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Radio host's son in probe over lurid MySpace page

Laura Schlessinger asks for privacy as the Army investigates the postings attributed to Deryk.

May 25, 2007|Robert W. Welkos | Times Staff Writer

Radio talk-show host Laura Schlessinger is appealing to news media outlets to respect her son's privacy amid an Army investigation into whether he is behind a lurid personal Web page that featured cartoon depictions of rape, murder, torture and child molestation.

The posting on MySpace.com drew the Army's attention after the Salt Lake City Tribune reported this month that the Web page was credited to and included photos of Deryk, the 21-year-old son of the outspoken radio personality known to millions as "Dr. Laura." She can be heard locally on KFI-AM (640).

According to the Tribune, the Web page, which has since been taken down, included a photograph of a bound and blindfolded detainee, accounts of illicit drug use and a blog entry headlined by a series of obscenities and racial epithets.

Laura Schlessinger's publicist issued a statement Thursday stating that the Army "is investigating who is the actual author of the MySpace website." Army spokesmen in Afghanistan, where Deryk reportedly is stationed, could not immediately be reached for comment.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Monday May 28, 2007 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 47 words Type of Material: Correction
Dr. Laura: An article in Business on Friday about an Army investigation involving the son of radio talk show host Laura Schlessinger over a lurid MySpace Web page identified the newspaper that broke the story as the Salt Lake City Tribune. It is the Salt Lake Tribune.

Celebrated by many for her traditionalist views -- and criticized by others for the same -- the talk-show host is perhaps best known for her trademark chirp, "I'm my kid's mom!" and her advice to mothers to stay at home with their young children. Deryk's tour of duty is well known to listeners: Many callers seeking out Dr. Laura's advice begin by thanking her for her son's service.

The radio host has taken a break from writing her column in the Santa Barbara News-Press but not from her other work. "She just needed a break," her spokesman, Mike Paul, wrote in an e-mail.

Matthew D. LaPlante, the Tribune reporter who broke the story about the Army investigation, had drawn a rebuke from Schlessinger for an earlier article in which he quoted her as saying Army wives should stop "whining."

She posted a reply on her website stating that her position was taken out of context. As a "military mom," she added, she whines to her husband about how scared she is for her son, but "I never whine to my son when he is able to call between missions" for fear of distracting him from his life-and-death duties.

The newspaper's reader advocate said the Tribune was flooded with calls and e-mails complaining about the article.

LaPlante said he stood by the accuracy of his quotes.

The article about the MySpace page said one blog entry read: "Yes!!! I LOVE MY JOB, it takes everything reckless and deviant and heathenistic and just overall bad about me and hyper focuses these traits into my job of running around this horrid place doing nasty things to people that deserve it ... and some that don't."

The website's author indicates he is stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, where, he writes, "godless crazy people like me" have become "a generation of apathetic killers."

robert.welkos@latimes.com

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