Skip to comments.Teachers Vs. Priests - Unequal Treatment In the Media?
Posted on 12/02/2007 11:50:04 AM PST by NYer
NEW YORK When the Associated Press set out to investigate an apparent problem with sexual assault of children in public schools, the organization spared no expense.
A congressionally mandated study by Hofstra University had already found school-based sexual abuse to be a big problem.
It was one of our priorities for the year, said John Affleck, editor of the APs national reporting team.
The result was a three-part series, available to editors throughout the country beginning Oct. 20, that revealed widespread and routine sexual assault of public school students throughout the country.
The first story summarized: Students in Americas schools are groped. Theyre raped. Theyre pursued, seduced and think theyre in love.
The series told of an entrenched resistance to stopping abusers on the part of teachers, administrators and the National Education Association, a teachers union.
So why apparently have only a handful of newspapers nationwide run the series in stark contrast to the avalanche of press received by the Catholic Church since 2002?
Paul Colford, corporate communications director for the AP, said he was inundated with complaints from people wondering why their newspapers were not carrying the series.
The APs investigation found more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions from bizarre to sadistic. It said that on any given day, three educators are actively hitting on students, thus speaking to a much larger problem in a system that is stacked against victims.
It quoted a California lawyer who has spent 30 years investigating school abuse, saying that every school district in the country likely hosts at least one sex abuser.
By contrast, the series pointed out, over a 52-year period, some 4,400 priests were accused of molestation.
I received inquiries from readers who were frustrated, Colford said. They had heard about the story and couldnt find it in some cases. In other instances, their local paper had carried one part of the series, but not the rest of it.
Colford said most who complained about an inability to find the stories were academics, psychologists, lawyers, social workers and professional researchers. Colford said AP officials have no accurate process for determining which newspapers ran part or all of the series, short of embarking on a research project.
Catholic League President Bill Donohue complained in early November that the APs member newspapers were ignoring the story, even though they routinely run stories about decades-old allegations of sexual abuse by priests. He conducted a search of Nexis, a central database for newspapers to archive articles. Two weeks after the series was released, Donohue found, the search indicated that only five newspapers carried the entire series.
A Nexis search is a very poor indicator of how many papers have published a story, Colford said, explaining that publications have different timelines and processes for filing their stories, and some never file wire copy.
Affleck, who is defensive of his teams series, said he was confident it received satisfactory play in the nations press. He had no data to back the claim, but shuffled through clippings of the story in an effort to show the Register that newspapers have published it.
He said his own research revealed that the series had been promoted with a teaser in 90 newspapers on the day it was released.
By contrast, newspapers throughout the country nearly all of them obsessed over the Boston Globe Spotlight stories, carried by AP, about sexual abuse by priests in one diocese that mishandled the reports.
Martin Nussbaum, a Colorado Springs-based attorney who has represented Boston and other dioceses in sex abuse-related cases, conducted research of stories regarding old allegations of sex abuse in the Church.
The Boston Globe began publishing on Jan. 6, 2002, a series of reports regarding sexual abuse of children by priests in the Archdiocese of Boston, Nussbaum wrote In a flash, newspapers around the country began reprinting the Globes reports and developing their own. They published 728 stories in January; 1,095 in February, and 2,961 in March. By April, these papers were publishing a new story every nine minutes, 160 every day, 4,791 for the month. By year-end, American papers provided their readers over 21,000 stories of sexual abuse by Catholic priests.
Boston Globe editors contacted by the Register claimed only vague knowledge of the AP series, and could not answer as to whether part of it ran in their paper.
I think we may have handled pieces of it, but Im really not sure, said Jim Smith, the Globes political editor. Ill look into it.
A library employee, who would identify himself only as Mark, agreed to search a database of Globe content. He said hed be surprised to find the APs report.
We dont run much wire copy, Mark said. We would likely do our own story.
On Nov. 15, more than three weeks after the APs series became available, Mark found only one story containing the phrase sexual abuse. But the story had nothing to do with the public school system. Rather, the story wire copy originating at the Los Angeles Times was about sexual assault in the Catholic Church.
The story told how multimillion dollar financial settlements reached with victims of priest sexual abuse have created new financial stresses for Catholic schools.
Patrick Chappell, a 19-year-old freshman at Loyola University in Chicago, was molested as a high school student by the former president of the Estes Park, Colo., school district. His family fled the town and enrolled him in a Catholic school when public school teachers and a coach showed open hostility toward the family for turning in the abuser. The perpetrator, while free on bond, was forbidden from being near minors.
I remember there was this reception in the school for one of his friends, and he showed up, Chappell said. There were minors all over the place, and he was there despite the court order that said to stay away from kids. Everyone knew who he was. He was Mr. Estes Park, a pillar of the community.
After taking refuge at a Catholic school in suburban Boulder, Chappell began speaking to children at public schools in Denver.
