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"I can't look at you or any other priest without thinking of a sexual abuser"

Amidst news that another priest has been accused of sexual misconduct, this time the prominently known and widely liked Fr. John Corapi, comes this account of a recent airport encounter between Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan and an enraged Catholic:

"Are you a Catholic priest?" he kindly asked.

"Sure am.  Nice to meet you," says I, as I offered my hand.

He ignored it.  "I was raised a Catholic," he replied, almost always a hint of a cut to come, but I was not prepared for the razor sharpness of the stiletto, as he went on, "and now, as a father of two boys, I can't look at you or any other priest without thinking of a sexual abuser."

What to respond?  Yell at him?  Cuss him out?  Apologize?  Deck him?  Express understanding?  I must admit all such reactions came to mind as I staggered with shame and anger from the damage of the wound he had inflicted with those stinging words.

"Well," I recovered enough to remark, "I'm sure sorry you feel that way.  But, let me ask you, do you automatically presume a sexual abuser when you see a Rabbi or Protestant minister?"

"Not at all," he came back through gritted teeth as we both boarded the train.

"How about when you see a coach, or a boy scout leader, or a foster parent, or a counsellor, or physician?"  I continued.

"Of course not!" he came back.  "What's all that got to do with it?"

"A lot," I stayed with him, "because each of those professions have as high a percentage of sexual abuse, if not even higher, than that of priests."

"Well, that may be," he retorted.  "But the Church is the only group that knew it was going on, did nothing about it, and kept transferring the perverts around."

"You obviously never heard the stats on public school teachers," I observed.  "In my home town of New York City alone, experts say the rate of sexual abuse among public school teachers is ten times higher than that of priests, and these abusers just get transferred around."  (Had I known at that time the news in in last Sunday's New York Times about the high rate of abuse of the most helpless in state supervised homes, with reported abusers simply transferred to another home, I would have mentioned that, too.)

To that he said nothing, so I went in for a further charge.

"Pardon me for being so blunt, but you sure were with me, so, let me ask:  when you look at yourself in a mirror, do you see a sex abuser?"

Now he was as taken aback as I had been two-minutes before.  "What the hell are you talking about?"

"Sadly," I answered, "studies tell us that most children sexually abused are victims of their own fathers or other family members."

Enough of the debate, I concluded, as I saw him dazed.  So I tried to calm it down.

"So, I tell you what:  when I look at you, I won't see a sex abuser, and I would appreciate the same consideration from you."

The train had arrived at baggage claim, and we both exited together.

"Well then, why do we only hear this garbage about you priests," he inquired, as he got a bit more pensive.

"We priests wonder the same thing.  I've got a few reasons if you're interested."

He nodded his head as we slowly walked to the carousel.

Read the rest of the piece as those reasons are well worth your time.

And praying for Fr. Corapi might also be worth your time as he is rather vehemently maintaining his innocence:

There seems to no longer be the need for a complaint to be deemed "credible" in order for Church authorities to pull the trigger on the Church's procedure, which was in recent years crafted to respond to cases of the sexual abuse of minors. I am not accused of that, but it seems, once again, that they now don't have to deem the complaint to be credible or not, and it is being applied broadly to respond to all complaints. I have been placed on "administrative leave" as the result of this. 

I'll certainly cooperate with the process, but personally believe that it is seriously flawed, and is tantamount to treating the priest as guilty "just in case", then through the process determining if he is innocent. The resultant damage to the accused is immediate, irreparable, and serious, especially for someone like myself, since I am so well known. I am not alone in this assessment, as multiple canon lawyers and civil and criminal attorneys have stated publicly that the procedure does grave damage to the accused from the outset, regardless of rhetoric denying this, and has little regard for any form of meaningful due process. 

All of the allegations in the complaint are false, and I ask you to pray for all concerned.  

Might God's justice and mercy here prevail.

H/T to The Anchoress' Facebook note


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Comments (17)

I agree that these things c... (Below threshold)
Bruce Henry:

I agree that these things can turn into witch hunts. Years ago we had a rather famous case in NC in which a guy who owned and operated a large day care center was falsely accused of molestation. He was finally vindicated after about 5 years, but by then his business and marriage were both destroyed, and his life was pretty much ruined. I met him because he was servicing a vending machine in the restaurant I managed. He was making minimum wage and sleeping in his truck.

