The New York Times slammed the Vatican today for not doing enough about priestly sexual abuse. It offers not one piece of evidence that the Church has turned its back on victims, nor does it provide data that this problem—which occurred mostly between 1965 and 1985—is ongoing today. The best it can do is say that a recently appointed bishop from Chile was “a close associate” of a guilty priest. Isn’t that what this newspaper calls “McCarthyism”? By this measure, everyone in Hollywood who worked with Michael Jackson should be condemned.
The editorial criticizes the removal of Peter Saunders, an alleged victim of priestly molestation, from a Vatican commission on sexual abuse. As I pointed out this week (click here), Saunders is not a credible source: his account has changed many times, raising serious questions about his veracity. If anything, he should never have been selected for this panel in the first place.
The Times really steps in it when it calls for “hierarchical accountability.” The editors should take some of its own medicine and commence an investigation of Mark Thompson, president of the New York Times Company. He headed the BBC at a time when child rapist Jimmy Savile was savaging kids in the “corridors, staircases and canteens” of the BBC’s headquarters (the venues are cited in the draft of an upcoming report on this subject). Yet Thompson claims ignorance.
The draft report allegedly goes into “devastating detail” about the BBC’s “sheer scale of awareness” of Savile’s crimes. The document also says that “incidents took place in virtually every one of the BBC premises Savile worked in.” So for Thompson to claim he never even heard of Savile’s multiple offenses (61 incidents of sexual assault, four rapes, and one attempted rape) is mindboggling. We also know that in 2012, before he came to New York, he approved a letter by his lawyers threatening a lawsuit against the Sunday Times of London: it provided details of Savile’s offenses! Time for the newspaper to get serious about “hierarchical accountability.”