I wish I hadn’t Gone There

Note: I wrote this after “Sidewalks.” I wanted to release both.
It is a beautiful Saturday morning here in Denver. I settled down with my jug of coffee and was going to spend the day writing in creative seclusion. Scanning the papers as I do, I came across a disturbing article. My beloved Jesuits were settling a sexual abuse suit for $166 million.
I don’t know why but I thought it would never happen. I went to Jebbie schools for eight years. They as many other priests are great friends. I have never experienced even a hint of impropriety over my 66 years. On the other hand I know those that have been abused and my heart goes out to them. It is a detestable problem.
Last Sunday, I was struck by a piece on “60 Minutes” on Archbishop Tim Dolan of New York. Conservative as can be, he still struck a note in my mind. He did not appear holier than thou. He was not a relic. He seemed like a decent guy.
I went to his website and found a recent column he had written on sexual abuse. He stated that the church was being somewhat unilaterally singled out for how they handled things. He admitted and I agree that they blew it. But he went on to state the instances of abuse throughout our society.
So keyboard in hand, I naively went about doing some research to see if his claim held water. I was soon submerged into cyberspace that I really found quite creepy. Both for content and the amount of information that is out there.


A couple of years ago I was enjoying a dinner party when the subject of priests came up. This one guy wanted to ping non stop on the Catholic Church. He was on a mission. I wanted to broaden the discussion to sexual abuse in general. I didn’t realize how prophetic my story line was.

For the record, it is assumed that 2-5% of some 60,000 priests have been involved in some form of sexual abuse. Depending on the research the instances are slightly less for ministers. The stats for rabbis are lower but the conclusions generally supported that the ability to hush things up are rigid. The now defunct Jewish Awareness Center estimates there were over a million phone calls and emails over a several year period requesting help after being abused by religious. No one is immune

It doesn’t end there. The Baylor School of Social Research did an extensive study of sexual abuse. The instances of over 1,000,000 abuse cases per annum result in a sexual assault every 2 minutes in the US. Mostly female, 80% are being attacked by family or close acquaintances.

They were brutalized by mothers, fathers, coaches, teachers, cousins, aunts, uncles, psychologists and yes clergy. The clergy of all types were actually the lowest incidence with a graduation in number to teachers, coaches and finally family or known to the family as the highest incidence. I just couldn’t fathom these results. I had never heard of this magnitude.

It is noted that 15% of school children from grades 1-12 experience some sort of inappropriate behavior. 6,000 coaches of all types have been convicted of some sort of illegal contact with their charges. Just for a moment let’s assume all these figures are 50% off, which I don’t believe they are. But using the lower number completely blows my mind.

Look, I am not in any way condoning the action of the Catholic Church. They were wrong and even after extensive law suits there are some of the Old Guard that just don’t get it. I do believe the Church is a monolithic entity that is a little easier to attack on both a procedural and economic front. They deserve the castigation but so do a lot of others.

After doing this sordid research, I keep going back to young kids to young adults who have been victims. I keep thinking about the really sick people from all walks of life. I am not sure if we have really become more perverse as a people or if that evil seed has always been there. It doesn’t matter.

Sadly the odds say that some of my readers have been affected….either personally or by association. Maybe it is happening either psychologically or physically right now. That’s heavy duty but I had to say it. We have got to take the lid off. If you are there, I hope this helps. If you are not there, thank God.

In our liberal society I can’t fathom any defense of this heinous scar on our humanity. To defile our young and defenseless by all types of offenders leaves me with a horrible taste in my mouth. I am not a rookie. I have seen good and bad but none quite like this.

To see that the info is there and for whatever reason we have only exposed it with regard to religion stumps me. I can only hope this will get some sort of traction that goes beyond this poor man’s epistle.

I will keep at it and try to be more upbeat. For now I am doing some tough pondering and saying some prayers for those poor young people.

As always

Ted The Great

Factoid: Abuse spans all economic and ethnic genres. There was a young girl in an upscale Seattle suburb who was repeatedly raped over several months  by her father and two brothers. Mom stood by.

One thought on “I wish I hadn’t Gone There

  1. Thank you, Ted

    Feather Berkower of Parenting Safe Children
    Has made it her life mission to teach parents and caregivers how to protect children from this type of all too common abuse. She also teaches us how to empower our children so they can protect themselves.

    Best parenting workshop I ever took!

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