DR. LAURA GETS IT WRONG

Catalyst June Issue 2009

On her April 24 radio show, Dr. Laura Schlessinger engaged a caller on the subject of priestly sexual abuse. Dr. Laura said she was “stunned” that the penalties for abuse “were not more severe.” She continued by saying, “So because of that I no longer—you have not heard me in all of these years tell anybody to send their kids to Catholic school, where in the past I did all the time.”

We didn’t lose faith in Dr. Laura simply because she was not up to speed on this issue, but we couldn’t sit back and indulge her cluelessness. Quite frankly, as anyone who has read the John Jay Reports on this subject knows, the vast majority of abuse took place between the mid-1960s and the mid-1980s, at the height of the sexual revolution. The bill may have come due in 2002—the year the Boston Globe exposed the Boston Archdiocese as the epicenter of the problem—but this hardly justifies the conclusion that nothing has been done to correct the situation in recent times.

Indeed, we challenged Dr. Laura to name a single institution—private or public—that has instituted a “zero tolerance” policy, save for the Catholic Church. Every staff person and volunteer who works for the Church has had to undergo the most rigorous training seminars on the subject of the sexual abuse of minors, something unmatched by any other organization. Indeed, if Dr. Laura wanted to know which institution is responsible for the lion’s share of this problem today, she would have to look no further than the public schools. And then she might investigate why so little reform has been instituted. It goes without saying that it is the teachers unions that thwart these changes.

Here is the number of credible accusations made against the over 40,000 priests in the last few years: 2008 (10); 2007 (4); 2006 (14); 2005 (9).

We ended our news release saying: “Dr. Laura’s moral compass remains one of the finest indices of sanity in the nation. Indeed, we are big fans of hers. But she does need to correct the record.”


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Written by Bill