What is a “Pure Pedophile”?

During the trial of Monsignor William Lynn in Philadelphia, we have been exposed to some eye-opening — and jaw-dropping — insight into the mindset behind covering up thousands of cases of child sexual abuse. Now standing trial on charges of child endangerment and conspiracy, Lynn is accused of covering up child sex abuse allegations against priests, often by transferring them to other parishes. (Closing arguments begin Thursday, and Lynn faces up to 21 years in prison.) 

What is just as shocking as the rampant child abuse itself is the brotherhood that allowed it to go on. During testimony last week, Monsignor James Beisel said that Lynn took his orders from a Cardinal and "you don't say no to a Cardinal." In other words, as long as his superiors encouraged him to look the other way, Lynn was comfortable in letting these crimes against children continue. He claims he was powerless, but truly the only powerless ones in this situation were the children being molested.

As disgusting as that testimony was, it was Lynn's own words that proved even more outrageous when he stated that one of the priests accused of raping young boys also had sex with women — which meant he was not a "pure pedophile." Lynn used that line of thinking to justify leaving the priest in his post. The fact is, 77 percent of child molesters are married or in long-term relationships, so by Lynn's assessment, they would not be a threat to our children.

The trial has been both gut-wrenching and mind-blowing for those following it, as it has displayed an obvious lack of concern for the children involved and shows just how widespread the cover-up within the Catholic church has been — and, apparently, remains. For all of us committed to protecting our children from predators, it's a frightening study. From 1950 until 2002, more than 10,000 allegations of child sexual abuse were brought against priests nationwide. While those numbers are shocking, we know it excludes many who remained silent and it doesn't begin to represent the number of lives destroyed. 

We want to think that the mindset has changed, that the church has changed, but the truth is, there's still a veil of secrecy that exists. Our best form of protection is education and, having seen just what kind of a mindset we're facing, it makes the urgency to educate both parents and their children more important than ever before.


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