The presiding judge in the trial of two Catholic priests from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia expressed dissatisfaction yesterday with the following question for prospective jurors: “Do you believe child sex abuse is a widespread problem in the Catholic Church?” Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said, “Anybody that doesn’t think there is widespread sexual abuse within the Catholic Church is living on another planet.”
Catholic League president Bill Donohue responds as follows:
Judge Sarmina should step down immediately. Her remark, whether based on ignorance or bias, demonstrates her inability to preside over any trial concerning allegations of priestly sexual abuse.
Judge Sarmina’s use of the present tense shows she is unfit to rule. Between 2005 and 2010, the average number of new credible allegations made against over 40,000 priests in the United States was 8.3. How does this compare to other religions? Well, in one borough of New York City, Brooklyn, there have been 85 arrests of Orthodox Jews in the last two years (most of whom are rabbis) for sexually molesting minors. So who has the problem today, Judge Sarmina? Perhaps she should acquaint herself with what is going on in the public schools: as the AP reported in a major investigation in 2007, sexual abuse is rampant.
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