Abuse by Those in Positions of Trust Sickening

Delco Times [United States]
December 3, 2006

Two stories that made headlines Friday make many people wonder if America is going to a certain place in a handbag. Maryland Rabbi David A. Kaye, 56, was sentenced Friday to 6 years in prison for attempting to have sex with someone posing as a 13-year-old boy. The rabbi was convicted in September on federal charges of enticement and traveling across state lines to engage in illegal sexual conduct.

Kaye's case took on national prominence after he was seen on TV's "Dateline NBC" in a sting that was conducted in conjunction with an Internet watchdog group called Perverted Justice.

A member of Perverted Justice posing as a 13-year-old boy met Kaye in an online chat room in 2005 and Kaye solicited sex acts. When Kaye drove to what he thought was the boy's home in Virginia, Kaye was confronted by a TV reporter and camera crew and admitted he was there for "not something good."

During the rabbi's sentencing, prosecutors provided documentation that proved it wasn't the first time Kaye had engaged in improper conduct with youths.

Kaye was a rabbi at a congregation in Potomac, Md., for 16 years and at the time of the sting was vice president of a Jewish youth organization called PANIM: The Institute for Jewish Leaders and Values.

While any sex act with an underage person is legally and morally wrong, Kaye's crime seems much worse because of his status in the religious community. After all, if a youngster can't trust a person of the cloth, who can they trust?

On the same day Kaye was being put away, the Los Angeles Roman Catholic Archdiocese, the nation's largest, was settling 45 sex-abuse cases for a total of $60 million, according to the Associated Press.

It was the largest payout yet by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and among the biggest resulting from the molestation crisis that's plagued the church.

The claims settled Friday involve 22 priests and include allegations from two periods when the archdiocese had limited or no insurance against sexual abuse claims -- prior to the mid-1950s and after 1987.

Friday's settlement was the largest in California since 2004, when the Diocese of Orange agreed to spend $100 million to settle 90 abuse claims. It was also the fourth-largest in the nation since the clergy abuse crisis erupted in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002, according to an Associated Press review of settlements.

According to AP, four dioceses -- Tucson, Ariz.; Spokane, Wash.; Portland, Ore., and Davenport, Iowa -- sought bankruptcy protection from a flood of lawsuits.

Delaware County has had its share of turmoil involving abusive clergy.

A grand jury convened by Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham in 2002 to investigate clerical sexual abuse released its report in September 2005, naming 63 priests who allegedly abused children as far back as the 1940s -- 43 of whom had connections with Delaware County.

A new law signed Wednesday by Gov. Ed Rendell will hopefully toughen penalties for pedophiles.

No matter how stiff the punishment, though, it can never equal the anguish the abuse victims must endure for the remainder of their lives.

And the fact the abuse came from people in positions of trust makes the crimes worse.


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