Monday, February 6, 2012

When will the Pope the Secretary of Education apologize to victims of abuse?

I know this is hard to read on a Monday morning, or any morning. Sorry, but it's important.

Compare this...

From the New York Times:

Photos Led to Arrest in Abuse of Pupils
Published: January 31, 2012
LOS ANGELES — A former elementary school teacher who taught in a South Los Angeles school for 30 years was arrested Monday on charges of inflicting bizarre abuse rituals on at least 23 young girls and boys, including blindfolding them, binding their mouths with masking tape, and placing cockroaches on their faces and mouths before photographing them.
A student at Miramonte Elementary, where Mark Berndt used to teach. He is accused of covering children's mouths with tape.
The man, Mark Berndt, 61, was arrested in his home in Torrance, Calif., by members of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s office, and charged with 23 counts of committing lewd acts upon a child. Bail was set at $2.3 million, but the authorities said they would seek to raise it to $23 million, or $1 million for each count.
The children were between the ages of 7 and 10 when the incidents took place between 2008 and 2010, the authorities said. Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said potential victims were being urged to come forward in an attempt to establish whether such behavior had been going on earlier in the teacher’s career. He said five other people had come forward.
The sheriff’s office said the investigation began about a year ago when a film processor, complying with California law, turned over 40 photographs of children in a classroom, their mouths and eyes covered with tape. Some of the pictures showed Mr. Berndt with his arms around the children, or covering their mouths with his hands. Others showed Madagascar hissing cockroaches crawling on their faces, the authorities said.
Mr. Berndt was removed from the classroom on Jan. 7, 2011, after school authorities were notified of the evidence, said John Deasy, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District. He was terminated by the Los Angeles Board of Education in February.
Mr. Deasy said that crisis counselors had been provided to victims and parents.
One student at the school said Mr. Berndt had collected bugs and larvae. School officials said there was nothing in Mr. Berndt’s 30-year personnel record to suggest this kind of behavior.
“This makes me afraid because the most important thing is to make sure my children are safe at school,” said Erendira Reyes, 38, who came to Miramonte Elementary School, where Mr. Berndt taught, upon hearing of the arrest. “When a person like that is at school and the administrators don’t know about it, I think that is a very serious problem.”
Jesse Lizzaraga, 30, also turned up to find out if this was the same man who was his second-grade teacher. It was. “He was actually kind of cool when I first met him,” Mr. Lizzaraga said. “I was shocked.”
Mr. Whitmore said that police closely monitored Mr. Berndt, who is unmarried and lives alone in a four-apartment complex in Torrance, to make certain that he had no contact with children. He said the length of time between the discovery of the photos and the filing of charges was a result of the complexity of the case, including efforts to identify the children in the pictures.
He said the final piece of evidence was finding a blue plastic spoon and a container in a wastebasket in Mr. Berndt’s classroom that contains traces of semen, which DNA testing established to be from Mr. Berndt. Some of the photographs depicted a similar spoon being held under the nose of blindfolded young girls.
The police searched Mr. Berndt’s home and uncovered an additional 100 photographs, and 250 more photographs were found at the film processing establishment. A total of 26 children have been identified in the photographs; 10 have not been identified.

...with this...

From the New York Times:

Vatican Declined to Defrock U.S. Priest Who Abused Boys

Top Vatican officials — including the future Pope Benedict XVI — did not defrock a priest who molested as many as 200 deaf boys, even though several American bishops repeatedly warned them that failure to act on the matter could embarrass the church, according to church files newly unearthed as part of a lawsuit.

Interactive Feature
Timeline: The Predator Priest Who Got Away
The Document Trail: Lawrence C. Murphy
The Takeaway With Laurie Goodstein
Abuse Scandal’s Ripples Spread Across Europe (March 25, 2010)
Room for Debate: Changing the Vatican's Response to Abuse(March 17, 2010)
Jeffrey Phelps for The New York Times

