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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

November 6, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Colin Clifford and his heroic legacy

Seattle native remembered for involvement in solving pedophile case

Editor, The Times:

“Visit the sick and bury the dead,” goes the old Irish maxim, often repeated by my father, the late state Sen. Martin Durkan [Obituary, Oct. 27].

So it is in that spirit that I write about Colin Clifford and his incomparable gift to Seattle.

From 1979 forward, Colin was relentless in his pursuit of Judge Gary Little, a cunning pedophile who had been his teacher at Lakeside School. Little was heavily protected by a network of the city’s elites.

It took a decade for the inevitable to occur: Little was unmasked by journalist Duff Wilson and committed suicide in the judge’s chambers.

This story wasn’t actually inevitable. As good as Wilson was, it took sources willing to go on the record. Colin Clifford was one such source. He was an agitator who risked personal relationships, old-school Seattle ties and more to get one very bad man.

Journalists may win awards for unearthing the dirt in a city, but sources rarely fare so well in the aftermath. This held true for Colin.

If a person’s life is measured by having been even partly responsible for saving a life or sparing someone years of brokenness, then Colin Clifford led a great life.

Rest in peace, friend.

Kathleen Durkan, Seattle

Comments | Topics: Colin Clifford

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