The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


What the New York Times won’t tell you

posted by jmcgee

Some helpful context on some stories that have been in the news lately.

From the Associated Press, three years ago:

Students in America’s schools are groped. They’re raped. They’re pursued, seduced and think they’re in love.

An Associated Press investigation found more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions from bizarre to sadistic.

There are 3 million public school teachers nationwide, most devoted to their work. Yet the number of abusive educators _ nearly three for every school day _ speaks to a much larger problem in a system that is stacked against victims.

Most of the abuse never gets reported. Those cases reported often end with no action. Cases investigated sometimes can’t be proven, and many abusers have several victims.

And no one _ not the schools, not the courts, not the state or federal governments _ has found a surefire way to keep molesting teachers out of classrooms.

Those are the findings of an AP investigation in which reporters sought disciplinary records in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The result is an unprecedented national look at the scope of sex offenses by educators _ the very definition of breach of trust.

The seven-month investigation found 2,570 educators whose teaching credentials were revoked, denied, surrendered or sanctioned from 2001 through 2005 following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Young people were the victims in at least 1,801 of the cases, and more than 80 percent of those were students. At least half the educators who were punished by their states also were convicted of crimes related to their misconduct.

The findings draw obvious comparisons to sex abuse scandals in other institutions, among them the Roman Catholic Church. A review by America’s Catholic bishops found that about 4,400 of 110,000 priests were accused of molesting minors from 1950 through 2002.

Clergy abuse is part of the national consciousness after a string of highly publicized cases. But until now, there’s been little sense of the extent of educator abuse.

Beyond the horror of individual crimes, the larger shame is that the institutions that govern education have only sporadically addressed a problem that’s been apparent for years.

Read more at the WaPo link.



Advertisement
Comments read comments(38)
post a comment
hlvanburen

posted March 28, 2010 at 6:10 pm


“Beyond the horror of individual crimes, the larger shame is that the institutions that govern education have only sporadically addressed a problem that’s been apparent for years.”
Indeed it is, and it is a black mark that will haunt public education for years. And rightly so for those districts where such abuse has not been addressed. They deserve whatever they get when their house of cards starts falling down.
However, I have to point out something that perhaps explains why there has not been a national clamouring (yet) concerning abuse in schools.
1) Unlike the Catholic Church, there is no central organization that has responsibility over all of the teachers and schools in this nation. There are no central administrators moving an abusive teacher in Indianapolis to a school in Los Angeles. There are fifty state Departments of Education and hundreds of districts in each state.
2) Because of #1 there is no interest in Indianapolis when a case of abuse is discovered in Los Angeles. Students in Indianapolis do not necessarily have to worry of the abusive teacher in LA was stationed a few years ago in Indianapolis. In some rare cases you see teachers moving that distance, but they are not *reassigned* to a different district by their administrators.
3) Abusive teachers do make the news in their communities, even in regional news publications. But, has there been anything in public education to match the scale of the revelations from the Catholic Church. To draw an exact parallel you would have to show collusion among school superintendents, state boards of education, the US Department of Education, and even a Cabinet level position. This would parallel what we have seen happening in the Catholic Church in this nation, with actions by the USCCB, Archbishops and even Cardinals overseeing churches here.
4) Finally, I would point out that you are seeing many voices in the conservative media take the position that any taint of sexual impropriety is a disqualification for service in our government. The nomination of Judge Robert Chatigny has drawn much ire from the right regarding his judicial positions.
http://www.allamericanblogger.com/9995/obama-judicial-nominee-fought-for-serial-killer-and-against-sex-offender-registries/
If opposition to sex-offender registries disqualifies someone from consideration for a judicial appointment, shouldn’t failure to remove abusive priests from their positions disqualify a person from service in the Church?
Or do conservatives hold government officials to a higher level of accountability than clergy?



report abuse
 

Mike

posted March 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm


hlvanburen is exactly right, but he/she forgot one thing: priests and bishops represent God, so in a very real sense it seems to children that God is raping them.