Arthur Budzinski, at a cemetery behind St. John's School for the Deaf, says he was first molested in 1960 when he went to Father Murphy for confession.
The internal correspondence from bishops in Wisconsin directly to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope, shows that while church officials tussled over whether the priest should be dismissed, their highest priority was protecting the church from scandal.
The documents emerge as Pope Benedict is facing other accusations that he and direct subordinates often did not alert civilian authorities or discipline priests involved in sexual abuse when he served as an archbishop in Germany and as the Vatican’s chief doctrinal enforcer.
The Wisconsin case involved an American priest, the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy, who worked at a renowned school for deaf children from 1950 to 1974. But it is only one of thousands of cases forwarded over decades by bishops to the Vatican office called the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, led from 1981 to 2005 by Cardinal Ratzinger. It is still the office that decides whether accused priests should be given full canonical trials and defrocked.
In 1996, Cardinal Ratzinger failed to respond to two letters about the case from Rembert G. Weakland, Milwaukee’s archbishop at the time. After eight months, the second in command at the doctrinal office, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican’s secretary of state, instructed the Wisconsin bishops to begin a secret canonical trial that could lead to Father Murphy’s dismissal.
But Cardinal Bertone halted the process after Father Murphy personally wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger protesting that he should not be put on trial because he had already repented and was in poor health and that the case was beyond the church’s own statute of limitations.
“I simply want to live out the time that I have left in the dignity of my priesthood,” Father Murphy wrote near the end of his life to Cardinal Ratzinger. “I ask your kind assistance in this matter.” The files contain no response from Cardinal Ratzinger.
The New York Times obtained the documents, which the church fought to keep secret, from Jeff Anderson and Mike Finnegan, the lawyers for five men who have brought four lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. The documents include letters between bishops and the Vatican, victims’ affidavits, the handwritten notes of an expert on sexual disorders who interviewed Father Murphy and minutes of a final meeting on the case at the Vatican.
Father Murphy not only was never tried or disciplined by the church’s own justice system, but also got a pass from the police and prosecutors who ignored reports from his victims, according to the documents and interviews with victims. Three successive archbishops in Wisconsin were told that Father Murphy was sexually abusing children, the documents show, but never reported it to criminal or civil authorities.
Instead of being disciplined, Father Murphy was quietly moved by Archbishop William E. Cousins of Milwaukee to the Diocese of Superior in northern Wisconsin in 1974, where he spent his last 24 years working freely with children in parishes, schools and, as one lawsuit charges, a juvenile detention center. He died in 1998, still a priest.
Even as the pope himself in a recent letter to Irish Catholics has emphasized the need to cooperate with civil justice in abuse cases, the correspondence seems to indicate that the Vatican’s insistence on secrecy has often impeded such cooperation. At the same time, the officials’ reluctance to defrock a sex abuser shows that on a doctrinal level, the Vatican has tended to view the matter in terms of sin and repentance more than crime and punishment.
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, was shown the documents and was asked to respond to questions about the case. He provided a statement saying that Father Murphy had certainly violated “particularly vulnerable” children and the law, and that it was a “tragic case.” But he pointed out that the Vatican was not forwarded the case until 1996, years after civil authorities had investigated the case and dropped it.
Father Lombardi emphasized that neither the Code of Canon Law nor the Vatican norms issued in 1962, which instruct bishops to conduct canonical investigations and trials in secret, prohibited church officials from reporting child abuse to civil authorities. He did not address why that had never happened in this case.
As to why Father Murphy was never defrocked, he said that “the Code of Canon Law does not envision automatic penalties.” He said that Father Murphy’s poor health and the lack of more recent accusations against him were factors in the decision.
The Vatican’s inaction is not unusual. Only 20 percent of the 3,000 accused priests whose cases went to the church’s doctrinal office between 2001 and 2010 were given full church trials, and only some of those were defrocked, according to a recent interview in an Italian newspaper with Msgr. Charles J. Scicluna, the chief internal prosecutor at that office. An additional 10 percent were defrocked immediately. Ten percent left voluntarily. But a majority — 60 percent — faced other “administrative and disciplinary provisions,” Monsignor Scicluna said, like being prohibited from celebrating Mass.To many, Father Murphy appeared to be a saint: a hearing man gifted at communicating in American Sign Language and an effective fund-raiser for deaf causes. A priest of the Milwaukee Archdiocese, he started as a teacher at St. John’s School for the Deaf, in St. Francis, in 1950. He was promoted to run the school in 1963 even though students had disclosed to church officials in the 1950s that he was a predator.
Victims give similar accounts of Father Murphy’s pulling down their pants and touching them in his office, his car, his mother’s country house, on class excursions and fund-raising trips and in their dormitory beds at night. Arthur Budzinski said he was first molested when he went to Father Murphy for confession when he was about 12, in 1960.
“If he was a real mean guy, I would have stayed away,” said Mr. Budzinski, now 61, who worked for years as a journeyman printer. “But he was so friendly, and so nice and understanding. I knew he was wrong, but I couldn’t really believe it.”
Mr. Budzinski and a group of other deaf former students spent more than 30 years trying to raise the alarm, including passing out leaflets outside the Milwaukee cathedral. Mr. Budzinski’s friend Gary Smith said in an interview that Father Murphy molested him 50 or 60 times, starting at age 12. By the time he graduated from high school at St. John’s, Mr. Smith said, “I was a very, very angry man.”
In 1993, with complaints about Father Murphy landing on his desk, Archbishop Weakland hired a social worker specializing in treating sexual offenders to evaluate him. After four days of interviews, the social worker said that Father Murphy had admitted his acts, had probably molested about 200 boys and felt no remorse.
However, it was not until 1996 that Archbishop Weakland tried to have Father Murphy defrocked. The reason, he wrote to Cardinal Ratzinger, was to defuse the anger among the deaf and restore their trust in the church. He wrote that since he had become aware that “solicitation in the confessional might be part of the situation,” the case belonged at the doctrinal office.
With no response from Cardinal Ratzinger, Archbishop Weakland wrote a different Vatican office in March 1997 saying the matter was urgent because a lawyer was preparing to sue, the case could become public and “true scandal in the future seems very possible.”
Recently some bishops have argued that the 1962 norms dictating secret disciplinary procedures have long fallen out of use. But it is clear from these documents that in 1997, they were still in force.
But the effort to dismiss Father Murphy came to a sudden halt after the priest appealed to Cardinal Ratzinger for leniency.
In an interview, Archbishop Weakland said that he recalled a final meeting at the Vatican in May 1998 in which he failed to persuade Cardinal Bertone and other doctrinal officials to grant a canonical trial to defrock Father Murphy. (In 2002, Archbishop Weakland resigned after it became public that he had an affair with a man and used church money to pay him a settlement.)
Archbishop Weakland said this week in an interview, “The evidence was so complete, and so extensive that I thought he should be reduced to the lay state, and also that that would bring a certain amount of peace in the deaf community.”
Father Murphy died four months later at age 72 and was buried in his priestly vestments. Archbishop Weakland wrote a last letter to Cardinal Bertone explaining his regret that Father Murphy’s family had disobeyed the archbishop’s instructions that the funeral be small and private, and the coffin kept closed.
“In spite of these difficulties,” Archbishop Weakland wrote, “we are still hoping we can avoid undue publicity that would be negative toward the church.”

