Late last year, the most wounded Airman in history, Sr. Airman Ret. Brian Kolfage reported that a woman named Jan Vrotsos had posted a vile comment about him on Facebook. Along with several other media outlets, we printed a story about the incident. When I was informed that Sr. Airman Kolfage had printed a statement saying that he believed that Jan Vrotsos was innocent of the accusation, I tried to confirm with him the validity of his retraction but I’ve yet to hear back. I do believe it is valid and that’s why I’m posting this retraction.
Along with the story, Vrotsos’ personal information was made public. Since the incident occurred, Vrotsos and her family has been the subject of a terrifying ordeal that continues to this day. Her elderly mother received death threats against Jan and when she tried to explain to callers that her daughter would never do such things, the threats and harassment got even worse. It should be noted that this all happened just months after Vrotsos father, a WWII veteran, had died. Her employer immediately stated publicly that they knew it was some kind of a hoax and she would never do it.
Jan Vrotsos has tried desperately to clear her name. She’s spent thousands of dollars on cyber experts and an alarm system for her home. The threats and harassment continue to this day. Even people who have attempted to help clear her name have also become targets of harassment and threats. One woman’s employer was recently called in an attempt to have her fired from her job and now she’s getting threats as well. This type of behavior, particularly based on political debate, should never happen.
When I originally sent this story to my editor, she refused to post it because she wanted to be sure it was properly vetted. I sent her more “evidence” of its validity and I regret that. Even though we’re independent contractors and solely responsible for our own writing, I feel bad for making PolitiChicks part of this. Regardless of our personal politics, this story is a perfect illustration of what can happen when we “jump the gun” on a story. Whoever actually made those comments is a coward for allowing Jan Vrotsos to suffer for their ill will towards American heroes. However, all the people in the media who piled on to the story are guilty as well and I hope they all will join me in stating that I’m sorry for the trauma she’s gone through because of us.
I would like to point out that Vrotsos has come to the media in a nonthreatening, kind manner when she had more than enough reason to be plain out ticked off. She could have had lawyers insist on retraction but she chose to take a chance that people would be kind and do the right thing. I hope everyone does the right thing and vets them better in the future, I know I will.
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