Lawrence Lewis for the Wall Street Journal

In 2007, Lawrence Lewis pled guilty in federal court to violating the Clean Water Act after diverting a backed-up sewage system which threatened to overwhelm the facilities at his then place of employment.  After losing several family members to crime and other related issues, Lewis made it a point to lead an honest, crime-free life.  Pleading guilty to a federal offense has not only been psychologically taxing for such a clean-cut man, but the fallout in other areas of his life has been damaging as well.  Read the full story here.  It’s important because the same consequences could befall any of us for accidentally running afoul of federal law- which is easier to do than you think.

I met Mr. Lewis at Gallaudet University’s physical plant where he currently works. Despite- or maybe because of- the difficulties he’s been through between losing so much of his family and the aftermath of this case, I found him to be a remarkably positive and philosophical man.

[The sewage was diverted into the creek in Rock Creek Park]

[Mr. Lewis tests the quality of the boiler water at Gallaudet University’s physical plant where he currently works]

[Mr. Lewis his visits his sister’s grave at National Harmony Memorial Park in Landover, MD]

[His brother’s grave]