Notice the difference in the two stories.

The alleged molestation by the teacher is presented in isolation-- no discussion of the negligence or complicity of school authorities, despite the fact that the children appear to have been molested in the classroom, tied up with tape, covered with cockroaches, and fed semen on a spoon. It actually turns out that there were suspicions and even at least one allegation about this teacher going back to the 1990's.

Yet the school authorities are barely mentioned. The molestation is depicted as a la carte-- without context in the school system.

The alleged molestation by the priest is presented as an expose of the Catholic Church. The molestation is presented as crimes covered-up and even condoned at the highest levels of the Church. The article is focused on allegations of negligence and complicity by officials of the Catholic Church. The whole article is about context-- about the Catholic church.

The photo of the teacher (at the link) shows him isolated in a mug shot. The photo of the priest (at the link) shows him in a church conducting mass.

This double standard is evident in all mainstream press coverage of child abuse in schools and in the Church. When a teacher commits abuse, the abuse is generally reported in isolation (when it is reported at all). When a priest commits abuse, the abuse is almost always reported as a pattern of criminality sheltered and even condoned by the Catholic Church.

"Oh but", you say "teacher child molestation isn't covered up by schools like it is by the Church".

You'd be wrong, of course.

Hofstra Professor Carol Shakeshaft  has observed that educator sexual abuse is at least 100 times more common than sexual abuse by clergy. She has noted that schools rarely report suspicions of abuse to the police. Sexual abuse in public schools is an epidemic, and protection of accused abusers by schools has been the rule, not the exception. Ten percent of public schools students are victims of sexual misconduct by educators or staff at some point in their school years. There are approximately 30,000 children abused annually in schools in the United States by educators or staff. In New York City alone, one child is sexually abused by an educator or staff each day.