report abuse
 

ciao

posted March 28, 2010 at 7:39 pm


The Catholic Church is neither liberal or conservative. Those are political terms. The church is traditional. The church has undergone reform many times in its 2000 years. Pope Benedict is making reforms. That’s not up for popular vote. The modern world is deeply entrenched in sexual preoccupation. Lax and weak faith has pervaded the Western Church far too long. It will be reformed and renewed. As for the rest of the world still stinking with abuse problems, how are they going to clean it up?



report abuse
 

Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted March 28, 2010 at 8:14 pm


Actually, there was a story in the NY Times about abuse in the NY public schools a few years ago. It was even on the front page. It told how the public schools transferred teachers from school to school and out its system to others. They even had a name for it “Moving the trash along.”
At the time I thought Gee! maybe the Times will go beyond Catholic bashing on the abuse issue. Was I wrong. No follow-up, no in-depth probing, no chasing down 40 year old cases when the schools handled issues exactly as the Church did (after all making such public would further harm the abused kids saith the lawyers and psych experts of that time–so what do you do with a bad priest, teacher, cop, noone wanted to do anything about -even the parents believing it would make things worse- well, you move
the trash along hoping a cure will take hold because noone is willing to bring charges and the Church like government has rules to protect those considered innocent until proven guilty.



report abuse
 

Mike

posted March 28, 2010 at 8:24 pm


Mr. Bresnahan, did you even bother to read what hlvanburen wrote? Do you not recognize the qualitative difference?



report abuse
 

Rick

posted March 28, 2010 at 8:33 pm


Why is the victimization of a child by a priest so much worse than the abuse perpetrated by a teacher? Is the child hurt any less? It seem like people rightly remind Catholics, “Why are you defending them? What about the victim?”
That’s right: what about the victims of teachers?



report abuse
 

Joseph J Cleary

posted March 28, 2010 at 8:50 pm


Hopefully we hold ourselves and our Church to a higher standard then a troubled public school district.
It is a sad fact that abuse of children occurs in a variety of settings. The perpetuators are sick people. They fool a lot of people – including adults and friends who thought they knew them well.
I care little for the New York Time’s agenda but I think I am in the majority of loyal Catholics who direct the blame and anger for this ongoing crisis at the Chancery steps. It is in those walls, where men who were entrusted to be our Bishops and their minions too often put our children in harms way again and again to protect friends, prevent scandal and avoid an ‘uncomfortable situation’. Clearly it occured in Europe as well as over here in ‘liberal’ United States.
We simply ask for honesty and accountability. The priests who perpetuated these acts are now being held accountable for their actions – thanks be to God. Who seriously sees the same accountability at the Chancery office? Was even one bishop or Chancery officer held accountable in the US for the unspeakable evil they allowed to happen multiple times? The Irish church appears to be making a start– with several episcopal resignations.
So far none of the named Irish bishops are in for a big promotion to Rome a la Law.



report abuse
 

Mere Catholic

posted March 28, 2010 at 10:21 pm


Mike, what good are “qualitative differences” to victims of sexual abuse in schools? When you read the AP story, these victims also dealt with indifferent or uncaring bureaucrats. In many cases, teaching licenses were revoked in one state, but they were free to roam state to state and obtain new licenses. And here’s the money quote from the story: “The AP investigation found efforts to stop individual offenders but, overall, a deeply entrenched resistance toward recognizing and fighting abuse. It starts in school hallways, where fellow teachers look away or feel powerless to help. School administrators make behind-the-scenes deals to avoid lawsuits and other trouble.”
It is the same save your own a** attitude that enables sexual crimes. As a Catholic, I of course feel particular shame and sorrow for victims of Catholic clergy and religious. But as a survivor of non-clerical sexual abuse, I know that all victims need to be have their pain and sorrow recognized regardless of who perpetrated the crime. This isn’t about diverting attention, but rather broadening it.