I see no reason to believe allegations of molestation simply because the allegations are made. I urge everyone, in every case, to observe the rule that one is innocent until proven guilty, whether the accused is a priest, a teacher, a boy scout leader, or a Martian.

It's unnatural to deny your... (Below threshold)
Chico:

It's unnatural to deny yourself sexual contact or relief. That requirement of the priesthood attracts some who are pathological.

Funny that the "rate of sexual abuse among public school teachers is ten times higher than that of priests" is often asserted by apologists for the Church, but the source of this assertion is never cited. As Will Rodgers said, "There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics." Come up with a source for that number, or walk with the rest of the bullshit.

On the other hand, the Cath... (Below threshold)

On the other hand, the Catholic Church spent literally years covering up the crimes of those relative few, buying the victims' silence and shuffling the predators around to new, unsuspecting parishes where they could seek new victims. As the old saying goes, "it's not the crime, it's the coverup."

The Church has largely come clean over it, but that sin of the coverup -- at one point, 2/3 of the Bishops in the United States had, at one point in their career, actively sheltered and protected accused priests.

That's a pretty hefty stain. The conduct of the man in here is pretty reprehensible, but not entirely pulled out of thin air.

J.

Ask and you shall receive:<... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Ask and you shall receive:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/21/AR2007102100144.html

From 1950 to 2002 4,400 priests were accused of sexual abuse.

From 2001 to 2005 2,570 teachers were disciplined for sexual abuse.

So the church is surveyed for 52 years and gets 4400 abusers accused. The schools over 5 years have over half that number actually disciplined. That is not merely accused but actually sanctioned.

Do the math and STFU.

Chico... stick <a href="htt... (Below threshold)
Rick Author Profile Page:

Chico... stick this in your bowl and smoke it...

Jay,

The conduct of the man (assuming you mean the feller confronting Archbishop Dolan) is completely understood emotionally... however... Dolan effectively counters the emotion with logic and seems to win the man over...

The scandal in the Church is absolutely heinous and horrific and cannot be minimized... it is indeed a hefty stain... but there must be some clear thinking applied to this and I think Dolan applied some of that thinking in the piece...

The reason you hear about t... (Below threshold)
Hcddbz:

The reason you hear about the Church is simple.

1. Premarital sex
2. Use of contraception
3. Homosexuality
4. Anti abortion stance
5. No married priest
6. No women priest.
7. Belief in God
8. Ethical standards
9 creation

Each of these is an anathema to liberal belief system taken together well, it must be utterly and completely discredited and destroyed.

This is not to excuse what the Catholic Church did. By not taking care of bad priest p they gave their enemies a bat to use against them,

We have humans in call things some are are bad people. If the reason priest commits is because he does not have sexual release what about the married school teacher ? Or can we say both people are predators and choose an occupation where they could be close to their prey. Both also choice an occupation that gave them the mantle of respectability.
No we take the sexual relief. Tact because priest are celibate.

As Will Rodgers s... (Below threshold)
Dodo David:
As Will Rodgers said, "There are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics."

Will Rogers did not make that statement.
Mark Twain did.

We should put Chico in stoc... (Below threshold)
epador:

We should put Chico in stocks for a week for such a lame and ignorant comment. I've got some rotten tomatoes we could use for ammo for target practice.

Some sloppy thinking upthre... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:

Some sloppy thinking upthread, methinks.

The issue isn't how many boys are molested by priests compared to those molested by teachers, as some would have it.

The issue is the incidence of pederasts in each group (as opposed to the total number of incidents), i.e., what is the relative probability that an individual from a group is a pederast?

For example, by the reasoning of the first standard, golden retrievers are dangerous dogs, whereas Cano Presarios are not. But there are a lot more golden retrievers out there than Cano Presarios. The chances of any given golden retriever being a biter are a buttload less than that of any given Cano Presario.

It's the same logic that's often applied to car theft. Sure, Ford Tauruses are the most stolen car; they're the most common car. Few Ferrari Testarossas get stolen. But that's because there are very few of them to steal.

So the father's point about priests stands. The chances of any given priest being a pederast are a lot higher than those of any given teacher.

A quick Google search indicates there are 7.2 million teacher in the U.S., 3 million in elementary schools, and 46,000 Catholic priests. So each molestation by a priest would have to occur in parallel with 65 molestations by teachers for the incidence to match. Do they? I doubt it.

(Full disclosure: apostate Catholic here, with no dog - golden retriever or Cano Presario - in this fight. Just want to clear up the analysis.)

