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“I don’t have a problem with releasing names. I think it’s a wonderful thing, but I’ll be darned if it’s right to do it in a shoddy manner,” said Main, a retired spokesman and head of the detective division for the York County Sheriff’s Department.

Some news organizations published the initial list. Others, including the AP, declined to release any names without first verifying them.

Roy Peter Clark, senior scholar at the Poynter Institute, a Florida-based journalism think tank, said that just because a name becomes public doesn’t mean news organizations have to race to publish it.

“What journalistic purpose is served by publishing the name, and how do you balance that against the harm that may be done to these people, their families, their children?”

Clark said the situation would be different if the name of a public figure appeared.

“If the police chief is on the list, if the school superintendent on the list, I would approach those people directly and try to determine whether their actions are not just a personal moral failure but climb to the level of social, public hypocrisy,” he said.

As a former law enforcement officer, Main said releasing the names helps hold suspects accountable for their misdeeds. But, he added, other information should be released as well to protect those whose only connection to the case is having a common name.

“I don’t want to see other people going through the same thing that I’ve been through,” he said.

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Associated Press writers David Sharp in Portland and Glenn Adams in Augusta contributed to this report.