Once a prominent Charleston attorney and sports agent, Dante DiTrapano is headed to prison. And he's going because of what he's done, not what he has.
Reading the immediate reaction to Mr. DiTrapano's sentencing earlier this week -- U.S. District Judge David Faber gave him the maximum 24 months for violating the terms of his supervised release -- one could have believed he had merely caught something.
"They've already tried incarceration," said DiTrapano's lawyer, Michael Del Guidice. "That doesn't help him treat his disease."
DiTrapano's lawyer father-in-law, James Coleman, was more pointed.
"To send a person to prison because he has an illness is a violation of his constitutional rights," Coleman complained.
In defense of a husband and father who admittedly and willfully used cocaine, crack and crystal meth as a coping mechanism, this isn't helpful.
Rich and successful and with family and professional responsibilities, Mr. DiTrapano chose to abuse drugs and break the law -- time and again. Given multiple chances to clean up his act, he kept doing so, even when he knew full well the consequences.
It's an affront to law-abiding citizens, not to mention West Virginia's many recovered drug addicts, to suggest that this recklessness and defiance was somehow out of DiTrapano's control. It's insulting to argue that, save his being stricken with some unfortunate affliction, none of this ever would have happened.
Mr. DiTrapano made his choices. His redemption now will only come by way of stern accountability, not ego-boosting, responsibility-dodging excuses.
That said, we members of the media aren't unsympathetic to the compounded pain wrought by such sad spectacles. It's just as painful for us to watch someone's life spiral out of control in plain, public view.
We're glad, frankly, to see this protracted saga come to an end. And two years from now, when his sentence ends, we hope society will welcome back Dante DiTrapano, a reformed and humbled man.