As the article says "Young ... (Below threshold)
Chico:

As the article says "Young people were the victims in at least 1,801 of the cases," so you're already cutting down on the incidence with public school teachers.

A quick Google search indicates there are 7.2 million teacher in the U.S., 3 million in elementary schools, and 46,000 Catholic priests. So each molestation by a priest would have to occur in parallel with 65 molestations by teachers for the incidence to match. Do they? I doubt it.

And yeah, as Jay Guevara says, there are a LOT more public school teachers than priests. So saying the rate is ten times higher among public school teachers is total bullshit.

Anyways, there much be a MASSIVE cover-up of public school pedophilia, because I don't see too many arrests, trials and convictions in the local news, compared to the wave of pederast priests. Oddly enough, most of the public school cases seem to be women having sex with 15 year old boys - which would have been a (wet) dream come true for me when I was 15.

It's weird for a guy to take up a life to abstain from sex. So it attracts weirdos afraid of their own perverted desires and trying to find a structure to suppress them. That's just my opinion.

Something to consider is th... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Something to consider is that while the priesthood has undergone extensive scrutiny for the past 50 years teachers have not.

So we find 4400 incidents over 50 plus years. However with school teachers we see just under 2000 punished within 5 years. That's punished not charged, not alleged.

Estimates of the number of people that remain silent about abuse to be as high as 80% so the actual numbers of abused children could be astronomical.

So let's do hat math. 1800 students in 5 years are 20% of 9000. 9000 students in 5 years would be 90,000 over 50 years.

Still bitching about the priesthood now?

Thanks for a most informati... (Below threshold)

Thanks for a most informative post, Rick.

I linked up.

The church has done this to... (Below threshold)

The church has done this to themselves. Instead of Dolan opening his mouth in ANY semblance of self-defense, he needs to be expressing contrition and asking forgiveness.

Do other professions have people engaging in this disgusting behavior?

Sure.

But you'd think the Church would hold itself to a better standard than that for garbagemen or others.

Especially since last time I checked, garbagemen weren't part of a tax-exempt organization....

Standard disclaimer - I am ... (Below threshold)
LiberalNItemare:

Standard disclaimer - I am not catholic.

I don't believe that the church should be allowed to claim equivalency with boy scout leaders or public school teachers etc.

The church held a unique position of trust and authority in the lives of its victims, and it should be held to a higher standard of behavior.

In much the same way that a victim of abuse has to suffer with the shame for years afterward, the catholic church now has a cross of its own to bear. It should carry it with some dignity, and a little less whining about how heavy it is.


As a side note, I might hav... (Below threshold)
LiberalNitemare:

As a side note, I might have punched the arch bishop right in the nose when he tried that "what if I called you a child molester because your a father" thing.

So let's do hat ma... (Below threshold)
Jay Guevara:
So let's do hat math. 1800 students in 5 years are 20% of 9000. 9000 students in 5 years would be 90,000 over 50 years.

Still bitching about the priesthood now?

Yes. Fuck yes. The Church has done everyone - including themselves - a grave disservice by not tackling this problem aggressively. Instead, they've tried to hush it up. By forbidding priests to marry they've rung the dinner bell for fruits. And liberals' crap notwithstanding, fruits are big on boys. So this was not exactly unforseeable.

Jim, you and I generally agree. Consider again my point above, which I will put in other terms: if 1 in 100 priests and 1 in 10,000 teachers is a pederast, is our bigger problem with priests or with teachers?

I say again: I don't have a dog in this fight, and am neither pro nor con priests or teachers.

But as I see it, the problem is most severe where it is most prevalent. Put another way, where should we focus our efforts to remediate the problem: on the miniscule proportion of teachers involved, or on the considerably greater proportion of priests?

Having said that, if the Church cleaned its own house, the pederast priests would wind up instead as pederast something elses (perhaps teachers!), but for an organization devoted to the welfare of its flock to hide the problem and thwarts efforts at remediation is unconscionable, IMO.

if 1 in 100 priests and ... (Below threshold)
Chico:

if 1 in 100 priests and 1 in 10,000 teachers is a pederast, is our bigger problem with priests or with teachers?

The issue in a nutshell.

I'm still waiting for a source for the assertion that the rate of sexual abuse is ten times higher with public school teachers than priests. I'm still waiting, and even more convinced that's total bullshit.




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