Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on recent articles in the Denver Post on sexual abuse:
The sexual abuse of minors has always been a problem, of varying degrees, in settings where adults interact with pre-teens and teenagers. Today, there is no institution in the nation that has less of a problem with this offense than the Catholic Church: over the last ten years, the average number of credible accusations made against approximately 50,000 members of the clergy, in any given year, is in the single digits.
Now that the media have been deprived of doing stories on clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church—don’t look for them to give profile to the data just cited—some have resorted to criticizing the Church for not keeping tabs on those who are no longer in ministry.
There is no law mandating that the employer of an employee who was terminated for sexual misconduct is responsible for tracking his whereabouts. If there were, given the high rate of such offenders in Hollywood, they would have to attach GPS ankle bracelets on its predators just to keep up with them all.
The Denver Post knows this to be true, but for some reason it holds the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church alone, to a different standard. On November 4, it ran a front-page story on 11 priests accused of sexually molesting minors who are still alive. “Where are they now?”
The story is based on a report issued October 23 by the Colorado Attorney General on sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. It found that 166 minors were allegedly victimized by 43 priests over the past 70 years.
Of the 166, five priests abused 102 of the minors, or 61 percent of the total. In fact, two were responsible for 82 of the cases, or almost half of the total, and one was responsible for 63 of them, or 38 percent of all the cases. The worst offender, Father Harold Robert White, died in 2006.
Fully 84 percent of the victims were boys, and most were postpubescent, meaning that their victimizers were homosexuals. In keeping with the homosexual cover-up, neither the Denver Post, nor any of the other media outlets, made mention of this.
The Denver Post knows there is a serious sexual abuse problem today—not when Harry Truman was president—in the public schools, yet it does not run stories on the whereabouts of these predators. Just last year it published a story, “Colorado Public Schools Are Paying Millions to Settle Lawsuits When Educators Fail to Report Sex Abuse of Students, But Those Educators Avoid Legal Consequences.” It was quite revealing. “An investigation by the Denver Post found that the mandatory reporting law is seldom enforced and often results in leniency for violators.”
Which is more serious? Not monitoring abusers tossed from the priesthood, which is not illegal, or not reporting those who are abusing public school students today, which is illegal?
In December 2016, USA TODAY released a comprehensive report on sexual abuse in the public schools. Colorado received a grade of “C.” Importantly, it was faulted for not sharing teachers’ misconduct with other states.
If molesting Colorado teachers are allowed to seek employment in another state, and the school is not notified that it is hiring a molester, would not that be something for the Denver Post to write about? “Where are they now?” would be a good title for the story.
Maybe the Catholic Church in Colorado should take a leaf out of the playbook of the New York City public schools. They do not have to ask, “Where are they now?”
On November 2, the New York Post did a story on teachers released on charges of sexual misconduct. They are assigned to “rubber rooms,” offices where they shuffle papers. Aryeh Eller was removed in 1999 following charges of sexual harassment. He is not wandering the streets—he is in a rubber room. Last year, he made $132,753, and over the past two decades he has pulled in at least $1.7 million, plus full health and pension benefits. And he is not alone.
Of course, if the Catholic Church assigned paper-shuffling jobs to its miscreant priests, with a hefty salary and benefits, then it would be condemned for ripping off parishioners. This is the kind of Catch-22 game the media love to play. It is all so dishonest.
Contact the reporter, Elise Schmelzer: firstname.lastname@example.org