Dallas Morning News Pulls Controversial Blog Post

By Jay Gormley
CBS 11
June 30, 2010

DALLAS (CBS 11 / TXA 21) ― Richardson resident Mary O'Dell said she felt it was important to go on record with The Dallas Morning News about being inappropriately touched by a priest when she was 12-years-old.

That is, until longtime Morning News columnist Steve Blow blogged that the incident was "refreshing."

"For him to come out with something like this makes it even worse for me because I admired him as a writer," O'Dell said.

O'Dell told the newspaper that when she was 12, a priest at St. Pius X Church in East Dallas kissed her on the lips and then later asked her to marry him. Blow would blog about the article in a post entitled "A Refreshing Pervy Priest."

"This is sad to say," he wrote, "But it's almost refreshing to read about a priest accused of good, old-fashioned heterosexual perviness. The dreadful stuff between priests and boys has been going on for so long that I almost forgot that some priests have more mainstream sexual hang-ups."

O'Dell said Blow's words undermine the pain suffered by female victims of church abuse.

"It just makes everything I went through internally and emotionally, and to admit to it and put my name out there; it's offensive and painful. It hurts. It's like a personal attack on me," O'Dell said.

Soon, O'Dell wasn't the only one infuriated by Blow's comments: Bethany Anderson at D-Magazine's FrontBurner blog responded by questioning his wording.

"I'm not so sure the women and girls molested by this priest find it refreshing," she wrote. "Perhaps a better choice of words, friend?"

And at the Dallas Observer's Unfair Park, Andrea Grimes called the post a "rape joke."

"A penchant for molesting women and girls who are members of your church is not a 'sexual hangup.' It's a crime. They are not asking for it. They did not consent," she wrote.

Dozens of readers lambasted Blow in the comments for the blog post, which was taken down Tuesday evening.

"Steve, would it be refreshing if the victim of this good, old fashioned assault was someone you loved? Your remarks are repugnant at best," a commenter wrote.

After criticism from media professionals and readers alike, Blow included an apology.

"If you have to explain humor, it has failed. My attempt here at some sardonic humor has obviously failed with a number of readers. I apologize," read his post. "No offense was intended except toward pervy priests of any persuasion."

O'Dell said this isn't enough, and believes that Blow should have known better.

"You're a man of words," she said. "You ought to be watching them a whole lot more carefully than that."

Blow did not return an e-mail or phone messages. A manager with the Dallas Morning News said the editor of the newspaper, Bob Mong, would respond with a comment, but had not by the time the story aired.


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