report abuse
 

Deacon Colin

posted March 28, 2010 at 10:38 pm


Lashing out against the media, pointing fingers at other professions, these are not appropriate responses to what we are facing.
Blaming others doesn’t make the evil go away.
It is unpleasant, ugly, and deeply troubling, but we bear these abuses whether we were present, complicit, or even alive, by virtue of our shared faith.
Listen to the words in any number of Stations of the Cross recited this and every Lent. We bear these sufferings so that we might be joined with Christ, and we strive to build the Kingdom of God even in the face of great trials and sufferings.
If you are accused unjustly, be pleased as you will receive blessings for your suffering.
If you bear any degree of responsibility, and it is hard for any of us who love the Church not to take some degree of that upon ourself, set your shoulder to the yoke, as God will use this trial to reform us for greater good.
But if you seek to avoid the burden, if you look to blame others, if you lash out, you gain nothing.



report abuse
 

kenneth

posted March 28, 2010 at 11:07 pm


“Gee, dad, it’s not wrong. All the other kids are doing it too.” Church apologists have recently become THE foremost advocates of moral relativism. No informed person in recent years has believed that the church is the only source of abuse. This isn’t a good argument for the media to lay off the church. It’s an argument for a wider net. There are a couple of qualitative differences as well in what goes on in the church versus the state schools. Teachers and administrators in school are mandatory reporters of suspected abuse. If it comes out that they did keep silent, they go to jail, which is where the pope and a good portion of bishops should be.



report abuse
 

Holy Cannoli

posted March 29, 2010 at 8:04 am


Kenneth wrote:
>>>If it comes out that they (Teachers and administrators in school) did keep silent, they go to jail, which is where the pope and a good portion of bishops should be.
Your act is getting very old. If you have evidence to prove your allegations, post it. If you have evidence to prove your claim that Benedict’s was involved in abuse, post it. If you have evidence that “a good portion of bishops” should be in jail, post it.
If you don’t have that evidence then you, like the NY Times, are simply anti-Catholic bigots who will cling to half-truths, unsubstantiated charges, and gossip to advance his/their anti-Catholic agenda. At least the Times is making money (not much) doing what they do. All you are doing is affirming and justifying to yourself your obsession and what you believe are noble reasons for abandoning the Catholic Church for paganism. Brilliant!
The facts will speak for themselves without the continual bitter chatter from those who despise the Catholic Church. Instead, haters like you want to jail “the pope and a good portion of bishops” without solid proof and without trail. I’m afraid your paganism and anti-Catholicism has negatively affected your judgment and your sense of fairness.
Personally, I believe that homosexuals (or those with homosexual tendencies) should NEVER have been in allowed in the seminary in the first place. If that policy was implemented and enforced much of the scandal could have been avoided since it was largely the acts of homosexual men preying on young boys that caused the abuse scandal (see: John Jay Report)
I hope my stance against permitting homosexuals (active or otherwise) in the seminary doesn’t offend you.



report abuse
 

Curious

posted March 29, 2010 at 8:12 am


Holy, good post. Kenneth and his ilk love to bloviate about what should be done as though they were the arbiters of justice in the world. These latest hysterics remind me of the mobs on Palm Sunday shouting crucify him. And don’t think for a moment all this wasn’t carefully planned by the gray lady to be posted on their front pages as we approached Holy Week.



report abuse
 

DML

posted March 29, 2010 at 9:27 am


I found this quote interesting…
“Young people were the victims in at least 1,801 of the cases, and more than 80 percent of those were students. At least half the educators who were punished by their states also were convicted of crimes related to their misconduct.”
Looks like abusing teachers are being successfully convicted at a pretty high rate. Does the John Jay report tell us anything about the conviction rate for priests? It would be interesting to compare.



report abuse
 

andrew

posted March 29, 2010 at 10:21 am


We, the Catholic faithful, owe the Boston Globe, the NY Times, the AP, National Catholic Reporter and many other newspapers a debt of gratitude for bringing this situation to light.
It wasn’t the Catholic media who took on this issue. And the Catholic press continues to fall behind the mainstream media on this issue. It is a black mark against the Catholic media.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted March 29, 2010 at 11:36 am