Here is an excerpt from Shakeshaft's report prepared for the U.S. Department of Education:

Consequences for abusers. In an early study of 225 cases of educator sexual abuse in New York, all of the accused had admitted to sexual abuse of a student  but none of the abusers was reported to authorities and only 1 percent lost their license to teach (Shakeshaft and Cohan, 1994). All of the accused had admitted to physical sexual abuse of a student but only 35 percent received a negative consequence for their actions: 15 percent were terminated or, if not tenured, they were not rehired; and 20 percent received a formal reprimand or suspension. Another 25 percent received no consequence or were reprimanded informally and off-the-record. Nearly 39 percent chose to leave the district, most with positive recommendations or even retirement packages intact. 
 Of those who left, superintendents reported that 16 percent were teaching in other schools and that they had no idea what the other 84 percent were doing. A recent report on sexual abuse in New York City indicates that 60 percent of employees who were accused of sexual abuse were transferred to desk jobs at offices inside schools and 40 percent of these teachers were repeat offenders (Campanile and Montero, 2001). In many instances, agreements are made to avoid legal battles with the alleged abuser (Shakeshaft and Cohan, 1994). . 
Several investigative reports have publicized individual cases and the response by districts to allegations of educator sexual misconduct. For instance, O’Hagen and Willmsen report that of 159 Washington state coaches “who were reprimanded, warned, or let go in the past decade because of sexual misconduct . . . at least 98 of them continued coaching or teaching afterward.” (Dec. 15, 2003) Many school districts make confidential agreements with abusers, trading a positive recommendation for a resignation.

In the midst of this epidemic of sexual molestation by educators and staff in public schools, very few cases of child sexual abuse in schools are reported to police by school officials.

By comparison, the Catholic Church has radically reformed its practices regarding prevention of abuse-- the Church in the U.S. is now one of the the safest places for children, much safer than schools, the streets, and the home. In 2009, there were six credible cases of allegations of clerical child abuse in the entire United States. That's fewer than the number of credible allegations of educator/staff abuse in New York City public schools each week.

When the Pope travels, the news media incessantly reports sundry demands that he apologize to victims of abuse. Where are the calls for apologies from top school officials, who oversee organizations in which abuse is orders of magnitude more common than it is in the Church and who generally have much more direct responsibility-- statutory responsibility-- for organizational oversight than the Pope has?

Why aren't school superintendents and state education officials scrutinized and vilified in the press with the same ferocity with which bishops are scrutinized?

Why hasn't the Pope the Secretary of Education apologized to abuse victims?

Here's another taste of the double standard:

The federal report [Shakeshaft] said 422,000 California public-school students would be victims before graduation — a number that dwarfs the state’s entire Catholic-school enrollment of 143,000.
Yet, during the first half of 2002, the 61 largest newspapers in California ran nearly 2,000 stories about sexual abuse in Catholic institutions, mostly concerning past allegations. During the same period, those newspapers ran four stories about the federal government's discovery of the much larger — and ongoing — abuse scandal in public schools.
Please note that my argument here is not that most educators are child-molesters or that public schools are in some way intrinsically evil. That would be grossly unfair to the vast majority of public school educators and administrators who are decent people and who work very hard to do the right thing. It would be as unfair just as the widespread media coverage of priests and of the Catholic Church on this issue has been unfair.

My argument is much more simple. I assert that people in the media and elsewhere who focus on abuse in the Catholic Church, but neglect the much larger epidemic of abuse in public schools, are bigots.

Imagine if every crime committed by a black person was reported in the media as an example of the propensity of blacks to commit crimes and the complicity of black communities in such crimes, but when crimes were committed by whites, no mention of race was made. Imagine if every financial crime committed by a Jew was reported in the media as an example of the propensity of Jews to steal and defraud and the complicity of Jewish organizations in such crimes, but when financial crimes were committed by non-Jews, no mention of religion was made.

The double standard of the media coverage of child sexual abuse by priests and of the media coverage of child sexual abuse by educators and by people in other walks of life is disgusting. It is pure anti-Catholic bigotry-- a modern analogue to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, directed against the Catholic Church.

It has a long history


  1. The “other people rape children too” defense, pathetic.

    When you start making excuses for child molesters you’re no better than the rapists.


