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To the editor:

A Deseret News reader criticized as crass and cold a comment made by me at a gathering following the Mackay child-abuse trial in Manti. I believe the comment was misinterpreted and taken out of context.Family and friends of Blaine and Mary Mackay gathered to commiserate and to celebrate the not guilty verdicts in their trial. Mrs. Mackay at first said she would give us an interview.

It was an emotional time for everyone, and I thought it would be helpful for Mrs. Mackay to know ahead of time the general nature of the questions. I told her I wanted her comments about her family's long ordeal, her feelings about foster care in light of the problems she had encountered and to respond to comments I had heard from several people during the trial who kept saying: "But what about the dead kid?"

Mrs. Mackay was upset and said I was focusing on the negative. I tried to explain that it would be an opportunity to talk as she did on the witness stand about the love she had for the little foster boys who were the focus of much of the trial's testimony. Mrs. Mackay declined to do the interview.

It was a difficult situation. I was an outsider trying to get an interview in a house full of family and friends of a couple who had just been acquitted following a long and draining trial. I respect the jury's not guilty verdicts and the Mackays' decision not to talk. I thought I acted responsibly during an emotionally charged time.

Deseret News reader S. Nielsen wrongly interprets my actions as insensitive. Nielsen seems to suggest that I should have been caught up in the spirit of the moment. Then I would have failed my responsibility as a reporter.

Michael Rawson

KUTV news reporter