Vermont newspaper defends decision to hire sex offender as reporter

The publisher of a Vermont newspaper is defending his paper's hiring of a convicted sex offender to cover police and courts.

Barre-Montpelier Times Argus Publisher R. John Mitchell says it's important to punish those who break the law but also offer an opportunity for rehabilitation.

Times Argus Editor Steven Pappas says in the sister-paper story Thursday that Eric Blaisdell disclosed his crime when he applied for the job in June. Pappas said New Hampshire prison officials and Blaisdell's references said he posed no risk to the public.

Blaisdell served nine months following a 2007 arrest for soliciting sex via computer from a 13-year-old girl who turned out to be a police officer. He had no physical contact with anyone.

Blaisdell said he didn't intend to do anything wrong.