    1. "’re no better than the rapists."

      Holy hysteria batman!

      Too lazy to read through...again?

    2. Cannot expect much more from King WishWashy!

  2. @KW:

    The issue addressed in this post is anti-Catholic bigotry, not child molestion.

    Do try to keep on topic.

    1. KW:

      Some priests (and teachers, bus drivers, astronauts, etc) are child buggerers, and you're a bigot.

      True and true.

  3. Hey KW,

    Nobody's making an excuse for child molesters here. if you'd read it, you would have known that. He's just asking why there's disproportionate media coverage of a problem that exists throughout society in only one sector of society.

    The public schools are filled with child molesters. Not a big surprise there. If a person really has a thing for kids, that's the kind of career they'd be attracted to. I know that there was a music teacher in my high school who had at least two underage girlfriends that I know of.

    If the media's interest in child predators had anything to do with exposing child predators, they would be all over the abuse in public schools scandal like white on rice.

    You have to understand however that teachers are generally considered to be good while priests are generally considered to be bad. This, despite the fact that teachers are more likely than priests to molest children.

    The rate of sexual abuse among priests is the same as among men generally. No more and no less. Same, same. That's actually an astounding statistic. Think about it like this--for every child molesting priest you hear about, there are hundreds and hundreds of child molesters who aren't priests. The ratio of priest child molesters to non-priest child molesters is the same ratio of priests to non-priests.


  4. I've found that when it comes to the church sexual abuse scandals, people fall into two categories. It's really quite easy to determine which category a person falls into.

    The first category is concerned with the victims. They are shocked and outraged at what happened and how it was covered up. They want to drain the swamp. You can usually tell these people because they talk mostly about the victims and what can be done to make amends.

    The second group of people are the ones who really don't think much at all about the victims. It's just another great excuse to bash Catholics. Their "concern" for the victims is only voiced in the context of legitimizing other types of immoral behaviors, usually relating to sex or marriage. They will frequently say things like:

    "Maybe the church should worry more about the child molesters in its midst and less about gay sex."

    "How can the church preach to us about divorce when everybody knows they've got a pedophile problem?"

    "The pope should just shut up about abortion. Everybody knows he's the head of a pedophile racket."

    In each case, the "concern" for the victims is pretty much nil. The ulterior motive--to wear down church opposition to behaviors it knows is wrong--shines through. If they'd just adopt secular humanistic morals, they could molesting children and this second group wouldn't care at all.

    Think of it this way. The church has been wrong in its handling of sexual abuse. It has not been wrong in its opposition to abortion or divorce, or whatever your pet sin may be. Even if the church were to endorse your pet sin tomorrow, or just to take a neutral stance, that would only make them MORE wrong than they are today. They have been wrong to cover up abuse, but they are not wrong--they are RIGHT--to oppose other evils. You don't make amends for one type of sin by cuddling up with other sins.

    Let's take the example of the public schools again, an environment in which pedophiles are actually disproportionately represented (unlike the priesthood).

    "Schools should quit worrying about drugs. They're all a bunch of child molesters."

    "Teachers should shut up about their social justice values. Like they've got any right to preach to the rest of us with their pedophilia problem."

    "I wish schools would spend a little less time policing my kid's lunch and little more time getting rid of the child molesters."

    And so on, and so forth.


  5. KW,

    Let me ask you a serious question. If a group of people, say a bunch of conservatives, who already had a problem with the public school system, suddenly went on a crusade against child molesting teachers, would you smell an ulterior motive?

    Ever watch to Catch a Predator? I've seen men from all walks of life on there--a rabbi, a computer techie, an Iraq War veteran, an accountant. I've never seen a priest though.

    And guess what? The rabbi who was caught molesting girls didn't do it because he was a rabbi. The computer techie didn't do it because he was a computer techie. The Iraq War vet didn't do it because he was an Iraq War vet. The fact that these men were caught with underage girls tells us almost nothing about rabbis, computer techies, and Iraq War vets generally. It tells us a little about the character of the individuals apprehended, but that's it.


  6. If you want to know what secular humanists think about child molesters who share their values, just look at the way they defended Roman Polanski.

    Whoopie Goldberg: "It's not rape rape."


  7. I just thought I'd mention another thing. I'm not going to say that all of the victims of sex abuse are lying, but I bet that some of them are.

