Catholic League President: Some Of Those Kids Priests Abused Were Full-Grown Adolescents
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, who’s the Democratic nominee for governor, exposed a revolting history of sexual abuse and coverups within the state’s Roman Catholic Church. Bishops and other leaders buried reports of more than 300 priests sexually abusing thousands of children for decades. They pressured victims to remain silent and “persuaded” law enforcement to look the other way. They were a bunch of scumbags.
However, Catholic League President Bill Donohue wants to haggle over the details. He’s accused Shapiro of smearing the good name of the Catholic Church.
Tuesday, Donohue posted a statement on the Catholic League website titled — we shit you not — “What Josh Shapiro Did To Priests Was Disgraceful.” Yes, the priests are the true victims here.
\u201cPennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro's handling of the grand jury report on Catholic priests was disgraceful. That he is now using it as a campaign weapon makes him all the more contemptible.\nhttps://t.co/6QHIyQqLAv\u201d— Catholic League (@Catholic League) 1662505207
Shapiro convinced the media that he found evidence of 301 priests who abused more than 1,000 children over a period of seventy years.
This is thrice false (1) not all the alleged offenders were priests (2) most of the alleged victims were adolescents, not children, and (3) the report was not evidentiary—it was investigative—meaning that the accused priests were never given the opportunity to rebut the charges.
Yes, Donohue contends that not everyone who abused the small town’s worth of kids were priests. Maybe some of them were priests in training or interns. THIS DOES NOT MAKE ANYTHING BETTER.
Without access to a lightning bolt, I don’t have the best response to so contemptible a statement as “most of the alleged victims were adolescents, not children.” The bulk of adolescence occurs during literal childhood. This asshole is talking nonsense.
According to the New York Times, the grand jury report that Shapiro fought hard to release "catalogs horrific instances of abuse: a priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out; a victim tied up and whipped with leather straps by a priest; and another priest who was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion.”
It makes little difference if these victims were technically “adolescents.” Technically, pedophilia refers to sexual interest in prepubescent children aged 13 or younger, but we’re fine with a more inclusive “child-abusing assholes the Catholic Church protected.” I could live without the “pedophile priest” alliteration, just as their victims could’ve lived without horrific sexual assault.
Donohue continues finding ways to make us vomit:
Importantly, nothing could be done about most of those who were actually guilty. Almost all the accused were either dead or had been thrown out of the priesthood.
No wonder Shapiro was able to prosecute only two priests. He knew this from the get-go, but he used the report to push for a suspension of the statute of limitations.
It’s not Shapiro’s fault that the Catholic Church managed the coverup for so long that victims were denied legal recourse or true justice. Shapiro said in 2018: "The Church, you have to understand, used a sophisticated, coordinated, systematic approach to covering up this abuse ... with a stated purpose, often times, of shielding these predators from the arm of law enforcement, of moving them to some other place for a long enough period of time that law enforcement wouldn't know about it and wouldn't be bale to bring a case." They took advantage of those laws in order to protect these predators.”
Shapiro successfully advocated for ending the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse. That’s obviously only for new cases.
Donohue baselessly claims Shapiro has a "total disinterest in prosecuting sexual molesters in the public schools” and only targeted the Catholic Church for political purposes. It’s usually good politics to prosecute child molesters wherever you find them, but admitting to students that queer people exist is not child abuse. If Donohue is confused on what constitutes actual child abuse, he can read Shapiro’s grand jury report.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."