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The Dispatch: More from CWR

You might expect such a headline, given the seemingly disportionate attention the Catholic Church has received for clergy sexual abuse. Mind you, CWR covered clergy sexual abuse from the outset and criticized folks high and low. It's not exactly as if we simply wanted to change the subject. At the same time, it seems that other institutions involved with cover ups of child sexual abuse have often gotten, if not a pass, at least disproportionately less attention. 

That situation is starting to change. A recent case in point: the BBC. Yes, you read correctly. The BBC is being accused of sexual abuse and cover up. According to an AP story:

"A sexual abuse scandal shaking the BBC broadened Tuesday, with the broadcaster saying that it is investigating claims of sexual abuse and harassment against nine staff members and contributors, in addition to the late disgraced children's TV host Jimmy Savile.

"The BBC has been rocked by allegations that Savile, who died last year, abused underage teens over several decades, sometimes on BBC premises. Some of the alleged victims have accused other entertainers and BBC staff of participating in abuse during the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

"Director-general George Entwistle told British lawmakers Tuesday that the BBC is looking into historical allegations of sexual abuse or harassment against 'between eight and 10' past and present employees.

"The BBC press office later clarified the figure, saying there were allegations of 'sexual harassment, assault or inappropriate conduct' against nine current or recent staff and contributors to the BBC, which employs some 20,000 people.

"The broadcaster said some of the alleged offenses dated to years ago, but the victims had all come forward since the Savile scandal erupted. Some of the cases have been passed to police while others are being investigated internally."

Notice that the Catholic Church gets dishonorable mention in the piece. Penn State, too. How about other educational institutions? Well, not so much.
Of course, to point to this as indicative of a larger social problem will be treated by some people as trying to get abusive clergymen and their superiors off the hook. But it doesn't do that nor is it intended to do so. It does, however, undercut the claim that Catholicism or priestly celibacy as such leads to child sexual abuse.
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Mark Brumley

Mark Brumley is president and CEO of Ignatius Press.
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