    I work with a guy who comes from a rather screwed up family. One of his uncles is a cocaine addict who likes to come up with get rich quick schemes to fund his habit. One time he accused a priest of molesting him and he got monetary damages out of the deal. He accused a priest who actually had a long list of accusers even before the coke addict came along, but the point is that it was a shakedown.

    This is the same guy who injured himself to get out of going to Vietnam, then sued the government later on for exposure to Agent Orange. It didn't matter that he'd never been anywhere near Southeast Asia. He got his money.


  8. Like all statistics, your "kids are 100 times more likely to be molested in school" tidbit needs context.

    There are about 41,000 Catholic priests in the United States. There are about 6.2 million elementary school teachers. This means that there are about 150 times as many teachers just teaching elementary school kids as there are Catholic priests.

    Just based on these numbers, your claim begins to founder. If a child is truly 100 times more likely to be abused by a teacher as a priest, that means that an individual priest is one and a half times more likely to be a child abuser than an individual teacher. Suddenly the priesthood goes from being unfairly smeared to having a serious problem.

    So Egnor, what is it that make a Catholic priest, presumably well-versed in the wonderful Christian morality you tout all the time, one and a half times more likely to molest children than those horrible liberal public school teachers?

  9. "6.2 million elementary school teachers."

    You start by comparing priests to elementary school teachers, thus excluding middle school/junior high, and high school.

    You're stretching to make a point.


    1. Adding in middle school and high school teachers would only make the priests look worse, since it would skew the numbers against them even more. I was actually being nice to the priests by limiting the comparison the way I did.

  10. A gay friend of mine spent a couple of summers as a counselor at a Christian camp and said all the priests there where active gay men whose main topic of conversation was who was fucking who. When I asked an old high school friend of mine why he quite the seminary he said it was because “I’m not gay”. I’ve talked to priests who estimate that at least 40% of priests are gay or have gay orientation. When I was a kid all the boys new to avoid being alone with any of the priests, especially the one we nicknamed Chester.

    Many men who feel guilty of what society and their religion has labeled perverse sexual cravings often fight it by trying to becoming devoted to God. The life of devotion and celibacy offered by the priesthood is seen by many perverts as a way to fight their predilections; consequently the priesthood is full of gays and pedophiles.


    1. KW,
      thats an interesting thought on the priesthood. I've often thought this, but it raises the question, is the celibacy the thing that makes men 'crack', or is it their predilections? I mean, men are hard-wired to want sexual release. Celibacy goes against everything nature intends..

    2. I don’t think celibacy comes first, other prominent Christians who fight against homosexuality while gay include toe tapper Larry Craig, male hooker loving Ted Haggard, rent boy renter George Alan Rekers, and queen of denial, pray the gay away, Marcus Bachman.


    3. Hey, KW, spurting your venom as usual?

    4. Pepe, I guess facts and uncomfortable truths can seem venomous when they cause the cognitive dissonance that forces you to believe ridiculous things. A recent comprehensive meta-analysis confirmed a reliable negative relation between cognitive ability and right-wing ideologies. The only question is which comes first, the right-wind ideologies, or the low cognitive ability. It probably doesn’t matter because both paths lead to the same destination.


  11. The catholic church gets more press about it because it is the largest christian sect. Parents typically PAY to send their children to these schools to get an education that they assume is better than the public system

    When a religious corporation preaches morality as if their way is the only way, and then child molestation appears in this corporation worldwide, with senior officials getting involved with the abuse/rape as well as covering up and transferring priests to other parishes to avoid embarrassment or a scandal, well yes that will raise some eyebrows.

    The mafia runs like that. 'Some internal issues? Don't go to the police, WE'LL handle it.'

  12. @various atheists:

    I have no interest in detailed analyses of molestation rates by priests,teachers, etc.

    My point is simple and obvious: the grossly disproportionate way in which priestly molestation and teacherly molestation is handled in the press is the result of bigotry.

    There is no honest debate about that.

    1. In the article you linked, the school authorities were notified, removed the teacher from the classroom, fired him, and cooperated with law enforcement. They provided counselors to the victims who could be identified.

      The diocese was informed of their errant priest's actions, on several occasions, and rather than taking action, moved to stop actions. They continued to employ him even after they knew he was molesting children. They didn't cooperate with law enforcement.

