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when candor goes on holiday

By Diogenes (articles ) | Apr 27, 2003

Palm Beach Post editorial writer Dan Moffett plays the shell game:

Fifteen years ago, Frank Richards was a Catholic priest in the diocese of Nashville, Tenn., who rose to become principal of Knoxville Catholic High School. He and another priest, Edward J. McKeown, have confessed to sexually molesting dozens of young boys during the 1980s. Richards told Nashville police four years ago that he and McKeown took students to a farm, owned by Richards' family, where the priests would sodomize and sexually assault them. Richards said he had molested 25 boys. McKeown has admitted to molesting and raping at least 22.

Though Richards admits his many crimes -- some against boys as young as 14 -- the statute of limitations in Tennessee is eight years. None of the victims came forward in time for prosecutors to make a case, and church officials did not tell law enforcement.

In his interview with police, Richards said he received treatment for pedophilia and no longer has the desire to have relations with boys because he is able to live a gay lifestyle outside the church. It was a convenient and disingenuous cover story that should offend gay people. Attributing pedophilia to homosexuality is like blaming the paint can for the graffiti. Most pedophilia is heterosexual. Crimes against children are crimes against children and not the property of sexual orientation.

Richards is indeed disingenuous, but Moffett is blowing smoke himself. Richards is not a pedophile; his victims were adolescents. Here, as often, the pedophilia problem is an irrelevancy used to distract attention from a much more explosive subject: the appetite of gay men for teenage boys. The overwhelming majority of cases of sexual abuse by priests falls into this category.

As so many people, including the bishops, are chary of bringing the "h"-word into the discussion, let me propose this compromise formulation: the problem is not homosexuals, it's men who sodomize persons of the same gender.

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