Letter: Work location is irrelevant for child abusers to succeed

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

February 21, 2022

Regarding “Lawsuit accuses De Soto priest of sexual abuse at boys’ home” (Feb. 15): Since when did child molesters limit themselves to assaulting only children at their current place of employment? It seems to me that’s what officials at the St. Louis Catholic archdiocese believe.

In response to a new abuse and cover-up lawsuit against the Rev. Alexander Anderson, a church statement says that the charges are “demonstrably false.” Why? Because the church says Anderson “was not assigned to St. Joseph Home during the time the claimant was a resident.”

Is it impossible for a teacher to return to his former school and engage in unwanted sexual advances with children?

This type of denial — “I couldn’t have done it. I wasn’t even there at the time” — is commonly offered up by alleged abusers. But it obscures a simple reality: In mere seconds, a predator can hurt a child. Where a predator lives or works is irrelevant.

Kathy Peterson • St. Louis