The fact that abuse is going on, has gone on, and has been under reported is seriously problematic and a scandel – for which the Church is continually sorry. Those who have violated the law should be in jail + receiving treatment for these horrific acts.
That being said…it is interesting that much of what we hear on the front pages (about abuse of children) is in the context of the Church. I understand why – that Church is the last place this should ever happen. However, let’s not ignore that way in which this is reported and be informed about the issue. No one expects more from NYT.
In addition, the comment about Catholic media…probably true. However, the truth will always find its way to the top. The C media should be on the FIRST crest of this wave. It would help us all!
During this season may God help us esp. the Church
A repentant believer…



report abuse
 

ds0490

posted March 29, 2010 at 11:59 am


“These latest hysterics remind me of the mobs on Palm Sunday shouting crucify him.”
Mobs on Palm Sunday were wanting to crucify Jesus?
You know, instead of trying to shove the Bible down someone else’s throat, maybe you should actually try reading it for once.



report abuse
 

Paul

posted March 29, 2010 at 12:11 pm


Here in Vermont a couple of years ago the man who was honored as ‘Vermont Teacher of the Year’ was busted for molesting young boys he tutored. It’s everywhere and it is homosexualism. It’s such hypocrisy that our ‘enlightened’ modern culture glorifies homosexualism while at the same time is outraged by the consequences of this diseased lifestyle. having spent several years in the Navy and in the medical field which draws these persons like flies, I can tell you first hand that it is a warped and filthy ‘lifestyle’ that spreads by abuse and victimization. Homosexuals hide behind the claim that anyone who disagrees with them is a ‘homophobe’ and a bigot. It’s not fear or bigotry that calls it like it is. the truth is homosexualism is a psychological disease and our culture is propagating what amounts to a ‘plague’ by sanctioning it as a legitimate ‘lifestyle’: it’s not a lifestyle, it’s living death.



report abuse
 

rmi

posted March 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm


What about Catholic media teaming up with secular media (not the NYT or their affiliates-their recent reporting has been so tabloid- especially over the Murphy case when even their source documents refute Weakland’s lies which Laurie Goodstein at the NYT, an admirer of Weakland chose to take as truth- that they’ve actually downgraded themselves) to set up a hotline and 1) ask any victim of abuse at the hands of secular school teachers or social workers or care institutions or Catholic clergy, over the past 40 years, to call with the promise that they will be assisted in investigations. Also a task force to establish rates of abuse among each group, which should then be published widely. I would contribute to such an effort.



report abuse
 

Susan

posted March 29, 2010 at 2:23 pm


A former friend, who is very anti-Catholic, told me that women should be allowed to abort. When asking her about the rights of the father, she responded that abortion is a woman’s ultimate weapon against men.
I wonder how many, who continually bring clergy abuse to the media and the public’s attention, believe in abortion or have had abortions? Is not abortion the greastest of the abuses of children?
One cannot have it both ways.
Latin and Eastern Catholic Doctrine stand on their own through Scripture, Tradition and Magisterium. The sins of the men do not upend the doctrines of Church no more than a doctor or a lawyer who take advantage of patients and clients upend the principles of medicine or of law.
To assume that alloweing priests to marry would end clergy abuse has no merit in fact or in psychology. These same men would abuse their own children.
Let us pray more humbly, more devoutly and more frequently for all victims as well as abusers.



report abuse
 

Charlie

posted March 29, 2010 at 2:30 pm


To those given much, more is expected. Maybe 16% of the world is catholic, of that # how few are
called to be priests. When one is found to be a wolf in cleric’s clothing, he should have been dis-
missed from the clergy. That other institutions are worse by percentages or numbers is no excuse,
and shouldn’t even be brought up. Truly our church is at least beginning to suffer Christ’s passion,
in both it’s clergy and laity.



report abuse
 

Robin

posted March 29, 2010 at 3:11 pm


Not bring it up? Do you realise how that makes the children of abuse by others than Priests feel? They feel as though they do not count! Abuse is abuse and unfortunately it happens in our families the most. The county in which I live we don’t have trouble with clergy it is teachers. I would nver tell they young people not to be counted ot spoken about because they need healing also.