      The situations are reportedly differently because the authorities in question responded differently. Your efforts to try to paint them as parallel smack of desperation.

    2. There is much more to this story. The guy was suspected for years, and the school did nothing.

      You need to address Shakeshaft's data, compiled for the Department of Education.

      I made my points clearly in my post. I have no interest in restating it to convince a bigot.

    3. "There is much more to this story. The guy was suspected for years, and the school did nothing."

      So cite the article in which this is shown. Saying "they knew" while not actually linking to an article showing this doesn't really support your case. It just looks like you are making crap up.

      "You need to address Shakeshaft's data, compiled for the Department of Education."

      You mean the data that shows that priests are more than one and a half times as likely to molest children as a teacher is to either molest or harass one?

      You see, Shakeshaft's data doesn't cover child molestation. It covers all forms of sexual misconduct, including issues like harassment. While harassment is also a serious problem, it isn't molestation. Until there is data that unpacks the two, comparing Shakeshaft's data on teachers to the information on child molestation by priests is comparing apples and oranges.

      And even when you include other actions that aren't child molestation in the teacher's tally (as Shakeshaft does), the priests still measure up poorly. Even if you only compare priests to elementary school teachers, priests measure up poorly.

      Just comparing priests to elementary school teachers and assuming elementary school teachers accounted for all the sexual misconduct in Shakeshaft's study, a priest is one and a half times more likely to molest a child than a teacher. Adding in all teachers through high school brings the total number of teachers up to about four million. This means that a given priest is almost twice as likely to sexual abuse a child as a teacher is to engage in sexual misconduct.

      "I made my points clearly in my post. I have no interest in restating it to convince a bigot."

      You are desperate and flailing here. Your priesthood is full of people who are far more likely to abuse children than any member of the school system.

  13. "My point is simple and obvious: the grossly disproportionate way in which priestly molestation and teacherly molestation is handled in the press is the result of bigotry."

    Or rather, the undeniable fact that priests are individually much more likely to molest children than teachers. When you have a group of individuals that seem to have such a high propensity to molest children, then you have an institutional problem.

    Teachers are much less likely to molest children than priests are. There are just a lot more teachers. Trying to whitewash the fact that the leaders of your faith are so prone to child molestation is pretty weak even for you.

  14. Egnor:

    The double standard of the media coverage of child sexual abuse by priests and of the media coverage of child sexual abuse by educators and by people in other walks of life is disgusting. It is pure anti-Catholic bigotry-- a modern analogue to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, directed against the Catholic Church.

    You just couldn't resist putting in that last bit about the Protocols, could you? Downplaying the murderous effects of the antisemitic Protocols by comparing them to the uncomfortable feelings the bad press has caused in Catholics. How many Catholics have been murdered as a result of the bad press?

    Anyway. Has the press really treated the Roman Catholic Church that unfairly compared to others? Although children are in greater danger of being abused by their relatives, their babysitters or their teachers than by priests, the fact remains that the RCC has obstructed justice at the highest levels of their organization, including the infallible Pope.

    An organization that claims the moral high ground by pretending to speak for God. That sets the RCC apart from other groups with high rates of child abuse and that's why they deserve stronger criticism.

    In Ireland, 5% of all sexual abuse of children is by clergy, according to the RCC itself. Yet 0.1% of the people belong to the clergy. That makes an average clergyman 50 times more likely to commit sexual abuse of children than an average person. It's probably less than that because some clergymen commit many such acts, but still. What does that tell you about the values of the sect they represent?

  15. The reading of this post and the comments help me understand why God became human in His Son and why He suffered to save us.

    Atheists will respond that God should have made us perfect. He did! But He gave us the ultimate gift of all... Free Will. And look what we have done with this gift!

    If I was a Darwinist (God forbid) I would say that child abuse is a way of passing on my genes. As Dawkins, a.k.a. DickyDawk, says: our genes are selfish.

    Bravo materialists!

    1. You think having sex with an underaged child is a way of spreading your genes? That just might be the most ignorant thing I have ever read.

    2. If I was a Darwinist (God forbid) I would say that child abuse is a way of passing on my genes. As Dawkins, a.k.a. DickyDawk, says: our genes are selfish.

      I'm glad you're not a Darwinist then and that your religion prevents you from acting on your psychopathic tendencies.

