What politics—and the Biden campaign—can learn from the church about sexual assault

National Catholic Reporter

May 26, 2020

By Soli Salgado

The political arena displays a dizzying spectrum of how to handle accusations of sexual misconduct. On one end, is the immediate forced resignation by the Democrats in 2017 of Minnesota Sen. Al Franken over a photo taken in 2006 and other accusations, without an independent investigation. On the other end, also in late 2017, Roy Moore’s unsuccessful bid for Senate in Alabama had the full weight of the Republican Party behind him, despite numerous credible accounts of sexual encounters with underage girls.

Now, voters must choose between two presidential candidates accused of sexual assault: former Vice President Joe Biden, who has been accused of sexually assaulting former employee Tara Reade in 1993, and current President Donald Trump, who has been accused of sexual misconduct, including rape, by up to 25 women.

To the extent that political bodies can learn anything from the Catholic Church, the lessons are in the failings, say Catholic activists, feminists and survivor advocates, who have studied the fallout from the 50-year history of sexual abuse by clergy and coverup by bishops.

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