report abuse
 

Bill

posted March 29, 2010 at 3:14 pm


I think it is a little disgusting to claim persecution by claiming that other institutions are worse. THe public school system is not claiming to be Christian or the one true religion. Moreover, as a Catholic, I find it rather disgusting that the church is still trying to deflect blame and rationalize the inadequate and tragic response it has thus far made when it knew as early as the mid-1980′s that it had a huge problem on its hands.
There is no witch hunt, it is simply a mirror be held up and trying to get the Church to acknowledge and accept the fact that it is not above reproach.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted March 29, 2010 at 3:15 pm


ds0490 Guess you are too obtuse to figure out that what was referred to was the Gospel of Palm Sunday which is the Passion account.
I can tell you are not the type who would be open to the Bible even God handed you a copy Himself.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted March 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm


I wonder how many, who continually bring clergy abuse to the media and the public’s attention, believe in abortion or have had abortions?
You are disgusting. I am certain those boys and girls abused and sodomized had no sin against that would excuse what was done or the cover up at the local or regional level.
As a Catholic I am sickened and saddened by another scandal. I am ashamed at Catholics who ARE NOT.



report abuse
 

Your Name

posted March 29, 2010 at 3:46 pm


Guess you are too obtuse to figure out that what was referred to was the Gospel of Palm Sunday which is the Passion account.



report abuse
 

Geisteswissenschaften

posted March 29, 2010 at 5:28 pm


Are you seriously using the argument, “hey, look what they’re doing!”??
Why are you concerned with what other molester-ers are doing?
I can tell you this:
You know as well as I do how things work in a Diocese and in the Church. I’m in the Church, I’ve been intimately involved in the Church for many years. I know for a fact that a molester priest does not just walk into a diocese without the Bishop’s express approval, and he certainly does not take the liberty to go about celebrating mass on his own authority. So, we can conclude for certain that the molester priest in Germany had Ratzinger’s attention then. But that is moot because it’s already known. What is not so know to the public at-large is that Chancellors and Vicar General’s are a Bishop’s two closest pals apart from his secretary. Just as the Son does not act without the Father, not on his own authority, neither does any priest act on his own authority.
Chancellors, Vicars, those guys do not make their own decisions. They constantly represent the intentions and desires of the Bishop. If you put somebody out there and he let’s the molester go free – you’re guilty AND the Vicar or Chancellor is guilty…and don’;t forget – the molester is guilty too.
Now, as for what happened to the poor deaf boys. Bad call. Vatican people are already admitting is was a poor call, but they’re still trying to justify it by saying,
“oh, he confessed”. Don’t try to delude our senses. So what he confessed. So what. Your confession doesn’t mean squat if you know you’re going to rape somebody else as soon as you close that confessional door behind you.
And as a person with such great responsibility, this is no trivial matter, these a grave decisions, and as the adjudicator, you’re responsible for the molesters actions.
It would be enough if it had never left the confessional, but it didn’t start in the confessional and it didn’t end in the confessional.
Any “moving around” of a molester priest is MORE GRAVE than the sin itself. Furthermore, it is a CRIME not to report it to authorities FIRST.
If your priest is molesting you, you don’t tell a priest – you tell a COP. That is the big lesson learned here.8kwfjz



report abuse
 

Geisteswissenschaften

posted March 29, 2010 at 5:31 pm


The more that Other people try to defend the Pope’s actions which are worthy of being questioned, and the more that he does not account for himself, well, the more guilty he appears.
This isn’t like when they accused Jesus, and he refused to defend himself. No, this is very very different. And no tie-in to Easter is going to make an adequate comparison.
Not even the Pope is above suspicion or charge.



report abuse
 

Christi

posted March 29, 2010 at 6:02 pm


The Pope doesn’t have to answer to gossip. Jesus said to ignore the “tax collectors” and the like. Or what about throwing pearls to the swine, it is pointless.
That is why the pope isn’t answering.
How about this: Don’t point out the splinter in one’s eye, until you remove the plank in your own.
A Catholic who OPENS and READS the bible.