      A technical question: how do you suppose that a priest buggering a little boy's ass is spreading his genes?

    3. You should assume your beliefs.

      Your Grand Master, Dawkins, a.k.a Dickydawk, a.k.a the Darwin Gofer, has ruled that we are the servants of our selfish genes.

      You either believe what he says or you don't!

      If you believe DisckyDawk, then passing on your genes by ANY MEANS is the right thing to do.

      If you don't believe DisckyDawk, then come and join us in seeking the Truth!

      PS: troy, you are disgusting!

    4. To all you atheists who firmly believe to be accidents of nature:

      On what basis can you judge what is right and what is wrong?

      Does an old alpha chimp having sex with a baby female or male (this has been documented) doing something wrong?

      If you believe that we human are EVOLVED primates and not better than animals, on what basis can you say our actions are right or wrong?

    5. Pepe,

      Have you actually read 'the Selfish Gene'? I doubt that you've been able to get much past the title.

    6. bach,

      Yes, I have read this monument of stupidity!

    7. Pepe,

      Yes, but did you understand it? Going on your lack of comprehension of Monte Hieb's 'Plant Fossils of West Virginia', I doubt that you know what you're actually talking about.

    8. I understood it all right! It's crap from beginning to end...

      I see you haven't yet recovered from 'Plant Fossils of West Virginia'!

      Too much info for you I suppose...

    9. "If you believe DisckyDawk, then passing on your genes by ANY MEANS is the right thing to do."

      Once again, one wonders exactly how you think that molesting children would serve to pass on any genes at all.

      (Oh, by the way, that "modern synthesis" thing you think is replacing what you imagine Darwinism to be? Dawkins has been influential in the promotion of it. Dawkins is an advocate for the modern synthesis.)

    10. I lent my two Mormon friends my copy of Richard Dawkins' book 'Climbing Mount Improbable' and they were highly impressed by it!

      Actually, the reason was because they have a fig tree, and fig trees have the distressing property of producing a lot of 'fruit' over a very short time, all of which either goes rotten very quickly or is consumed by the neighborhood birds, so they've been providing me with their surplus.

      I noted to them that figs aren't fruit, they're flowers, and have the most complex life cycle, involving around 900 separate fig wasps, each one for each of around 900 fig tree species, and that Richard Dawkins explains it very well in the last chapter, and that it needed to be read at least three times, twice to understand it, and the third to be amazed.

      Needless to say, they were impressed.

    11. Oh ha! ha ha! 'DickyDawk'! Oh boy, thats a real knee-slapper. How do you ever come up with such high brow humor?

      You know, the more i read this blog, the more i'm starting to come to the conclusion that pepe and a couple others are here to merely rile us up. There's just a whole lot of baiting going on here all the time. Ever notice how he never has any real reasoning or articulate replies? Only snarky little one-liners or insults.

    12. Mulder,
      "You know, the more i read this blog, the more i'm starting to come to the conclusion that pepe and a couple others are here to merely rile us up. "

      Fascinating comment, Mulder.
      What an insight into your process.
      Clearly, you see these people as here 'merely' to goad you into some sort of ideological or emotional response. So one sided. So utterly arrogant and selfish.
      Truly, you understand the religion of 'me'.
      You may, or may not, understand the science and philosophy as well as some of the other various Godless on here, but you sure do understand the sentiment. You are not blinded by science, you are honestly and instinctively sightless.

      I am now far more interested in your posts!

      Could you humour this poor medievalist and explain/clarify to me: Who are the 'couple of others'?
      Do I qualify as one of the 'others', or am I part of another conspiracy to confound and irritate?
      And MOST importantly: Who exactly are the mysterious 'us'?


    13. Rex,
      Settle down, i cant believe you wrote so much about that line!
      Maybe, just maybe i tried to rile YOU up.

      What prompted me saying that was pepe's comments. Always little insults or direct name-calling. Egnor does similar things, including posting silly atheist jokes, or some asinine article right after the day Hitchens died. Not so much you, although you love to write. You should should start a blog of your own.

      The mysterious, as you put it, 'us' are the various atheists that post/debate on here. Duh.

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  17. Mr. Egnor, this double standard is both a compliment and a blessing. A compliment because the public instinctually expects better of the Church, as it ought. A blessing because it has helped purge sin from the fold. Blessed are you when men persecute you and all that.