Catholic Church Sexual Abuse over Hyped
May 4, 2013
Note to pedophiles everywhere: if you have pornographic images of children saved on your computer, the employee you paid to fix your computer problems may not put his disdain of child exploitation over his chipper "customer is always right" work ethic. You may want to save that stuff somewhere else or (preferably) make getting psychological help a priority over your tech support.
Earlier this year, local deacon, William Steven Albaugh of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church on Belair Road, was reportedly snitched on by a Baltimore County Verizon employee who had access to Albaugh's computer. Police searched his home in March and he was charged with having more illegal images, though no children were reported to have been harmed. Albaugh is currently out on bail, presumably thanking God for not being a suspected pedophile awaiting trial within the general prison population.
While a news story about a Catholic Church official being accused of pedophilia is not at all uncommon, this current, local investigation is a good opportunity to ask the question: Why are news stories about Catholic Church officials being accused of pedophilia, not at all uncommon?
Is the Catholic Church some kind of pedophile magnet?
Do the strict sexual sanctions imposed upon Church officials drive them into pedophilia?
Or, is the existence of a higher correlation between Catholic Church officials and pedophilia merely a media-fueled mass panic, unfairly targeting the Church?
Well, if you look at the statistics, that seems to be exactly what it is.
Despite the fact that every instance of child exploitation is about as cruel and disgusting as human behavior gets, there is simply no evidence of any link between higher rates of pedophilia and Catholicism.
Instances of child abuse within the Catholic Church are no higher than in other institutions like the Boy Scouts, public schools, or any other religious organization.
"We don't see the Catholic Church as a hotbed of this or a place that has a bigger problem than anyone else." Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, has previously said.
Even within organizations in general, where one may think adult perverts would have easier access to their prey, there’s no real evidence that abuse occurs more often than in other settings. Though, admittedly, it’s hard to put an exact number on how much child-abuse occurs, especially within homes.
This is not to say that the Church has necessarily always handled abuse allegations in the most responsible way. The investigation into alleged silent transferring of accused priests from parish to parish and other suspicious behavior should—and no doubt, will—continue. Rumors of a Vatican wide cover-up, leading to Pope Benedict XVI’s sudden resignation, have thus far been unproven and rest firmly in the realm of unverified conspiracy theories. The guy didn’t exactly appear to be lying about being way too old and way too sickly.
If anything, this scandal is less about protecting children from predators and more about corruption by a powerful entity.
While a correlation between Catholics and higher rates of pedophilia is indeed a media induced myth, child sexual abuse is not at all. Unlike many other attention grabbing media go-to’s, that seldom occur and directly affect few school shootings, terrorist attacks, toxins in the air, etc., molestation of minors occurs in alarming numbers every day. Approximately 1 in every 10 children you encounter have suffered from sexual abuse at some point.
While these numbers are declining over time, we should use the media coverage to acknowledge and fight against, the presence of one of the ugliest things occurring in our neighborhoods regularly, instead of merely stigmatizing members of one controversial group.