report abuse
 

Christi

posted March 29, 2010 at 6:07 pm


Oh, and it is important to note that the Deacon is quoting statistics from 3 years ago not something that happened 50 years ago.



report abuse
 

Christi

posted March 29, 2010 at 6:11 pm


“If your priest is molesting you, you don’t tell a priest – you tell a COP. That is the big lesson learned here.”
Funny you said that. According to the New York times, the police were notified in Wisconsin of the abuses that occured there. I wonder why nothing was done? Why didn’t the police do anything? Oh wait, let’s just blame Pope Benedict…he’s an easy target.



report abuse
 

Holy Cannoli

posted March 29, 2010 at 6:22 pm


Geist wrote:
>>>The more that Other people try to defend the Pope’s actions which are worthy of being questioned, and the more that he does not account for himself, well, the more guilty he appears.



report abuse
 

Robertlifelongcatholic

posted March 29, 2010 at 8:56 pm


Prostitution and sex slavery have been going on around the world since the dawn of commerce but it’s still illegal and considered immoral in most civilized places and appalling wherever and whoever is doing it.



report abuse
 

Thomas van Kampen

posted March 29, 2010 at 9:59 pm


No excuses only weakness and sadness and a loving God. And, in darknes with faith and hope we may some day find our way to him. One thing for certain, It will never come to pass in a stone fight or covered in a devious cloak. I have no reason to believe that the Holy Father is of that ilk.



report abuse
 

Geremia

posted March 30, 2010 at 8:20 am


The NYT does tell you that Catholic priests are all expected to live according to a higher moral standard than the average public school teacher, right? Public schools are, after all, profane institutions.



report abuse
 

plavo

posted March 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm


Cannoli: well, if there were homosexuals in the seminary, don’t you think some of them swam upstream?



report abuse
 

Holy Cannoli

posted March 30, 2010 at 1:10 pm


>>>if there were homosexuals in the seminary…
“if”?!?
http://www.amazon.com/o/asin/0895261448/3–20/



report abuse
 

Susan

posted March 31, 2010 at 11:33 pm


I do not believe any public school teacher represented God on earth.
Evil is evil, but for those who took the vows of the priesthood it is even more discouraging.



report abuse
 

waldo

posted April 1, 2010 at 2:41 am


The News is that the problem of sexual abuse in general is rampant in our culture. The NYT is not interested in it. What they want freedom to continue with their sexual liberation. The elephant in the room is unchecked Homosexuality, and abortion. They will not talk about it. The church for them is a treat. The church will go one. Thank God that I am a Catholic.



report abuse
 

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the beliefnet.com terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to beliefnet.com and may be used by beliefnet.com in accordance with the agreements.



Previous Posts

This blog is no longer active
This blog is no longer being actively updated. Please feel free to browse the archives or: Read our most popular inspiration blog See our most popular inspirational video Take our most popular quiz

posted 10:42:40pm Dec. 12, 2010 | read full post »

One day more
A reminder: "The Deacon's Bench" is closed! Please enjoy the archives!

posted 11:26:20pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Meet Montana's married priest
Earlier this week, I posted an item about Montana getting its first married priest. Now a local TV station has hopped on the bandwagon. Take a look, below.

posted 10:29:55pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Big day in the Big Easy: 10 new deacons
Deacon Mike Talbot has the scoop: 10 men today were ordained as Permanent Deacons for the Archdiocese of New Orleans. This group of men was formally selected on the day the evacuation of New Orleans began as Hurricane Katrina approached. The immediate aftermath of the storm for this class would be

posted 6:55:42pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »

Gaudete! And let's break out a carol or two...
"Gesu Bambino," anyone? This is one of my favorites, and nobody does it better than these gals: Kathleen Battle and Frederica von Staade. Enjoy.

posted 1:04:10pm Dec. 11, 2010 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.