, have unanswered questions: How could a person entrusted with the safety, well-being and development of our children use that position to perpetrate some of the worst violations against them for his own criminal desires? How could a young man with his entire life ahead of him be ripped from his family and friends byan act of senseless violence? How will other young people cope with what happened that night? How could our community be forced to endure these tragedies at the same time? Sadly, I have no answers to these questions.

There are, however, a few things of which I am absolutely certain.

Today, Allen Mitchell was convicted and, at sentencing, will be held accountable for his conduct. Some of the most committed investigators and prosecutors in this State made that happen.

As to Seth Abbey’s murder on Sunday night, the most experienced law enforcement officers in this State have been working around the clock to put the pieces of this tragedy together in order to determine what happened. My prosecutors, as we always do, will continue to work hand in hand with investigators to consider the evidence, the law and what justice requires. The team working for our community could not be more devoted to protecting us. 

Justice and fairness require time and diligence. Time affords us perspective and the opportunity to heal. 

As family, friends and our entire community pick up the pieces and try to move forward, it will be patience,  understanding and faith that will get us there. Rushing to judgment and misinformation perpetuated by uninformed  sources serves no one. I pray that each of us takes a moment to remember that real people are affected by the sharing of rumors and hurtful images. Thank you for your confidence in us and in the process.

If you or someone you know feels as if they need to speak with a trained professional for support or someone in law enforcement, please contact a trusted adult at school, at home, at church or in the community. The wonderful people at the Life Crisis Center are always there to help at 410-749-4357, or call my Office so that we can direct you to the appropriate agency.

Yours Truly,

Jamie Dykes


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