Decision unpleasant, but the right thing to do

Published 11:52 am Tuesday, October 11, 2011

On Sept. 20, we reported a story in which we took no pleasure publishing.

An Alabaster woman, Roseanna Borelli, was arrested and charged with misusing funds she raised to benefit a playground at the Linda Nolen Learning Center in Pelham.

Allegedly, those funds — in the thousands of dollars — never made it to the playground project. Alabaster police officials tell us the investigation continues.

Borelli is someone who is very familiar to those in our newsroom and to readers of our newspapers and websites.

For the last several years, Borelli has championed with much gusto the cause of her son, Joey Paulin, 7, who suffers from mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, a genetic disorder that has rendered him with numerous disabilities. The disorder has left Joey without the ability to walk, talk, sit or stand. He routinely suffers seizures and is frequently hospitalized.

Some of our readers questioned why, at age 7, we would have named Joey Paulin in our story about his mother’s arrest.

While it pained us as much as it did those readers who criticized us for doing so, publishing his name was the right thing to do.

Over the last several years, Borelli has submitted numerous press releases and photos for publication, all involving Joey. Borelli set up several fund raising websites, telling Joey’s story in detail and seeking, among other things, donations.

She has called our newsroom many times and encouraged news coverage for a variety of Joey’s activities.

Because of his love for fire stations and firefighters, he is known as “Alabaster’s littlest firefighter.” The Alabama Fire Institute bestowed upon Joey an honorary degree, all documented within stories and photos in our newspapers and on our websites.

In short, Joey Paulin, because of Borelli’s efforts, has become a local celebrity.

That’s why, when we learned about the tragic allegations against Borelli, we had no choice but to identify that she is Joey’s mother.

In addition, in the department’s press release about Borelli’s arrest, Alabaster Police officials asked those who had donated funds to benefit Joey Paulin, to contact them as part of their ongoing investigation.

Joey Paulin was not responsible for the crimes his mother allegedly committed, but including his name in our coverage just might help bring justice to the victims of his mother’s alleged crimes.

Right decisions aren’t always popular and we hope you, our readers, can appreciate that.

Jan Griffey is the editor for the Shelby County Reporter. She can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 36 or by email at