I spoke to raise awareness about this problem, because if I had been told about it this wouldnt have happened to me, Chappell said. Never did I speak that a child didnt come out to me or a guidance counselor as a victim of rape. Not once. In my opinion, the media have a great potential to make parents and children aware of this threat. They should take it. Most children who are raped are not raped by priests.
Howard Kurtz, a Washington Post writer whos among the best-known media critics in the country, declined to speak with the Register about the medias seemingly disparate treatment of sex assault in public schools, as compared to Catholic institutions.
Kurtz wrote in an e-mail: Im afraid Im just not up on the subject. Sorry.
-did anyone notice the small print in the articles on the Rochester, NH hostage taker.........he was awarded $$ for sexual abuse from the Catholic church....... RME
Hey, that’s the way Satan rolls.
His fingerprints are all over the place. How can people not see it?
On the other hand, being good little socialists, they can't attack the public schools because that's the mechanism for indoctrinating our youts into their socialist paradise.
Unfortunately, many (certainly no where near a majority) Christians of other denominations, gleefully ignorant of the media agenda and having their own bigotry toward the Catholic Church, are useful idiots for the media agenda; buying in completely and continually repeating the false "pedophilia" charge.
You can see it on here with the immediate posting of any charge of abuse against Catholic priests and the following piling on. One such poster with the initials A. M. seems to wake up in the morning itching to find anything he can to slice more wounds into the Body of Christ.
Of course saying this I will immediately be maligned saying I want to ignore the problem, which is not the case. The Catholic Church is fixing its inexcusable problem with homosexual priests (not pedophiles) while serial abusers in other Christian denominations, other faiths and in our public schools are thankful that they can continue to fly under the radar...thankful knowing that to bring the same indignation to non-Catholic priest abuse would spoil all the joy the anti-Christian bigots in the media and anti-Catholic bigots in the Christian and atheist world are having.
>> Well, what a surprise! (not!)
I ditto that sentiment.
Discuss the issues all you want, but do NOT make it personal.
By contrast, the series pointed out, over a 52-year period, some 4,400 priests were accused of molestation.
Notice the difference between the word likely when talking about teachers and "accused" priests. One is idle speculation and the other represents, well, accusations. I particularly like the way the word accused is framed in quotation marks, to diminish the use of the word.
Obviously written by a Roman Catholic apologist
from the article: 52-year period, some 4,400 priests were accused of molestation
Guilty or not, we all know insurers will settle out of court, just because it is often more expedient than a protracted court battle.
Considering the millions of dollars ROME has paid out recently after actually being found guilty of such, I think you would know that.
Amazing how quickly one's point can be proven on these threads.
I think the big problem in the schools today can be traced to the societal acceptance of fornication among unmarried teens/young adults. If sex between unmarried persons, of whatever gender combination, is acceptable, then what is the objection to teacher-student sex, other than personal taste? If it’s okay for a 16-year-old girl to have sex with a 17-year-old boy, what *rational* objection can there be to her engaging in sex with a 30-year-old man? Maybe she finds him much more interesting than boys her own age. (Who wouldn’t?)
Yes, it’s true that there is an unequal power relationship between a teacher and a student, but that’s true of any sexual relationship, if we’re honest. The problem can’t really be addressed in a reasonable manner without affirming chastity as the non-negotiable norm for everyone.
Consider how your taxes would go up if your local school district were not protected by sovereign immunity. As a former teacher, I think the ap study is right on the mark. The fact is the Catholic Church is a target for claims lawyers. They can depend on the non-Catholic majority’s deep-rooted antipathy toward clerical celibacy.
You completely missed the point of putting “accused” in quotes.
It was not to diminish that there were accused men in the Church, but to point out that they were ACCUSED, not proven to be guilty, whereas the previously mention info states that every school district in the country is LIKELY to have an abuser working there right NOW.
So, some priests were accused, and were innocent, but EVERY school district in the USA is likely to have an abuser there right now.
You wrote: “Obviously written by a Roman Catholic apologist”
And only an anti-Catholic like you could have screwed up something so obvious.
Chuck Asay had a cartoon about this.
A preacher is accused of child molestation. The people vigorously protest, the church is closed down.
The people see a good building to be used for something so they turn it into a school.
A teacher in the school is accused of child molestation and the people say...”yawn”.
Kudos for an excellent summary!
If you read the article linked above, you know the biggest problem in tracking down those Protestant ministers involved in sex abuse stems from a lack of central authority. You go right ahead and continue to support these predators while lambasting the "accused" priests.
Can’t see the image - just a red circle with a white x.
**Teachers Vs. Priests - Unequal Treatment In the Media? **
I’m glad someone is picking up on this theme. I have thought it was true for a long time.
It was really about destroying the Catholic Church and getting her money.
Yes ... that follows a similar logic to "if it's okay to destroy the child growing in utero then why not after birth?". I'm waiting for some lawyer to use that argument to defend some youth who strangled or beat up a screaming newborn.
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